Is it possible to live two separate lives without either of them intersecting? That's part of the premise behind NBC's new show "Do No Harm," which followed one man's quest to keep his complicated double life under wraps. Unfortunately, the premise was promising but the execution was rather predictable in the end.
"Do No Harm" followed Dr. Jason Cole (Steven Pasquale) who was a respected surgeon by day, but he turned into the lethal Ian Price who was the exact opposite of Jason in every way. He had been suffering from mental illness for a very long time, but he kept it hidden from the rest of the world. There were only a few people that knew Jason's secret, which included his ex-girlfriend Olivia Flynn (Ruta Gedmintas) who had ties to both personalities no matter how hard she tried to run away. For five years, Cole had been medicating himself with the help of Dr. Ruben Marcado (Lin-Manuel Miranda), but Cole had developed a resistance to Marcado's efforts. Without Marcado's medical help, Cole was forced to hide his other identity from his suspicious professional rival Dr. Kenneth Jordan (Michael Esper) and his highly respected boss Dr. Vanessa Young (Phylicia Rashad). Jason was also developing an interest in his colleague Dr. Lena Solis (Alana De La Garza) who caught a glimpse of Ian's darkest desires one night. Will Lena and Jason's relationship continue to progress once she finds out the truth about his other personality? Will Jason be able to control Ian once and for all?
In terms of questions, the show has posed quite a few that won't likely be answered for quite a while. The show's series premiere had set up a promising story, but it was marred by the way it was told. The story was otherwise pretty routine, except for the fact that the main character had a dark secret. The episode had mostly focused on Jason's work life and only gave viewers some minor glimpses into his personal life. It would've been better to have introduced viewers to Jason's world outside of work before submerging them into the routine medical cases he dealt with on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, this was also what ruined Fox's now-defunct "The Mob Doctor" before it truly had a chance to begin. "Do No Harm" would've been better suited on a cable network where the writers could truly get away exploring Jason's darkest desires and not have to worry about network sensors getting in the way. Since that won't likely happen, future episodes should allow equal time for both of Cole's personalities to have equal amount of billing. Once viewers get a sense of Pasquale's Jason, the show should allow Jason's work and personal relationships to come into play after they get an idea of what the character was truly capable of. Only time will tell if that's the case.
As for breakout stars, Pasquale and Rashad were strong standouts in the premiere for different reasons. Pasquale had the challenging task of playing two very different characters. He seemed up for the task, but the premiere didn't really allow viewers to get a true sense of both Jason and Ian. Pasquale managed to embody Jason with the right amount of innocence and rebellion without going too far over the edge. The real mystery was Pasquale's portrayal of Ian, which was mainly a seemingly one note bogeyman who only offered trouble to those who crossed his path. Let's hope that future episode will give more of Ian's backstory to shed some light on Jason's alter ego. Rashad, on the other hand, makes the most out of a very limited role as the tough talking authority figure who only showed up to talk some sense into Jason. She proved that her strong screen presence could overcome even the strictest of script limitations. The show's writers would be wise to utilize Rashad's skills to the best of their ability in any way they could, even if they made her an accomplice to Jason's powerful secret. Every leading man needs someone to protect their secrets. Hopefully, Rashad's character will be the one for the job when the time is right.
"Do No Harm" premieres on January 31st and airs Thursday at 10:00 PM on NBC.
Verdict: A show that had a promising premise, but its familiar execution had the potential to ruin it before it truly began.
TV Score: 1.5 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)