Jack Amiel and Michael Begler's writing partnership traces back to the 1990s, but “The Knick,” their Cinemax series centering on a New York hospital at the turn of the 20th century, nonetheless represents something of a coming-out party.
“We had been known over the years for spec scripts that had gotten us all these very conventional studio jobs,” Amiel says. “People would say, 'Oh we love that really interesting, challenging indie script you wrote, so would you consider writing this very down-the-middle romantic comedy?' For us, ('The Knick') is the first time that one of those scripts we wrote, not imagining it would ever get made, actually got made.”
The impetus for the script came when Begler went through a recent health crisis, and started pondering how different his experience would have been 100 years ago.
“In 1884 if you got appendicitis, you were dead; by 1900, it was a routine operation,” Amiel says. “Suddenly surgeons were no longer guys who came from barbershops. It was a fascinating period.”
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Paddy Chayefsky, Woody Allen
— Andrew Barker