• Code Black Is a Compelling Medical Drama

    by  • September 14, 2015 • Broadcast Decency, Paley2015, Paleyfest • 1 Comment


    An utterly realistic look into an overworked, inner-city emergency room.

    “Code black” is a medical status at which the influx of patients is so great, staff and resources are not adequate to cope with the situation. An average hospital sees a “code black” situation approximately five times a year; at Los Angeles’ Angel’s Memorial, it happens over 300. Striving to bring order from chaos is skilled but abrasive trauma doctor Leanne Rorish, who also has responsibility for four new first-year residents: middle-aged homemaker-turned-doctor Christa Lorenson, brilliant Malaya Pineda, brash Mario Savetti and insecure, self-doubting Angus Leighton. Helping to manage the residents and the ER is head nurse Jesse Sallander, who serves as Leanne’s “rock” in times of crisis. Also in the mix is top physician Neal Hudson, who clashes with Leanne over her harsh manner with patients.

    Based on a 2013 documentary film, Code Black is a harrowingly realistic portrayal of day-to-day operations at a big-city emergency room. The program strives for total realism, and eschews such cliches as trauma doctors having wild sex in linen closets rather than attending to the massive influx of patients. Such unrealistic soap opera elements are happily played down, and the program conveys well the intense, seconds-from-death atmosphere of an ER. The result is that the viewer becomes caught up in events, and feels like he or she is actually there. While the show’s utter realism is what makes it so compelling, viewers should be aware that the program also contains many scenes of graphic, bloody, and often gruesome surgery.

    Praised by many critics as the best new show of 2015, Code Black is well worth a look for adults, but its highly realistic content may make it inappropriate for children, teens, and more squeamish viewers.

    Code Black premieres Wednesday, September 30th at 10:00 p.m. Eastern on CBS.        



    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    One Response to Code Black Is a Compelling Medical Drama

    1. Deborah
      January 22, 2016 at 6:07 am

      As of Jan. 20th 2016′s episode, I will no longer be watching this program. Like many other TV shows, it started out great but has now turned to trash. The program does have a 10pm time slot and was probably never appropriate for children due to the ‘blood and guts’. But for adults that like medical drama, it was very much ‘on point’. The last episode showed two of the main characters losing all self control, with the man slamming the woman up against the lockers and they were going to have sex. Granted, it didn’t show the sex part. BUT – what kind of message does that send – that it’s okay to have sex at work????? It’s not!!!! And it’s illegal (unless you’re a ‘legal’ prostitute). Another doctor walked in on them having sex and simply shut the door and walked off. What kind of message did that send???? Studies have shown over and over that what people see on mass media (Television) they BELIEVE to be real. But even worse, the previews for next week’s episode look like that show will be reeking of sex. Doctors jumping in bed with each other all over the place. I’m done with this show. I think I’m done with anything CBS puts out (pun intended).

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