It only took three seasons, but Drs. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold) and Helen Sharpe (Freema Agyeman) finally did something with all that chemistry sparking between them and kissed. First, however, Max had to make the decision to take off his wedding ring, and his admittance that he’d been so worried about losing it did cause Helen to take a step back when they reunited near the end of the episode. (She’d been in England, with her niece and mother.)
Though she didn’t want to talk (after their flirty voicemails while apart), he asked if they could just walk. And so they did, to her place. After he left her, he took off his ring and then ran back to her. In the final moments of the finale, they kissed as she closed the door.
When it comes to what’s next, executive producer David Schulner has good news for fans. “I think the audience’s expectation is we’re not going to show them what went on behind that closed door, but I just want to assure everyone, when you come back in the fall, you will see everything that happened behind that closed door,” he tells TV Insider. “You will not miss a single word or touch in that whole night of Max and Sharpe. You’re going to get it all when you come back.”
And if anyone’s worried that they’ll take a step back after that night, don’t be. “[Fans] should be worried about other things, but they’re going to get everything they wanted from Max and Sharpe,” Schulner assures us.
We feel like the buildup has given us [and] the audience the right to really see what it’s like between them actually together,” executive producer Peter Horton (who directed the finale) adds. “What does that look like? What does that mean in terms of all of the complexities that we’ve built out throughout the whole three years? How do they actually now be together if Sharpe really is being magnetized towards her home in England and Max has his daughter and has his hospital to run, and yet they really want to be together? They’ve circled [a relationship] for three years now. They actually have it. What do they do with it?”
Speaking of buildup, that’s exactly what the point of Max and Helen’s walk from the hospital to her place, then Max leaving and returning, was. “We had actually shot even more than that just to give ourselves the chance in the editing room to stretch it out as far as possible,” Horton says. “We just really felt like the three years leading up to it just deserved some real tension right before the actual kiss.”
In fact, you can credit Agyeman for the final product of that scene. “I said to Freema, ‘You close the door when you feel you should, just feel it out and see what you think,’” Horton shares. “And so first take, Max runs in there and the steady cam’s following him in and right as he goes in for the kiss, she just slams the door, and we all looked at each other and said, ‘We don’t need anything else. That was perfect.’”
You can also credit the foundation of the relationship for the minimal dialogue throughout that scene; that was done on purpose. “That relationship was not planned. We just suddenly, in the pilot, saw the chemistry between the two of them. And it just was obvious, not only to us, to everybody, from executives to our audience and it just was palpable,” the director says. “That’s what created the story. And so when it came to this moment for them to really finally kiss, we didn’t want to let words get in the way. Their chemistry is there and it lives much more profoundly in the spaces between words. So we just kept the words to a minimum and let them do their thing.”
This kiss comes after it seemed like it would come a bit earlier in the season, back during a rooftop chat in Episode 10. But despite how close they got, nothing happened. “That ring was still on Max’s finger,” Schulner points out. “I bet if they’d kissed on that roof, there would have been guilt or second thoughts or second-guessing, and we just didn’t want that. We wanted it to be full-on and we wanted both of them to be ready and we just wanted the audience to cheer and we didn’t want it to happen with any dark clouds hanging around them.”
However, the executive producer admits, fans might have seen Max and Helen together sooner if they had been able to end the second season as originally planned. (The pandemic resulted in production shutting down, and so they kept having to make adjustments.)