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The Controversial New Amsterdam Character That Has Fans Divided

Medical dramas, with their natural ability to evoke an emotional response in viewers, are one of the most popular genres on TV. NBC's latest entry into the race, "New Amsterdam," premiered on the network in 2018 and continues to be a strong performer every season.

Created by David Schulner, the series is based loosely on the book "Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital" by Eric Manheimer. The show stars Ryan Eggold ("The Blacklist") as Max Goodwin, the medical director of a prestigious public hospital intent on reforming the facility and eliminating the red tape created by bureaucracy in order to provide better care to its patients.

In his position, Max has done a lot of good over the years, building progressive programs and dedicating himself to his work at the hospital even though he has personally suffered a great deal. The death of his wife in Season 2 left him a single father, which complicated matters greatly. However, after three seasons, it appears that for all the good Max has done, the character has also become a controversial one among fans.

Some fans think the writers have made Max an idiot

In 2021, a Reddit user by the name of ScottPress revealed they have reached a breaking point with regards to Max following the events of Season 3, Episode 12, in which he tried to "one-man a chemical spill" in the emergency room instead of calling for a HAZMAT team. "There's only so much stupidity I can swallow, even in the un-reality of a tv show," they wrote, specifically calling out Max's history of putting himself at risk in the name of his patients but also at the cost of his staff, who are then forced to clean up his messes.

"How many times now have we seen Max do something noble and stupid because any problem he sees must be fixed RIGHT NOW instead of stopping to think, which typically results in some kind of disaster," they continued. "[This] is then resolved in the last 20 seconds of the episode with a Max voiceover that demonstrates that he actually found a solution when he stopped to think about it for a moment."

"I really like the other characters but Max is sort of 1 note by this point," agreed fellow Reddit user soneg, who also called the show "tedious."

However, Max's controversial behavior is also purposeful

Not all "New Amsterdam" fans have an issue with Max. While user BenigDK agreed with the assessment of Max's character, they also argued that the character's behavior has been purposeful. "That was the point of s3 regarding his character, to show us he went too far and lost the cunning way he had in s1 of stinging the establishment and making a difference from the 'corrupt and lazy' people that preceded him," they wrote. "It's just his arc this season. Georgia's death possibly made him even more obsessed with fixing everything at work, and he lost the cold head you need sometimes to grapple with structural social problems."

Sweetpeapickle also agreed that Max's behavior is a fundamental part of his character and the series overall. "You want growth from a full grown adult? He is an idealist, that is true. But that is the character ... That is part of the point of the series," they wrote. "He's always going to want to help 'cure' the people, & the system."

It's hard to say who is right. But as Season 4 gets underway and Michelle Forbes' new character Dr. Veronica Fuentes (via TV Line) attempts to fix the overburdened hospital's many problems, it will be interesting to see if Max's behavior changes and he shows the growth some fans want or if he continues down the same path he's been on. 

"New Amsterdam" airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on NBC.