In Do No Harm, NBCs latest drama, the theme of Jekyll and Hyde-esque dual personalities is explored. Jason Cole is a neurosurgeon with a secret — between the hours of 8.25pm and 8.25am, he becomes Ian Price, his cruel, hedonistic alterego.
For the past five years, Jason has kept Ian locked away by sedating himself every night, but Ian has become immune to the effects of the special blend sedative Jason has been using. Left with no way of keeping Ian at bay, Jason decides to give him his freedom — at least until he finds a way to ‘kill’ Ian for good.
It’s a good setup, though the flaws may be in the details. Ian has existed for five years at the absolute minimum, though likely longer since there was obviously a span of time in which he was free before Jason began to sedate him. How Ian became a successful and competent surgeon while constantly under the threat of Ian is something that will hopefully be explored soon.
It may not be wholly conceivable though; or if it is, it at least makes Jason a somewhat unreliable lead character. Why would a man who took an oath to ‘do no harm’ risk patients lives by operating on them when he suffers from dissociative identity disorder? What if Ian came through outside of his usual hours?
Jason’s unreliable behaviour can also be seen in how he visited Olivia, Jason’s ex and the woman Ian loved. Jason doesn’t want Ian to know where Olivia is, but instead of going through an intermediary — maybe Dr Ruben, the pharmacologist who knows his secret and creates his special blend sedative — Jason decides to visit Olivia in person. We already know that Jason can see flashes of Ian’s memories, what’s to say it doesn’t work both ways? It seems very reckless, even if we can’t be sure that this is how Ian found Olivia and her (and possibly Ian/Jason’s) son.
(The people around him don’t seem to be much more reliable, though; it doesn’t seem particularly smart to let Jason operate so soon after a supposed bout of hyperglycaemia and the ‘adverse reaction’ he seemingly had when insulin was administered.)
Though I found this pilot quite strong, I must admit that I didn’t particularly like Jason. He seemed quite bland and, and while the struggles of trying to keep Ian at bay were obvious, there was nothing else to make Jason himself interesting. Ian, on the other hand, has potential. It’ll be interesting to see just why Jason and Olivia are so scared of him. He seems like an ass, but there’s nothing so far to demonstrate that he’s particularly terrifying. (Given that he loved Olivia, we can speculate that Ian perhaps didn’t intend to cause the injury that left her with the scar on her head. If he did, well, then we can begin to understand just why they’re so fearful of him.)
Overall, a solid pilot episode. While it wasn’t particularly gripping, it shows potential. I’m looking forward to tuning in next week, how about you?
What did you think of this pilot episode of Do No Harm? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!