Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts

Scott D. Pierce: ‘The Knick’ is so grisly it’s hard to sit through

By Scott D. Pierce

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Aug 07 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Aug 07 2014 09:31 am

Describing "The Knick" as gruesome is an understatement. A massive understatement.

If you’re even slightly squeamish, you’re going to be grabbing for the remote. If you don’t click away fast enough, images will be burned into your brain. Forever.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Yes, there is all sorts of grisly content on TV. But this medical drama set in 1900 is off the charts.

TV artistry has advanced to a point where the caesarean section performed in Friday’s premiere (10 p.m., Cinemax) looks not only real but absolutely horrific. There are no words to describe just how awful it is.

That’s just the first of many grisly operations in this medical drama that’s part "House," part chamber of horrors.

"The Knick" is short for the Knickerbocker Hospital, which — while surrounded by turn-of-the-last-century New York slums — is as modern as it gets. The drama revolves around Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen), the hospital’s head of surgery who pushes the boundaries of medicine forward despite his addiction to cocaine.

Pushing medicine forward in 1900 requires failed surgical procedure after failed surgical procedure. Thackery can fill up a morgue all by himself.

"He’s not a sort of leading character that’s going to take people by the hand and lead them gently through a medical drama set in 1900," Owen said. "He’s a very complex, difficult character. He’s kind of redeemed by the fact that he’s brilliant and he’s passionate."

He’s passionate about improving medical care and saving people’s lives, no matter how many people he has to kill to get there.

"He’s a very difficult, complicated, functioning addict at the same time," Owen said. "So I just love the challenge of that. It’s not about being likable. It’s not about making things easy. It’s kind of challenging, and I personally, as an actor, love the challenge of taking that on."


story continues below
story continues below

At the same time, it’s a challenge for viewers to get through an episode of "The Knick." There are 10 episodes in Season 1; Cinemax has already ordered a 10-episode Season 2. All 20 episodes have been/will be directed by Oscar-winner Steven Soderbergh ("Traffic"), who’s also an executive producer.

He was so enthralled with the script by Jack Amiel and Michael Begler that he forgot about the retirement he was planning.

"I knew that as the first person who got to take a look at [the script], if I didn’t say yes that the second person who was going to see it would say yes," Soderbergh said. "My whole life, I’ve moved in any direction that I felt was going to excite me and engage me. And it’s sort of unfortunate that people have to keep listening to me explain why I went back to work, but I’m glad I did."

There seems to be a decent drama inside "The Knick." But it’s obscured by all the incredibly gruesome blood and gore.

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.