Fairy tales and classic literature seems to be the chosen material for modernisation and adaptation into television shows. Elementary (Sherlock Holmes), Dracula, and now Do No Harm. Do No Harm takes the basic premise of The Curious Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the idea of two people sharing one body, and modernises it. By day Dr Jason Cole is a dedicated neurosurgeon, saving lives and performing risky neurological procedures. But when the clock strikes 8.27 Jason’s alternate personality, Ian, takes over. And calling Ian debauched is an understatement. Orgies, drugs and alcohol are his ideal ways to spend his time in control.
In the first three episodes of the show, Do No Harm interested me. I initially started watching it on a whim as I was channel hopping, catching a repeat of the first episode, and I was hooked. The show starts with Jason having repressed Ian for five years using medication that knocked him out at night, meaning that the Ian personality could never take over his body. The medication stops working, bringing Ian out to play. And having been repressed for five years, he is eager to start destroying Jason’s life in revenge. Jason has to clean up the messes caused by Ian’s nightly escapades, while desperately looking for a way to control the alternate personality.
The show hinges on the performance of the person playing Jason/Ian, and Steven Pasquale is outstanding. His ability to convey which personality he is playing through body language alone is commendable. You can see, just from looking at his face which character is in control at any given moment – as Ian his face takes on a far more sinister cast. His Jason is far from perfect, but still is likable and dedicated to helping his patients. But it is his performance as Ian which is chilling, yet with odd touches of humanity which remind us that he is far from a monster. His interactions with the mysterious Olivia hint at an as yet unrevealed past connection, and are interesting as they show him as more than just a psychopath.
The supporting cast has thus far been a little unremarkable, but as we are only three episodes in, it is no surprise that they have yet to shine. Micheal Esper shows promise as the jealous Dr Kenneth Jordan who is suspicious of Jason, and its interesting to see a female in charge in the hospital, in the form of Phylicia Rashar’s Dr Vanessa Young.
I am baffled as to why this show hasn’t been more widely advertised, and I’m shocked to find out that NBC cancelled it after showing two episodes. Still, I think its worth having a look at.
Do No Harm is shown on Watch on Mondays at 9pm.