Sunday, October 11, 2015

Code Black – ER on Steroids

I have to admit that I haven’t seen too many movies or TV shows with Marcia Gay Harden in it, but I can tell you that when I have, I’ve enjoyed her performances. Thinking back, the last time I saw her in a movie was the 2007 adaptation of Stephen King’s 1980 novella, The Mist. She played an obnoxious religious fanatic. 

This current television season, I’ve become hooked on Code Black, Ms. Harden’s tour de force that airs Wednesday nights on CBS. 

Every September, I pick a couple of new TV shows to watch – a few episodes, to see if I want to follow them for the rest of their lives. Since I was a fan of ER, which ran for 15 seasons on NBC (I saw every one of its 331 episodes), I gave Code Black a try. Guess I’m just a medical adrenalin-rush junkie. 

I wasn’t disappointed and was hooked after the first episode. Harden is great as Dr. Leanne Rorish, ER residency director of Angeles Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles. Originally cast as Christa, the older soccer mom who became a doctor, Harden brings experience and depth to her role. 

Maggie Grace (“Kim” in the Taken movie series, “Shannon” in the TV series Lost) was originally cast as Dr. Rorish, but was let go. Can you imagine her in the role? Nope. She lacks Harden’s gravitas. 

Episodes of Code Black, the condition level reached when the number of seriously sick or injured patients outstrips the emergency room staff’s ability to service them adequately, are wall-to-wall tension, so much so that when the emotional breaks arrive, I am deeply, deeply touched and have to reach for the Kleenex. 

I hope this series lasts for a long time. Medical adrenaline-rush junkie? Yep.

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