The Knick is an American television drama series on Cinemax created by Jack Amiel and Michael Begler, directed by Steven Soderbergh (Red Oaks, The Girlfriend Experience) and starring Clive Owen (Sharman, Chancer). The series chronicles the professional and personal lives of Dr. John W. Thackery (played by Owen) and the staff at a fictionalized version of the Knickerbocker Hospital (“the Knick”) in New York during the early part of the twentieth century. The show premiered on Cinemax on August 8, 2014.
In New York City in 1900, the Knickerbocker Hospital operates with innovative surgeons, nurses and staff who have to overcome the limitations of the then-current medical understanding and practice, to prevent staggeringly high mortality rates. Dr. John Thackery (partially based on historical figure, William Stewart Halsted), the newly appointed leader of the surgery staff, battles his cocaine and opium addictions with his ambition for medical discovery and his reputation among his peers. Dr. Algernon Edwards, a Harvard-educated, European-trained black surgeon (probably based on the historical Daniel Hale Williams and Louis T. Wright), must fight for respect within the all-white populated hospital, as well as the racially charged city. While struggling to keep the lights on, the hospital attempts to attract a wealthy clientele, without sacrificing quality care.
- Clive Owen as Dr. John W. “Thack” Thackery: Chief surgeon at the Knickerbocker Hospital, highly talented and respected in the operating room. However, he is also a drug addict, regularly injecting cocaine during the day and spending nights at a Chinatown opium den.
- Andre Holland (1600 Penn, Friends With Benefits) as Dr. Algernon C. Edwards: New African-American assistant chief surgeon at the Knick, who manages an after-hours clinic in the basement for those turned away by the hospital. He is disrespected by many of the white doctors and patients.
- Jeremy Bobb (Hostages, House of Cards) as Herman Barrow: Manager of the Knick. He is constantly striving to finance the hospital with wealthy patrons and patients. Having mismanaged hospital funds, he is in debt to ruthless mobster Bunky Collier.
- Juliet Rylance as Cornelia Robertson: Head of the Knick’s social welfare office. Daughter to Captain August Robertson, she serves as his representative on the board of directors. She is a longtime friend of Edwards, whose parents have worked for her family for years.
- Eve Hewson as Lucy Elkins: Nurse at the Knick. A West Virginia native, she grows close to Thack and Bertie.
- Michael Angarano (24, Will & Grace) as Dr. Bertram “Bertie” Chickering, Jr.: A young surgeon at the Knick. He is the son of Dr. Bertram Chickering, Sr. who is displeased with his son’s choice of hospitals and admiration of Thack.
- Chris Sullivan as Tom Cleary: Ambulance driver. He augments his income by stealing possessions off those he picks up, as well as earning a fee from Barrow for delivering patients who can pay.
- Cara Seymour as Sister Harriet: Catholic nun and midwife who runs the orphanage affiliated with the Knick. She secretly conducts abortions in her off-hours.
- Eric Johnson (Saving Hope, Flash Gordon, Smallville, Rookie Blue) as Dr. Everett Gallinger: Surgeon at the Knick. He resents Edwards for taking the assistant chief surgeon position, which Thack promised to Gallinger.
- David Fierro (Red Oaks) as Jacob Speight: Health department inspector. Although rude and abrasive, he works closely with Cornelia to identify the source of outbreaks.
- Maya Kazan (Sleepy Hollow, Boardwalk Empire) as Eleanor Gallinger (née Walcott): Everett Gallinger’s wife. The two have a baby daughter named Lillian.
- Leon Addison Brown as Jesse Edwards: Dr. Edwards’ father who works for Captain Robertson as carriage driver.
- Grainger Hines (Hell on Wheels) as Captain August Robertson: Cornelia’s father, a shipping tycoon and member of the Knick’s board of directors. He is fond of Edwards and supports his medical career, which led to his appointment at the Knick.
- Matt Frewer (Eureka, Orphan Black) as Dr. J. M. Christiansen: Former chief surgeon at the Knick and Thackery’s mentor, who committed suicide after a fatal placenta previa operation. After his death, he appears in flashbacks and Thackery’s visions. (season 1)
- Zaraah Abrahams (Girls in Love, Coronation Street) as Opal Edwards: Algernon’s wife. (season 2)
- Charles Aitken (Bonkers) as Henry Robertson: Cornelia’s brother. (recurring season 1, starring season 2)
- LaTonya Borsay as Evaline Edwards: Dr. Edwards’ mother. (recurring season 1, starring season 2)
- Rachel Korine as Junia: a local prostitute whom Barrow is in love with. (recurring season 1, starring season 2)
- Tom Lipinski as Phillip Showalter: Cornelia’s husband. (recurring season 1, starring season 2)
- Michael Nathanson as Dr. Levi Zinberg: Surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital whom Thackery views as a rival. (recurring season 1, starring season 2)