When New Amsterdam returns for its fifth and final season on NBC later this month, the series will be without Freema Agyeman, who has played Dr. Helen Sharpe since the show launched. Ryan Eggold, whose character Dr. Max Goodwin hoped to marry Helen in the Season 4 finale, said he learned of Agyeman’s decision towards the end of filming last season. The former The Blacklist star has mixed feelings about her departing just before the show ends.
Eggold’s immediate response to hearing the news was “many things, many mixed up things, but first and foremost, so much love for Freema and wanting Freema to do what’s best for her, always,” he told TVLine Wednesday. The actor said he was “sad” to not play more scenes with Agyeman. “…They’re always so fun and engaging, and the romantic arc that we’ve had for these seasons now has been so dynamic and shifting and fluid,” he said of their scenes together.
Still, Eggold is “excited” about where Max will go without Helen. Audiences will get to see “who he is without that romance, potentially, and where he goes this year, and what he’s looking forward to now. It’s a new adventure.”
When asked if Agyeman told him why she was leaving, Eggold could only joke. “Well, I had been drinking a lot on set, and to be honest, she got tired of it, and I really don’t blame her,” he joked. “I was falling all over the set. It was embarrassing.”
Agyeman announced her departure from New Amsterdam in a July statement to TVLine. She chose to leave the series because of a commitment to the U.K. series Dreamland, co-starring Lily Allen. “It has been such a joy to play Dr. Helen Sharpe for 4 seasons – those writers built a badass,” Agyeman wrote. “Beyond grateful for the opportunity to tell some of her stories! Fanfic – it’s over to you to tell the rest!! Lots of love Fam!”
The decision was amicable, as New Amsterdam creator David Schulner and executive producer Peter Horton wished her the best. They also teased “a few surprises in store” for all the fans who hoped to see Max and Helen end up together. Schulner later told TVLine that fans should be happy that they got to see Helen in Season 4 at all. “We didn’t even know that we would have Freema for Season 4. Freema was thinking of leaving after Season 3,” he said. “So Season 4 was a gift.”
New Amsterdam will begin its final season on NBC Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 10 p.m. ET. The final season will see Sandra Mae Frank’s Dr. Elizabeth Wilder take on a larger role as she was promoted to series regular. All four previous seasons are available to stream on Peacock.