The Knick is a truly unique series that takes place in early 1900’s New York City. It stars the talented Clive Owen as Dr. John Thackery. He is the chief surgeon at The Knickerbocker, a once great hospital frequented by the upper class. As upscale healthcare relocated from the urban areas, The Knickerbocker was left to treat the poor and immigrant population. During this time period the mortality rate from surgery was extremely high, not only because of the absence of knowledge, but also the lack of antibiotics. This didn’t phase Thackery as he pushed the limits of medicine and revolutionized surgical procedures, all while having a massive cocaine addiction.
This series is incredibly interesting, because it’s likely you will know more than the doctors you’re watching. Things that are common knowledge in 2015, were just being discovered in the early 20th century. I constantly find myself yelling at the screen, “Oh my god.. Don’t do that! Don’t do that!”. It was the the birth of modern medicine. Pioneers like the fictional Doctor John Thackery, are the reason we live such long lives today, but this knowledge came at a cost. Many people died in the in the educational process. That’s what makes this one of the most graphic shows I’ve come across. Saying it’s bloody is a bit of an understatement. You will get up close and personal with the insides of the human body and the cinematographer isn’t shy about it.
It’s not all blood and guts though. The Knick explores the dark underbelly of early 1900’s New York. This is a series full of racial struggle, sex, murder, addiction, corruption, invention and the battle between science and religion. I recommend this show to anyone who can handle the sight of blood and I plead with those who normally can’t, to try to brave it. It’s worth the history lesson alone. Although some medical advances are credited to fictional characters, they are very real findings by real doctors of the era.
If that isn’t enough reason to watch The Knick, you can see Bono’s daughter Eve Hewson in her Hollywood debut as Nurse Lucy Elkins. She proves that she’s more than just the lucky child of a rockstar. She’s also a talented actress and steals the hearts of the audience right away.
If this sounds like your cup of tea or should I say pint of blood, tune in to Cinemax Sundays at 10pm and stream the entire first season on HBOgo and MAXgo.
Watch it here: The Knick