As RustWire exclusively reported in July, Agyeman, who has played Dr. Helen Sharpe since the series premiere, will not return for the show’s swan song. A source close to the series told us that it was Agyeman’s decision to leave.
“Dearest Dam Fam. First off I would like to say a huge heartfelt thank you for your unending, dedicated and deliciously ferocious support!” Agyeman said in a statement. “I feel very fortunate to have connected with so many of you over these past few years, while rolling around in the skin of Ms. Helen Sharpe, and witness every ebb and flow of your emotional investment. What a ride! Thank you for being on it with me.”
Speaking to RustWire on Wednesday, Eggold says he learned of Agyeman’s decision to depart the series near the end of last season and his reaction to the news was “many things, many mixed up things, but first and foremost, so much love for Freema and wanting Freema to do what’s best for her, always,” Eggold shares in the above video interview.
“[I’m] sad to not play those scenes with her because they’re always so fun and engaging, and the romantic arc that we’ve had for these seasons now has been so dynamic and shifting and fluid,” the actor continues.
But Eggold is staying positive, noting that he’s “excited” about the story possibilities in Season 5 for his character Max and “who he is without that romance, potentially, and where he goes this year and what he’s looking forward to now. It’s a new adventure.”
As for whether he had any talks with Agyeman that offered some insight into her reasons for leaving the show, Eggold jokes, “Well, I had been drinking a lot on set, and to be honest, she got tired of it, and I really don’t blame her. I was falling all over the set. It was embarrassing.”
Despite Helen’s absence, creator/showrunner David Schulner and executive producer Peter Horton previously assured “Sharpwin” fans that there are still “a few surprises in store for them” next season. And the ‘shippers actually should be thankful for the time they did get with the couple, because it could have ended a lot sooner.
“We didn’t even know that we would have Freema for Season 4. Freema was thinking of leaving after Season 3. So Season 4 was a gift,” Schulner reveals in the video.
New Amsterdam returns Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 10/9c on NBC. Press PLAY above to watch the interview and stay tuned to RustWire for more of our Q&A with the trio.