The Hot ZoneOn Memorial Day, National Geographic debuted a new series called The Hot Zone. It is a three-night mini series based off of a book written by Richard Preston. The book is based off of real events.

In the opening sequence we see a crow fly through the open doorway of a plantation in Kenya circa 1980. It lands on the dinner table and begins to help itself to the food on-screen–a chair is overturned on the floor.

A maid comes running down the stairs. She screams into the phone they need a taxi. She then helps her very sick employer into the car.

We cut to a scene in an airplane, and see a sick man splash water on his face as he exits the airplane bathroom. His face is covered in boils. He takes his seat.

The plane its turbulence and he grabs for lack of a more eloquent description, a barf bag and begins vomiting. The stewardess checks on him. His actions are upsetting the other flyers.

He hands the bag to the stewardess to dispose of. She’s disgusted and almost spills the contents. She pours it into the airplane toilet spilling it onto the back of the seat.

We see the man being wheeled into the hospital. Dr. Musoke is the unlucky physician who must tend to the patient. The nurse suspects it is what she calls the sickness.

It’s as if the name is forbidden. There are sores on his arms.

He begins to choke. The doctor tries to insert a breathing tube but the airway is blocked by something. As the physician leans in for a closer look he is sprayed with blood. He wipes it away. Dr. Musoke later contracts the disease and dies from the Marburg virus.

The Hot Zone
(Photo: National Geographic)

Col.Nancy Jaax (Julianna Margulies) an Army scientist who works at Fort Detrick in Maryland, specializes in infectious diseases. She is trying to enjoy her Thanksgiving dinner with her family–her father is dying and she is trying to hide how shaken she is that it could be their last Thanksgiving with him. She accidentally cuts her palm. Her army husband, Jerry Jaax (Noah Emmerich) is ready with a band aid.

Nancy realizes she needs a time out and rushes to the garage under the pretense of getting a Pepsi. Jerry goes out to check on her. She tells him to give her a minute and she will be fine.

The dinner begins with a prayer by her father. Each family member has a look of gratitude on their faces.

An insulated container from Hazelton is unceremoniously left on loading dock of the lab. The next morning wearing only gloves Nancy opens it.

Wrapped in foil is what Nancy believes is a spleen from a monkey but instead it’s a blood clot from the primate. They think its Simian hemorrhagic fever. But the sample is milky and the cells have imploded.

Nancy decides to ask Sgt. Kyle Ormond (Lenny Platt) for help. He cringes when she plucks out her own eyelash for a sample. Nancy puts a sample in the centrifuge. She guides him through level one. They discard their army fatigues for white scrubs. Level 2 they stand under an ultraviolet light so the virus and germs can’t replicate. Level three they tape their scrubs to their legs and tape the sleeves to their rubber gloves. They suit up in a rubberized hazmat suit complete with respirator.

Ormond starts to panic Nancy calms him down. They apply an acetone with a fixative. Nancy asks for a code and retrieves Dr. Musoke’s blood. It is supposed to glow green if it’s Marburg. Its doesn’t. Nancy retrieves the Ebola Zaire sample. It is then Ormond frantically starts screaming hole. Her suit has been cut, blood is tinged on the hand she cut open the previous day. She phones in a crash decontamination. They put her in quarantine until she is cleared.

Her colleague Ben Gellis (Paul James) is in Nancy’s court but Dr Peter Jarhling (Topher Grace) doesn’t want her to be right–that is is not the Marburg virus. Even though in his gut he knows she is.

Nancy is cleared and despite Jerry’s protestations she goes to Hazelton for a sample. Frank the caretaker, is afraid of getting in trouble with his boss Walter Humboldt (Robert Sean Leonard). Eventually Frank tells Nancy to meet him at a gas station. He takes two out of the 11 monkeys that died. He has only wrapped them in garbage bags. Nancy can’t believe the lax precaution Hazelton is taking with the carcasses. She tells Frank like it or not hes coming back to the base with her–and that is where part one ends.

The Hot Zone is being aired at 9:00 p.m. EST on National Geographic May 27-29 in two-part 45-minute episodes.

Jamie Nixon

I'm a former private investigator, pt vet assistant, wedding consultant & studying relaxation therapy. Lived in Ohio all my life. I love books,movies & music avid Jared Leto & 30stm fan. I love animals,Italian food is my favorite,cokes my favorite drink. I would like to live in los Angeles someday. I love hiking.
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