Code Black: Season 2
After a few decades of watching television a point is reached where it becomes increasingly difficult for a series to make an impression. This especially pertains to a series in one of the near mandatory genres that are always represented In the programming schedule. The show that captured my attention so readily was in medical genre, ‘Code Black’. The title refers to a condition where an emergency department’s resources are taxed to their limits. The fictional hospital serving as\the setting of the series, Angels Memorial Hospital, declares that condition over three hundred times a year rather the national average of a dozen. The emergency room is ideal as the driving location for an episodic television series. Evert shift brings drama as patients come in to that over crowed facility desperate for help. There is never a dearth of sources for life or death decisions that test the professional and personal limits of the family and staff. The exact scenario has been replayed more times than it is feasible to track. The series is not able to exceed the gold standard set by the long running king of the genre, ‘E.R.’ but it is able to break free from its shadow and create its own distinctive mark on this type of show. Following in the format used by modern series, the concentration of the drams is confined to the emergency room, but the personal life of the doctors and nurses are woven throughout the stories, providing a fully developed drama the extends the usual workplace scenarios to encompass the staff and patients as human beings.
Typical for a television series’ sophomore season the showrunner had to balance on the fine line between retaining the qualities that contributed to the initial success while infusing sufficient changes to keep the fans enthralled, drawing them inexorably into what happens next. The final authority in the emergency room if Dr. Leanne Rorish (Marcia Gay Harden), the senior Attending ER Physician and Director of the Residency Program. When the nascent physicians enter her program the chances of successfully completing are slim, significantly less than any similar program in another hospital. She demands a lot from her residents, most important to understand why a procedure or test is required instead of blindly performing the. her steadfast authority has secured her nom de nom de guerre of ‘Daddy’. Her counter part on the nursing staff is senior nurse Jesse Sallander, R.N (Luis Guzmán). Know by everyone as ‘Mama’ it is his job to keep the residents inline, Dr. Rorish informed and make certain, "no one dies in Mama’s house. The are best friend with an implicit mutual trust that is absolute. There was a time when actors, writers and directors where either in film or television, with no overlap. Thankfully, those blindly restrictive traditions are traditions are gone to the great benefit of artists and audience.
The fundamental interpersonal dynamic is retained but a twist was added that seems to be gaining in popularity. Medical personal is recruited from the military to held bring better care directly out into the field. This initiative is spearheaded by a new trauma surgeon, Col. Ethan Willis, M.D. (Rob Lowe). He has the reputation as a doctor who puts his patient first even if it requires an unorthodox approach or a very loose interpretation of the rules. The use of the military does greatly broaden the potential crisis situations and medical issues. An example is seen when Dr. Will Campbell are sent to assist an sick officer on board a Russian Submarine. Breaking rules within your own chain of command is one thing but when the urge to go maverick surfaces under water in a vessel owned by another, potentially hostile country, it can escalate to a diplomatic nightmare. This episode also efficiently establishes the working dynamic between two strong willed and determined men. Willis is accustomed to having his orders obeyed, the silver eagles on his shoulders visually announces his authority. Campbell is the Chief of Surgery and Director of the ER. This has placed them immediately in conflict. They must contend with sharing a cramped, hostile environment together, Campbell taking over the ER was not a popular managerial decision. He effectively lowered Dr. Rorish’s autonomy in the department and resulted in some dismissals, including Jesse. Their personal friendship and seamless working relation is integral to the success of the series so Rorish manages to leverage Jesse’s rehire almost immediately.
External personal conflict manages to infiltrate the workplace. One of the residents with an inherent skill and deeply infused need to understand and care is Dr. Angus Leighton (Harry Ford). Although he is exceptionally talented Angus lacks the confidence to embrace his abilities. He has always lived in the shadow of his older brother Mike (Tommy Dewey), who is also a doctor. Mike is popular, their father’s favorite and recovering from s recent serious injury. Angus is racked with guilt as he feels responsible. Soap opera like drama continues to okay out but this is not intended as a derogatory comment. There is a reason some soap operas can run for several decades, it is a time proven effective and efficient method to relate a serialized story. Dr. Malaya Pineda (Melanie Chandra) is a second-year resident in a stable relationship with her girlfriend which s threatened when her ex, Dr. Carla Niven (Shiri Appleby) shoes up. Carla is pregnant with a serious complication, she has leukemia. This precludes taking any treatment. Carla is desperate to carry to term even though it is a certain death sentence.
The series was renewed for a third season, so CBS still has some programming executives that can recognize quality television. As noted, the medical procedural drama has been around since the family gathered in the living room, adjusted the indoor antenna and watch doctors like Ben Casey and Kildare. At this point it is nearly impossible to completely reinvent the genre but ‘Code Black’ has succeeded where so many have failed, reinvigorating it. this is fast paced series that has mastered the art of proper pacing. The action sequences are interspersed with the gripping emotionally driven content. There is a synergy achieved by juxtaposing a character driven drama with the intensely riveting daring rescues that the doctors always seem to become personally involved in dangerous rescues or be forced to perform a delicate surgical procedure while the patient is trapped, crushed or impaled. Initially you might think this should be left to fire rescue and the paramedics, but these are doctors and nurses ready to exchange their scrubs for military garb to into thre middle of danger.