Code Black star Marcia Gay Harden: ER medics are 'addicted' to their job

The Mystic River star portrays an ER doctor who has to deal with life-and-death situations in the new medical drama.

Press Association
Last updated: 29 October 2015 - 3.58pm

Marcia Gay Harden has said dealing with life-and-death situations provides an adrenaline rush for ER doctors.

The Oscar-winning actress – who plays Doctor Leanne Rorish, the ER residency doctor, in the new medical drama, Code Black – said she can understand why hospital medics are addicted to the thrill of the job.

She said: “We hung out with these doctors and they’re pretty incredible people. We were in the emergency room with them – they pull really long hours and they’re exhausted.

5 reasons to tune in for the gripping new medical drama Code Black

“Code blacks at other hospitals happen at most five times a year, but at this particular hospital at which we were based, it’s 300 times a year. That’s almost every day with one of these high-pressure code black situations, and I think they get addicted to it.”

Marcia added: “I think you get addicted like an adrenalin junkie and you want code black, and I think it feeds you.

“When you save someone’s life, I think it pumps you full of great energy and joy, and you’re deflated when it doesn’t work. But the journey feeds you.”

The 56-year-old actress admitted she has even got carried on set at times.

The Code Black cast
The cast of Code Black (ABC Studios)


“I have a hard time coping with it as an actress, because you get so into the moment and you’re so invested in that moment. If some prop or some scalpel doesn’t come across the right way, I find myself barking, ‘Scalpel, scalpel! Bring it here!’

“Then I think, ‘Oh Marcia Gay. Screen Actors Guild are the letters behind your name, not MD’.”

Marcia Gay Harden
Marcia Gay Harden (Paul A Hebert/Invision)


Marcia, who has starred in Mystic River, Pollock and The First Wives’ Club, revealed she signed on after watching Ryan McGarry’s documentary, which Code Black is based on.

“I loved the documentary it’s based on. It’s filmed by a doctor so I got the feel of this completely authentic and crazy emergency room, that I’m sure when people watch it, they’re like, that’s not how it is and that can’t be, but it is,” she explained.

“When I accepted the show, we went there and we saw this emergency room that is so small and such hugely important things happen. The fact of it interested me but then [so did] the writing by Michael Seitzman.”

Code Black airs on Watch on Thursdays at 9pm from October 29 on Watch (BT TV Channel 311).

Watch is one of the 28 extra entertainment channels available on BT TV.

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