Medical drama Code Black is returning for its third season exclusively on W in the UK. The emotional rollercoaster of a show set in the overwhelmingly busy and under-resourced Los Angeles ‘Angels Memorial’ Emergency Room, Code Black spotlights the unsung heroes that help save lives every day in the face of a chaotic work environment.
And if that wasn’t convincing enough to make you tune in, here are five more reasons we think Code Black is one of the best medical dramas on television.
It is based on an award-winning documentary
'Code Black' is the medical term used when an Emergency Room has an influx so great, they are understaffed and under-resourced to adequately treat everyone. At Los Angeles County General Hospital, Code Black occurs at least one third of the entire year.
This inspired documentary Ryan McGarry to create the 2014 documentary film Code Black which highlights the daily plights of this overwhelmed ER department and in turn inspired the fictional series Code Black to be created by Michael Seitzman. The documentary film was widely well received and won Best Documentary honors at the Los Angeles and Hamptons International Film Festival.
It boasts a stellar cast
It’s not unusual for unknowns to turn into major stars after appearing in medical dramas - George Clooney, Denzel Washington and Katherine Heigl all swapped the wards for Hollywood - but the cast of Code Black are almost all big names already.
Marcia Gay Harden has been a central star of the show since series one. She plays Dr Leanne Rorish, the ER Residency Director who’s harrowing past pushes her to perfectionism in her field. Marcia’s recent additional work includes playing Mrs Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise and as Hannah Keating in How to Get Away with Murder.
Since series two, Rob Lowe (St Elmo’s Fire, The West Wing) has starred as Colonel Ethan Willis, a doctor in the US Military Combat Casualty Care who is pulled from the field to join Angels Memorial ER team and train them on how to cope in combative medical emergencies.
Additional cast members include Luis Guzman, Ben Hollingsworth and Boris Kodjoe.
It breaks the hospital drama mould
We’ve all seen the stereotypical hospital drama that purely focuses on the daily medical emergencies a hospital team faces. But while Code Black certainly covers shocking medical cases, it also goes several steps further by exposing the underfunding and staffing so many real-life American hospitals experience. It also grapples with public relations disasters and the devastating funding effect this can have on a hospital, and also highlights the lasting psychological effects working in an ER environment can have.
It features fascinating side characters
In addition to the central characters such as Dr Rorish and Colonel Willis, Code Black features a rota of fascinating side characters with their own unique storylines. In series three, first-year resident Diego will return, the privileged rich boy who is now set on creating a documentary about the hospital. Meanwhile new characters include Rox, played by Moon Bloodgood (of The Falling Skies fame), a competitive paramedic who is initially disgusted by her new partner Dr Willis.
It offers intricate, intelligent storylines
Michael Sietzman and his writing team craft intricate, complex stories that go beyond simply dealing with basic ER emergencies. Code Black tackles medical blunders, diagnosis disagreements between doctors and features emergency situations out in the field such as hostage scenarios.
How to watch Code Black on W with BT TV.
New episodes of Code Black are on Tuesdays from May 29 at 10pm on W, BT Channel 311/383 HD.
W is one of 60 premium channels available on BT TV along with other channels such as E!, Comedy Central, Discovery and many more.