Between the success of In The Heights and taking over the world with Hamilton, visionary Lin-Manuel Maranda had a brief stint on the terrible NBC show Do No Harm — and it could have destroyed his career. Despite making an appearance on House, this role on one of the fastest-cancelled shows in TV history could have done a whole lot of harm to the Broadway deity… had it ever aired a full run of episodes.
What was Do No Harm? Here’s the show’s official summary in full, because oh god how did this ever get beyond the pilot stage?
Dr. Jason Cole (Steven Pasquale, Rescue Me) is a highly respected neurosurgeon who has it all - a lucrative career, confident charm and the gift of compassion. But he also has a deep, dark secret. One morning, after waking up disoriented in a wrecked hotel room amidst near-naked women he’s never seen before, he knows one thing: it happened again. Every night at the same hour, something inside Jason changes, leaving him almost unrecognizable - seductive, devious, borderline sociopathic. This new man is his dangerous alternate personality, who goes by the name Ian Price. For years Jason has battled Ian, keeping him in check with a powerful experimental sedative. But now his - their - body has developed a resistance to the serum, setting Ian free once again. And to make matters worse, after being suppressed for so long, Ian is hell-bent on taking revenge on his oppressor. With everyone Jason cares about at risk - patients, friends, coworkers and even the woman he loves - he must stop Ian once and for all. Will they find some common ground, or will they bring each other down? Hell hath no fury like an alter ego scorned.
You catch all that? Evil multiple personality doctor. That’s right. The show gained some notoriety for having perhaps the worst photoshopped billboards in history. Behold:
Get it? Because of his split personalities. His evil side hides.. in his.. doctor hands? Goddamn this is embarrassing, even for 2013. This looks like the kind of thing that would be a fake TV show in a TV show about bad TV shows. Did Jack okay this for air in the final season of 30 Rock?
Which brings us back to Miranda. His character was Dr. Ruben Marcado, who would have been another doctor working in the same hospital as our protagonist/antagonist, but luckily the show never made it that far.
See, Do No Harm filmed 13 episodes, but only aired two. Miranda’s character barely made it to screen despite having been written a large arc that was supposed to lead to a big death/cliffhanger. Luckily for him, his face was barely ever on screen, and certainly never superimposed over a picture of his own hands by some idiot exec who taught himself photoshop. Hell, the website at NBC never even bothered to fill out the information on his bio page for the show.
Would we ever take Alexander Hamilton seriously if the world at large first met him as this guy?
In an interview with Grantland, Maranda reveals why he took the job:
… Do No Harm was like a writing residency for me. It was a bad NBC show and I was sixth on the call sheet and I took the job because I was like, it shoots in Philly and you’re going to be killed off in the 11th episode. So it was like signing a potential seven-year contract, which I was not interested in doing or going to L.A. I wanted to have time to write. I would have days free in Philly to write.
So there you have it: Philly Paid Writing Retreat. So maybe there would be no Hamilton without Do No Harm?
NAH. We don’t have to go that think-piecey. I would never do that to you.
Incidentally, if you have interest in subjecting yourself to more than four and a half hours of Do No Harm, NBC was “kind” enough to upload the first five episodes. And according to Twitter, the entire run of Do No Harm may have been offloaded in foreign markets: