In the wake of 9/11 and on the heels of the 20th anniversary of the deadly attacks, National Geographic has announced that the scientific thriller series, THE HOT ZONE: ANTHRAX, starring Tony Goldwyn and Daniel Dae Kim, will premiere in double bills on Sundays at 21:00 (CAT) from 5 December 2021 on National Geographic (DStv 181, Startsat 220). Additionally, the episodes will be available after premiere broadcast on DStv Catchup.
In a timely limited series that depicts the plight and eventual triumph over a deadly threat, THE HOT ZONE: ANTHRAXtakes place in 2001, when the United States was rocked by another unprecedented act of terrorism. Letters containing anthrax were sent to unsuspecting victims in Florida, Washington DC, and New York. The anonymous assault claimed five lives and caused panic throughout the US. Despite many false leads, a team of FBI agents and scientists slowly closed in on a shocking prime suspect.
While many of us can remember the breaking news headlines and widespread fear that arose during the anthrax attacks, there are many layers to this chilling and unbelievable crime story that have not yet been told.
THE HOT ZONE: ANTHRAX, inspired by true events, follows parallel stories of Matthew Ryker (Kim) and Dr. Bruce Ivins (Goldwyn). Ryker, an FBI agent with a specialty in microbiology, risks his career to convince his superiors of the unthinkable just three weeks after the 9/11 attacks: The United States is under attack again. Ivins, a brilliant microbiologist who becomes embroiled in the hunt to find the 2001 anthrax killer, works closely with the FBI to uncover who is behind the deadly anthrax letters, while his growing instability and paranoia give way to deeper unnerving discoveries.
The cast also includes FBI Special Agent Dani Toretti (Dawn Olivieri), who is tough enough to manoeuvre through the boys club in the bureau and is among the first agents on the ground at the 2001 Capitol Hill anthrax attack; bureau newbie agent Chris Moore (Ian Colletti), a graduate of Quantico and eager to learn under a seasoned agent; high-ranking FBI lifer Ed Copak (Dylan Baker), who feels the weight of responsibility to get justice for a wounded nation after the recent events of 9/11; FBI agent Eric Sykes (Morgan Kelly), a cocky agent who delights in mocking Ryker for his hunt for “elusive bio-weapons”; Sheila Willis (Denyce Lawton), a pharmaceutical lobbyist dating Ryker but rethinking her priorities after 9/11; Dr. Simon Kurz (Carlos Gonzalez-Vio), a USAMRIID colleague of Ivins who finds himself out of his depth when suspicion among scientists starts to bubble up in the tight quarters of the biosafety level 4 labs; Jody Hall (Vanessa Matsui), a diligent USAMRIID scientist seen as a confidante by many with a wary eye on the political and personal agendas of those around her; Mayor Rudy Giuliani (Enrico Colantoni), who emerges as a bold advocate for the citizens of New York City after the 9/11 terrorist attacks; and respected journalist and NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw (Harry Hamlin), the steady and trusted voice of reason for a post 9/11 nation.
For THE HOT ZONE: ANTHRAX, Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson serve as executive producers and showrunners. Scott Free Production’s Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker are executive producers, with Jordan Sheehan also serving as executive producer. Lynda Obst and Daniel Percival are also executive producers. Richard Preston is a co-executive producer on the series. The series is produced by 20th Television and Scott Free Productions.