A deadly virus has invaded Atlanta and no one can stop it. Welcome to Containment, a gripping new TV series on the CW by the co-creator of The Vampire Diaries.
Premiering Tuesday, the 13-episode Containment was adapted by Julie Plec from a Belgian series called Cordon, from the term “cordon sanitaire,” a strictly enforced quarantine set up to contain a disease.
The previously unknown virus is thought to have been brought into the United States by a Syrian man, who flew in in the cargo hold of an airliner in order to join the rest of his family. Because of his nationality, bioterrorism is suspect ed.
What is known about the disease is that it is contracted through bodily fluids, is highly contagious and has a 100 percent mortality rate, according to Dr. Sabine Lomers (Claudia Black), an expert at managing health crises. She seizes control of the situation from the local cops, ruffling a few feathers in the process, including those of Major Alex Carnahan (David Gyasi). Lomers enlists the police to set up a quarantine in downtown Atlanta, enclosing the hospital, among other buildings, where a teacher named Katie Frank (Kristen Gutoskie) is stuck with her son’s classmates, who were on a field trip.
Also stuck inside the quarantine area Carnahan’s best friend, fellow cop Jake Riley (Chris Wood), and the Centers for Disease Control’s Dr. Victor Cannerts (George Young), who is working frantically to find a cure.
Containment is constructed with a number of secondary character stories. Carnahan’s girlfriend, Jana Mayfield (Christina Marie Moses) is a data retrieval expert who keeps getting cold feet about moving in with him. She’s inside the quarantine zone while he is outside. Teresa (Hanna Mangan Lawrence) is 17, unmarried and pregnant by her boyfriend, Xander (Demetrius Bridges). Xander and Teresa are also on opposite sides of the cordon. The wild card is a rogue journalist (Trevor St. John) who is so cynical about both the cops and the medical authorities, he’s spreading misinformation and inciting panic through a series of Internet posts.
As various powers at the top vie for primacy, others trapped within the quarantined area try to hold on to basic values against invasions by motorcycle-riding tweakers and avaricious hoodlums looking to make a buck off the rapidly dwindling food supplies.
Plec and her writers skillfully weave the story threads together, hitting all the right notes to build interest in the personal stories and in whether the budding pandemic can be thwarted.
The flaws in Containment are minor. The actors are, typically for the CW, too attractive for real life, and while crowds are threatening to riot outside the quarantine area, and insiders are living in constant terror, the rest of Atlanta seems to be going blithely about its business, at least in the sun-filled aerial shots.
Containment is a well-made, well-written and well-acted thriller that will keep you guessing about everything except for the quality of the series.
‘Containment,’ a 13-episode limited series, debuts at 9 p.m. April 19 on the CW.