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Code Black is an American medical drama television series created by Michael Seitzman that premiered on CBS on September 30, 2015. It takes place in an overcrowded and understaffed emergency room in Los Angeles, California, and is based on a documentary by Ryan McGarry. On May 16, 2016, the show was renewed for a 13-episode second season, which premiered on September 28, 2016. On November 14, 2016, CBS added three more episodes, to bring the season two total to 16.
On May 14, 2017, the series was renewed for a third season, which premiered on April 25, 2018. On May 24, 2018, CBS cancelled the series after three seasons. The series finale aired on July 18, 2018.
The show centers on the fictional Angels Memorial Hospital, where four first-year residents and their colleagues must tend to patients in an understaffed, busy emergency room that lacks sufficient resources.
Marcia Gay Harden as Dr. Leanne Rorish, an ER attending physician, known to current and former resident doctors as "Daddy". Her husband and two children were killed after their car was hit by a drunk driver; this sometimes influences her medical decisions. Originally the ER's Residency Director, Leanne is promoted to Director of Emergency Medicine following the death of Gina Perello. She is replaced in this position by Dr Campbell in "Second Year". In "Fallen Angels", Leanne is shown to have taken guardianship of a young orphan.
Raza Jaffrey as Dr. Neal Hudson, an ER attending physician. A British-Indian former surgeon, his approach is quieter and more people-oriented. He connected with Christa during her first year of residency. In "Hail Mary", Hudson becomes a surgical attending, and is once again assigned to the ER (season 1).
Bonnie Somerville as Dr. Christa Lorenson, a mature first-year resident. She was married with a son who died of brain cancer. Her experience and her divorce inspired her to attend medical school (season 1).
Melanie Chandra as Dr. Malaya Pineda, a second-year resident. She went to medical school and did her internship at Angels Memorial, and is more familiar with the ER. She is a lesbian, who was once involved with a resident when she was a medical student (seasons 1-2).
William Allen Young as Dr. Rollie Guthrie, an ER attending physician with a very nurturing style; he takes Angus under his wing in his first days in the ER. Guthrie's wife committed suicide, a death that strained his relationship with his son, a surgeon. He had a daughter who died from carbon monoxide poisoning while Guthrie tried to save his son from a similar death. During season 2, Guthrie is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and undergoes corrective neurological surgery to delay the onset of symptoms.
Harry Ford as Dr. Angus Leighton, a third-year resident. His father is on the hospital board. He feels overshadowed by that and by the achievements of his older brother, a former resident, but slowly grows in confidence.
Benjamin Hollingsworth as Dr. Mario Savetti, a third-year resident. He grew up poor and sees emergency medicine as his way out. He worked as a bartender before medical school.
Luis Guzmán as Jesse Salander, known as "Mama". A senior nurse who manages the residents, Jesse is tough on the outside but caring and supportive of the students. He and Dr. Rorish have a long-term, close friendship.
Boris Kodjoe as Dr. Will Campbell, Chief of Surgery. A highly regarded surgeon, he is assigned as the new Chief of the ER in season 2 in order to save costs, causing strife between him and Rorish. Campbell has a disabled daughter (season 2-3; recurring in season 1).
Jillian Murray as Dr. Heather Pinkney, a surgical resident who becomes involved with Mario. He quickly ends it when he hears about her side relationship with Dr. Campbell. She gets in further trouble when it's revealed she's providing Angus with drugs. When confronted by Campbell, she threatens to turn their past relationship into a sexual harassment case. While treating a patient with unknown deadly virus, she's bitten by the patient and succumbs to the illness (season 2; recurring in season 1).
Rob Lowe as Dr. Ethan Willis, an Army Medical Corpscolonel attached to the prestigious Combat Casualty Care research program. He joins the ER staff at Angels Memorial for the remainder of his service contract after the Army pulls him from the battlefield in Afghanistan. Willis brings with him revolutionary military medical techniques, and builds a strong friendship with Dr. Rorish (seasons 2-3).
Noah Gray-Cabey as Elliot Dixon, a second-year resident in the ER (season 3; recurring season 2).
Emily Tyra as Noa Kean, an ER resident who embarks upon a relationship with Mario (season 3; recurring season 2)
At the end of season 1, Somerville and Jaffrey departed the main cast, and recurring actors Jillian Murray and Boris Kodjoe joined the main cast, reprising their roles of Dr. Heather Pickney and Dr. Will Campbell respectively.Rob Lowe also joined the main cast as Colonel Ethan Willis, a Combat Casualty Care doctor assigned to Angels as part of a U.S. Army training program. In 2017, Moon Bloodgood was cast in the recurring role of paramedic Rox Valenzuela for the series' third season, and was subsequently promoted to series regular as of the third season's fourth episode. Bloodgood's casting followed the departures of both Chandra and Murray. Former recurring actors Emily Alyn Lind, Noah Gray-Cabey and Emily Tyra were also promoted to the main cast for the third season.
In the UK the show is shown on W with Season 3 premiering in late May 2018. The series originally aired in Australia on 7flix, before joining the 7plus catch-up streaming service.
Code Black has received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the series has a rating of 54%, based on 39 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "While not reinventing the stethoscope, Code Black is an above-average medical drama, with appropriately theatrical storylines that make up for sometimes cheesy dialogue." On Metacritic, the series has a score of 53 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".