After an illegal immigrant from Afghanistan is found to have a very deadly virus and to come in contact with several other people, the Belgian authorities decide to seal off a large chunk of the centre of Antwerp, trapping 5,000 people inside.
Cordon follows several groups of people inside and outside the 'cordon' as the outbreak unfolds.
The series has since been remade for American TV as Containment, where the action is relocated to a ghetto of Atlanta, Georgia, sealed off after an immgrant Syrian brings in a mysterious disease with him.
This show contains examples of:
- Apocalypse Anarchy: Definitely; civilisation, along with personal hygiene, starts going out the window inside the cordon pretty quickly.
- Belgium: the setting. The viewer may want to read these notes to get useful background information, or aspects of the series might remain opaque.
- As with Salamander, the viewer has to pay attention to the switches in language going on. Flemish is used by the "good guys", most of those inside the Cordon, and the straighter players among the police and authorities. French is spoken by duplicitous politicians and shadier higher authority figures. The implication is clear: French is the language of the rulers, and Flemish that of the ruled, spoken by the ruling elite only to instruct or deceive the serfs. In a Belgian context, this says a lot concerning Flemish suspicions about the Waloons.
- The American remake translates the action to Atlanta, Georgia, and the subtext is altered to reflect American fears and suspicions. The initial carrier of the mystery disease becomes a Syrian Moslem, and the economically disadvantaged district cordoned off is a largely black ghetto of Atlanta.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: One woman providing video diaries from inside the cordon discovers she herself has the virus and causes to poison herself before the virus kills her.
- Bilingual Bonus: Belgium has at least two official languages. Both Flemish and French are used in the show with some English. See above for the subtle point being made.
- Common Tongue: English is used by a number of the characters... usually to drop F-bombs.
- Definitely Just a Cold: Several characters try to pass off their contraction of the virus with this excuse, owing to the cold-like symptoms (runny nose, sore throat, coughing) which characterize infection. To heart-wrenching effect.
- Lockdown - the complete containment of an entire city district drives the plot.
- Patient Zero: The authorities believe that it's the Afghan immigrant... although the lead doctor inside the cordon isn't so sure.
- In fact, he knows it isn't - it's one of his own lab techs who mishandled a live virus from Brazil.
- The Plague: Of course; not airborne though.
- Power Hair: Sabine Lommers, in charge of the government response to the virus outbreak, has this. She also owns a black and white coat of the sort worn by Cruella De Vil.
- Rape as Drama: Jana is knocked unconscious by two drug users who break into her lab, although it's later stated that both of them were too high to actually do the deed.
- Reduced to Ratburgers: Poor Micheline is forced to eat husband Bert's rats when she, wheelchair-bound and alone, is unable to leave the house to find food.
- Remake: The CW are remaking this in Atlanta as Containment.
- Trapped in Containment: an entire city district.