The Knick is a 2014 period drama, which was directed by Steven Soderbergh. The series follows the coming of age of modern medicinary, with many crazy tricks and turns. Throw in a little bit of racism and a whole lot of cocaine and you’ve got The Knick. The story, which is set in the early twentieth century, follows Dr. John W. Thackery (Clive Owen), who works at the Knickerbocker Hospital in a poor neighborhood of New York. In the beginning, Thackery works alongside Dr. J.M. Christiansen (Matt Frewer), but, when an operation goes wrong, Christiansen takes an exit.
After he makes his exit, Thackery and his team, Everett Gallinger (Eric Johnson) and Dr. Bertram Chickering (Reg Rogers), are forced to pick up the slack. With the introduction of Dr. Algernon Edwards (Andre Holland), the whole hospital is thrown into a tailspin. Obviously, the white doctors want nothing to do with someone of Algernon’s heritage. Still, he refuses to go away, which creates some very intense, but hilarious, moments.
There is plenty of different conflicts taking place all at once, but everything seems to flow together. For instance, Nurse Lucy Elkins (Eve Hewson), who is new to the hospital, takes a liking to Thackery, but leads on Bertie. Also, Sister Harriet (Cara Seymour) sets up many abortions, despite being a sister of the cloth. And then, you’ve got mobster kingpin, Bunky Collier (Danny Hoch), puts the hospital’s manager, Herman Barrow (Jeremy Bobb), into many difficult situations.
The first season’s biggest struggles involve Thackery’s cocaine addiction, Bertie’s attempt to convince his father to accept his choices, Algernon’s desire for equality and Everett’s conflict with his wife, who slowly deteriorates. People die, medical breakthroughs are made and many of the medical professionals breakdown under the pressure.
All in all, The Knick is certainly a pleasure to watch. Although the series takes us back to the 1990s, the show manages to resonate many modern problems. The deep-seated racism certainly provides a good backdrop and allows Andre Holland’s character to become a beacon of hope and inspiration. Despite Thackery’s many flaws, it becomes difficult not to cheer him on and hope for his success. Everett, Bertie and Elkins offer sympathetic characters, who have their own set of unique problems. Still, it is intriguing to see how the personal lives of the doctors take precedent over their medical practices. It also explore the dog-eat-dog world of doctors attempting to find a miracle breakthrough.
Initially, I was concerned with Clive Owen’s ability to play the serious role, which is partially inspired by William Stewart Halsted, but he pulls is offer and lends verisimilitude to the character. Andre Holland is also exceptional, as the strong willed surgeon, who strives to overcome. He definitely offers some feel good moments. Overall, the acting is very credible, the story is fascinating, accurate and downright captivating. The first season of The Knick deserves an 8.5 out of 10. I can’t wait for the second season, which has already been confirmed.