Dr. Nancy Jaax ( Julianna Margulies ) is a colonel in the US military. Instead of focusing on the CDC, a civilian organisation, this story focuses on the US military's biological weapons unit in Maryland. Her cow-orker, and antagonist of sorts, is Dr. Peter Jahrling (Topher Grace - American Ultra ). He is the typical kind of character Grace plays these days - smug, smarmy, the typical negative stereotype of the straight white male. He is a know-it-all who mansplains things all the time, even though this is his job description as a senior scientist who has to educate the more junior members of staff. This comes across as quite unpleasant when he provides exposition to an African-American subordinate ... while the female protagonist is allowed to come off quite well when she provides similar exposition to a junior white male.
Jahrling gets a tissue sample from local veterinarian Walter Humboldt (Robert Sean Leonard - House). It is organs from an African monkey that died in the Washington DC zoo. He assumes the infected animal died from a simian virus which is not contagious to humans. Jaax, however, considers the worst-case scenario. It may be a virus that is dangerous to humans. The only one who will help her is zookeeper Frank Mays (Nick Searcy - Dark Skies ).
As the protagonist becomes more obsessive, everyone around her retreats into denial. Her mentor, Wade Carter (Liam Cunningham - Game of Thrones ) will not even answer her phone calls.
Wade Carter (Liam Cunningham - Game of Thrones ) joins the US military's team.
The virus may have broken out of the zoo's containment. The protagonist and her cow-orker, Dr. Peter Jahrling (Topher Grace - American Ultra ), start to take responsibility for the mess.
The virus may have broken out of the zoo's containment. The protagonist and her cow-orker, Dr. Peter Jahrling (Topher Grace - American Ultra ), attend a meeting where they brief senior US Army officers.
Dr. Nancy Jaax ( Julianna Margulies ), Colonel in the US military, recruits and briefs a group of soldiers. Her husband pulls her out and replaces her, because he considers himself more expendable.
In the flashbacks, Wade Carter (Liam Cunningham - Game of Thrones ) takes his CDC sidekick and Melinda Danport ( Grace Gummer ) to another village. The helicopter pilot will not return to collect them for three days, so they will have to make the most of it.
The military team start to disinfect the monkey cages. How could this be made more exciting? Well, one of the monkeys escapes. This leads on to a scenario like in Alien (1979) , only instead of a massive monster there is a tiny little monkey on the loose.
Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong, and Dr. Nancy Jaax ( Julianna Margulies ) has to sort it all out. Her husband has been hospitalised, although he is just dehydrated and not quarantined. Someone has been dumping medical waste beside the chidrens' play park, although nothing much is made of this except for illustrating that children should not talk to strangers.
Dr. Peter Jahrling (Topher Grace - American Ultra ) is missing for most of the episode. Has he been killed off-screen, or will he pop up at the end to redeem himself and support the protagonist?