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The Untold Truth Of New Amsterdam

When it comes to TV medical dramas, there are all sorts of options to watch, from the heartwarming ("The Good Doctor") to the tense ("ER"), to the more complex, character-driven fare found on cable ("Nurse Jackie," "House MD").

NBC's "New Amsterdam" is definitely on the dramatic side, but it has the advantage of being based on a real-life hospital and a real-life doctor. Since 2018, the staff at the fictional New Amsterdam hospital in New York City have dealt with all sorts of crises, from Ebola outbreaks to hospital overcrowding to opioid addiction. At the heart of the show is Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold), a rebellious medical supervisor who always puts the patient first, even if it means making the hospital less money.

The rest of the cast includes Janet Montgomery as ER chief Dr. Lauren Bloom, Freema Agyeman as oncology and hematology head Dr. Helen Sharpe, Jocko Sims as cardiac surgery boss Dr. Floyd Reynolds, Tyler Labine as psychiatry head Dr. Iggy Frome, and Anupam Kher as neurology head Dr. Vijay Kapoor.

Here's all the behind-the-scenes information you ever wanted to know about "New Amsterdam." 

"New Amsterdam" is named after New York City's original name

The show's setting is New Amsterdam hospital, which takes its name from the original capital of the first European colony that was established in modern-day New York City. The Dutch East India Company founded New Netherland in 1624 in the region encompassing Manhattan and its outer boroughs, with New Amsterdam as its seat of government. It remained a Dutch possession until 1664, when its governor surrendered to the English. Then, it was renamed "New York" after the Duke of York (via History). 

Before the Dutch, the region was settled by the Lenape tribe. Their name for the area, which covered the area roughly between modern New York City and Philadelphia, was "Lenapehoking" (via Smithsonian).

New Amsterdam is based on New York City's Bellevue Hospital. At one point, Dr. Goodwin says that New Amsterdam is the oldest public hospital in the United States. That's true for Bellevue, which was founded in 1736 (via NYC Health and Hospitals). 

The show is based on the experiences of a former medical supervisor at New York CIty's Bellevue Hospital

Just like the hospital is of New Amsterdam is based on the real-life Bellevue, the show's main character, Dr. Goodwin, is based on Bellevue's former medical supervisor, Dr. Eric Manheimer. Dr. Manheimer served at Bellevue from 1997 to 2012. Before that, he was a medical professor, and he resumed that career after leaving the NYC institution.

The show itself is based on Dr. Manheimer's 2012 memoir, "Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital." Dr. Manheimer serves as a writer-producer on the series (via TV Line). Many of the episode ideas come directly from Dr. Manheimer's many notebooks – for example, when Dr. Manheimer once had a patient with terminal illness, the patient's family requested that the hospital help him return to his native Mexico to be with his children. This incident inspired a storyline in a "New Amsterdam" episode.

In Season 1, Dr. Goodwin is diagnosed with throat cancer. This storyline is also based on real-life. In 2008, Dr. Manheimer was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, forcing him to take several months off from work (via The New York Post).

During COVID-19, NBC pulled an episode about a flu pandemic

Like many television shows that have been in production during the COVID-1, "New Amsterdam" was affected by the pandemic. In "New Amsterdam's" case, the pandemic forced the show to shelve an entire episode.

The episode, titled "Pandemic," dealt with a fictional flu outbreak at New Amsterdam hospital. It was scheduled to air on April 7, just weeks after COVID-19 reached pandemic conditions in the US. Worse, the episode's guest star, Daniel Dae Kim ("Lost") tested positive before the episode was set to air. One of the show's writers and three of its cast members also tested positive at the same time (via Deadline).

In the end, NBC decided not to throw out the episode entirely. It was renamed "Our Doors Are Always Open," and it will run some time in the future. At the time, "New Amsterdam" had just been renewed for three seasons, so there's plenty of time.

It's a big revenue-generator for New York City hospitals

"New Amsterdam" films on-location at four real New York City hospitals, including Bellevue itself. Many scenes take place within Bellevue's iconic atrium, and the show has also filmed at the hospital's comfort garden. Other hospitals where "New Amsterdam" has filmed include Metropolitan Hospital in Manhattan, and King's County Hospital and Woodhull Hospital, both in Brooklyn.

Naturally, NBC pays hundreds of thousands of dollars to secure these filming locations. Bellevue is a public hospital operated by NYC Health + Hospitals, a public benefit corporation. In 2018, NBC paid NYC Health + Hospitals $650,000 to film in all four hospitals. NYC Health + Hospitals' ability to monetize its unused beds has served as a new revenue stream for the organization.  (via The New York Post). 

Since 2018, "New Amsterdam" has filmed three more seasons, with Season 5 still to go (via Variety).

Dr. Elizabeth WIlder is played by deaf actress Sandra Mae Frank

Since the first season aired in 2018, "New Amsterdam" has been committed to diversity, both on and off screen. In Season 4 of "New Amsterdam," the staff at New Amsterdam hospital welcomed a new surgeon to the team: Dr. Elizabeth Wilder. She's one of the most in-demand surgeons in the country, and Dr. Goodwin has repeatedly tried to recruit her to join his hospital. She also happens to be deaf (via TV Line). 

The recurring role is played by deaf actress Sandra Mae Frank. Frank is a stage and film actress who debuted on Broadway in "Spring Awakening." Recently, she had a guest starring role on the NBC series, "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist," in which she performed a song in American Sign Language. In 2015, Frank also guest-starred in two episodes of "Switched at Birth." Finally, she serves as production manager of the nonprofit Deaf Austin Theatre, in Austin, Texas (via Respectability.org).