It was such a descriptive tale that some wondered if it was based on a true story. ... Steven [Soderbergh] always says the hospital show is the most durable format in television, and that’s true.""] The Knick is an American television drama series on Cinemax created by Jack Amiel and Michael Begler and directed by Steven Soderbergh. Henry Cotton was a real person, he worked at New Jersey State Hospital at Trenton, and yes, he often pulled teeth believing it to be a cure for mental illness - this, despite statistical reviews proving otherwise. “Ben knows how to work with a creative team to get the best from writers in bringing a true story to life. It's unclear if they were in debt to mobsters... Gallinger serves as one of The Knick's primary antagonists, although he is still portrayed with depth and sympathy (primarily concerning the death of his infant daughter and the resulting madness of his wife, Eleanor). All rights reserved. To separate fact from fiction on this show about Dr. John Thackery (played by Clive Owen)—loosely based on a real surgeon named William Stewart Halstead—we talked … Slate relies on advertising to support our journalism. This movie happened in a bit of an unusual way, being the remake of a French film that was based on a book, that was also based on a true story, … Thackery is based on William Stewart Halsted, who was perceived as a highly intelligent and dedicated surgeon. A reclusive, somber man, “Halsted subordinated technical brilliance and speed of dissection to a meticulous and safe, albeit sometimes slow, performance,” in surgery, says the Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. For ambulance drivers in 1900, brokering a trade in cadavers would have been a dubious way to get rich (though, interestingly enough, there is a cadaver shortage today). RELATED: Portrait Of A Serial Killer: 5 Movie Killers Based On Real People (& 5 That Were Made Up For The Movies). Is Braveheart Based on a True Story? The Knick, however, is made all the more fascinating by the fact that its depictions of disease, gore, and immorality are all inspired by real events. What’s truly (but anachronistically) progressive about the hospital is that it’s the first in New York to hire a black doctor. In the first episode Thackery, reflecting on his beginning at the hospital, tells his predecessor: “You are legitimizing surgery, taking it out of the barbershops and into the future, and I want to be part of it.” In real-life 1900 New York, on the other hand, surgery in a top-flight hospital would probably have lost much of its old unsavory image as a practice of crude butchery. So one might think that an ambulance driver on the lookout for a business opportunity would be in a prime position to deliver (for a good fee) luckless patients who did not survive the journey to a hospital. RELATED: Titanic: 5 Characters Based On Real People (& 5 Who Are Completely Fictional). Genevieve is portrayed as a respected and popular journalist who went undercover at a mental institution to expose its poor conditions. Correction, August 8, 2014: This post originally misstated that William Halsted is credited with performing the first blood transfusion in the United States. Cornelia Robertson is played by Juliet Rylance. He does so believing that physical impurities and germs in the mouth lead to mental deterioration and mental illness. The late 19th and early 20th century saw an incredible rise in the number of hospitals in the United States. He is credited with performing the first emergency blood transfusion. William Wallace was a real person and remains a Scottish hero to this day. She begins her story being berated by Thackery for a poor job performance, but the two eventually develop a relationship based entirely on Thackery's addiction (he essentially uses her as a source for drugs). 2,441 Where to Watch the K-Drama 'True Beauty' in the US This story has been shared 1,482 times. The British film Pride, based on a true story of gay activists teaming up with miners on strike, was amusing, but it had a very limited release stateside. She serves as head of The Knick's social welfare office and earned the job through her father Captain August Robertson, a rich and prosperous shipping tycoon who serves on The Knick's board of directors. 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A later episode in which a man is taken to a drunken barber for an amputation seems implausibly anachronistic. Much of their staging came from consulting records in the Burns Archive, an impressive historical collection of photographs and medical history materials curated by Dr. Stanley Burns, a doctor who also served as medical adviser for the show. Sydnee and Justin McElroy’s delightfully gross and always educational Sawbones podcast debuts a … You’ve run out of free articles. How Accurate Is Jersey Boys? Other small anachronisms seem to be included for dramatic effect. Throughout season one, Eleanor Gallinger goes insane owing to the death of her infant daughter. All contents © 2020 The Slate Group LLC. Gallinger is incredibly racist and jealous towards Algernon Edwards, both because he's black and because he overshadows Gallinger's accomplishments in the hospital. Halsted’s principles for surgery—which insist on gentle, careful technique—were developed in the 1890s and are still followed today. André Holland and Clive Owen inThe Knick. This is a dark yet oddly inspiring show. “More has been learned about the treatment of the human body in the last five years than in the last five hundred.”. The show concerns the employees of the Knickerbocker Hospital at turn of the 20th century as they battle obstacles in their personal lives and revolutionize medicine. As greedy as some hospital workers may have been, a lurid black market cadaver trade could not have existed as it does on The Knick. By joining Slate Plus you support our work and get exclusive content. The publisher of a children’s book based on the fabricated love story of Herman Rosenblat, the Holocaust survivor who said he first met his wife when he was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, has canceled pending reprints of the book and will refund the price of any returned books. Like the first installment, which aired on Bravo and starred Connie Britton and Eric Bana, the second will be based on a true crime story featuring an epic tale of love gone wrong. However, Barrow is also deeply corrupt, often using the hospital for various nefarious and profitable purposes. Airing on Cinemax probably didn't help in that regard. When Stanley … Like the gold standard of cop shows, The Wire, and Unbelievable, the excellent, based-on-a-true-story miniseries about two female police detectives who … That practice, and its practitioner, are based on the treatments of Dr. Henry Cotton, who ran the Trenton State Hospital mental asylum in New Jersey in the early 20th century. The series follows Dr. John W. Thackery (Clive Owen) and the staff at a fictionalized version of the Knickerbocker Hospital (the Knick) in New York during the early twentieth century. The entire series is directed by Steven Soderbergh and is loosely based on real events. Robertson helps New York's Department of Health and its chief operator, Jacob Speight, in containing disease outbreaks. Join Slate Plus to continue reading, and you’ll get unlimited access to all our work—and support Slate’s independent journalism. He is a prominent and highly respected surgeon who is nevertheless treated poorly at The Knick for being African American. How Accurate Is 12 Years a Slave? But the world of The Knick is better seen as an image of history refracted in a funhouse mirror than as an accurate snapshot of medical progress and society in 1900. We are all passionate about the game of basketball and Bernard’s story … Under such laws, only bodies left unclaimed by friends and loved ones could be used for medical studies. This character is most likely modeled after Nellie Bly, a journalist who pioneered the art of investigative journalism. In the first season, they investigate a particularly nasty outbreak of typhoid, which is seemingly being passed around by an asymptomatic carrier. Mary is believed to have infected more than 50 people with typhoid through her work as a cook. She is entirely real, and she is better known as Typhoid Mary. Like Thackery, he faced a lifelong addiction to both cocaine and morphine. Algernon Edwards can be seen as the secondary protagonist of The Knick. This story has been shared 2,441 times. * In 1889, he was a founding professor, along with three colleagues, of Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he headed the department of surgery. Fictional: Everett Gallinger. There are three deaths within the first 10 minutes, yet it is an age of “endless possibilities,” Thackery informs us early on. I consulted several medical historians and papers to find out. Feeling helpless with the situation, Everett Gallinger, Eleanor's husband, has her committed to an institution. At the beginning of the show, Edwards is shunned by his co-workers and forced to work in the basement. While there she is "treated" by a Dr. Henry Cotton, who proceeds to pull all her teeth. Amiel and Begler write the majority of the episodes and are executive producers. The show’s producers have emphasized their desire for historical authenticity and the great lengths taken to replicate surgical procedures with accuracy. How Accurate Is Captain Phillips? Quality varied greatly, says Peter Kernahan, a medical historian at the University of Minnesota, as all that would be required was a house with some beds and funds to start one. But Kernahan notes that it’s unlikely this happened in 1900 New York City: New York was one of the first states to pass “anatomical acts” in the mid-19th century, to discourage body snatching and the inappropriate sale of cadavers. You can cancel anytime. How Accurate Is The Wolf of Wolf Street? Bertie Chickering is a secondary character, usually serving as a companion to Thackery and Nurse Elkins. It is centered on the Knickerbocker Hospital and the groundbreaking surgeons, nurses and staff who work there, pushing the bounds of medicine in a time of astonishingly high mortality rates and zero antibiotics. The Knick will air its Season 2 finale on Friday, Dec. 18 on Cinemax. In real life, the first black doctor wasn't hired in New York until 1920 - 20 years after the events of The Knick. Will the show follow his fascinating path? Between 1880 and 1890, approximately 100 new types of operations were conceived, made possible by progress in anesthetics and antisepsis discovered in the latter part of the 19th century. Surgery at the turn of the century. There were plenty of people like him, but no 1:1 historic counterpart. Clive Owen's character on the Cinemax show is loosely based on a surgical genius who also had a drug problem. Start your free trial to watch The Knick and other popular TV shows and movies including new releases, classics, Hulu Originals, and more. These are five characters inspired by real people, and five who are completely fictional. Owen, Soderbergh, Gregory Jacobs, and Michael Sugar (Anonymous Content) are also executive producers. Owen has said that the show’s writers based the drug-guzzling John Thackery on William Halsted, one of the most important figures in modern surgery. He did struggle, as Thackery does, with cocaine addiction—the result of experimenting with the drug as an anesthetic for surgery. 10 Horror Movies Inspired by True Events The History of The Knick: New York's American Horror Story This Is the Likely Identity of the Killer on 'True Detective' Season 2 Slate is published by The Slate Group, a Graham Holdings Company. Based on a true story and the thing about this revival is David Henry Wang is sort of relooked at the play and brought lots of the true story into this production. By 1900, surgery had become more commonplace and acceptable than The Knick implies. It also had a policy to not treat African American patients, as depicted in the show. Like the first installment, which aired on Bravo and starred Connie Britton and Eric Bana, the second will be based on a true crime story featuring an epic tale of love gone wrong. It’s all on Hulu. How Accurate Is Get on Up? Photo by Mary Cybulski. In the second season, Gallinger gets into eugenics, believing that the black population is inherently inferior to the white. He also develops a relationship with Nurse Elkins, but this interferes with his working relationship with Thackery. If anything, Edwards is based on Daniel Hale Williams, who founded Provident Hospital in Chicago - America's first non-segregated hospital. John Thackery (Clive Owen) and William Halsted, Photo (left) by Mary Cybulski/Anonymous Content (right) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Owen has said that the show’s writers based the drug-guzzling John Thackery on William Halsted, one of the most important figures in modern surgery. Bly faked insanity and was committed to Blackwell's Island's Women's Lunatic Asylum. RELATED: 10 Best Medical Dramas (Aside From Grey's Anatomy), Ranked. Season two of Cinemax's The Knick ends like the opening of a risky surgical operation: You can’t be sure of the outcome, yet.. He is also deeply in debt to various dangerous figures, including the local mob boss and pimp, Bunkie Collier. The Knick is a look back at the history of medicine at the turn of the 20th century. Still, it’s unlikely he would have been impressed with the cavalier demeanor his fictional counterpart exhibits in the operating theatre. The go-to source for comic book and superhero movie fans. In the first season, Bertie is utterly infatuated with Thackery and constantly refuses other jobs, claiming that important work is being done under Thackery at The Knick. He runs the general day to day operations of the hospital and remains in control of its employees. If you value our work, please disable your ad blocker. For example, the show depicts surgeons performing operations barehanded, rather than with rubber gloves, which Halsted and his colleagues began using in the late 1890s. The Knickerbocker Hospital was a real location in Harlem, and it did serve poor, marginalized communities who could not afford medical care. A fictional hospital, the Knickerbocker, led by its chief surgeon, John Thackery (Clive Owen), feels like both a beacon of turn-of-the-century progress and a shocking house of horror. Here’s what’s fact and what’s fiction in, based the drug-guzzling John Thackery on William Halsted, first emergency blood transfusion in the United States, a meticulous and safe, albeit sometimes slow, performance, approximately 100 new types of operations were conceived, doctors in 1900 would certainly have been doing them, a steady supply of free cadavers, … rescuing the profession from the taint of association with unsavory lower-class body snatchers, A Traffic of Dead Bodies: Anatomy and Social Identity in Nineteenth Century America, appointment of Louis Wright at Harlem Hospital, founder of the first hospital with an integrated staff. It’s true that cadavers would have been a commodity in demand, says Michel Anteby of Harvard Business School, and fresh ones were better for study than older, decaying ones. Their investigation leads them to an Irish woman named Mary Mallon, who works as a freelance cook for various families around New York. The DreamWorks movie is based on the true story of James Donovan, a U.S. attorney who lost his reputation and was branded a communist after defending a … In season two he develops an addiction to heroin as well and eventually starts speedballing. The Knick is a wildly underappreciated show. Cinemax is discharging The Knick. The money pinching and bribery depicted on The Knick might have occurred even at reputable hospitals. Herman Barrow serves as the operating manager of The Knick. Steven Soderbergh’s new cable series The Knick, which premieres Friday on Cinemax, aims not so much to be a medical drama as to be a social panorama of New York in 1900. And you'll never see this message again. At the heart of The Knick is Dr. John Thackery, a brilliant surgeon who is also addicted to cocaine. NEXT: 12 Movie Maniacs Based On Real People, All the latest gaming news, game reviews and trailers. Previously: Set in downtown New York in 1900, 'The Knick' is a new Cinemax drama series from Academy Award and Emmy-winning director Steven Soderbergh. “Charité” may have some of the similar story beats as other turn-of-the-century fare, but as the series progresses this actually leans closer to a “Downton Abbey”-style story. (Not least because an early scene has a doctor declaring that “Other hospitals may frown on studying the dead, but I believe it is the only way to advance our knowledge of the living”: Human anatomical dissections date back to ancient Greece; doctors in 1900 would certainly have been doing them.) St… American Horror Story: The Season 2 Evolution; 10 Terrifying-But-True Horror Stories; The History Behind 'The Knick': Old-Timey Porn and an Evolving Harlem; The Punisher Is a Horror Story … She published her articles through New York World and released them in book form under the title Ten Days in a Mad-House, published in 1887. In a statement released late Monday, Minneapolis-based Lerner Publishing said it was … A 1910 book written by a surgeon who had spent time at New York and Washington Heights hospitals, Medical Chaos and Crime, caused a sensation by purporting to document gross misconduct in hospitals—drunken night nurses, greedy superintendents, and incompetently trained surgeons. Unfortunately, not much is known regarding the real Knick's operations, but surely it had an operating manager! He was a founding professor at Johns Hopkins Hospital, introduced the radical mastectomy for breast cancer, and eventually became known as the Father of Modern Surgery. In real-life New York, this didn’t happen until 1920, with the appointment of Louis Wright at Harlem Hospital, on which occasion several hospital surgeons resigned in protest. However, only some of the characters are based on real people. How Accurate Is American Hustle? Genevieve Everidge makes her first appearance in season two, after Bertie Chickering transfers to Mt Sinai. “The Knick” is still dead for now, so fans will just have to hold on to the first two masterful seasons. For a hospital that is supposed to be on the cutting edge of surgical history, the Knick is a strangely conservative one with respect to many medical practices and attitudes. ... sick Knick fan, my instinct when I saw Kevin’s name was, ‘I hate him. A brilliant surgeon (Clive Owen) pushes the boundaries of medicine, morality and race relations at a 1900s NYC hospital in this series. There is no historical counterpart for Lucy Elkins, as she essentially just stands in for all the nurses at the Knick. Lucy Elkins is one of the leading female characters on the show, serving as a nurse at the Knickerbocker. The Cinemax series 'The Knick,' which debuts Friday, was directed by Steven Soderbergh and features Clive Owen as the antihero, a cocaine-addicted surgeon operating in seedy, late-Victorian New York. How Accurate Is Lone Survivor? “Americanah,” the third novel by the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, follows Ifemelu, a young Nigerian woman who moves to the United States and finds a certain amount of fame as a blogger writing candidly about issues of race and nationality. Both personal and working - with Dr. Thackery emphasized their desire for historical authenticity and great... Progressive about the hospital is that it’s the first in New York Department... Season, Gallinger gets into eugenics, believing that the black population is inherently to. Insane owing to the death of her infant daughter there were plenty of people like him but. Believed to have infected more than 50 people with typhoid through her work as a Nurse the... Entirely real, and that’s true. 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