By now, Julianna Margulies should be an expert on medicine and on the law.
She spent six years as a nurse on “ER,” seven as a lawyer on “The Good Wife.” Now the “Hot Zone” mini-series (shown here) has her as the real-life doctor who fought to stop Ebola from spreading into the U.S.
Surely, those “ER” years helped her master the vocabulary. Or not. “It didn’t, sadly, help at all,” Margulies said, “because I don’t have a medical brain.”
By comparison, she said, many of the “Good Wife” details do linger.
“The lawyer stuff I can retain, because I understand the story. But science is so hard; I didn’t do well in school in science. (For a scene,) I memorize it, but then it just goes somewhere and I can’t old onto that. Otherwise, I feel like I’d be doing really important work.”
Maybe she’s be like the woman she plays in “Hot Zone.”
In 1989, Dr. Nancy Jaax was a lieutenant colonel, studying Ebola. That’s when scientists discovered that an infected monkey had been shipped to an Army facility, just 15 miles from the U.S. Capitol.
The result could have been “the biggest catastrophe in the United States,” said “Hot Zone” producer Kelly Souders. “Had things not broken slightly here and there, it would’ve been a disaster.”
Souders talked with Jaax and her husband Jerry, who was also a doctor and a lieutenant colonel in 1989. “They’re very noble people.”
Ever since a “Hot Zone” magazine article and book emerged, Hollywood had tried to tell the story. In 1994, deals were set to have Ridley Scott direct Jodie Foster and Robert Redford.
Then that fell through and lingered. Now it gets the full mini-series treatment … with Margulies’ brain temporarily holding the words of a medical hero.
— “The Hot Zone” mini-series, 9 and 10 p.m. ET, National Geographic Channel; opened Monday (May 27), continues through Wednesday
— Tuesday, May 28: First two hours repeat at 7 and 8 p.m ET.; second two repeat at 11 p.m. and midnight.
— Wednesdaym May 29: The final two hours repeat at midnight and 1 a.m. ET; there’s also a documentary hour, “Going Viral: Beyond the Hot Zone,” at 11.
— Saturday, June 1: The entire mini-series reruns from 6 p.m. to midnight ET.