Fall TV Preview
Code Black Season 2 Spoilers

Code Black Boss Reflects on Season 2's 'Tough' Creative Decision

When Code Black returns with its second season later this month, it will be minus doctors Christa Lorenson and Neal Hudson. Also missing? Any explanation of where they went.

“We went back and forth on this a lot,” executive producer Michael Seitzman tells TVLine when asked how the CBS medical drama will address the departures of Bonnie Somerville and Raza Jaffrey. “We toyed with a lot of different versions of addressing it. But none of them seemed to have any real weight.”

Every scenario felt like it was “generated in a writers’ room and not in the real world,” he continues. “We pride ourselves on the show on being as authentic as possible… By not mentioning it at all, it felt like the least offensive way to deal with it,” which, the EP recognizes is “also not realistic.”

Seitzman reasons that “having someone say, ‘Christa moved on to blank, and Neal moved on to blank,'” felt too much like “blatant exposition” and “[not] the way people talk.”

Ultimately, he confesses, “We just never found a good way to address it.”

On the bright side, the ambiguity does leave the door open for Christa and Neal to find their way back to Angels Memorial. Seitzman would “love” for both of their portrayers to make a guest appearance at some point.

Although the actors were let go, “You have to remember these are friends of ours,” Seitzman sighs. “This is tough. Raza and I became good friends. We’re still good friends. He lives right up the street from me, and my wife and I have dinner with him and his wife. We have a personal relationship. That was the hardest phone call I ever made. It was awful for me. I hated making the phone call to Bonnie, too, but Raza and I are really tight.”

Code Black Season 2 premieres Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 10/9c on CBS.

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187 Comments
  1. manaria says:

    so they are just gonna act that the 2 never existed? how disrespectful.

    • steven says:

      Just like Chuck Cunningham and Judy Winslow.

      • Tony Lang says:

        And Mandy Hampton and Tina Pinciotti

      • kb6kgx says:

        Now “Chuck” was only the first episode, I believe, of “Happy Days”, and then “went off to college”, but who was “Judy Winslow”? Was that the show with “Urkel”?

        • donholley77 says:

          Chuck Cunningham was on Happy Days for at least one Season, not 1 episode!

          • Mark Lassman says:

            I stand corrected. Actually, according to the Wikipedia article on the show, the “Chuck” character appeared in 11 episodes:

            “harles “Chuck” Cunningham (Gavan O’Herlihy, Randolph Roberts) (seasons 1 & 2; 11 episodes) – The oldest son of Howard and Marion Cunningham and older brother of Richie and Joanie, Chuck is a college student and basketball player. He is rarely seen and disappears without explanation in season two. The character’s disappearance gave rise to the pejorative term “Chuck Cunningham Syndrome”, used to describe TV characters that disappear from shows without explanation.”

        • tiesha says:

          Judy Winslow was Carl Winslow youngest daughter on family matters.

    • kb6kgx says:

      Not much different than when they switched the “Darren” character in “Bewitched” back in the 60s. No advance notice, no mention at all. Just did it. Nobody cared. Not unusual for characters to leave and new ones come in. But yes, usually there is SOME mention in the course of the show when that happens.

      • Sara says:

        Except Darren didn’t disappear. The actor changed. Darren was still Darren. These are actually totally different scenarios.

        • kb6kgx says:

          True. Just saying that sometimes they just don’t give an explanation. In this case, seems like we all agree, something should be said, even if just a line or two in the script. The fans will want to know.

          • The thing is that both Darrens were Dicks. And together, they were World War I hero, Sargent York. The original MIA character was Tim Considine, who played the oldest son in “My Three Sons.” He disappeared after the first season, and never mentioned again.

          • TV Gord says:

            Actually, Tim was with My Three Sons for the first five seasons. He left after Mike and Sally got married in the first episode of season six (The First Marriage).

    • steve says:

      this is the kind of crap pisses fans off and makes them stop watching a show. I for one thought they were the 2 best characters on show aside from momma and papa, it made no sense to can them and then give no explanation, welcome to cancellation if fans take issue which they usually do with this kind of stuff.

      • kd says:

        You are SO RIGHT ……. they were the best part of the ensemble …. yep, Code Black will be headed to cancellation-ville this season ….. oh, & BTW, it’s momma & daddy

        • MelKel says:

          I agree that chopping two essential cast members without explanation really leaves everyone hanging. It doesn’t bode well for the new season.

      • jeannette says:

        I so agree, do not want to watch it now. It really p***** me off . I really enjoyed those two.

      • Stacy says:

        Eh, they wrote two sort of bland characters into a box. (Blame the writing, not the actors) In order to get out of that box, the best thing to do was cut their losses. I think the show will feel more like a diverse ensemble this season.

    • dserbin says:

      VERY disrespectful! These two had a relationship…they could have decided to get married and both transfer to other hospitals. C’Mon, people. Get creative!

    • Kathy Murray says:

      Ditto!

  2. Mariana Trench says:

    This is exactly why I will not be watching any longer. Not only did they “let go” the characters I most enjoyed, they aren’t even addressing their exit in the narrative of the show going forward. They talk about how they agonized over their decision, but in the end they can’t even face it and deal with it. Total hypocrisy!

    • johnhelvete says:

      In fairness to the writers, the decision to drop the two actors was clearly either the network’s (CBS) or the studio (ABC with CBS owning part of the show) and not the writers.

    • kb6kgx says:

      In reality, having worked in hospitals in the past, doctors DO come and go, often without a lot of notice or discussion. Oh, what happened to Dr. so-and-so? He/she isn’t here anymore. Who’s that guy? That’s Dr. so-and-so. He/She’s new. Oh. And that’s usually how it is.

      • ScottJ says:

        Exactly. That is far more real world. People come and go all the time. Mostly all you ever know is that someone has gone. Much of the time you don’t hear anything until after they’ve already left. But there seems to be an insistence from TV audiences to have every tiny little insignificant detail explained whether its realistic or not.

        • Mary C says:

          People get attached to characters. That’s why it’s TV and not reality. Even in real life, like you said, people notice other people missing and they ask what happened to them and get some sort of answer, no matter how short. But not even addressing their absence is just plain stupid on the writers’ part. Cause now, instead of getting some kind of closure and moving on from it, fans are just gonna keep getting more pissed off every episode they feel the absence of both characters. That certainly can’t be good for business.

  3. dan says:

    In a way I understand the non-decision. People leave their jobs all the time and it doesn’t necessarily get mentioned or repeated. However, I don’t think it would’ve been that hard to write a two sentence scene: ER nurse 1 to ER nurse 2: “where are Neal and Christa, didn’t they come back from vacation?” ER nurse 2 to ER nurse 1: “didn’t you hear? They eloped and decided to move to Houston.” I don’t expect a writer’s credit or residuals if the show decides to use this exchange.

  4. James says:

    That is sad because I really love that show I look forward to that show every week and the way it has It has played up so far I hate to see anyone else leave the show.

  5. Daniel Snow says:

    I’ve been waiting for Neil and Christina get together since she shown an interest in him. And for the writers or whatever people in the background are not even going to acknowledge their existence, that is just mean. I was pondering not showing up for the next season of Code black now I’m definitely not going to show up for it. Chicago med all the way.

  6. Tony says:

    I’m not sure what is so hard or unnatural just stating that so and so departed for “reason x” and then moving on.

  7. Mary Williamson says:

    The article says they were both “let go.” Why?

  8. V.J. says:

    Are you kidding me? You can´t build up a relationship over an entire season, fire them both and then just not mention them at all. Are we to assume that they still work there and the other characters see them off-screen? Or are we to assume that nobody is affected by them not being around anymore (which I would find very odd given the relationship and friendship those two had or developed with other characters). You can´t tell me that there wasn´t any way to write them out realistically when other shows do it more than often enough. I find this whole thing so utterly frustrating.

    • Iris says:

      Unless you can’t write your way out of a paper bag. Or you’re salty that people preferred the original characters over your shiny new toys.
      It’s very stupid though, because I’ve seen many people willing to give S2 a chance in case Neal and Christa had a proper send-off. Not sure they’ll be so inclined now.

    • Sue D says:

      Totally agree! I am not returning to Code Black either!

  9. ABG. says:

    Lazy writing at it’s best. Thank god I’m not a fan of the show or I’d be pissed.

  10. That’s disrespectful to the actors and the fans.

  11. Jason says:

    I don’t even watch this show and I find that explanation pretty lame. Who cares if it’s an overly expositionsary line or two. The fans would, I’m sure, like to know where they went. I think some aknowledgement is better than none. Or better yet, bring them back for an episode or two and give the development due diligence. The same thing is happening on NCIS New Oeleans and it’s quite lame. At least NCIS will probably talk about it though, which is better than this laziness.

  12. RichieS says:

    It’s like if someone re-made 24 w/o Jack Bauer and didn’t explain where…..oh, nevermind.

    • kb6kgx says:

      Why? They switched “Bond” several times, and it didn’t matter that it was no longer Sean Connery and now it’s Roger Moore, and a few more times since then. Even though the rest of the main cast didn’t change much, but “Bond” did, nobody cared. It was never mentioned about “whatever happened to the last ‘Bond’?” No, it was just “Bond”.

      • CL says:

        Except they aren’t just replacing the actors & keeping the characters. They got rid of the actors & their characters out of the blue. It’s not the same.

  13. Megan says:

    This is the dumbest thing they’ve done yet

  14. Megara says:

    Wait, wait, wait, I thought they were written out because REALISM!!! Now it can’t be made to look realistic?

    Excuse me while I go laugh until I cry…

  15. djmb says:

    Two of my favorite characters are gone/ I will not be watching this season.

  16. wvugirl2007 says:

    It believe the fans need some explanation on the show otherwise it really is unrealistic. No one at work just disappears without a reason and two people especially a person in a higher up position don’t just go away. They must have just gotten lazy in the writer’s room or the producer is getting too picky if they couldn’t come up with something. At least with nothing else worked kill them off in an off screen incident. At least that is closer and fans can move on.

    • ScottJ says:

      People come and go from jobs all the time. Its very rare that you get to find out why someone left. They’re just gone.

  17. Jim Graham says:

    I stopped watching this show in mid season it lost its appeal, writing was awful and lazy, story lines were all over. I liked Bonnie Summerville thought that was low class firing her, as if she and the other actor were the reason for its dismal ratings once you start tweaking and replacing characters without justification then your heading for cancellation. There ignoring there story line for why they moved on is disrespectful to the actors shows they are embarrassed as to there dismal. It definitely won’t survive the season it will be cancelled in January. PS, adding Rob Lowe now that’s funny !!

  18. Kmayne says:

    As mentioned by previous comments, it does seem lame not mentioning where 2 core characters have gone. I can not recall when the show picks up is it a few weeks or months after last season? But even still it would not have to be in first episode or 3 but could they not have nurse or dr say I heard from Christa she is really loves working at …….and said to hi to you

  19. Pat says:

    So they want the show to be authentic, so no mention of Neal and Christa’s exit, kind of like the bad relative in the family who no one ever speaks of. This is a very unwise mistake, or another way to put it, this was a very, very stupid idea. It would have been authentic for them to address it and give thes two characters some respect, as to why they left.

  20. Mare says:

    What a jerk move and a slap in the face. I regret supporting this show last season and I sure won’t support it this season. Or any show by this creator and show runner again.

  21. Bill says:

    If the network suits fired these two in an attempt to attract a younger audience, why did they bring in Rob Lowe, who is older than both of them? Makes no sense…

  22. Laura says:

    This keeps getting more ridiculous. Poor Marcia, this was such a good role for her and they’ve ruined her shot at a hit show

  23. Jeneane says:

    Raza was one of my favorites. I watched him on MI5 and loved him as well as his bit on Smash…bad move

  24. Pauline Lane says:

    It’s amazing how they let the actors/actresses go that carry a big weight on shows to the viewers. Some of the others are worth zilch. Might move on it they do not replace correctly.

  25. carol says:

    He is the second best thing about the show!!! Why was he “let go”?? I have waited all summer for this show to come back on but without him, not so sure about the whole thing anymore.

  26. Par Rak says:

    Well I won’t be watching anymore, You got rid of the wrong people , GET rid of the writers and the decision makers, these two characters were the best on the series

  27. walter curtin says:

    I love how this guy says he’s real tight with the actor who’s been fired. LOL What a vapid shallow Hollywood statement. How does this guy sleep?

  28. Andrea Haff says:

    Both these actors portrayed interesting and memorable characters that were gritty and believable.. I just can’t fathom this decision. So what can we expect now???? More cheap TV T&A with mindless babble about broken fingernails and missing Viagra pills? Come on Seitzman, get real!!!!!!!!!

  29. Iris says:

    I never believed for one second that the exit would be addressed, not after the “excised from the cast” line in the article back when TV Line broke the news. The showrunner all but admitted to it on Twitter early on.
    But he adds insult to injury by using the nonsensical axing of two popular actors/characters in a desperate attempt to create buzz for his show that no one cares about or talks about except to mostly regret what once was and express anger or disappointment. You’ll notice that there’s been no promotion or “spoilers” so far about the promoted characters who take their place…but again, they were mostly loathed from what I’ve seen. Neal and Christa, as well as Raza Jaffrey and Bonnie Somerville’s work on S1 bring more social media activity (let’s not even talk about fanfiction) or comments on this very site than the new Big Name ever did and the showrunner has no qualms using them and their fans once again, after using them to get a renewal only to let them down.
    So tacky and classless, but I guess those are the right word to define Code Black 2.0 and its producers.

    • Melissa says:

      Couldn’t agree more! I have thought from the beginning that this was a senseless move by someone, either Seitzman or CBS/ABC studios, that was at a complete disconnect with the fans of the show. Now that the fans have spoken, quite loudly, that they are unhappy with the castings changes they decide to not even address the casting changes as an additional slap in the face and taunt it as “realistic”. Give me a break, in any workplace the departure would have been noticed and mentioned by others esp in a hospital when the two people missing who were in a relationship and one was in a position of authority, not to mention both had developed close friendships with the other characters. What I don’t understand is why anyone in their right mind would think this is a good move for their show? Of the fans upset there were some willing to give season 2 a shot if they addressed their departure and paid respect to those characters, now for many this is the final nail in the coffin. Is it to show the fans he can do what he wants at will and doesn’t have to explain himself? If so, while that’s true, he needs to realize and respect without fans he doesn’t have a show, which I predict will be very apparent soon enough when the ratings crash and the show is cancelled.

      For me personally it is now abundantly clear Code Black was a one season show. I have lost any desire to tune in to watch a second season that will be at complete disconnect with its first season. Even if the characters written out were not favorites of mine I would not choose to continue watching a show with so little respect for the characters, actors, and most of all the fans.

  30. Dave says:

    This show should have been canceled, the ratings weren’t good and it’s a mess!

    However does no one remember Mandy in West Wing? ;)

  31. They are entering Mandy-ville. West Wing did it, however West Wing was a billion times better than this show.

  32. Karen says:

    So they’ve compounded the first mistake by making an even bigger one … I found the tension in this show better/stronger than in any other medical drama in years … sometimes even too realistic (I’m referring to the action shown, not between characters or actors). Stupid is as stupid does. Very, very disappointing; everyone deserves better than this — the actors and the fans.

  33. Cassie says:

    It’s more “realistic” to not address it? For most people, if two coworkers they got along with and had become friendly were just suddenly gone one day, they’d be asking someone where they went. To act like they never existed is completely ridiculous, and to say they couldn’t come up with a good way to handle it is completely lazy and a total copout.

    There would’ve been nothing wrong with one character asking another where they’re at, and that person giving some sort of explanation (one got offered a job elsewhere and the other went with him, they separately got jobs elsewhere, they intentionally moved away to get away from his witch of an ex-girlfriend…etc.). Multiple other shows have done that very thing and I’ve never once heard or seen anyone complain that the explanation “wasn’t the way people talk”.

    If a person leaves a job in real life, someone asks where they went, and someone else says “Oh, he got offered a job in California and it was such a great opportunity, he just couldn’t pass it up!” the other person is probably going to say “oh, good for him” or “that lucky bastard, I’m jealous” or something. No one is going to say “that explanation is totally unrealistic and sounds like it was written by TV writers”. I mean, really? Such total BS.

    I was about 98% decided on not watching the upcoming season, but now I’m definitely not. The way the show has handled this situation is just not how you treat people, especially ones who you claim to be “really tight” with.

  34. Carol C says:

    Raza was my favourite actor on the show. Ridiculous not to address Neal and Christa’s absence. This makes it easy for me to choose Designated Survivor in the Code Black time slot.

  35. Denise says:

    I’m disappointed that the mature romantic story line of Christa and Neal will not be pursued. It’s not often writers focus on over 30, over 35, over 40+ year old relationships. And the tension/friendship of each to Marcia Gay Harden held potential as well. Whoever made the decision to cancel Bonnie Sommerville and Raza Jaffrey from the series made a big mistake

  36. FarAwayDeb says:

    What exactly is the reason the two characters were dumped and the actors let go? They were just as good as any other character on the show (and better than some!)

  37. Sylvia says:

    So sad they were let go. I think that was one of the reasons I liked to watch this series. It was like waiting to see what they would do next. I’m not sure I’ll see this show again. Not that the other actors aren’t good, just that I liked different things each one was going thru.

  38. Deb says:

    real question is why do you want to ruin a good show?

  39. kb6kgx says:

    Is it possible that both actors just wanted to move on, for their own personal reasons, and asked to be written out of the show? I don’t know. Just asking.

    • silver bell says:

      No they were fired, EP even said so…
      and if you followed their twitter you would see they were happy about the show being renewed until a couple of days before they were fired.

  40. Melissa says:

    “Neal decided to go work with Doctors Without Borders and Crista decided to change residency programs” How hard is that?

    • silverquiver says:

      Now, that’s an excellent and creative way of dealing with the characters’ exits off-screen! How totally crass and stupid of the EP and what total BS was his explanation of a non-explanation.

  41. sandy says:

    this is why I will not be watching, I liked them on the show!

  42. Gail says:

    Don’t like that u are doing that. When u have main people exit there should be a reason given

  43. cathy says:

    I WILL NOT WATCH THIS AGAIN

  44. I just have to say ... says:

    While I’m NOT happy about Jaffrey & Somerville being fired – not at all – I’m glad that Tommy Dewey will be back on a recurring basis as Dr. Mike Leighton. The brotherly relationship between Mike & Angus is terrific.

  45. Beth V says:

    Sorry but that is the stupidest thing I have ever read. You seriously can’t come up with something like they both got married and took jobs elsewhere to further their careers or they decided to choose different programs. Not saying the writers have to make a whole episode about it, but at least give the audience and fans closer on a story line they built up. If he’s such a good friend as the writer says Raza is, he should have respect for their friendship and give his character a nice send off since his and Bonnie’s characters had an story line many fans were following.

  46. Gwendolyn Yvonne Thompson says:

    So why were they let go especially since you were bringing in 3 new doctors. This just doesn’t seem quite right. And then you say they could come back for a “guest appearance”. Really guys! something is svery wrong with this picture.

  47. donholley77 says:

    What a load of crap! People don’t talk about people leaving a job in real life??? Guess what Mr. EP! Some of the best ideas are generated in a writer’s room! Apparently, not yours! This show may not make it midway through Season a 2

  48. Debby says:

    Well that sucks! Neal was my favorite character! Why would they let him go?

  49. DJC says:

    As someone else stated they were two of the better characters on the show and had a story line with the possibility of them getting together. Why were they let go? And yes, there SHOULD be something in the show to let the viewers know they won’t be back, that’s only right!

  50. Temperance says:

    Terrible choices. And worse than eliminating two of the best roles. they made two of the most awful I’ve seen in ages full time. Arggh.