Isaiah Washington as Chancellor Jaha in The CW's "The 100"

Isaiah Washington as Chancellor Jaha in The CW’s “The 100”

*Isaiah Washington returns to series television Wednesday in the CW’s new drama “The 100,” set 97 years after a nuclear Armageddon wipes out planet Earth.

Four hundred people survived, only because they happened to be  on one of the 12 international space stations at the time. When Wednesday’s pilot begins, we’re already three generations deep into the apocalypse, and there are now 4000 people living among the dozen space stations…clearly unsustainable.

The  stations are now linked together Tinkertoy style into one big “Ark” in an attempt to survive as long as possible, but oxygen and other resources are running out — a problem that leaders have chosen to keep from the Ark’s inhabitants. To preserve oxygen, leaders resort to brutal population control methods, including capital punishment for any crime committed…unless the perpetrator is under 18.

The 100 --  "Pilot" --  (L-R): Eliza Taylor as Clarke, Eli Goree as Wells, Bob Morley as Bellamy, and Marie Avgeropoulos as Octavia

The 100 — “Pilot” — (L-R): Eliza Taylor as Clarke, Eli Goree as Wells, Bob Morley as Bellamy, and Marie Avgeropoulos as Octavia

The show’s title refers to 100 juvenile prisoners who are secretly exiled from the Ark to the Earth’s surface and used as guinea pigs to test whether it’s habitable enough to start sending people back.

Among the Earth-bound delinquents – considered expendable by the leaders – is Clarke (Eliza Taylor), the daughter of the station’s doctor, Abby (Paige Turco), whose husband was “floated” (sent hurling into space toward certain death) for wanting to go public with news that the Ark is dying. This causes friction between Abby and Chancellor Jaha, the Ark’s leader, played by Isaiah Washington.

Paige Turco as Abby and Isaiah Washington as Chancellor Jaha in The CW's "The 100"

Paige Turco as Abby and Isaiah Washington as Chancellor Jaha in The CW’s “The 100”

Sending the oxygen-hogging, expendable juvenile offenders to Earth instead of their execution is Jaha’s idea. He’s hoping they can recolonize the planet – if they can survive it.

Below, Washington – who makes a guest return to “Grey’s Anatomy” in May for the first time since his gay-slur debacle – admits he was spoiled by the writing on Shonda Rhimes’ ABC drama and didn’t think he would ever find another project on that level.

“The 100,” based on the book by Kass Morgan, premieres Wednesday, March 19, at 9 p.m. on The CW.

Watch a promo below.