Marcia Gay Harden Reveals Why 'Code Black' Is Not Your Average Medical Drama: 'It’s Down and Dirty'

by Leanne Aguilera 7:55 PM PDT, July 21, 2015
Playing Marcia Gay Harden Reveals Why 'Code Black' Is Not Your Average Medical Drama: 'It’s Down and Dirty'

"Life is measured here in split seconds. Hesitate and people die."

Code Black, CBS' new medical drama, is headed to your screens this fall and it’s unlike any other TV show on the air.

Inspired by the award-winning documentary of the same name, Code Black follows the doctors who work tirelessly to save lives in the busiest and most notorious ER in the nation, L.A. County Hospital. If you were to take the Emmy-winning series ER, and pump it up with heart-pounding steroids, then you’d have Code Black.

But what exactly does "code black" mean? "That's the moment in the emergency room when there are more patients than there are doctors and beds to take care of them," series star Marcia Gay Harden revealed to ET at the CBS Upfronts.

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"It is a beautiful, beautiful show," Harden, who plays ER Residency Director Dr. Leanne Rorish, continued. "You get involved in the lives of not just the patients coming in, but also in the lives of the doctors."

But keep in mind, this show is not for the faint of heart. "It's down and dirty," Harden declared with a triumphant smile.

If you're squeamish about blood, or upset with the fact that not every story will have a happy ending, then this gritty and ]realistic medical drama is not for you. Everyone else, get ready for an adrenaline-pumping series that makes Grey's Anatomy look like child's play.

"It is a glorious organized chaos for the doctors and it is super exciting," Harden explained. "There are four residents [working] over our shoulders who we are teaching, and it's about the life in this emergency room, based on a real emergency room."

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Harden delighted TV fans last fall when she faced off against Viola Davis on the hit ABC series How to Get Away With Murder, and now she’s stepping into spotlight as the lead of this year’s intense new drama. "I took [Viola] down and now I'm here!" she exclaimed.

Although Harden had a great time on the HTGAWM drama, she’s looking forward to playing a more grounded character on Code Black. "That was fantastic and [How to Get Away With Murder] is a different kind of show. It's a whodunnit, it's a ploty, and twisty, kind of show and [Code Black] is different because it's a formulaic show," she said. "It's a joy. You don’t want to play the same thing your whole life so that's the joy of acting."

Code Black premieres Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 10 p.m. on CBS.