The Knick season 1 episode 1

by missizziemcguinness


I don’t want you in my circus’

The Knick is a TV series which basically follows a surgeon called Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen) who makes all sorts of improvements in the development of surgery in the early 20th century, when surgery was still in its very early days but he has to overcome his demons as a result of his liquid cocaine addiction.

To be honest, the pilot episode was a good start. We are immediately pushed into a gruesome world of pre-infancy and early 1900s surgery and it is where my knowledge of transformation of surgery helps. It was fairly accurate as a TV series as far as I know, but there is definitely the cliched hospital drama moments and it was heavily dramatized.

As for the cast, I had obviously watched Clive Owen in some of his other stuff, such as Sin City, Closer and Children of Men. He was fantastic in this episode as he was with the rest of the series and he was actually the only reason why I bothered to watch The Knick and sit through all the grisly bits. His character was also based on a real person.

This is where my knowledge of the transformation of surgery comes in handy as a result of studying it for GCSE History last year. I also understood most of the references (something along the lines of a reference to Pasteur’s work and common sense of cleaning the hands before and after an operation or delivering a baby thanks to Semmmelweis’ observations)  and the racial prejudice against the African American doctor who probably did a lot less harm than Clive Owen’s short tempered and drug addicted character.