Warning – the following story contains spoilers from The Knick Season 2 finale. Continue at your own discretion…
The cliffhanger end to The Knick’s second season left its future – and Clive Owen’s Dr. Thackery – hanging in the balance.
Speaking to Variety, the allowed for the possibility that his character has indeed been killed-off, revealing that it was always the plan to do a 2-season arc:
It is something we talked about. It was always kind of the intention to do a two-season arc. I signed on for the two seasons, and it was always about trying to map a journey through that factory. The beauty of doing this project is the script came in very good shape and all ten were written before we turned over anything. So we have the full arc of the whole journey of the character before we even begin. For an actor that’s great, you have time to plot things through properly.
However, co-showrunner Jack Amiel insists The Knick could withstand the loss of its central player, noting that discussions for Season 3 are currently taking place with Cinemax, per THR:
We’re in discussions with Cinemax about how to proceed. But look, yes. The stories arched. Everybody started in one place and has finished in another, and I’m very satisfied with where the characters are right now. Each one has come to a conclusion; whether or not it’s a happy conclusion is irrelevant. They’ve come to a new place in their lives.
There’s a lot of ways to do this [without Own], absolutely. [Executive producer] Steven [Soderbergh] always says the hospital show is the most durable format in television and that’s true.
As for what Season 3, and the continued exploration of mental health, would look like if the renewal gods give the thumbs up:
Understanding human behavior was really in its nascent stages — there was an enormous number of people who were starting to look into the workings of the human mind. What you have to remember is that this is the progressive era. This is an era where man actually believed that he could perfect humanity. There was this idea that between these miracles of technology and miracles of knowledge, we all thought we were sort of tabula rasa. In other cases you’re looking and saying, what happens post-birth that changes who you are — the nature/nurture question. Then there’s eugenics; coming out of this new understanding of human evolution that really had become accepted, ironically it’s been challenged to this day, but out of that idea of natural selection there is social Darwinism. Thackery thought he could cure addiction like it was any other disease. But what he found — and what we found — is that there’s no magic bullet.