**Spoilers ahead. Do not read if you have not finished season two of Cinemax’s “The Knick.”**
If you’re not watching Cinemax’s “The Knick” you need to stop what you’re doing and rectify that now. It’s unlike anything else on TV and the kinetic medical drama set in New York in the 1900s is perhaps the most cinematic show currently on the small screen. As director Steven Soderbergh said in our recent lengthy interview, the cable channel costs about as much as a New York latte a month (and you can opt in and out whenever you want).
In mid-December season two of “The Knick” came to a close in rather shocking fashion. In an unexpected turn of events, the lead surgeon on the show, the brilliant but drug-addicted John Thackery (Clive Owen) died, the victim of his own hubris, impatience, and becoming-unhinged sanity. It effectively closed the book on show…or so it seemed. But in our interview, Soderbergh revealed that “The Knick” would continue for two more seasons if everything went according to plan (Cinemax is in negotiations with the filmmakers for season 3) and that Thackery’s death was planned out from the very beginning. But how could the show continue without its lead character? I suggested some possibilities — changing the era or changing the city — and Soderbergh said all ideas were basically a possibility and he’s open to discussion.
During the Television Critics Association event currently happening in Los Angeles, Soderbergh gave Variety some minor updates on what he laid out in our interview. “It was always conceived in two-year chunks,” he said. “The writers met yesterday to talk about what year three and four would look like — when would it take place, who are the characters. We always imagined every two years we would annihilate what came before and start over. And that’s what we’re doing now.”
Soderbergh said that the door is even open for Clive Owen to come back, as they could reset time or do some kind of prequel. “I don’t know yet,” Soderbergh said. “There’s been a lot of discussion about if we switch time periods can we still bring back the cast but have them play other people. Everything’s on the table.”
“I always thought of it as a six-year thing if we were allowed to continue,” he explained. “I hope we can figure it out. I hope we come up with something that I look at it and go, OK, I want to spend another two years of my life on that. Because that’s really the question. It’s an intense experience — rewarding, but I want to make sure we want to keep the bar at the same height or higher.”
Meanwhile, as an added bonus, here’s this great Talkhouse piece by director Barry Jenkins (“Medicine For Melancholy”), a colleague of Soderbergh’s, about season two of “The Knick” that you should definitely give a read. He calls “The Knick,” “the best show on television.” As for the future, Soderbergh said he would hand off the reins of season three and four to new directors, much like the way he handpicked Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz to direct the TV version of his movie “The Girlfriend Experience,” which debuts in April on Starz. If I were a betting man, I would at least put Jenkins on my shortlist.