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Code Black: Rob Lowe Breaks Down His New Character

How is Col. Ethan Willis going to shake up Angels?

Megan Vick

There's a new doctor at Angels Memorial Hospital on this season of Code Black, and he's ready to shake things up.

Rob Lowe joins the cast as Col. Ethan Willis, a military transplant fresh from war in the Middle East who is ready to reform the trauma training of the new residents in the Angels ER.

"What's really happening in the world is that all of our advances in the trauma world are coming off the battlefield," Lowe told "We've been at war for 16 years, so you can imagine what we're learning on a day-to-day basis. These military doctors from elite units are often repositioned in the big county emergency hospitals to help facilitate the new technology and the new way of thinking."

Get your first look at Rob Lowe in Code Black

Willis' renegade approach will be refreshing for Dr. Rorish (Marcia Gay Harden), who has given up her administrative duties to be back in the trenches helping patients. Together, Rorish and Willis will be pushing boundaries and crossing lines in an effort to get the best care for the people they're treating.

"[Rorish and Willis] are very similar. They are cut from the same cloth. They're both a bit rogue and a bit reckless," Harden explains. "They both care very deeply about what they do. There's an air of mystery to both of them. They both have a past that's painful and influences their approach to the world of the show. Right now they are kind of hand in hand."

The aligned perspectives might make Rorish and Willis fast friends, but it's going to put them squarely in opposition to Dr. Campbell (Boris Kodjoe), the new white coat in charge.

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"[Campbell] is more concerned about the rules, rightly so. You can't have a hospital with no rules. That's the battle," Harden says. "When do you break a rule to save a life? When do you follow a rule to save a life? When you break a rule and risk a life, was it okay to break that rule? Maybe you tried and didn't succeed."

For Lowe, he gravitated towards the new role for the chance to tell authentic stories about one of the most high-pressure jobs in the world, and he's confident that his new character can bring Code Black to a new level.

"There's nothing more real than life and death in a trauma room. This particular show's way of doing that is really great because it's uber realistic, the medicine is really muscular and you feel like you're really in the thick of it. Three or four times an episode you just sort of well up with that human connection. Then they wrote me a great character, so that sealed the deal," Lowe says of his decision to join the drama after Fox canceled his freshman comedy The Grinder last season. "This show is now ready to become something bigger than it already was."

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

(Full disclosure: is owned by CBS)