'Do No Harm' Producer on Pilot Tweaks and Being NBC's Latest Split-Personality Show

Do No Harm Panel Winter TCA - H 2013

NBC is hoping to cash in with the new Steven Pasquale drama, Do No Harm, launching Jan. 31.

It's the latest in a long line of the network's recent attempts at the split-personality space, with 2008's My Own Worst Enemy and 2012's Awake both lasting roughly nine to 13 episodes. Executive producer David Schulner looked to those past attempts to better craft and tackle the dual-personality nature of Do No Harm. (The series, he said, was pitched as Dexter meets House.) "I took lessons from those shows," he said at Television Critics Association's winter press tour session Sunday, before touting, "This is going to be a show you want to watch."

Do No Harm centers on a hotshot medical doctor Jason Cole, who at 8:25 p.m. every evening is overtaken by his darker/more dangerous alter ego, Ian Price. Twelve hours later at 8:25 a.m., Jason assumes his body again.

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While the significance of the 8:25 switch will be addressed by the final episode of the first season, the idea that Jason and Ian each are "on" for 12 hours without any semblance of rest (or sleep) was something the writers had to think through.

"Ian does sleep. He's not always out. ... He's catnapped," said Schulner. The consequence of being "on" for 24 hours will be addressed at some point: "He's burning the candle on both ends, and that can't last."

There were also a few tweaks made from the original pilot to the episode that will air later this month. One of the major changes included a rape line that was taken out during a compromising sexual encounter between Ian and Dr. Lena Solis (Alana de la Garza).

"What we realized when doing the series was that the Olivia character played by Ruta Gedmintas, her and Ian have that kind of relationship where she is turned on, attracted to that dark side. For Alana's character, what we realized going through ... that wasn't her," Schulner said.

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There isn't a drastic physical change between Pasquale's Jason and Ian, and that was intentional.

"What we decided was we didn't want to do the classic thing where one guy was clearly a monster," Pasquale explained. "So when the characters intersect it would be [interesting to watch]."

How dark will the Ian character go? "Ian's a little bit like a cat. The cat wants to play with the mouse," Schulner said. "It's a constant cat-and-mouse and chess match."

The new trailer of Do No Harm below:

Do No Harm premieres Jan. 31 at 10 p.m. on NBC.

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