Sharing the harrowing tale of the origins of the deadly Ebola virus’ in the 1980s in six gripping episodes, The Hot Zone has become National Geographic’s most watched scripted series ever following its US release last month.Joining Margulies in the cast are Noah Emmerich (‘The Americans’), Liam Cunningham (‘Game of Thrones’), James D’Arcy (‘Homeland’) and Paul James (‘The Path’).
Rounding out the cast are Robert Wisdom (‘The Wire’), Robert Sean Leonard (‘House’), and Meryl Streep’s actress daughter Grace Gummer (‘Mr. Robot’).The Hot Zone begins with a look back to 1980, when an unsuspecting doctor in Kenya examines a patient with symptoms unlike anything seen before.
Flash forward to 1989, a colony of primates has become sick at a research facility in Virginia, just over 30 kilometers from the US Capital, 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 (Gummer) 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? A dramatic, high-stakes scientific thriller with a courageous and determined heroine at its core, The Hot Zone brings true science and human drama together for a gripping tale that still resonates today.
The Hot Zone is executive produced by Lynda Obst Production’s Lynda Obst; Scott Free Production’s Ridley Scott and David Zucker; and James V. Hart, Kelly Souders, and Brian Peterson. Michael Uppendahl is also an executive producer. Jeff Vintar serves as a co-executive producer. For National Geographic, Carolyn G. Bernstein is executive vice president and head of global scripted development and production.