The Knick is a lush, electrifyingly violent foray into the history of medicine as practiced in New York City, circa 1900 CE.

Sir Clive Owen’s insular portrayal of Dr. Thackery, head of surgery and consummate cocaine addict, is but a small part of the dramatic strength of The Knick.

The old New York City we see is a tumultuous crush of humanity, filled with illnesses and events which afflict all citizens, regardless of class – from meningitis infections and typhoid to addictions and injuries. As the first season unfolds, viewers are treated to a intricately interlocked production, combining bloody surgical theater with impeccably filmed interiors, at times lit by only a single flame.

The historical accuracy of the surgical procedures may turn the stomach, but the dramatic humanity of the character’s lives holds the heart.