Spoilers ahead for Episode 7 of New Amsterdam Season 3, called "The Legend of Howie Cournemeyer."
New Amsterdam was seemingly all set up to welcome a beloved character back to the hospital in "The Legend of Howie Cournemeyer," but that welcome has sadly turned into a goodbye. The medical drama revealed that Anupam Kher isn't returning as Dr. Vijay Kapoor as expected following the character's recovery from COVID and the subsequent heart surgery. But was this goodbye to Kapoor a goodbye forever?
Well, the good news is that Kapoor isn't gone because he was killed off, but that doesn't mean he's altogether well, and his coworkers didn't find out about his departure from the hospital in the best way. Iggy's surprise welcome back party for Kapoor was crashed when Dr. Agnes Kao, who had been filling in for Kapoor as chair of Neurology, revealed that he had sent an email to the whole Neurology department to announce his resignation.
Iggy was furious that his friend hadn't mentioned his intention to resign despite their frequent conversations while Kapoor was supposed to be recuperating before his return, and Iggy left a series of increasingly angry messages on Kapoor's answering machine.
Iggy did eventually calm down enough to leave a softer message, but also make it clear that their friendship as it was would have to end if he didn't pick up the phone. All in all, a far cry from their scenes in early Season 3 when Kapoor's life was in the balance due to COVID and the heart damage that brought Reynolds back to New York!
Iggy never did get through to Dr. Kapoor in the episode, but he did ultimately reach Ella, who dropped the heartbreaking truth on him. Although he had never told Iggy, Kapoor's doctor had told him that he would never work again after the strain on his body, and Kapoor eventually realized that his doctor was correct when his attempt to return to work and surprise his friends failed when he couldn't make it out the front door.
Dr. Kapoor at least has Ella and his new grandchild, but she explained that he has gone into a shell and isn't talking to anybody. In fact, Ella didn't even want to be caught telling the truth to Iggy. So, New Amsterdam said goodbye to Dr. Kapoor as the chair of Neurology without even featuring him since the beginning of Season 3, but that also doesn't mean that viewers have seen the last of Anupam Kher's character.
Even if Kapoor's health issues mean that he won't return as a doctor, there are still ways that New Amsterdam could bring him back, if there is a story and if Anupam Kher is available to return. At the very least, it would be nice to get some closure on the relationships that he left behind, although Iggy and the rest of the doctors celebrating Kapoor in his absence at the end of the episode was at least a hopeful note to end on.
Only time will tell if New Amsterdam ever brings back Anupam Kher's Vijay Kapoor, but it should be interesting to see how the show moves forward without him. Dr. Kao will presumably become the official chair of Neurology, as she has proved herself capable of the job over the weeks since Kapoor went into his recovery.