The Hot Zone
IMDb rating: 7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 88%Watch full episodes now
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 per cent at the time, was thanks to a group of courageous scientists and soldiers led by Lieutenant Colonel Nancy Jaax.
National Geographic’s six-part limited series The Hot Zone, inspired by the true events detailed in Richard Preston’s international bestseller of the same name, shares the harrowing tale of a global crisis that never was.
Hot Zone 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 (played by Julianna 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 scepticism of her colleagues Dr Peter Jahrling and Col Vernon Tucker, but with the support of her mentor Dr Wade Carter, and her husband, US Army veterinarian Lt Col Jerry Jaax, she pushes forward to find the truth.
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.