National Geographic UK Picks Up Limited Series ‘The Hot Zone’ To Premiere In September

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23 Jul 19

National Geographic UK has picked up limited series The Hot Zone to premiere in September it has been announced today.

In 1989, in a scientific facility outside Washington, DC, the deadly Ebola virus made its first known appearance on US soil. The finding – and eventual containment – of this lethal filovirus, which had a fatality rate of up to 90% at the time, was thanks to a group of courageous scientists and soldiers led by Lieutenant Colonel Nancy Jaax, played by Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actress Julianna Margulies (‘The Good Wife,’ ‘ER’). National Geographic’s six-part limited series ‘The Hot Zone’, inspired by the true events detailed in Richard Preston’s international best-seller of the same name, shares the harrowing tale of a global crisis that never was.

Joining Margulies in the cast are Noah Emmerich (‘The Americans’) as Jaax’s husband, Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Jaax, who does not hesitate to risk his life during the operation to contain the Ebola virus; Topher Grace (‘BlackKKKlansman’) as Dr. Peter Jahrling, a virologist for the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, who butts heads with Nancy Jaax over the best way to contain the virus; Liam Cunningham (‘Game of Thrones’) as Dr. Wade Carter, Nancy’s vital ally in the race to prevent the virus from spreading; James D’Arcy (‘Homeland’) as Travis Rhodes, a Center for Disease Control official and Carter’s former assistant and current nemesis; and Paul James (‘The Path’) as Ben Gellis, a lab tech at the pathology lab in Virginia, assisting Nancy and Dr. Jahrling.

Rounding out the cast are Robert Wisdom (‘The Wire’) as Colonel Vernon Tucker of the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), Jaax’s superior; Robert Sean Leonard (‘House’), who plays Walter Humboldt, the liaison between Hazleton, a scientific research corporation, and its primate lab in Virginia; and Grace Gummer (‘Mr. Robot’) as Melinda Rhodes, one of the first people to chase the virus into the jungle.

The series begins with a terrifying look back to 1980, when an unsuspecting doctor in Kenya examines a patient with symptoms unlike anything seen before. Flashing forward to 1989, a colony of primates has become sick at a research facility in Virginia, just over 30 kilometres from the US Capitol, and sample tissues are sent to Nancy Jaax (Margulies), a lieutenant colonel with USAMRIID, the US Army’s main facility for defensive research into countermeasures against biological warfare. Jaax’s instincts and experience tell her she is seeing something far worse than a run-of-the-mill primate infection. Despite the skepticism of her colleagues Dr. Peter Jahrling (Grace) and Col. Vernon Tucker (Wisdom), but with the support of her husband, Lt. Col. Jerry Jaax (Emmerich), a US Army veterinarian, and her mentor Dr. Wade Carter (Cunningham), she pushes forward to find the truth.

Through Nancy’s perseverance, scientific testing reveals the dire truth of the situation, forcing the Army into action to contain an outbreak. The series also flashes back to the late 1970s to see how Dr. Carter and Travis Rhodes (D’Arcy) first tracked, studied and attempted to contain Ebola in Africa. But will the lessons they learned help stop this disease from hitting the human population?

The Hot Zone‘ premieres September 2019 (exact date/time TBC) on National Geographic UK.