When Academy Award winning director Steven Soderbergh said he wanted to make a historical medical drama for Cinemax, anticipation ran very high indeed. The Knick arrived to great fanfare and even better critical response, with audiences relishing the lead performance of Clive Owen, coupled with the sumptuous direction of the legendary helmer. Now we have a teaser trailer for the second season, and it seems that Soderbergh looks set to deliver the goods once more.
Set in turn of the century New York City, within the walls of the infamous Knickerbocker Hospital, the show follows Dr. John W. Thackery (Owen) and his staff as they try to provide innovative and boundary-pushing health care, while undertaking the kind of research that would advance medical science beyond the realms of imagination. Thackery is, of course, a drug-addicted surgeon, however, and the lives of him and his team are fraught with drama and tension.
Season one of The Knick ended in characteristically gruesome fashion, with violence and corruption touching many of the regular characters, while Dr. Thackery finds himself admitted to a facility to deal with his cocaine addiction. The teaser trailer for season two, though brief, gives a clear indication of a series intending to increase its scope, while retaining all the successful elements of the first season.
While it opens with a shot of the hospital, we soon see Thackery wandering across the balcony of a theatre and observing the entertainment on stage. His colleagues can be seen toiling in the hospital, before the really interesting shot appears – a quarantine notice on a wire fence, behind which, people are shuffling. On closer inspection, the notice reads, “Warning: Contagious Disease. Quarantine. By Order Of The San Francisco Dept. Of Health And The Office Of The Mayor.”
More than just a warning sign, this is a sign of things to come for those working to advance medical science, as it almost certainly refers to the third plague pandemic that affected San Francisco from 1900 – 1904, having originated in South-Western China in the 1850s. International shipping routes were the cause of the pandemic spreading around the globe, and suspicion fell on the S.S Australia, which docked in the Port of San Francisco in January 1900 from Honolulu, when the disease was found in the city’s populace. It became the first plague pandemic in the United States, and of 121 confirmed cases, there were 113 deaths. The seafaring connection to this contagion is further bolstered by a shot of Dr Thackery on a boat.
The teasing of what is likely to be the source of high drama for season two of The Knick is sure to heighten anticipation greatly, as we look forward to more atmospheric direction from Soderbergh – who is the sole director of record – and more excellent performances from his cast.