Why The Hot Zone Left a Lasting Impression on Julianna Margulies

Exclusive! Get a sneak peek of the new National Geographic miniseries and hear from the star

By Chris Harnick May 22, 2019 6:05 PMTags
Watch: Julianna Margulies Talks New Series About Ebola in U.S.

The Hot Zone, Julianna Margulies' latest TV project, is vastly different from the ones you know her from. The miniseries, which is set in 1989 and features Margulies as Lt. Col. Nancy Jaax, one of the scientists who led the effort and was successful in curtailing Ebola after it made its first known appearance on US soil.

This is no ER or The Good Wife. So, no courtroom battles, no flirting with George Clooney in a trauma room. And it left an impact on the Emmy-winning actor.

"Well, interestingly enough, I actually was not one of those people that ever really cared about germs. I grew up with a homeopathic mother—I mean, I have had my vaccines—but if I had a headache, my mother would massage my feet, that kind of thing, let's have herbal tea with honey if you have a sore throat, to build up my immune system. So, I was one of those people who, when my kid was born, if something fell on the floor, like, '10 second rule. You're fine. Build up your immune system,'" Margulies told E! News.

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"After this show, I now travel—even in my evening purse—with hand sanitizer. I am constantly washing my hands," Margulies continued. "I'm way too aware."


While working on the show, Margulies met Nancy Jaax's real-life nephew who is a top infectious disease specialist and he told her nobody in his field ever touches their face.

"[Normal people] will touch their face over a thousand times a day. He said, ‘We never get sick. Maybe once every six years I'll get the flu,' but now you'll watch," Margulies said.

Click play on the video up top to hear more from Margulies about the series.

The six-hour miniseries, which is based on Richard Preston's book of the same name, also stars Liam Cunningham, Noah Emmerich, James D'Arcy, Paul James and Topher Grace.

In the exclusive sneak peek above, Grace's character, Dr. Peter Jahrling, a virologist for the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, catches Margulies' character attempting to break protocol. The two clash over the best way to treat the virus.

The Hot Zone kicks off its three-night event on Monday, May 27 at 9 p.m. on National Geographic.