Do No Harm opens with Jamie and Claire arriving at River Run on the riverboat. Jamie is upset that Leslie didn’t get a proper burial and that they will be going to his aunt as beggars. Jocasta welcomes Jamie who hugs her. Jocasta reminisces about when Jamie was a wee lad and then Jamie introduces Claire to her who insists Claire call her Auntie. Then it is Young Ian’s turn. He brings her flowers which she doesn’t realize he has. Ulysses steps forward to tell her about the flowers and she confesses it has been a while since she’s been able to see.
Inside Jamie explains what happened to them and Jocasta extends her condolences and tells Jamie it isn’t his fault and they have a home with her. Jocasta plans to throw a party to introduce them to the locals. She knows all about his life as Jenny has been keeping her updated. Jocasta’s flattery is a little hard for Jamie to take but she says she has no one else to lavish her attentions on.
We hear a door open and Jamie, Claire and Jocasta all recoil at the smell. Young Ian tells them a creature he never saw before sprayed Rollo. Jocasta tells everyone he encountered a skunk and that her friend John Quincy Myers will know how to handle the situation. And Ulysses shows Claire and Jamie to their room.
On the way upstairs, Jamie and Claire are talking about Jocasta and how much she’s like his mother.
Inside their room, some maids are waiting. Claire introduces herself to them and we meet Phaedre and Mary who quickly remove themselves from the room. Claire stares out the window at the many slaves who are working the plantation. Jamie reminds her things will be different in the future.
Outside, John Quincy Myers introduces himself to Young Ian and teaches him how to get rid of the skunk smell. John tells Ian about the local Natives and Young Ian concludes they should much like the Highlanders of Scotland.
Out on the porch, Jamie is asking about the plantation. Jocasta says Hector always consulted her on decisions which Jamie thinks sounds familiar. Jamie tentatively asks how many slaves she has and she tells him she has 152 which she bought in lots to keep families together.
Claire seems very upset listening to Jocasta say she considers her slaves friends and wonders if her slaves feel the same since they have no choice in their life. Claire goes off to replenish her herbs.
Ulysses brings news of Lt. Wolff’s arrival. Wolff has come to offer advice on growing wheat along the river as the military is always keen to buy. Jamie points out wheat wouldn’t flourish along the river but rice would and Jocasta comments on it bringing a tidy profit and would keep the slaves feed. Wolff is not excited about Jamie’s presence and informs Jocasta he will return when she’s not hosting kin.
Later, Phaedre is altering a dress for Claire while Jocasta sits nearby. She wonders if Claire is fair which seems something of an insult as though she’s calling her a dumb blonde??? Claire says she’s dark brown hair. Phaedre tells Jocasta she’s not washed out in the white dress and that Claire is tall with a good bosom. Jocasta asks Claire what she thinks of River Run and Claire tries to be diplomatic but Jocasta can tell she harbors disapproval and Claire tells her about her views on slavery. Jocasta wonders if she’s a Quaker and Claire says she healed some and learned about their beliefs. She agrees with them.
Jocasta comments that Jenny says Claire is headstrong and opinionated which Claire says the same can be said of Jenny. Jocasta seems impressed saying Claire has the fire of a MacKenzie.
At Jocasta’s gathering Claire is speaking with some guests including Farquard Campbell. One guest is annoyed by the Regulators and the Natives and wonders if anything can be made of this new land. Claire wonders if someone can blame them for wanting their voices heard and Young Ian comments the Native people were her first. Wolff reminds Young Ian that the Romans taught the savages of Europe civility and they mean to do so in the colonies.
Jocasta makes a speech and announces that she will be making Jamie her heir and the current master. Jamie is stunned but Claire is upset.
That night Claire and Jamie discuss it and Jamie says her announcing it without asking him is something Colum or Dougal would do. Claire says she cannot own slaves which is something Jamie agrees with and wonders if they can work to set them free and change a small part of their world. Claire warns him that something bad could happen.
The next day Jamie is in a meeting with Jocasta and Farquard. He tells them he has a condition of taking on the estate. He wishes to free the slaves which is a shock to Farquard. Jocasta asks him for his wisdom on the matter. Farquard then explains to Jamie that he must prove each slave has performed and meritorious services, such as saving a life, to the county court. Then you must post a bond and financial sureties which is 100 pounds sterling per slave. Jamie is determined to go down this road even if he has to find a way to increase the revenue at River Run.
Farquard also tells him the other plantation owners will not take kindly to such an endeavor. Other who have shared his opinions have disappeared never to be heard from again. Jamie will not be swayed.
Jamie and Claire discuss the obstacles and wonders if they should reconsider the land grant. They could have land free of owning slaves. They could recruit settlers and live in peace which for a time. Claire reminds him the war will come and Jamie will be obligated to the Governor.
Jocasta, Ulysses, Farquard and Phaedre come out onto the porch and Ulysses tells Jamie Jocasta needs his help. Jocasta says it is a matter of bloodshed. A slave cut off the overseer’s ear. Jamie and Claire go out to deal with the matter.
Farquard, Jamie and Claire find Rufus (the slave in question) impaled on a large timber hook. Jamie forces the men to bring Rufus down and Farquard tells Byrnes it was a matter of the law and he had no right to take matters into his own hands.
Claire has Rufus brought to the house where she intends to operate on him. She orders Mary and Phaedre to bring her supplies and then Young Ian appears to assist. Claire gives Rufus laudanum before she begins her operation. In the end, she manages to save Rufus from his wound but Jocasta and Ulysses appear where Jamie explains the circumstances. Jocasta tries to warn them trying to save Rufus isn’t a good idea because Rufus must be hanged for his crime.
Wolff and Farquard are there to inform them Jamie’s actions aren’t wise and they need to rectify the situation. Wolff warns if they continue down this path both Jamie and Claire will be arrested for breaking the law. Jocasta intervenes and asks that she be allowed to make things right.
In the dining room, Claire cares for Rufus who has come to wondering where he is. Young Ian tells him he at the main house. Claire tells him her husband is the heir to the estate as if it matters. Rufus tries to explain his fate is sealed but Claire ignores his words for her ideals insisting what happened wasn’t right (she’s correct of course).
Rufus tells Claire and Young Ian how he and his sister were taken from their home in Africa and forced onto ships where they were then taken to the Colonies and sold into slavery. Claire asks Young Ian to have someone come help her take Rufus to her room and then sends him to bed.
As Claire cleans up after her doctoring, Ulysses appears and asks after Rufus. Claire informs him Rufus survived the surgery and she plans to see he lives. Ulysses is visibly upset but offers to clean up for her. Claire asks for his opinion and he tells her saving Rufus’s soul is the only thing to be done for him now. He warns her things will not go well for Rufus when the overseers come and that it puts everyone in danger.
Meanwhile, Jamie asks if there is another way and Jocasta basically tells him Claire and he have backed them into a corner.
Jamie goes upstairs to tell Claire Rufus is going to be executed and there is no other way. Claire wants to get Rufus away as if he escaped but Jamie tells her the other slaves that were there for Rufus’s crime will be punished in his absence.
A mob is forming outside and both Jamie and Claire are concerned. Jocasta tells him River Run will be burned down if they don’t deliver Rufus.
Jamie asks Claire if she can aid Rufus into death so he not suffer what the mob will do to him.
Jocasta goes out to assure the mob that Rufus will be turned over to them to pay for his crimes.
Rufus calls out for Claire who tells him she will make him a tea which will help him sleep. Claire pours some aconite into tea which she then gives to Rufus. She stays by his side and asks about his sister. She wants to know what they liked to do as children. They liked to fish for butter catfish in the river. He tells Claire he dreams of seeing his sister again one day before he dies.
Jamie carries Rufus’s body outside and places him on the edge of the porch. Claire and he stand back with Jocasta, Young Ian, Phaedre, Mary and Ulysses to watch as the overseer’s string up Rufus’s body.
“Gary Steele, our production designer, designed it and built it. He did a lot of research of period plantations, because people kind of instantly go to antebellum type plantations in the deep south. He wanted to build it more like a plantation of the period, an early colonial plantation.
We found an area that had grass and a thin serpentine pond that ran throughout the property. And it had this perfect little peninsula. We built the façade on it. And what it allowed us to do is build a road, and a front entrance. Then we blued it out. You put the blue screen around the façade. Then you can visual effects in the rest of the house.
We did build a working porch outside, and the first floor is a façade. The wings and the second story are all visual effects.”
-Matthew B. Roberts, Executive Producer