In thinking of popular medical dramas with fictionalized characters such as “Greys Anatomy,” “The Good Doctor,” or even the comedic “Scrubs,” none of them are based on true stories. However, NBC’s “New Amsterdam” is inspired by truth and more.
The premise of “New Amsterdam” is based on Dr. Eric Manheimer’s book “Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital.” Bellevue Hospital, located in New York, is the oldest public hospital in America.
Manheimer’s 15-year work history and time at Bellevue let him see a flawed democracy lacking real care for patients. From there, Manheimer cleaned house, creating functionalism and close support for inpatients.
Now, his book has a home for stories of compassion and hope on the NBC network. Actor Jocko Sims plays Dr. Floyd Reynolds. Reynolds’s specialty is that he employs women and minorities, specifically, to beat a stereotype in the medical profession. A good doctor he is, Reynolds is a black man navigating how society views him.
Viewers may think engaging in Reynolds’ personal plight is a predictable story arc; yet, it’s quite the opposite. An intriguing plot on the show is Reynolds’ relationship opposite Dr. Lauren Bloom (Janet Montgomery). Bloom’s interest in Reynolds is seen as both parties not being compatible when in actuality, it’s color that comes into play.
During the pilot run, Reynolds explains that the vision he has for his life doesn’t include a white wife.
Sims opened up about the storyline saying, “Me, being a Black a man who does not discriminate and dated outside my race, and I have felt uncomfortable possibly taking someone home to mom,” he explained. “But my issue with it in the script was that I’ve never felt like I’ve been compelled to say it to someone.”
Despite the progress of the legalization of interracial marriages in 1967, the settlement still receives frowns and double standards in conversations to date.
Sims added, “It was confusing growing up and seeing every Black athlete marry or have a white girl on his arm. You know, you have people who are just like Floyd, who are like, ‘I know what I want my family to look like,’ but at the same time, he’s a flawed individual because she [Bloom] is good enough for him. So what does that make him look like, you know? So I love that he’s not perfect and he’s trying to figure it out.”
An additional uniqueness of “New Amsterdam” is that the show tackle issues that resonate with people of color including minimal healthcare coverage, ageism, and those who have financial burdens aiding in hopelessness. Their mission is to combat those narratives with solutions and not mountains of dismay.
Jireh Breon Holder, who serves as a writer for the hit drama believes “we’re not done talking about what the people need.”
“We may never get done doing that,” he said. “But if we continue to bring light to minority mishaps, we give the audience a reason to think differently in their own lives behind the screen.”
“New Amsterdam” is now in its second season and airs on NBC Tuesday nights 9/10 CST.