• Network: CBS
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 30, 2015
Season #: 1, 2, 3
Metascore
53

Mixed or average reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 26
  2. Negative: 4 out of 26

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Sep 29, 2015
    83
    Not for the squeamish, but a well-done new medical drama.
  2. Reviewed by: Rob Lowman
    Sep 28, 2015
    80
    It can never have the immediacy of Ryan McGarry’s documentary about County/USC that inspired it, but the series does capture the film’s spirit and that is a welcome change when it comes to medical dramas. Harden, as usual, provides a strong presence, which helps anchor the show, and Guzman is a plus for any series. Code Black is worth keeping an eye on.
  3. Reviewed by: Vicki Hyman
    Sep 30, 2015
    75
    It's effective at quickly making us care for these docs and particularly at orchestrating the cases of the week to an emotional (and emotionally manipulative) crescendo.
  4. 75
    Action and the beginning of character development are both good signs.
  5. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Sep 25, 2015
    70
    The show, based on a 2013 documentary about a real Los Angeles ER trauma bay, rings with crisp dialogue and authoritatively shouted medical jargon in sufficient quantities that you'll never be more than halfway through an episode before you're completely immersed in hypochondriac terror of what your miscreant organs are plotting against you.
  6. Reviewed by: Joshua Alston
    Sep 30, 2015
    67
    Code Black gets a pass. It’s not the least bit interesting, but it’s dull and predictable in a way a medical drama hasn’t been in years. Specifically, Code Black is refreshingly unsexy.
  7. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Sep 30, 2015
    67
    The show needs to work on building the urgency to its stories and cutting away the treacle.
  8. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Sep 28, 2015
    67
    It's a decent pilot, lacking any personality of its own at this stage, but still likely to appeal to the kind of people to which this kind of show appeals.
  9. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Sep 16, 2015
    67
    It might just do the trick, if its frantic doctors can save the first episode from a deadly case of hammy dialogue.
  10. 60
    The whole show is stocked with actors on Guzmán and Harden's level--pros you're never not happy to see, including William Allen Young as the hospital's longest-serving resident, and Kevin Dunn, who oversees the logistics of the ER and delivers wisecracks in his midwestern deadpan. The younger, prettier actors playing the residents--Benjamin Hollingsworth, Bonnie Somerville, Melanie Chandra, and Harry Ford among them--seem overmatched and a bit on the bland side, but that's to be expected, and if the writing on this Michael Seitzman series picks up, that could improve.
  11. Reviewed by: Scott D. Pierce
    Sep 30, 2015
    50
    Code Black might seem more interesting if it felt in any way new. As it is, it feels like it's built from parts of medical dramas from years past.
  12. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Sep 30, 2015
    50
    Though some would probably be happy to have the show compared to the long-running "ER," there are signs that others may be thinking a bit too much of "Grey's Anatomy." If the show lasts, we'll have time to get to know the individual tragedies of the Angels Memorial staffers, so there's no need to burden the pilot with all that clunky exposition.
  13. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Sep 30, 2015
    50
    Code Black brings nothing new to the genre, except, perhaps, more chaos than usual for an ER show, and the dialogue is heavy with exposition and barked medical show cliches.... It benefits from a strong cast and a brisk pace, so there’s reason to hope for improvement.
  14. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Sep 30, 2015
    50
    Harden is a fine actress, but the show’s writers too often give her heavy-handed lines that are the equivalent of cauterizing a head wound with a blow torch.
  15. Entertainment Weekly
    Reviewed by: Shirley Li
    Sep 28, 2015
    50
    Not even Marcia Gay Harden can breathe life into this middling medical drama. [2 Oct 2015, p.67]
  16. Reviewed by: Dan Fienberg
    Sep 28, 2015
    50
    It's a show that wants to be praised for its realism that can't avoid cheating to yank your strings. The mismatched combination renders Code Black only a step above generic, but for fans of the medical genre, that's all your prescription plan will cover this fall.
  17. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Sep 21, 2015
    50
    The ER is crowded with cases familiar from House, Grey’s Anatomy, Chicago Hope, and ER, and the doctors perform many near-miracles. And yet Code Black has a heartbeat. Gay Harden is fierce and vital even when spouting clichés.
  18. Reviewed by: Isaac Feldberg
    Sep 30, 2015
    40
    Code Black is at war with itself, trying to sell its setting's realistically jagged edges even as it files them down to nothing.
  19. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Sep 30, 2015
    40
    Overlaid with "Vice"-like shots of panic and bloody aftermath, Code Black wants the soap and sentiment of "Grey's" along with the broken-but-driven main character of "House." Unfortunately, the writing lacks the conviction of either series, and so viewers are left with Harden, dancing just as fast as she can.
  20. Reviewed by: Tirdad Derakhshani
    Sep 29, 2015
    40
    The derivative Code Black takes elements from every medical drama before it, puts those aspects into a blender, and throws the results at the audience at high speed.... I'm not sure what Code Black is supposed to be about. It's a collection of rapidly moving medical cases with no real center.
  21. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Sep 28, 2015
    40
    As with most of these familiar templates, unless the producers get extremely lucky with the casting beyond more established names like Harden and guest Kevin Dunn, there has to be at least some wrinkle that distinguishes the program from everything else that’s on, much less what’s passed before. And this one doesn’t come close to establishing that uniqueness, at least initially.
  22. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Sep 17, 2015
    40
    As rendered here, none of its medical crises or characters are terribly compelling.
  23. Reviewed by: Mekeisha Madden Toby
    Sep 30, 2015
    30
    Harden’s unfortunate typecasting is the least of the ailments afflicting Code Black. When blood isn’t flying everywhere and the doctors aren’t rushing from one disaster to the next, derivative characters bombard the screen with familiar tropes.
  24. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Sep 30, 2015
    30
    It wants to evoke that sense of non-stop crisis, and it’s willing to sacrifice believability and good writing in the service of frantic pacing.
  25. Reviewed by: Neil Genzlinger
    Sep 29, 2015
    30
    The doctors sure are busy in the Code Black emergency room. They’re busy frantically pushing every emotional button they can think of in an unsuccessful effort to make a compelling television drama.
  26. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Sep 29, 2015
    25
    You'll find some fine actors here, Harden and Somerville among them, along with some whose continued employment may strike you as a mystery. Not that it matters much: Dr. Zorba returned from the dead would not have been able to breathe life into this stiff.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 91 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 62 out of 91
  2. Negative: 20 out of 91
  1. Oct 28, 2015
    8
    it's getting better and better each episode! So realistic, not all that glossy glitzy medical drama like Grey's and ER or private practice.it's getting better and better each episode! So realistic, not all that glossy glitzy medical drama like Grey's and ER or private practice. It's literally all about saving lives, waiting in the ER, dirty locker room, etc. Full Review »
  2. Oct 22, 2015
    10
    Was unclear if I'd like this past the pilot but since sticking with it through four episodes, it has grown on me significantly. It's one ofWas unclear if I'd like this past the pilot but since sticking with it through four episodes, it has grown on me significantly. It's one of those shows you must pay attention to else you'll miss something important, but as long as you do pay attention, you'll find sheer brilliance in the writing, the acting (ahem, Marcia Gay Harden anyone??), and the depth of the humanity. It's gripping (especially this last episode (#4), and it's heading in a great direction, at least I hope, because this seems like a show with Emmy potential. Great ensemble cast and strong lead by MGH. Full Review »
  3. Nov 1, 2015
    10
    I can't say that any show on TV right now has moved me emotionally as much as Code Black has in just a few episodes. I have to see more! TheI can't say that any show on TV right now has moved me emotionally as much as Code Black has in just a few episodes. I have to see more! The cast is amazing, and there are minor medial errors here and there, but not enough to spoil the realism. I laugh, cry, and smile every Wednesday night. Full Review »