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Code Black - S01E05


Neal clashes with his neurosurgeon father over how to treat his gravely ill mother, whose mysterious symptoms force Angels Memorial to quarantine Trauma One.

Episode Title: Doctors with Borders
Airs: 2015-10-28 at 22:00
  • Verne Gay

    Not for the squeamish, but a well-done new medical drama.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Rob Lowman

    It can never have the immediacy of Ryan McGarry’s documentary about County/USC that inspired it, but the series does capture the film’s spirit and that is a welcome change when it comes to medical dramas. Harden, as usual, provides a strong presence, which helps anchor the show, and Guzman is a plus for any series. Code Black is worth keeping an eye on.

    Los Angeles Daily News Full Review
  • Vicki Hyman

    It's effective at quickly making us care for these docs and particularly at orchestrating the cases of the week to an emotional (and emotionally manipulative) crescendo.

    Newark Star-Ledger Full Review
  • Gail Pennington

    Action and the beginning of character development are both good signs.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Glenn Garvin

    The show, based on a 2013 documentary about a real Los Angeles ER trauma bay, rings with crisp dialogue and authoritatively shouted medical jargon in sufficient quantities that you'll never be more than halfway through an episode before you're completely immersed in hypochondriac terror of what your miscreant organs are plotting against you. Full Review
  • Joshua Alston

    Code Black gets a pass. It’s not the least bit interesting, but it’s dull and predictable in a way a medical drama hasn’t been in years. Specifically, Code Black is refreshingly unsexy.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    The show needs to work on building the urgency to its stories and cutting away the treacle.

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Alan Sepinwall

    It's a decent pilot, lacking any personality of its own at this stage, but still likely to appeal to the kind of people to which this kind of show appeals.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Hank Stuever

    It might just do the trick, if its frantic doctors can save the first episode from a deadly case of hammy dialogue.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    The whole show is stocked with actors on Guzmán and Harden's level--pros you're never not happy to see, including William Allen Young as the hospital's longest-serving resident, and Kevin Dunn, who oversees the logistics of the ER and delivers wisecracks in his midwestern deadpan. The younger, prettier actors playing the residents--Benjamin Hollingsworth, Bonnie Somerville, Melanie Chandra, and Harry Ford among them--seem overmatched and a bit on the bland side, but that's to be expected, and if the writing on this Michael Seitzman series picks up, that could improve.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Scott D. Pierce

    Code Black might seem more interesting if it felt in any way new. As it is, it feels like it's built from parts of medical dramas from years past.

    The Salt Lake Tribune Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    Though some would probably be happy to have the show compared to the long-running "ER," there are signs that others may be thinking a bit too much of "Grey's Anatomy." If the show lasts, we'll have time to get to know the individual tragedies of the Angels Memorial staffers, so there's no need to burden the pilot with all that clunky exposition.

    Philadelphia Daily News Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    Code Black brings nothing new to the genre, except, perhaps, more chaos than usual for an ER show, and the dialogue is heavy with exposition and barked medical show cliches.... It benefits from a strong cast and a brisk pace, so there’s reason to hope for improvement.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Ed Bark

    Harden is a fine actress, but the show’s writers too often give her heavy-handed lines that are the equivalent of cauterizing a head wound with a blow torch.

    Uncle Barky Full Review
  • Shirley Li

    Not even Marcia Gay Harden can breathe life into this middling medical drama. [2 Oct 2015, p.67]

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Dan Fienberg

    It's a show that wants to be praised for its realism that can't avoid cheating to yank your strings. The mismatched combination renders Code Black only a step above generic, but for fans of the medical genre, that's all your prescription plan will cover this fall.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Willa Paskin

    The ER is crowded with cases familiar from House, Grey’s Anatomy, Chicago Hope, and ER, and the doctors perform many near-miracles. And yet Code Black has a heartbeat. Gay Harden is fierce and vital even when spouting clichés.

    Slate Full Review
  • Isaac Feldberg

    Code Black is at war with itself, trying to sell its setting's realistically jagged edges even as it files them down to nothing.

    We Got This Covered Full Review
  • Mary McNamara

    Overlaid with "Vice"-like shots of panic and bloody aftermath, Code Black wants the soap and sentiment of "Grey's" along with the broken-but-driven main character of "House." Unfortunately, the writing lacks the conviction of either series, and so viewers are left with Harden, dancing just as fast as she can.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Tirdad Derakhshani

    The derivative Code Black takes elements from every medical drama before it, puts those aspects into a blender, and throws the results at the audience at high speed.... I'm not sure what Code Black is supposed to be about. It's a collection of rapidly moving medical cases with no real center.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    As with most of these familiar templates, unless the producers get extremely lucky with the casting beyond more established names like Harden and guest Kevin Dunn, there has to be at least some wrinkle that distinguishes the program from everything else that’s on, much less what’s passed before. And this one doesn’t come close to establishing that uniqueness, at least initially.

    Variety Full Review
  • Maureen Ryan

    As rendered here, none of its medical crises or characters are terribly compelling.

    The Huffington Post Full Review
  • Mekeisha Madden Toby

    Harden’s unfortunate typecasting is the least of the ailments afflicting Code Black. When blood isn’t flying everywhere and the doctors aren’t rushing from one disaster to the next, derivative characters bombard the screen with familiar tropes.

    The Wrap Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    It wants to evoke that sense of non-stop crisis, and it’s willing to sacrifice believability and good writing in the service of frantic pacing.

    Yahoo TV Full Review
  • Neil Genzlinger

    The doctors sure are busy in the Code Black emergency room. They’re busy frantically pushing every emotional button they can think of in an unsuccessful effort to make a compelling television drama.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    You'll find some fine actors here, Harden and Somerville among them, along with some whose continued employment may strike you as a mystery. Not that it matters much: Dr. Zorba returned from the dead would not have been able to breathe life into this stiff.

    USA Today Full Review