Do No Harm is being called a procedural by its network, but to be honest, we would take offense and disagreement with that. At the center of the series, as executive producer David Schulner and star Steven Pasquale, though is this man with two very separate, distinct, and really, polar opposite personalities, and each week is about the balance between repression and covering up and pretending to maintain some sense of normalcy. Yes, one of Pasquale's personalities is a doctor, but the show does not live and breathe entirely in the medical world, as his alter, Ian, takes him into the dregs of the criminal community.
"I want it to be fun, thrilling, a roller coaster ride...I want it to be dangerous and sexy," Schulner said, noting that his pitch to the network was basically "Dexter meets House."
"I think you go along for the ride. Don't tax yourselves too much. Tune in, have fun. It's a high-concept premise in a very grounded world, that's what we're going for."
Do No Harm will showcase both personalities of Pasquale's character, who has a fictitious condition loosely based on D.I.D, equally and frequently as the episodes go on.
"The sort of big challenge was how can I play them both in a way that Jason can live in Ian's world and Ian can live in Jason's world for a long point and keep them so they're not so violently different that it's believable," Pasquale said.
"We keep a gray area so the audience knows [which guy is in the scene], but the other people don't. [Jason and Ian] are wired different, and they have different personalities, but behaviorally speaking you wouldn't notice."
The pilot episode deals heavily with the extremes and showcases Ian as a drug-addled, sexually promiscuous aggressor, and Pasquale admitted that the threat of Ian will inform the rest of the story "so, so much" as he truly is "sociopathic in every way."
"Jason's just as smart as Ian is and is sometimes two steps ahead so there are traps in place...but Ian is not toothless. There is a true danger to him, and he is truly menacing," Schulner added.
Ian comes out every evening at 8:25 p.m., a time that Schulner noted is extremely important and intentional in the mythology of the duality of this man. On one hand, he was emphatic about wanting a twelve-hour "shift" change, and he wanted markers that would allow Jason to hold down his job. However, he promised more information would be revealed in the season finale that explains the true signficance.
However, Schulner wanted to note that self-preservation is always foremost, as well. Ultimately, these two very different personalities live in the same body, and therefore nothing too drastic or permanent can be done against each other.
"Ian's a little bit like a cat. The cat wants to play with that mouse, but he doesn't want to kill it because what fun would that be?" Schulner said.
"When you switch from alter to alter, your brain goes into a fugue state, so when Jason's not Ian, his brain is asleep, and vice versa. While the body's burned down, the mind is not, and we do deal with that. He's burning the candle at both ends, and that can't last."
Want more Do No Harm news and interviews? Follow LA TV Insider Examiner on Twitter!