New York City, 1900: The Knickerbocker Hospital is home to groundbreaking surgeons, nurses and staff who push the boundaries of medicine in a time of astonishingly high mortality rates and zero antibiotics. The newly appointed leader of the surgery staff is the brilliant, arrogant renegade Dr. John Thackery, whose addiction to cocaine and opium is trumped only by his ambition for medical discovery and renown among his peers. Into the all-white staff and patient hospital comes the equally gifted Harvard graduate Dr. Algernon Edwards, who must fight for respect while trying to navigate the racially charged city. Trying to maintain its reputation for quality care while realizing a profit, the Knickerbocker makes an effort to attract wealthy clientele, while literally struggling to keep the lights on.
Stanley B. Burns, MD and The Burns Archive served as the historical, medical, and technical advisers on the series, working closely with production and the actors to make the operative and hospital scenes realistic and authentic to the times.