Season finale: New Amsterdam

Bye, bye immortal Dutchman

Some shows know when it’s their time to die and head off to the other side gracefully. New Amsterdam, which ironically told the story of an immortal Dutchman who was waiting for the one woman who could kill him, not only knew it was going to die, it knew it was doomed even before it aired, with only eight episodes ever shot.

Again, ironically for a show whose main message was that the candle that burns the dullest lasts the longest and that death has its place, it never really hit levels of greatness. Bar its intriguing central character, played by equally intriguing Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, none of the other characters were that interesting. The plots, while a cut above the standard crime fare, never really inspired and were usually solved by some bizarre skill (grifting, knot-tying) that our hero picked up during his 400 years.

All the same, it had a certain something. It was never quite what you expected – as the season finale showed.

I’d always wondered if the producers were going to pull the rug out from under our feet and reveal that Amsterdam’s one-true love wasn’t the woman he thought she was. They had, after all, already burned through much of the plot that would have rendered his immortality null and void if she had been the one, thus consigning it to a guaranteed one season run at most. 

But it was an interesting twist and they’d managed to get there through some unexpected turns. Maybe it would have been revealed later that he was wrong and she was the one. Maybe it would have turned out that the irritating police chief was to be the one. Who knows? And that was, to a certain extent, the point. 

Other than that ongoing cleverness, the finale was pretty limp. A sorry tale of grifters, it was entirely obvious with few surprises, particularly if you’ve ever seen House of Games, and had the lamest piece of con artistry ever conducted.

It’s doubtful that the show will be returning and the producers let it go out without too many threads dangling (bar the obvious one) – a peaceful way to go. Maybe, given time, it could have found its way. As it is, its eight-episode legacy will entitle it only to being remembered – if at all – as a slightly less OTT, far more forgettable show about a Dutch Highlander.




  • I like to throw out fanfic ideas to those who dabble in that sort of thing, so here’s what I could see in a TV world without borders – a team-up between Amsterdam, Captain Jack Harkness, MacLeod (Duncan? Conor? Whichever), and Walter Jameson (from the ‘Twilight Zone’ episode “Long Live Walter Jameson”). Of course, the story would have to take place before the 1960s death of Kevin McCarthy’s character but that’s not much of an impediment.
    ‘New Amsterdam’ is a show I’ll miss, but not in any way close to being distraught about it. Just a mild regret that it wasn’t explored further (and better). At the very least it introduced Coster-Waldau to the TV audience and perhaps it may lead to better projects for him in the future.

  • “‘New Amsterdam’ is a show I’ll miss, but not in any way close to being distraught about it. Just a mild regret that it wasn’t explored further (and better).”
    I agree.
    “At the very least it introduced Coster-Waldau to the TV audience and perhaps it may lead to better projects for him in the future.”
    And I agree with that, too!