The Hot Zone TV Series Overview


The Hot Zone is an American anthology drama television series, based on the 1994 non-fiction book of the same name by Richard Preston and airing on National Geographic.

Not to be confused with Combat Hospital (2011), which had the working title of The Hot Zone before reverting to Combat Hospital.


The first season, consisting of six episodes aired from 27 May to 29 May 2019, and was intended as a miniseries. Largely set in 1989, it follows US Army scientist Nancy Jaax who is confronted the possibility of a potentially deadly outbreak of Ebola. Jaax, a veterinary pathologist, first identifies the ebolavirus after it appears in monkeys in a Primate Quarantine Facility in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. The season was positively reviewed, and renewed for a second season.

The second season will be titled The Hot Zone: Anthrax and will star Daniel Dae Kim and Tony Goldwyn. It will focus on the 2001 anthrax attacks.


Season One

  • Main:
    • Julianna Margulies as Colonel Nancy Jaax (Army veterinary pathologist).
    • Noah Emmerich as Colonel Jerry Jaax (Army veterinary surgeon).
    • Liam Cunningham as Wade Carter.
    • Topher Grace as Doctor Peter Jahrling (virologist).
    • James D’Arcy as Trevor Rhodes.
  • Recurring:
    • Paul James as Ben Gellis.
    • Nick Searcy as Frank Mays.
    • Robert Wisdom as Colonel Vernon Tucker.
    • Robert Sean Leonard as Walter Humboldt.
    • Grace Gummer as Melinda Rhodes.
    • Lenny Platt as Captain Kyle Ormond.

Season Two

  • Main:
    • Tony Goldwyn as Bruce Edwards Ivins, a microbiologist whose assistance with the FBI draws attention to himself as a suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks.
    • Daniel Dae Kim as Matthew Ryker, an FBI agent specialising in microbiology, who fears other types of attacks will follow those of 11 September.
    • Harry Hamlin as Tom Brokaw.
    • Dylan Baker as Ed Copak, a senior FBI agent.
  • Recurring:
    • Ian Colletti as Chris Moore, a new FBI agent.
    • Dawn Olivieri as Dani Toretti, an FBI behaviourist.
    • Denyce Lawton as Sheila Willis, a pharmaceutical lobbyist and Ryker’s girlfriend.



On 18 April 2018, it was announced that National Geographic had given a series order to the production. Executive producers were set to include Lynda Obst, Kelly Souders, Brian Peterson, Jeff Vintar, and Ridley Scott. Production companies involved with the series were slated to consist of Fox 21 Television Studios, Scott Free Productions, and Lynda Obst Productions. On 09 August 2018, it was announced that Kelly Souders and Brian Wayne Peterson were joining the series as showrunners, executive producers, and writers. On 08 February 2019, it was announced that the series would premiere on 27 May 2019. In November 2020, National Geographic renewed the series for a second season.


On 25 July 2018, it was announced during the Television Critics Association’s annual summer press tour that Julianna Margulies had been cast in the first season’s lead role. On 13 September 2018, it was reported that Noah Emmerich, Liam Cunningham, Topher Grace, Paul James, Nick Searcy, Robert Wisdom, and Robert Sean Leonard had joined the cast in starring roles and that James D’Arcy would make a guest starring appearance. On 06 December 2018, it was announced that Grace Gummer would appear in a recurring capacity.

In early 2021, following the announcement of a second season with a different story, Tony Goldwyn, Daniel Dae Kim, Harry Hamlin, Dylan Baker, Ian Colletti, Dawn Olivieri, and Denyce Lawton were announced as cast members.


Principal photography for the first season took place from 13 September 2018 to 16 November 2018, in Toronto and was also expected to film in South Africa. Exterior photography of the rear loading docks of the “monkey lab” took place at the now closed Life Savers Factory located at 100 Cumberland Ave, Hamilton, ON L8M 1Z1. Loading docks can be viewed from Burris Street as well as homes in reverse shots. Exterior and interior shots of “Commuter Station” took place at historic Hamilton Canadian National Railway Station, 360 James St N, Hamilton, ON L8L 1H4. Site is currently a wedding venue.


On 20 December 2018, a “first look” still image from the series was released featuring Julianna Margulies in character as Dr. Nancy Jaax. On 08 February 2019, a trailer for the series was released.

Going Viral

Going Viral is a 2019 one-hour documentary companion to the miniseries.

On 08 February 2019, it was announced that National Geographic had greenlit a companion documentary film to premiere alongside the series in May 2019. The film was set to be executive produced by Betsy Forhan and feature interviews with subjects including Richard Preston, Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Dr. Pardis Sabeti, and Dr. Ian Crozier. The production company involved with the film was slated to be National Geographic Studios.

The Hot Zone Series

  • Series 02 (?):

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Nick Murphy … (3 episodes, 2019).
    • Michael Uppendahl … (3 episodes, 2019).
  • Producer(s):
    • David W. Zucker … executive producer (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Greig Buckle … line producer: South Africa (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Lena Cordina … producer (6 episodes, 2019).
    • James V. Hart … executive producer (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Geoffrey Hemwall … co-producer (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Lynda Obst … producer (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Brian Peterson … executive producer (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Richard Preston … co-executive producer (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Ridley Scott … executive producer (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Jordan Sheehan … co-executive producer (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Kelly Souders … executive producer (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Jeff Vintar … co-executive producer / executive producer (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Carina Sposato … associate producer (5 episodes, 2019).
    • Michael Uppendahl … executive producer (3 episodes, 2019).
    • Debra Lovatelli … co-producer (2 episodes, 2019).
  • Writer(s):
    • James V. Hart … (created by) (6 episodes, 2019).
    • James V. Hart … (story by) (6 episodes, 2019).
    • James V. Hart … (teleplay by) (6 episodes, 2019).
    • James V. Hart … (written by) (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Brian Peterson … (developed by) (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Brian Peterson … (teleplay by) (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Brian Peterson … (written by) (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Richard Preston … (based on the book “The Hot Zone” by) (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Kelly Souders … (developed by) (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Kelly Souders … (teleplay by) (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Kelly Souders … (story by) (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Jeff Vintar … (developed by) (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Jeff Vintar … (teleplay by) (6 episodes, 2019).
    • Jeff Vintar … (story by) (6 episodes, 2019).
  • Music:
    • Sean Callery … (6 episodes, 2019).
  • Cinematography:
    • François Dagenais … (3 episodes, 2019).
    • Cameron Duncan … (3 episodes, 2019).
  • Editor(s):
    • Jake Cohen … (2 episodes, 2019).
    • Matthew Colonna … (2 episodes, 2019).
    • Jon Otazua … (2 episodes, 2019).
    • Christopher S. Capp … (1 episode, 2019).
    • Iain Erskine … (1 episode, 2019).
  • Production:
    • Fox 21 Television Studios.
    • Lynda Obst Productions.
  • Distributor(s):
    • National Geographic Channel (2019) (UK) (TV).
    • National Geographic Channel (USA) (TV).
  • Release Date:
    • Series 01: 27 May 2019 to 29 May 2019.
    • Series 02: ?
  • Running Time:
    • Series 01: 4 hours 37 minutes (total running time).
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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