Main menu


Executive Producer on His Cancellation – Deadline

featured image

SPOILER ALERT! This story contains plot points from the series finale of New Amsterdam.

Goodbye Good Doctors of New Amsterdam: The former public hospital drama from creator/executive producer David Schulner, director/executive producer Peter Horton and Universal Television ended its five-season run Tuesday on NBC. Launched in 2018, the series was inspired by the book Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital by Eric Manheimer.

Here, Schulner and Horton reflect on what they did and didn’t do in the final episode, and why they think it is. manner too soon to wrap up the drama starring Ryan Eggold, Janet Montgomery, Jocko Sims, Tyler Labine, Debra Monk, Matthew Jeffers and Sandra Mae Frank.

DEADLINE Did you have a checklist for the end of things you’d like to include, like a chainsaw accident?

PETER HORTON Yep, that was the whole basis for the episode. We think about chainsaws, what can we do with chainsaws?

DAVID SCHULNER We only think about our main cast. How do we honor those characters we’ve come to know and love over five years?

TERM Did you know how this was going to end from the beginning? If you had been imagining this ending for a while, you would have come full circle with ‘how may I help you?’

SCHULNER We knew the ending would have to come out of the beginning, just because that’s good storytelling. So we definitely go back to the pilot to find out where these characters started and what a satisfying but surprising conclusion would be.

DEADLINE Did you talk a little bit about killing Max (Eggold) for cancer?

SCHULNER It seemed a little too easy. And ER did it with Dr. Green. There are many shows that have come before us. We just wanted to avoid any duplication.

HORTON And then we could never go back and do it again.

TERM Was it a challenge to figure out what your final medical case would be? Did you go back and forth on that?

HORTON As every case in the history of medicine has been explored by television programs, including us…

SCHULNER We were stuck all day. We couldn’t think of the right thing. We butted heads all day, and finally I sent them all away. I said, ‘we’re coming off Zoom, it takes an hour, it takes two hours, and then everybody goes back in the room and throws something, just something that you think would make a great final surgery.’ I came back with a bizarre $5 million computer generated surgery like laser surgery. We were all just trying to find something big and crazy. And then Jai, our writing assistant, is the one who pitched a surgery that takes 50 people. We immediately knew this was it because it’s about our characters. This is not some crazy surgery. It’s about all the characters that we’ve had on our show for five years, for 92 episodes. And that surgery was a way to bring back all the characters that have ever had surgery in New Amsterdam for one surgery. It was about the patient, but even more importantly, it was about our characters.

HORTON Our Covid team was not thrilled. Other than that, it was a really cool idea. The show is basically a character play. The medical cases are there so we can talk about these people and topics. When you asked about the ending, one of the things I love about the way it played out was how David’s 11-year-old daughter introduced it to him first, which Luna [Max’s daughter] come back as an adult. So it was a group effort.

SCHULNER And then, a week later, another writer emailed me with the same ending. And then a week after that, I was on set with Erica Green Swafford and she said, ‘This is crazy, but what if this is the final scene of New Amsterdam and Luna comes back as an adult?’ So three people over a three-week period had this collective vision.

DEADLINE I was really hoping that the drunk woman Iggy couldn’t get into the system would be found dead on a street somewhere.

HORTON Well, I think one of the reasons you feel that way is because she’s a great actress. You want to see her again. It’s just that she doesn’t really connect with our people. The ending really needed to be about the people we lived with for five years. It wasn’t about our cases, it was about our people.

SCHULNER And in the final scene, it’s pretty clear that she’s going to die in the street. We don’t need to see this.

TERM Did you know that no matter what happens, you want to end it with some hope?

HORTON We had to leave people with a taste of hope in their mouths.

DEADLINE Are we to assume that Max and Elizabeth (Sandra Mae Frank) hooked up?

SCHULNER That’s for you to decide.

TIMELINE Do you feel like you had plenty of time to finish this exactly the way you wanted it?

HORTON I do not. I still think this thing could, should have worked for a few more years. There are still so many stories to tell and these characters are so interesting. David has just created a number of amazing characters and I want to know more about them all. We are on. 3 on Netflix now. I don’t think audiences are ready for the ending either.

SCHULNER And we’re still tied for first place in our time slot.

HORTON It’s a bit of a mystery why it was cancelled, to be honest.