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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Containment is a tense drama about a city put under quarantine after a viral outbreak. Violence is frequent and, though not extremely gory, may be disturbing to young children or sensitive viewers; it includes extensive medical imagery, including shots of needles, dead bodies on gurneys, white-coated doctors and uniformed officers in a panic, and blood on medical equipment and hospital walls. Characters die on-screen, coughing blood from the virus or shot by terrified officials. Parents and children are in danger; an 11-year-old virus sufferer is kept in isolation. Occasional mild cursing ("dammit," "hell") and vulgar expressions.
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What's the story?
In the tense drama CONTAINMENT, a Syrian man enters an Atlanta hospital with a virus and leaves a wake of destruction. It's soon discovered that "Patient Zero" had a vial of the virus in his belongings and that the disease he brought is terrifyingly contagious. It spreads through touch and sneezes, and it kills those who get it within 48 hours. High-ranking CDC official Sabine Lommers (Claudia Black) is dispatched to take charge of the situation; she enlists Atlanta police officer Alex Carnahan (David Gyasi) as her local liaison. Carnahan didn't know what he was getting into -- a region around the hospital is cordoned off and quarantined, with his partner Jake (Chris Wood) and girlfriend Jana (Christina Moses) inside and Carnahan only able to watch as the disease makes its deadly progress and chaos reigns. Meanwhile, inside the hospital, teacher Katie Frank (Kristen Gutoskie) is caught up in the quarantine by chance, having taken her sixth-grade class on a field trip just as the virus breaks out. Now all she -- and everyone else behind the cordon, and the whole, vulnerable world outside -- can only wait, try to survive, and figure out who sent the virus.
Is it any good?
Creepy, gross, and entirely too plausible for comfort, this drama presents a picture of just how easily a major city could be brought to its knees. The virus that officials are trying to contain in Containment is a type of avian flu; no matter the details, it kills quickly in an Ebola-like fashion. Stranding most of our characters inside a barbed-wire-topped fence is an extra-tense touch. Do the federal agencies guarding the cordon expect everyone inside to die in short order? Why would the disease stop at a chain-link fence? Peppered with intriguing characters who are refreshingly portrayed mainly by people of color, Containment is a bit of briskly paced, smartly written, and addictive, if nightmare-inducing, television.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Containment takes pains to show the details of suffering virus patients, who cough blood and dribble mucous. How does watching gore and violence make you feel? What's the impact of media violence on viewers, especially young viewers?
How does Alex Carnahan demonstrate courage in Containment? How does Katie Frank demonstrate compassion? Does watching shows with courageous and compassionate characters help the viewer emulate these traits?
Is this show a realistic look at how a viral outbreak might unfold? What plot points do you find realistic, and which do you think are included for dramatic effect?
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