Steven Soderbergh’s decision in 2013 to retire from making movies didn’t last long; before getting back to feature films in 2017, he also directed all episodes of this drama series. Set in New York City in 1900, the show depicted the fictional Knickerbocker Hospital, but the two leading characters (played by Clive Owen and André Holland) were inspired by real-life physicians. Stories revolved chiefly around Thackery’s experimental talents in surgery, challenged by his addiction to drugs, and Edwards’s experiences as a doctor whose education and brilliance will never matter as much as knowing his place in a racist society. Made in a way that visually and expertly took us back in time to an era on the cusp of great technological and medical breakthroughs, the show was intense and gory, but also intellectually stimulating.
2014-2015:U.S. Made for TV. 20 episodes. Color. Created by Jack Amiel, Michael Begler. Theme: Cliff Martinez. Cast: Clive Owen (John W. Thackery), André Holland (Algernon C. Edwards), Jeremy Bobb (Herman Barrow), Juliet Rylance, Eve Hewson, Michael Angarano, Chris Sullivan, Cara Seymour, Eric Johnson, David Fierro, Maya Kazan, Charles Aitken, Rachel Korine, Matt Frewer (14), Zaraah Abrahams (15).
Last word: “The medical operations are so challenging because they’re so technical, as well. I assumed before we started that we would do the classic thing, when it comes to the operations, that we would do all of these inserts with real doctors. But Steven’s way of doing it is that he much prefers to shoot us and just shoot it very carefully, and be very specific about what he’s looking at, at any given time. Virtually nothing is added afterwards. When you’re doing those operation scenes, you not only have to be on top of the dialogue and the rhythm of the dialogue and what’s happening dramatically, but you’ve got to technically get the rhythm right, so that everything is fitting with the dialogue at the right time. And you’re performing the operation to the audience that’s watching it. Thackery has to present it, as well. In some ways, that’s the most challenging.” (Owen, Collider)