"Working here, being able to save someone else's sister or someone's daughter … It's a dream come true for me." ― Max Goodwin
Dr. Maximus "Max" Goodwin is the main protagonist on New Amsterdam. He arrives at New Amsterdam Medical Center, having been appointed by the Dean as the new Medical Director, with hopes to strengthen the hospital's reputation and increase efficiency.
His appointment is initially controversial, and his sweeping policies — such as firing everyone in the Cardiac Surgical department — seem rash. On his fifth day, the management team suggests firing Max, however he reiterates that he was hired to make changes in the hospital. Max believes the situation to be a win-win, if the board fire him, he saves his marriage, however if he stays, he saves the hospital. The board grant him six month probation, however he suggests that three is enough.
Little is known about Max's history prior to his employment at New Amsterdam. The only thing that is known, is that he was the Director of a clinic in China Town. As mentioned by his late wife he won awards for his radical treatment of woman with Zika. He is specialized in infectious disease like Ebola. He graduated from Brown University. He left the clinic over fears of his marriage breaking down, and shortly after accepted Peter Fulton's job offer at New Amsterdam.
Throughout New Amsterdam Series
Despite fears of his marriage breaking down, and the fact that his wife, Georgia Goodwin, was pregnant, Max accepted Dean Fulton's job offer to be Medical Director of New Amsterdam Medical Center. Whilst Max was aware of the current situation of New Amsterdam, he did not quite appreciate the struggle it was going through. When he assumed control, he decided to overhaul the hospital greatly, and one of his first acts as Medical Director was to fire all of the current department heads, and promote new ones — this was based on the observation that the current heads placed profit above patient health. This move was controversial, however it gained him great support with those newly promoted to head of department.
Max's brilliant ideas do not end there, however, and he promises to bring in more experienced attendings, thereby reducing the number of inexperienced residents. Max opens the floor for suggestions, and is happy to oblige when Lauren Bloom asks to abolish the waiting room, and Iggy Frome asks for more better quality food. Max eventually hires back Floyd Reynolds as head of Carido-Thoracic surgery on Bloom's suggestion, asking him to form a new, better department. Max clashes heavily, however, with Helen Sharpe, who he tells spends too much time on TV and not enough time in the OR.
Struggle with cancer
On his first day, Max asks Dr. Bloom to take a biopsy of his throat, which she does. Eventually, the results come back and it is revealed that Max has an aggressive form of cancer. He looks to Dr. Sharpe for help, however does not make time for her when she tries to explain the situation unfolding before him. Max eventually agrees to follow Dr. Sharpe's medical plan, and starts chemotherapy, joining the local group in the hospital frequently — through this he begins engaging more with patients.
Max's cancer is relatively constant throughout the following months, however it shows no signs of shrinking, and Dr. Sharpe eventually hands him off to Dr. Stauton when the two undergo issues with their relationship. Sharpe finds out in Preventable that his cancer is not responding to any treatment, which causes him to become erratic, to the point that he pushes Reynolds too far in an M&M and Reynolds hands his resignation in. Reynolds is eventually convinced to stay, and Max apologises, essentially healing the ridge he has caused between the two.
Max eventually agrees to try and get better, and Dr. Stauton doubles his chemo-treatment, which takes away the majority of his energy and makes him fatigued for the most part. His tumour does begin to shrink, however, but his situation deteriorates rapidly and Max becomes so fatigued he is unable to walk without aid. Seeing this, Sharpe promises to find an alternative means of treatment for Max, and forces him to take time off to get better, much to his dismay. He is later treated by Dr. Valentina Castro, who treats his Cancer using a new treatment method. In S2 Episode "The Island", He enters remission.
Relationship with Georgia
Max's relationship with his wife, Georgia, suffered greatly when Max assumed control of New Amsterdam. Prior, their relationship had been rocky, however when Max signs up to spend even more time away from her and their unborn child, Georgia feels neglected. Their relationship becomes more strained when Max reveals his cancer diagnoses to her in Anthropocene, however she promises to stand beside him throughout the journey and frequently attends meetings with Dr. Sharpe on the matter. Max frequently attends birthing classes with Georgia, including in Croaklahoma, which brings the two closer together again.
Max is faced with an impossible decision in Luna, when Georgia's placenta ruptures and she begins bleeding out all over the apartment. Dr. Bloom is in the right place at the right time and is able to help, but tells Max that he must choose between saving his wife, or saving their unborn child as there is no time to save both — emergency services are called, but are too far away to reach Georgia in time to save the both of them. Max refuses to choose, and Dr. Bloom delivers the baby by emergency C-Section. Luckily, doctors arrive on the scene in enough time to save Georgia from bleeding out. However, the ambulance crashes on their way to the hospital. She unfortunately dies due to a brain bleed at New Amsterdam Hospital on episode 1 season 2.
Relationship with Helen Sharpe
Max's relationship with Helen is complicated to say the least. Max first meets Helen while she's about to leave for an interview and they have a negative interaction but towards the end of the episode she finds out he has cancer and they start a bond. Helen was the only person that knew he had cancer so they were always there for each other which created a kinship for each other. They quickly become more involved with one and other.
It is hard to pinpoint how Max and Helen feel about each other because they seem to escape any real definition. They seem to at least feel attraction to each other because they were about to kiss in Helen's office in "Perspectives" but Max wasn't ready yet. Max and Helen's relationship will progress in some way in season three as the original season two final would have ended with a conclusion to what happened in Helen's office. The Showrunner, David Schulner, said that it would have been a "coming to Jesus moment between the two."
Clashes with Dean Fulton
Max is hired at New Amsterdam by Dean Peter Fulton, who advises him to do what he can to turn the hospital around, however he quickly becomes skeptical of Max's methods. Fulton confronts him about his methods in Every Last Minute, revealing that he is unhappy with the changes Max is making at New Amsterdam. Clashes between the two occur when Max is tasked with giving a wealthy widow a tour of the hospital, hoping to attain funding from her, however he convinces the woman to invest the money in a nursery at Rikers Island — Fulton is furious, but Max refuses to apologise for his actions.
In Anthropocene, New Amsterdam hosts its annual fund-raising gala. Fulton warns Max about the necessity to ensure funds are raised for the hospital, and threatens his job if he is unable to secure funding. The night is a raging success, however, and Fulton begins to appreciate Max for his talents. Fulton becomes one of the only member of New Amsterdam's Board of Directors to truly appreciate what Max is trying to achieve — whilst the others prioritise profit over patient care — but this is threatened when the Dean's job comes under scrutiny with the board. Max tries to save Fulton's job, but is unable to and he is eventually fired by the board