Ken Tucker
May 22, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Code 3

TV Show
Current Status
In Season
Reality TV, Drama

We gave it a C

Still another real-life emergency show, this one a bit better than most for two reasons. There are, as host Gil Gerard (E.A.R.T.H. Force) says, ”no actors, no reenactments,” which means no patently phony-looking restaging of events. And because the series follows ambulance drivers, paramedics, and fire fighters in their rescue efforts, there’s less emphasis on graphic crimes than there is on shows like Cops and American Detective.

It’s nice to see public servants like these lauded, but Code 3 suffers from the usual flaw of this kind of programming: When no drama exists, it has to be injected into the narration. For example, in a recent episode, paramedics raced to help the victim of a drug overdose in a Honolulu apartment house, and we were shown footage of the paramedic team waiting — and waiting — in the lobby for the elevator. Gerard says tensely, ”Crucial moments are passing Even a slow elevator can mean the difference between life and death.”

Well, it didn’t — the man being rescued was alive and reasonably well — and all we saw were a few brave but bored and frustrated people waiting for an elevator — not exactly thrilling television. As usual, I am left with the feeling that TV cameras should be banished from emergency sites, to let people get on with their lives and work; if you want realistic drama, watch Law & Order. C

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