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The Most Heartbreaking Episode In New Amsterdam Season 1

When "New Amsterdam" premiered in 2018, showrunner David Schulner vowed that the series would avoid the trappings of other medical dramas, whether it was an outsize interest in the doctors' romantic lives or an emphasis on medical mysteries à la "House." Instead, Schulner found inspiration in the American medical system itself. "The hospital is a microcosm for the city, which is a microcosm for the country," he told Creative Screenwriting. "No matter which side of the political aisle you were on [during the 2016 election], there was a place of agreement, which was that the current healthcare system was broken."

"New Amsterdam" certainly brought such themes to the fore. In the pilot episode, Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold) is hired as the medical director at New Amsterdam Hospital. He immediately fires the entire cardiac surgical department, before declaring, "Any department who places billing above care, you will be terminated." The shocking moment introduces the radical lengths with which Max pursues his catchphrase, "How can I help?"

Still, "New Amsterdam" doesn't completely abandon the tropes that have made medical dramas one of the most successful genres on television. Over the course of the series, "New Amsterdam" has offered plenty of opportunities to tug at audience's heartstrings. Here's the Season 1 episode that was particularly heartbreaking.

Max's illness catches up with him in the penultimate episode

In Season 1 of "New Amsterdam," Dr. Max Goodwin was introduced as an idealist and maverick in the medical field, committed to making his hospital accessible for everyone. At the same time, the doctor struggled with his own physical and emotional demons. Both reached an apex in the penultimate episode of the season, "This Is Not the End."

After a season spent battling his cancer diagnosis, Episode 21 sees Max at his nadir, hammering home the physical toll that the illness and its treatment has taken on his body. As a result of an experimental double dosage of chemotherapy, Max is the weakest he's ever been, and it shows. On top of mounting side effects that have been accumulating over the course of the season, his eyes are sunken, he's pale, and he can barely stand, let alone run a hospital. Even in his weakened state, Max prioritizes his new family insurance plan to help patients, making his rapid deterioration all the more tragic.

If the double chemo weren't enough, the episode ends on a shocking cliffhanger with devastating implications. When Dr. Bloom looks for Max at his apartment, he opens the door covered in blood. His and Georgia's baby is on the way, and, it would seem, there are complications.

While one could argue that Season 2, Episode 1 is the most heartbreaking episode of the entire series, as it seals Georgia's tragic fate, "This Is Not the End" sets in motion the events that lead to her death and Max's future as a single parent, all while positioning a very sick man at the center.