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Every season there seems to be some kind of new medical drama hit TV. Usually they are all the same format and offer up very little new to the genre. Last season CBS brought something a bit different to the medical drama with Code Black. In the second season it looked to step up the intensity with some new faces and drama and now you can bring it home with Code Black: Season 2 on DVD.


Code Black follows the busiest, most notorious ER in the nation, where the staggering influx of patients can outweigh the limited resources available to the extraordinary doctors and nurses whose job is to treat them all —creating a condition known as Code Black. At the heart of the ER are Dr. Leanne Rorish, a stop-at-nothing residency director whose job is to save lives in an often impossible environment, and who is known to by the group of residents as “Daddy.” Joining her is Col. Ethan Willis, who has been embedded at Angels Memorial by the U.S. Military’s most elite medical program to teach innovative medicine in a hospital that often resembles the combat zone he’s familiar with. Both doctors work under – and sometimes against – the iron-hand of ER and OR Director Dr. Will Campbell, a top-tier surgeon who was put in charge of both departments in an effort to save money and simplify administration. His oversight makes things challenging for everyone, including Dr. Heather Pinkney, an acerbic, aggressive surgical resident in his charge, whose confidence has both helped her get ahead and held her back. When the residents need a shoulder to cry on, they turn to Senior ER Nurse Jesse Sallander, known to them as “Mama,” whose stern hand guides them through their toughest trials. In Center Stage, life is measured in seconds, and these heroic doctors and nurses operate with speed and skill within an overwhelmed system to heal people who are often there for one of two reasons: to die or to receive a life-saving miracle. 


This show is pretty similar to all other medical dramas we’ve seen in the past; it does not reinvent the wheel.  The twist however, is that it’s based on a real hospital ER, Los Angeles County Hospital.  So it gives it a bit more realism, especially when you take into account that the show came about after the documentary film about that hospital. Marcia Gay Harden provides a strong and powerful presence as the Director of this chaotic ER.  She is consistent in her portrayal of this tough, strong female lead, but we also see glimpses of her at low and emotional points due to a personal tragedy she suffered.  She does a great job of portraying both sides of this character.  Another bright spot of the show is Luiz Guzmán who plays the Senior Nurse in charge of managing the residents.  His character is funny and witty, but also strong and serious.  His close relationship with Harden’s character is so realistic that I can imagine that they are best friends who hang out on the weekends even when they are not filming the show.


The rest of the cast all continue to do a great job with numerous great story arcs that provide more drama and stress to the already intense ER. Of course it gets a bit redundant with those in the hospital facing medical issues as well as working there, but that just seems to be the nature of these kinds of shows. The great new addition to the season is Rob Lowe who brings a new dynamic in both character and back story to the series. His military background offers up some more unconventional procedures and in turn makes the show all the more interesting this time around.


Despite some of it being stuff we’ve seen before it still feels fresh and compelling throughout. Overall, the second season is even better than the first and continues to leave you wanting more. In addition to all episodes of the second season this collection also includes a gag reel, deleted and extended scenes, and featurettes that take you behind the curtain of bringing this insane ER to life. Scrub up for a wild shift and grab your copy of Code Black: The Second Season on DVD available now from Paramount Home Media and CBS Home Entertainment.

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