The seemingly unstoppable reign of executive producer Julie Plec hit a speed bump with the limited series Containment. Delving into what would happen if bio-chemical warfare broke out in Atlanta, Ga., this was Plec’s first parlay into a drama not based in a mystical realm.
The show did a pretty good job covering many aspects of what the terror would look like if a mystery plague were to break out in a mere 13 episode run. With such a great premise, the series could’ve gone so much deeper with so many — if there were to be a Season 2.
Getting the ax from The CW was a huge bummer because, even though Containment was billed as a limited series, executive producer Peter Ord told TV Line, “We’re looking at the first season as its own thing, but it’ll leave us room to go forward and do more.”
Sharing Ord’s vision for future episodes, actor Chris Wood — who starred as cop Jake Riley — told Zap2it, “I have hopes, obviously for the show to continue, and to keep working with these people. It’s a great group. We have a blast.”
Adapted from the Belgian series, Cordon, the premise of having a section of the city sequestered while a cure for this deadly virus was being sought out was a intriguing plot. It was like “The Walking Dead” without zombies — a comparison that Wood proudly supported. Even though, the infected patients ended up looking as gnarly as any walker.
Both Wood and Plec promised viewers that the series wouldn’t end with a cliffhanger, and for the most part, it did not. Talk about luck. The finale was taped five months before news of cancellation came in.
“It doesn’t feel like you’re robbed of an experience,” Plec says. They also didn’t go back to tweak anything when they heard the news. The finale that was shot in December and delivered in February remained the same.
When Plec was asked by TVLine if she would have done anything differently, she says, “I would have finished the story. I would have found a way to find a cure and see a sense of hope that the quarantine would be lifted. We got pretty close to that, coincidentally, so that’s good. But I would have liked to see it go on for another chapter in order to tell the other half of the story.”
Feeling for the fans, Plec answered many of the lingering questions viewers had after the finale. Such as if Quentin (Zachary Unger) would have ever made it out of the cordon.
“Season 2 would have continued to be about ways to eventually get healthy people out of the cordon,” she says. “Quentin’s destiny, certainly — unless we had to ‘Walt’ him because he was growing too tall [LOL] — was to make it out safely. I can’t see it ending any other way.”
Would Jake Riley find love after losing Katie? Plec explains, “We had a new lady friend that we were planning on, quite literally, dropping from a helicopter into the middle of the quarantine zone, but certainly knowing that it wouldn’t be easy to get romantic anytime soon. But we definitely had a new scene partner for him that we were excited to explore.”
Plec actually had most of Season 2 plotted out already, and she goes into detail about what the premise would’ve looked like.
“As the entire community is waiting for the virus to die out, knowing they won’t be free until it does, Dr. Cannerts comes up with a way to keep people alive, even though they’re symptomatic,” she reveals. “So there’s a bunch of people, diseased and able to spread the virus, that he’s keeping alive and healthy but still infectious.”
“Suddenly these people who just 20 days ago were outraged to be placed in a cordon, find themselves having to cordon off an area within their own zone so that they can potentially avoid infection from the people at the hospital,” Plec continues.
“So we had a great cuckoo’s nest kind of division: the hospital filled with sick and dying people versus a community of people trying to build and hold on and survive in functional ways by deciding what to do about communication and law and martial law and how to feed themselves and how to teach their kids and how to be intimate with each other – all the things that you need to have when you’re stuck somewhere and you’re not going anywhere anytime soon.”
With such a great premise, and so many different directions the series could go, there was still something off about Containment. While news of cancellation was upsetting to many, it still wasn’t very shocking.
It’s safe to say Wood was the best thing about the show. Casting such a well-known and handsome CW star as the lead made his co-stars pale in comparison. Not due to talent, but because the age difference.
He was also way too young to play the role of Jake Riley. It threw off the entire balance of the show. So with that detail — along with it being a Plec CW series — the series never gelled. It was never able to shake off the tween CW vibe and create the atmospheric quality that keeps Walking Dead fans addicted season after season.
Sometimes it takes a while for a series to find its footing but Containment was never given that chance. Maybe Season 2, with a brand new slate of actors and storylines, could’ve elevated itself to a whole new level. Unfortunately, we’ll never know.