The Knick season 2 ended with the show's talented but gravely flawed hero John Thackery apparently dying in the middle of performing insane intestinal surgery on himself in front of a gallery of mesmerized witnesses. One has to say "apparently" because the show actually ended with a scene that suggested Thackery could still be alive, opening the door on a possible return for Owen's character in season 3.
About that possible return: Reports had series director Steven Soderbergh submitting an outline for a third season to Cinemax as well as a script for a return episode. Some speculated The Knick might come back in somewhat re-jiggered fashion, with Owen not returning, but another character being bumped up to the lead slot.
Truth be told, prospects for The Knick returning never seemed that good, even despite the reports that Soderbergh was trying to keep it going. There is still no official confirmation as to the show's future but the latest news is not encouraging. TVLine caught up with one of the show's main actors, Chris Sullivan, who played ambulance driver Tom Cleary, at Paleyfest and he indicated that The Knick is finished. Sullivan said:
"Yeah, I’ve heard it’s done. They were gonna try [to do a third season], but I’ve heard it’s done.”
For two seasons, The Knick presented a grim, super-realistic, dense and detailed portrait of not only early 20th century medicine, but early 20th century New York society in all its many layers. The Knick had time not only to portray the upper-crust aspirations of characters like Juliet Rylance's Cornelia Robertson, it also delved into the stark realities of life on the fringes, depicting the struggles of social-climbing individuals like André Holland's Algernon Edwards and Eve Hewson's Lucy Elkins.
But the undisputed star of the show was Thackery, a blindingly brilliant and utterly self-destructive individual. The Knick may have been a multi-layered drama with all sorts of nuances, but Steven Soderbergh also had no trouble going for pure gut-wrenching and sometimes literally gut-spilling drama, with Thack and his reckless surgical practices taking center-stage.
Like Deadwood, The Knick is now destined to go down in history as a great TV show that ended before its time, never giving audiences the satisfaction of seeing its narrative properly wrapped up. But the two seasons the show did offer featured some of the most daring and entertaining, and at times flat-out jaw-dropping, TV of recent years.
[Following actor Chris Sullivan's comments about The Knick season 3 being unlikely, Cinemax programming president Kary Antholis released the following official statement (via TVLine) confirming that the series was, indeed, canceled.
“After a critically acclaimed two-season run of The Knick on Cinemax, we will not be going forward with additional episodes of the series. Despite our pride in and affection for the series, as well as our respect for and gratitude towards Steven Soderbergh and his team, we have decided to return Cinemax to its original primetime series fare of high-octane action dramas, many of which will be internationally co-produced.”]