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September 1, 2014

New Amsterdam: Golden Boy

by Paul Goebel, posted Mar 7th 2008 1:42PM

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau & Zuleikha Robinson (S01E02) Whenever a character in a drama like New Amsterdam has a secret, there is always a character who knows about it. On Smallville, it was Pete and then Chloe, on The Greatest American Hero it was Bill and on this show it's Omar. The difference here is why Omar knows his secret...because he is John's son. That's different. It's really quite brilliant actually, because not only does it explain why Omar knows all about John and his entire history it also explains their relationship. Omar can be bitter and upset with John on a daily basis but they will always be there for each other since they are family. In the TV business, we call this the Simon and Simon principle.

While racism is a pretty easy target for a show to tackle, I was moved by the angle this show took. The writers weren't just portraying John as a great guy who "doesn't see color," they also got to show the difficulty of interracial dating, which hasn't gotten much easier since the '40s, by the way.

From the beginning, I liked this episode better than the first. Not only did the dead body have a more interesting story to tell, but the flashbacks had more life in them too. I wonder how many versions of New York the writers can come up with to use for John's last name? I hope that each episode's flashback will be specific to the episode's plot and not just some excuse to show off their wardrobe budget.

I noticed that one of my favorite TV writers became involved in the show with this episode. Eric Overmyer has written on St. Elsewhere, Homicide and many of my favorite shows of all time. If he stays with New Amsterdam, I can see it becoming a surprise hit.

I understand that many viewers are already tired of the cute references to John's long life. Personally, I don't have a problem with it. The only thing that bothers me is that there is no explanation for his incredible memory. I will concede that by now he's heard a version of every joke ever written but can he really remember them all? Hopefully, we'll eventually see a flashback that shows John taking a memory course.

As for John taking his great grandson to work with him, I don't know where to begin. The idea that a smart detective would take a child to a crime scene is so ludicrous that I really found it insulting. I really hope this was just a case of growing pains and not an example of what's to come in future episodes.

Also, could someone please explain why the school employee who was sleeping with a student is allowed to go back to work while her husband is forced to pack up his things? As a former teacher, I am sick of TV shows that depict the relationship between students and teachers. Yes, when I was a teenager, there were a few teachers who I would have welcomed to the back seat of my car, but as we've all seen, this kind of things ruins the lives of everyone involved. More importantly, the teachers involved are almost always mentally unbalanced, which is a big clue as to who killed the kid, by the way.

Once John found out about the fisherman's daughter, it was clear who the murderer was, so like any good detective, he went and got a confession. It's nice to see that John's not above some trickery to get results.

So far, I'm on board with New Amsterdam, at least for another week.

Did you miss Robert Clohessy in this episode?
Yes26 (19.4%)
No108 (80.6%)

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PB

I really like this show. My hubby and I did have the same thought, though, about the teacher still in school when she'd had "relations" (ahem) with a student. Even if he was of age, the whole teacher/student thing couldn't hold up at the school itself. I find that I watch enough police procedurals to figure out the whodunit pretty early on, but what I like to see in shows is how they trip up the suspect. I really like John's "note from the husband". It was pretty clever, I think. The flashbacks are done so well and I *really* liked that he keeps in touch with his kids. It's definitely a departure from the loner immortal thing and a welcome twist to the story. I really hope that this series survives ... it's good escapist TV!

March 10 2008 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gordon Werner

who is Robert Clohessy?

March 08 2008 at 1:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Will

I recorded this show on Tuesday night to watch on the weekend, but I didn't realize till seeing this review that the 2nd episode was on Thursday night, against Lost, of all things. So now I'm already behind and if what Oreo & other posters have said is true, that it's 7 episodes and that's it, is it even worth the time investment now? I'm sick of starting a show and never seeing a satisfactory ending. This happened most recently with 'Traveler', a great, well-done show that they ended abruptly and will never complete. Not to mention the countless one-season shows I've enjoyed, only to have some network nitwit cancel after one season ( Journeyman, just this season). This sounds like a show I'd like, but I'm skeptical now.

March 08 2008 at 4:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Oreo

The show is pretty much already canceled, it was before it even aired.

It's on Fox, it doesn't matter what the writers do.

March 07 2008 at 11:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JLM

Case of the week was mildly interesting, but not much was done with the story arc. It reminds me of last year's Heartland on TNT. Compelling characters and good writing are there, but not enough progress on the story arc in the first few episodes.

In todays television, you only get 2-3 episodes before your fate is sealed for a pick-up. It does not appear that the writers realize this.

March 07 2008 at 9:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
La-Di-Dah

i really enjoy the cinematography of this show - as well as the use of the flashbacks to tell a really complex history. I am enjoying the little I have seen of this show, and I am hoping the mystery part picks up good (think of LIFE- great mysteries, intriguing back story).

March 07 2008 at 7:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kristen

What I find exasperating/amusing is that people expect to know everything about everything in the first episode, and pick apart a show that's only 2 eps into what I'm sure the producers/writers/actors hope is a long run. So inconsistencies like John's long memory are just an interesting quirk at this point.

And regarding John's taking his great grandson into a crime scene, that didn't shock me as much as it seems to have shocked Paul Goebel. When someone is as old and has seen as much as John Amsterdam, one tends to loose perspective on what is appropriate and what is not. This was another interesting character quirk I hope we see more of in the future.
Anyway, considering this new show is on Fox, I doubt we'll see more than the initial 7 episodes, but there's always that faint and distant thing called "hope" when dealing with ANY Fox series!

March 07 2008 at 5:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bucky

This was the first episode I've seen, and I just happened to catch it by accident. Taking the kid with him didn't fly, but I really liked the rest of the show. I was also able to pick out who did it only a few minutes in.

March 07 2008 at 3:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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