New Amsterdam came out of the gate with a premise that set it apart from typical cookie-cutter medical dramas. And it succeeded, mostly by not only focusing on patients with strange medical conditions or injuries and drama among colleagues but also as social commentary on the current state of medical care.
The series, easily one of the best medical dramas airing right now, took an even bolder swing in its third season, centering much of its story around the COVID-19 pandemic while providing typical Dr. Max. Goodwin out-of-the-box solutions to problems that might, or might not, work in the real world.
There’s no denying New Amsterdam has been a roaring success, with many of its episodes ranking above an 8.0 on IMDb.
11 Happy Place: Season 1, Episode 19 – 8.6
Max was still dealing with the after-effects of his chemotherapy, including constant nausea, but he still insisted on being at work and running the hospital, despite the toll it was taking on his body.
There were other heartbreaking stories, including police officers who donated money to help save the man who killed their colleague during a traffic stop after he suffered a stroke, and Dr. Frome coming to terms with the fact a close patient had achieved the ultimate goal: she was doing well and didn’t need him anymore.
10 The Blues: Season 1, Episode 13 – 8.6
Iggy and Lauren were the stars of this episode, as Iggy sat down with Lauren to get to the bottom of her drug addiction. He dug into her past and childhood, her family life, and what trauma she was hiding. Lauren ended up spilling all of the sad and unfortunate details leading to a cry session that caused viewers to break out some tissues, too.
It was an eye-opening episode about addiction, as Lauren continually insisted she didn’t have a problem while Helen struggled with whether to report her friend or not.
9 The Domino Effect: Season 1, Episode 7 – 8.6
As Max’s cancer continued to impact his ability to do his job, he fought to do it all and pretend he wasn’t sick. But the most fascinating thing about this episode was it dealt with a “domino effect” of medical procedures that saw several departments in the hospital work together to figure out how multiple patients could actually help one another through organ donations and surgery.
It was yet another highly emotional episode that looked at how one decision could potentially effect, and even save, multiple lives.
8 Essential Workers: Season 3, Episode 2 – 8.6
The second episode from season three to make the cut in the top ten, this one centered on Dr. Frome, who continued to fight secretly with his eating disorder. When Dr. Bloom confronted him in a role reversal, he got defensive but finally revealed the truth about his childhood in an emotional recollection of his lifelong struggle with weight and emotional abuse.
While fans hoped that Dr. Kapoor, a fan favorite character, would make it through, his knight in shining armor, Dr. Reynolds, returned to perform the impossible surgery needed to save his friend’s life. There was a lot packed into a single episode, but with Dr. Frome’s journey at the center, the focus was on self-love.
7 This Is Not the End: Season 1, Episode 21 – 8.7
It was finally apparent that Max couldn’t keep pushing his body to beyond the limit and needed to take a step back and let others take over and give himself time to heal. But his stubborn nature wouldn’t let him and he proceeded with trying to figure out how the hospital could continue to help patients who didn’t have health insurance.
Meanwhile, Dr. Frome was facing pushback from the board because of his tendency to get too close and emotionally attached to his patients, going beyond appropriate boundaries for a clinical doctor-patient relationship.
6 King of Swords: Season 1, Episode 16 – 8.7
It’s an issue any hospital must face at some point in time: inclement weather making it difficult for patients to get there and causing problems when access to critical resources are put in jeopardy. In this case, it was a massive blizzard that swept across New York, causing the staff of the hospital to help patients without access to many resources. Naturally, of course, Max’s solution was to send doctors out to patients who were unable to make it to them.
It was one of those episodes that really put a magnifying glass on the complicated relationship between Max and Helen, who seemed to have intimate feelings for one another beyond friendship, each working hard to push them far down.
5 Sanctuary: Season 1, Episode 17 – 8.7
This was the second episode dealing with the massive blizzard that cut power and heat to the hospital, leaving them in desperate circumstances when it came to serving critically ill patients. Max, as always, found a creative way to keep things going while Dr. Reynolds MacGyvered his way through a difficult surgery without having the right tools, proving once again why he was head of cardiac surgery.
It’s this episode where a prison inmate was recruited to help fix the generator, at the behest of Dr. Frome, who believed the man wouldn’t try anything funny if given the opportunity to do something good. This was also the episode where Helen finally put her foot down and said she couldn’t be both Max’s doctor and friend, making the difficult decision to pass his care off to someone else.
4 Six or Seven Minutes: Season 1, Episode 10 – 8.8
There was no way Dr. Goodwin could be killed off; he was the main character. Even knowing this, however, fans couldn’t help but feel a stab of pain seeing him suffer through treatment and trying desperately to fight off an illness that was taking over.
This episode dealt with another issue many face in real life: requiring life-saving surgery but not having health insurance to cover it. It’s also the episode when Dr. Sharpe finally had no choice but to reveal to others what was happening with Max.
3 Your Turn: Season 2, Episode 1 – 8.9
It was a heart-wrenching episode when the ambulance got into a terrible car accident that ultimately led to Georgia’s death. The episode, set three months after her death, explored Max’s efforts to figure out how to be both a single father and medical director of a busy public hospital while also grieving the loss of his wife.
Emotions were running high, and while other things were going on in peripheral storylines, it was all about Max and adjusting to his new normal.
2 The New Normal: Season 3, Episode 1 – 9.0
A few of season three’s episodes rank among the best. The second episode to receive an above 9.0 rating was the season premiere, which began with an emotional look at the hospital workers dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic set to cry-inducing sappy music. From doctors and nurses with faces red and marked by wearing masks for days on end, to patients emotionally saying virtual goodbyes to loved ones, and city-goers applauding the hospital staff as they looked on from the streets and their apartments, it hit close to home.
While there were the usual patient issues going on, it’s really the knowledge that Dr. Kapoor had COVID-19 and was seriously ill that set the stage for the nail-biting tension.
1 Luna: Season 1, Episode 22 – 9.4
The top-rated episode remains the first season finale, when Dr. Bloom proved her talents by performing an emergency C-section on Georgia in their home.
After feeling relieved that both Georgia and baby Luna would survive, however, viewers were hit with a bang when the ambulance carrying Georgia, Luna, Max, Helen, Lauren, and others was involved in a major crash. Fans were left to wonder who would survive and who might not make it in season two; seeing glimpses of Max, Georgia, and baby Luna, but Lauren severely injured, possibly dead, and Helen nowhere to be seen. It was an intense cliff-hanger ending, so it’s no surprise this remains the best-rated episode to date.
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