Do No Harm
(NBC, Thursdays 10/9 Central)
Jan 29, 2013
Do No Harm is not your garden-variety hospital procedural. It is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde set in a hospital. Steven Pasquale plays both Dr. Jason Cole who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder and Ian Price, Dr. Cole's alter ego. From 8:25 a.m. to 8:25 p.m. Dr. Cole is a likeable neurosurgeon. From 8:25 p.m. to 8:25 a.m. he turns into Price, who takes his cues from American Psycho's Patrick Bateman. Cole tries to keep Price in check by experimenting with a drug that knocks him out before Price can take over. The practicality of this "solution," considering the round-the-clock nature of a hospital doctor's schedule isn't very well thought out on Cole's part. That's not the issue, however, as Price has developed an immunity to the drug. Cole's intention is to find a way to live with Price and eventually destroy him. Price's intention is to destroy Cole's life so he can be the sole personality.
Pasquale does a good job of switching between the two. The problem is, the whole premise plays out a bit silly. There is enough story with just the Cole half of the personality to make a serviceable hospital show. He's got the attractive love interest (Alana De La Garza), the risk-taking boss (Phylicia Rashad), the weasly nemesis (Michael Esper), and the not-over-each-other-yet ex-wife (Ruta Gedmintas). He's also revolutionary enough in his neurosurgical career to provide fresh episodic situations.
Instead, Cole and Price leave each other video messages on his/their phone that are in turns threatening and taunting. Their lives melt into each other creating one confusing mess. Why does De La Garza agree to have sex with "Cole" who is A) in a gross motel and who has B) trashed the place? Why a blow-up doll and a (real) golden retriever in the passenger seat of a stolen convertible? Why do we care so little about the answers to those questions?
In order for Do No Harm to make sense, it has to scale back on the far-out scenarios. And if it does that, then the premise disappears and we're left with a generic color-by-numbers doctor program. (www.nbc.com/do-no-harm)
Author rating: 3.5/10
Average reader rating: 4/10