"Code Black", the brand new drama on CBS, is set to premiere on 30 September. The show is a fictional adaptation of Ryan McGarry's documentary of the same name, which narrates the story of a group of doctors working in the emergency.
"Code Black" is set in Angels Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles and all the action takes place in an overcrowded and understaffed emergency room of the hospital. The pilot opens by explaining the audience that a code black occurs when there's "an influx of patients so great, there aren't enough resources to treat them". It also reveals that while the average ER goes into code black five times per year, Angels Memorial goes to that level 300 times per year.
The show revolves around residency director of this busiest and brutal ER -- Dr. Leanne Rorish (Marcia Gay Harden), who takes charge of four new first-year residents -- Christa Lorenson (Bonnie Somerville), Malaya Pineda (Melanie Kannokada), Mario Salvetti (Benjamin Hollingsworth) and Angus Leighton (Harry M. Ford). But, her impulsive ways are a matter of worry for not just her residents, but her colleagues, Dr. Neal Hudson (Raza Jaffrey) and Dr. Rollie Guthrie (William Allen Young) as well.
CLICK HERE to watch the premiere of "Code Black" live online.
Here's what the critics had to say about "Code Black"
Code Black is the perfect show for CBS's drama line-up: it's fast-paced, has great performances and by the end of the pilot you're hooked. Its biggest problem could be sustaining this fast-paced momentum, but that also could be its greatest strength; when you're spending most of your episode speeding through intense medical cases, your character and story development better be very deliberate.
Code Black is about people wailing, doctors shouting, the greenish color palette, the over-saturated light sources, the jarring edits and the cut-aways to piles of fluid-drenched bandages. It's about characters asserting that time is running out seconds before they pause in the hallway to debate key issues of palliative care and share biographical data letting us know that Dr. Rorish used to be a mentor to Raza Jaffrey's Dr. Hudson, but something horrible happened and now "she's become more dangerous and reckless."
It's an ER show that stages a nonsensical freeway surgery just for high stakes kicks. It's a pilot trying to introduce a 10-person ensemble, but if you're going to cry during the pilot, it'll be at a rigged scene between two guest characters you'll never see again. It's a show that wants to be praised for its realism that can't avoid cheating to yank your strings.
The mismatched combination renders Code Black only a step above generic, but for fans of the medical genre, that's all your prescription plan will cover this fall.
"Code Black" can't (unfortunately) resist the melodrama. No hospital ER drama can. It's encoded into the genre's DNA, which demands that life must follow death, and that an upbeat note must conclude a series of downbeat ones. At least "Code Black" promises something more compelling down the well-traveled road.
BOTTOM LINE: Not for the squeamish, but a well-done new medical drama.
"Code Black" certainly feels like a misnomer, since it's hard to think of a medical drama that could possibly look more beige. Named after a term for a very specific type of crisis — a moment when a hospital's resources are essentially overwhelmed by the number of emergency patients — the CBS series is trying to get maximum promotional mileage out of Marcia Gay Harden's casting as a hard-driving surgeon, one of the heroic personnel on display. Harden isn't the only fine actor here, but they're all toiling in service of hoary cliches, in a pilot that quickly flatlines.
"Code Black" premieres on CBS on 30 September, 10PM.