*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.
*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series New Amsterdam. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.
There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.
When one chooses to join the medical profession, one needs more than just years of training and education. They need a heart, knowing that their working lives will be far from easy.
On New Amsterdam, Helen Sharpe is the head of Oncology and the former Deputy Medical Director at the fictional New Amsterdam hospital in New York City. Her introduction to her boss, Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold) is not in the ER. Helen spends most of her time doing PR for the hospital and raising much-needed investment dollars.
When Helen finally returns to working with patients, her first patient is her boss. Max has cancer and isn’t exactly following doctor’s orders in terms of treatment. As both boss and patient, Helen’s relationship with Max becomes complicated and remains complicated.
The complication gets worse when Helen is arrested for taking a patient who is addicted to drugs to a safe injection site. On the brink of losing her job, Helen remains employed, but is demoted. Eventually she regains her place in the hospital hierarchy, but not without a few bumps along the way.
If her job wasn’t hard enough, Helen is becoming increasingly aware that her childbearing days will soon be behind her. Her adventures in romance and dating are both dead ends. There seems to be a growing romantic connection with Max, but being that he is married at the time, that idea is squashed. Then there is Akash Panthaki (Sendhil Ramamurthy). It looks like they are on the road to happily ever after, but Helen has doubts when he tells her that he already has two children. Eventually, they go their separate ways, she freezes her eggs and goes on with her life.
To sum it up: In a perfect world, one goes into medicine to help others. But, as we all know, we do not live in a perfect world. Helen’s job is not easy, especially when it comes to the not so black and white relationship she has with Max. But in the end, she is dedicated to her patients and puts them above her needs.
That is why she is a memorable character.