An unaired episode of New Amsterdam has proved to be a little too real for the show's creator, David Schulner.
NBC announced on Wednesday that an episode centering around the spread of a deadly flu would be shelved while the world is in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic.
"New Amsterdam has an episode that was written some time ago that focuses on a flu epidemic in New York City. Being sensitive to the current climate, the producers, network and studio have decided that the episode will not air on NBC on April 7 as previously scheduled. Another new episode of New Amsterdam will air on April 14 at 9 p.m. as the season finale," NBC said in a statement.
Just after filming the episode, which was initially titled "Pandemic" but was changed to "Our Doors Are Always Open," Lost star Daniel Dae Kim, a recurring actor on the series, a writer and three other crew members from the show tested positive for coronavirus.
In an essay published on Deadline, Schulner further explains the episode and why it would not be airing.
"We showed what happens when our hospital has to erect tents in the parking lot because every bed is taken. When the doctors and nurses and medical techs have been working back to back shifts because their replacements are sick. When panic sets in. When people are quarantined. When people die," says Schulner, who notes that the episode was written back in 2019 by David Foster, a Harvard trained M.D.
"Sometimes, what the mirror reflects back is too horrifying to look at," he continues.
Schulner adds, "The images we put on screen, of New Yorkers fleeing parks, autopsies in makeshift labs, are hard to watch. Some would say exploitative. Some would say in bad taste. Now they won’t say anything. Because the mirror has been taken down. For better and for worse."
The creator and showrunner concludes his essay by calling attention to Kim and those New Amsterdam staffers who got coronavirus, while also assuring fans that the episode will eventually air.
"One of our writers is sick. Daniel Dae Kim, whose character was introduced in this episode, tested positive for Covid-19 a few days after we shut down production," he writes. "I know most, if not all of us want this episode to air. We poured our hearts and souls into it. And it will air. Just not now. And when it does some will still say it’s exploitative. Some will still say it’s in bad taste. And some will be grateful to have their experiences reflected back to them. To show them that they were not alone. In a time when isolation was the only way to survive. That there was and is… hope."