Damages (TV series)


Damages (TV series)
Damages
Damages title card.jpg
Damages intertitle
Format Legal drama
Psychological thriller
Crime
Mystery
Created by Todd A. Kessler
Glenn Kessler
Daniel Zelman
Starring Glenn Close
Rose Byrne
Tate Donovan
Ted Danson
Željko Ivanek
Noah Bean
Anastasia Griffith
Peter Facinelli
John Doman
Marcia Gay Harden
Mario Van Peebles
Timothy Olyphant
William Hurt
Campbell Scott
Martin Short
Lily Tomlin
Len Cariou
Ben Shenkman
John Goodman
Chris Messina
Dylan Baker
Judd Hirsch
Fisher Stevens
Ryan Phillipe
Jenna Elfman
John Hannah
Janet McTeer
Opening theme "When I Am Through with You"
by The V.L.A.
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 49 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Todd A. Kessler
Glenn Kessler
Daniel Zelman
Producer(s) KZK Productions
Location(s) New York City, New York
Running time approx. 43 minutes, approx.60 minutes for season premieres and season finales
approx. 50 minutes (since season 4)
Production company(s) Sony Pictures TV
Broadcast
Original channel FX (2007-2010)
Audience Network (2011-present)
Picture format 480i, 576i (TV)
480p (DVD)
720p (FX HD; BBC HD; AXN HD)
1080p (Blu-Ray)
Audio format DD 5.1 (DVD, HDTV)
Dolby TrueHD (Blu-Ray)
Stereo Surround (TV)
Original run July 24, 2007 – present
External links
Website

Damages is an American television drama series created by the writing and production trio of Daniel Zelman and brothers Glenn and Todd A. Kessler (collectively known as KZK). It is broadcast in the United States on the DirecTV channel Audience Network after originally airing on FX and is produced by the creators' own production company, KZK Productions. It premiered on July 24, 2007.

The series revolves around the brilliant, ruthless lawyer, Patty Hewes (Glenn Close), her protégée, Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne), and the law firm, Hewes & Associates (located in New York City). Each season features a major case that Hewes and her firm take on, while also examining a chapter of the complicated relationship between Ellen and Patty. The series is also known for its depiction of the season-long cases both from the law firm's point of view and from the target's point of view. The series has attracted many stars to play characters on the side against Hewes, including Ted Danson, William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Martin Short, Lily Tomlin, and John Goodman. Close and first-season star Zeljko Ivanek won Emmys for their performances, while several other actors have been nominated.

Damages has received critical acclaim and numerous television awards, including a Golden Globe and several Emmys. On July 19, 2010 it was announced that DirecTV had picked up Damages for two more seasons, to consist of 10 episodes each, to air on their Audience Network.[1] Season 4 premiered on July 13, 2011.[2] The show is noted for its plot twists, nonlinear narrative, technical merit, season-long storylines, and the acting ability of its cast.

Contents

Production

Conception

Creators Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman devised the series as the relationship between a mentor and a protégée; two women in powerful positions. Although the initial story idea did not have the series set in the legal arena, the creators chose it because they felt the legal world included women who commanded power and influence.[3] The concept was inspired by the creators' interaction with their superiors along with their experiences in the entertainment industry.[4] The series steers away from usual legal dramas, where storyline is set inside the courtroom and instead describes the characters' lives and interactions outside the courtroom and the behind-the-scenes power maneuvering and manipulation.[4] About the characters of the show Zelman notes, "We don't look at any of the characters as good or bad or anything like that. What really motivated us to write about this world, first and foremost, was our interest in power dynamics, the dynamics of power in society."[5]

Writing

The series was designed with the main character, Patty Hewes, tackling one case per season.[6] The first season of the series focuses on a class-action lawsuit against the fraudulent multi-billionaire CEO of a defunct company. The plot was inspired by various corporate scandals and characters involved in them,[7] most notably from the 2001 scandal surrounding Enron.[8] The second season deals with the energy industry and related environmental issues. The story is influenced by recent and ongoing environmental cases in the United States in the mining industry and also by the events of the 2001 California energy crisis.[9] The writers were guided by environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who shared his experience in the field with various corporations and CEOs.[10] The third season is largely based on the 2009 epic Bernie Madoff scandal, with veiled references and similarities to the case of the collapse of the Stanford Financial Group of companies and their use of Antigua's opaque banking laws.

The series uses nonlinear narrative while employing flashforwards, foreshadowing and red herring narration techniques. This approach has given the writers flexibility in storytelling.[11] The narrative handles multiple plot lines and has loose ends. Zelman explains, "We know where we’re going. We have tent-pole moments that we’re building to all the way through to the end, and it’s very clear to us where we want to end up. [However], we want to leave room for improvisation..."[7] While the two different time-frames format was initially intended for the first season, in preparation for the second season the producers felt that the nonlinear format had become a signature of the series and decided to continue it for the second season.[12] With the serialized format of the show decreasing the viewership,[11] Todd Kessler contended that the second season would contain stand-alone storylines to make the show more accessible.[13]

Casting

When creators Kesslers and Zelman pitched the show to executives at FX, network president John Landgraf suggested that they should consider Glenn Close for the main character Patty Hewes.[14] Close had earlier worked on FX's The Shield and had conveyed to the network officials that she would be interested to be cast as a lead in another show, so long as the show was set in New York City.[15] After a three-hour meeting with the creators, Close accepted the role, impressed particularly by the powerful persona of the character "as the head of her own law firm [...] in a male-dominated world."[7] In preparation for the role, Close met with several female attorneys in New York, including Mary Jo White, Lorna Scofield and Patricia Hynes.[14] The creators chose Ted Danson for the part of Arthur Frobisher, a corrupt billionaire CEO, because of his role in the 1979 film The Onion Field.[15] Danson was immediately attracted to the project after he learned that Close would be playing the lead role.[16] As part of preparation, Danson studied the collapse of Enron by watching documentaries such as The Smartest Guys in the Room and meeting CEOs of various Fortune 500 corporations.[17] The producers also suggested that Danson consult Close's acting coach Harold Guskin. Danson was initially hesitant about this suggestion, but found the consultation extremely helpful.[18]

Cast members Rose Byrne and Tate Donovan, portraying Ellen Parsons and Tom Shayes respectively, secured their parts through auditions. Byrne had been unavailable the first time she was approached because she was shooting the film 28 Weeks Later, but was able to audition later when the part had not yet been cast.[8] Both Byrne and Donovan prepared for their roles by consulting lawyers and attending court trials.[19] According to producers, the characters of Ellen's fiancé David Connor and his sister Katie were the hardest to cast.[3] Noah Bean, who got the role of David, said he "gave an awful first audition," but managed to get the part when he was given a second chance while waiting for an elevator.[3] When British actor Anastasia Griffith auditioned for the part of Katie Connor, the producers were hesitant to have a British actor play an American, especially since they already had an Australian (Byrne) playing an American. However Griffith convinced the producers by speaking in an American accent throughout their follow-up meeting.[20] At the time of casting, Griffith's role was intended only for three episodes, but was extended after the producers realized the success of the character.[4]

Title Sequence

The title sequence, set to the V.L.A. song "When I Am Through With You," depicts images of New York City public sculpture, including "The Glory of Commerce," atop Grand Central Terminal, "Civic Fame" atop the Manhattan Municipal Building, and "Asia" in front of the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House. The frieze of the New York County Supreme Court Building is also shown, inscribed with a quote from George Washington, "The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government." The title sequence, produced by the graphic design firm BigStar, was nominated for a Smithsonian’s Cooper–Hewitt, National Design Museum People's Design Award.

Plot

Season One

The show begins at what appears to be the end. A young woman, Ellen Parsons, is found running through the streets half naked and covered in blood. Investigation by the police reveals that her fiancé, David, has been bludgeoned to death in their apartment, and Ellen is quickly arrested.

The scene shifts to six months earlier when Ellen, a newly minted lawyer, is being courted for prestigious jobs. She turns down an offer to work with the defense attorney Hollis Nye (Philip Bosco) in favor of working for notorious lawyer Patty Hewes. When Nye finds out about this, he warns Ellen that working for Patty will change her.

Ellen soon becomes engrossed in the major case which Patty's firm, Hewes and Associates, is pursuing. Hewes and Associates has been retained in a class action suit by the former employees of billionaire Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson). In a case reminiscent of Enron, Frobisher is accused of insider trading and lying to his employees about the health of his company even as he unloaded hundreds of millions of his own stock, depriving his employees of their retirements and benefits.

Early on in the series Patty shows that she is willing to go to extreme, even unethical and illegal, lengths to win her case. One such instance is when she has the pet dog of a reluctant witness killed in a manner which makes it look as if Frobisher is responsible. This action emboldens the witness to testify against Frobisher.

As the season progresses Ellen becomes more and more involved in the case, and in Patty's shady dealings. Part of this is due to Ellen's personal connections to the case. Her fiancé's sister turns out to be an important witness in the case. For most of the season Ellen skirts the edge of what is unethical, but eventually comes to cross that line.

As Ellen becomes more and more devoted to the case, her relationship with her fiancé becomes strained. The situation is not helped when Patty betrays his sister. Eventually Ellen and David tire of Patty and Ellen publicly leaves Hewes and Associates. However, she still has an interest in the case and soon becomes personally embroiled in it again.

Throughout the first season, the series plays with time. The narrative switches back and forth between a traditional linear narrative of events happening in "the past" and a more temporally disjointed narrative of events happening in "the present." The main plot focus of these flashes was the murder of Ellen's fiancé David and the apparent attack on Ellen that same day when she was staying at Patty's apartment. The flashes served to increase speculation among viewers since the audience was privy to information about the future which the characters were not. Until the final episode, speculation over the identity of the murderer switched between a whole host of characters including Ellen, Patty, Frobisher, and a stalker whom David acquired.

By the end of the first season the main narrative of the show has "caught up" with the flash forwards and most of the questions raised by them are resolved. The murder charges against Ellen are dropped. The identities of David's murderer and Ellen's attacker are revealed to the audience, and the Frobisher case is resolved with Frobisher giving up two billion dollars of his own fortune to the employees, in exchange for no criminal charges being filed against him. He is later shot and left for dead by a former employee he double crossed earlier by manipulating him for information.

Season Two

Glenn Close, Rose Byrne, and Tate Donovan returned as regulars for the second season of Damages. Season 1 recurring star Anastasia Griffith became a regular and season 1 regular Ted Danson returned for five episodes. William Hurt, Timothy Olyphant and Marcia Gay Harden joined the cast.

Season 2 begins with once naive young attorney Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) talking to an unknown person off-screen. Suddenly, she pulls a gun into the frame and pulls the trigger twice.

Six months earlier, a mysterious scientist named Daniel Purcell (William Hurt) sends Patty (Glenn Close) a box of documents after her victory over Arthur Frobisher. Purcell asks for Patty's help, proclaiming he is being threatened, but she refuses. The following night, Purcell's wife, Christine (Paige Turco), turns up dead and Patty agrees to help him. As the case of the murder unfolds, Patty realizes that there is a major conspiracy taking place between Purcell's scientific firm and a huge energy corporation, Ultima National Resources. As they continue to make headway the case rolls on. Over time, the presumed killer of Purcell's wife is arrested and the corporation's environmental hazards are exposed. When Patty is moments away from bringing UNR down, however, Daniel turns on her in open court and defends UNR. We later realize that Purcell has been working for UNR all along and he is indirectly yet knowingly responsible for the murder of his wife. UNR CEO Walter Kendrick (John Doman) is revealed to be merging his company with another corporation for reasons far more complicated, bizarre and secretive than meet the eye. When Patty realizes this, she decides to use a plaintiff of the UNR lawsuit to stop what could happen. She is then able to convince Frobisher (Ted Danson) to become involved, to repair his image. Meanwhile, unbeknown to Patty and the remaining plaintiffs, Kendrick's attorney, Claire Maddox (Marcia Gay Harden), had an affair with Purcell. Claire at this time is unaware of Kendrick's involvement in Christine's murder.

The mystery of the murder later comes to a close when it is discovered that Purcell choked his wife when she threatened to tell the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about UNR's contamination. He thought he had killed her, but she was still alive when Deacon (Darrell Hammond) arrives at the house. Kendrick tells Deacon to finish the job. He does just that, leaving Purcell to think he had murdered his wife. Purcell cannot bear the guilt and confesses to police that he murdered his wife.

Ellen, meanwhile, still under the impression that Patty had tried to have her killed, is working with Agent Werner (Glenn Kessler) and Agent Harrison (Mario van Peebles) of the FBI to bring her down. The audience discovers it was possible that it was Uncle Pete who commissioned Ellen's attempted murder. In grief counseling, Ellen meets and befriends a mysterious loner named Wes Krulik (Timothy Olyphant) and begins to confide in him. Wes, however, is secretly working with Rick Messer, the police detective on Frobisher's payroll who had murdered David Connor and who is still working for Frobisher. Krulik also has a shrine of newspaper articles on Arthur Frobisher, articles about David's murder, and articles from Ellen's arrest, as well as a large variety of guns and other weapons. As the season closes, Wes refuses to follow Detective Messer's order to kill Ellen, as Ellen has begun to suspect police involvement. As Messer tries to lure Ellen into a trap, Wes executes Messer in the season finale.

When Katie (Anastasia Griffith) re-enters Ellen's life, she begins to bring up old conflicts as well as new issues. Katie recognized a police officer as the man who tried to kill her. She told Ellen, who enlisted Patty's help. They got nowhere, so Katie went to the police dept. and filed a report against him. This led to an argument between Ellen and Katie, with Katie claiming that if Ellen had never met Patty, David would still be alive. Katie questions Ellen's reasoning for going back to Patty. Ellen attempts to explain that she has her reasons, reasons that Katie would not understand. When Messer realizes that his partner's cover has been blown, he shoots and kills him.

Frobisher returns as a plaintiff against UNR for Patty in an effort to "get his name back". This creates an opportunity for Ellen to find new information and eventually link Frobisher to Detective Messer's agency. Wes recovers this information and lets Messer know, and he threatens Frobisher's life, forcing him to pull out of the case. Messer's problems continue. However, as Wes begins to develop feelings for Ellen, he wonders if Wes can be trusted. When he tells Wes to take Ellen out, Wes refuses until Messer brings up his past and Wes feels he has no choice but to comply.

Walter Kendrick is now initiating a merger which is discovered to be a scheme to make money based on manipulated energy fraud. His partner, Dave Pell (Clarke Peters), has much more incentive than Kendrick because he has a relationship with Patty's husband Phil (Michael Nouri). Pell makes Phil a tempting offer, which Phil accepts. It is at that time that Phil's extramarital affair comes to light. When it is leaked to the press, Patty kicks him out of their house and Phil is no longer considered a candidate. We also find that Pell has been talking to the FBI with information on Patty. Subsequently, when Agent Werner's cover is blown, Pell executes Harrison.

Kendrick's illegal activities continue. When Claire attacks Patty, Patty mentions Fin Garrity (Kevin Corrigan), the energy trader being used by Walter and Dave. Claire begins to realize she is being used in a conspiracy and asks for the assistance of Daniel. Claire lets the idea of power get the best of her, realizing she could head up UNR. A suspicious Kendrick catches her having sexual relations with Daniel. Kendrick uses this to get Claire thrown out of UNR, and she immediately goes to Patty saying, "I want you to destroy him." Claire tells Patty that she can trust Daniel Purcell. Patty therefore successfully uses Purcell to crack the energy codes which gives Patty enough evidence to testify against UNR in court.

Tate Donovan returns as Patty's partner Tom Shayes. After he is given an infant mortality case which the FBI wanted Patty to take in order to bring her down, the witness asked Tom for some money to hold her over until the trial or she would go to another attorney. He was about to hand over the money until Patty heard about the bribe and convinced Tom to join her in the case against UNR. While chasing a lead to find out more information on Fin Garrity, Tom is propositioned by a call girl. It is unknown whether Tom gave in to her advances. Despite being named a partner with Patty, he is still left in the dark when it comes to certain issues regarding the case. Tom's wife also just gave birth to a son this season.

Patty realizes that victory in the UNR case relies on the GPS code from Walter Kendrick's Cadillac to be entered into evidence. Because the car was stolen to retrieve the codes, it cannot be entered into evidence. To fix this, Patty puts Ellen up to the task of bribing the judge. But Patty soon takes back the request and gives the job to Tom. After Ellen and Agent Werner were planning to use this to bring down Patty, they target Tom and take him into custody, citing his almost-bribe with Agent Hawkins in the infant mortality case as the reason, while he is on his way to the hospital where his wife is giving birth. Ellen convinces Tom to wear a wire and he goes back to Patty and turns down the job of bribing the judge, and urging Patty not to do so either. Angry, Patty fires Tom for letting her down.

In the season finale, Ellen convinces Patty to bribe the judge after the judge makes it clear that in the current state of the case, he will not allow the evidence of the stolen SUV (a subtle hint to Patty's firm that he needs a payoff). Ellen feels she has Patty setup and arranges with Agent Werner to monitor the payoff. Meanwhile Patty confronts Fin Garrity, the energy trader involved with UNR. This sets off a chain reaction between Garrity, Kendrick, and Patty and which causes Garrity to seek out Patty as she is taking the bribe to hand over to Ellen at Ellen's hotel room. In the run-up to the final confrontation between Patty and Ellen (alluded to in flash forwards all season), Patty makes a deal with Pell. Pell will call off the FBI and reveals Ellen to be the insider working for the Feds. Patty gets Pell to hand over the data that UNR is using toxic chemicals. In return, Patty will drop the energy trading angle of the case. She also sets up Ellen as the fall guy for bribing the judge. Ellen, meanwhile, works a deal with Tom, procuring a handgun in the process, after Wes refuses to get her one.

Ellen confronts Patty about her actions from season one. She has evidence from Uncle Pete's wife that she feels is proof Patty set her up to be killed. However, when she hands the evidence to Patty, the folder is shown to hold only a message that the Feds are watching, not the evidence of Patty's involvement with Ellen's attempted murder. Ellen fires two shots at Patty, but instead of aiming for Patty, she aims at the camera installed by the FBI. She then gets Patty's confession that she indeed was responsible for setting up Ellen to be murdered. Satisfied with the confession, Ellen leaves with the bribe for the judge. Patty leaves after Ellen, but is shown to be bleeding. Patty is found in the elevator by Agent Werner, who assumes Ellen shot Patty and leaves to pursue Ellen. Wes, who was monitoring Ellen from across the hall, also finds Patty (right after Agent Werner leaves) and gets her to the hospital. It is revealed that Patty had been stabbed by Fin Garrity on the elevator before her confrontation with Ellen. When Ellen bribes the judge, Agent Werner has her and the Judge arrested for bribery. As they leave, Federal Marshals (led by Tom's sister) arrest Agent Werner for corruption. Tom reveals to Ellen that Patty, apparently, had discovered the FBI scheme and worked with him to record the conversation with Pell. This leads to both Kendrick and Pell getting arrested. The season ends one month later with Patty recovering at home, Tom returning to Patty's firm, and Ellen with a new unrevealed job offer (and out of touch with Hewes and Associates). However, Patty states she feels that Ellen will be in contact with them soon.

Season Three

Glenn Close, Rose Byrne and Tate Donovan returned as regulars for the third season of Damages. Campbell Scott and Martin Short joined the cast, while high-profile actors Lily Tomlin and Keith Carradine were special guest stars.

At the start of Season Three, Patty becomes involved in a car accident. The other car belongs to her partner, Tom Shayes, who is later found dead in a Dumpster. It is implied that Ellen is involved in Tom's imminent death, as her blood-stained bag is found among a homeless man's belongings. Prior to his death, Tom is seen handing Ellen a bag full of money from Leonard Winstone, the Tobin family's attorney. The police discover that Tom had drowned, and died two hours after Patty's accident. When Patty finds out about his death, we see her making a phone call, hysterical, screaming "I told you not to go through with it! I don't understand, I told you to stop!"

When Detective Huntley questions Ellen, he discusses what the homeless man told him and asks if she was romantically involved with Tom. Ellen replies "We were starting a law firm together."

Six months earlier, Patty Hewes is tackling a new case. Appointed a trustee by the government, she has to recover funds from Louis Tobin's fraud (Len Cariou). Tobin is a Bernie Madoff-type who scammed thousands of investors through a Ponzi scheme. Patty believes he is hiding money, and that members of his family, most notably his loyal son Joe (Campbell Scott), Louis' secretive wife Marilyn (Lily Tomlin) and his trusted attorney and son-like figure Leonard Winstone (Martin Short), know much more than they say they know. It is revealed that Tom too, fell victim to the Tobin scheme and lost all savings which makes his involvement in the case not only professional but also personal. Ellen, meanwhile, has stayed true to her promise not to return to Patty, and is working at the District Attorney's office without having seen Patty for nearly a year. Then one day, Ellen meets Tom and as they talk she mentions she has trouble cracking a drug case. Shortly afterward, Ellen's case suddenly gets resolved under suspicious circumstances. Ellen also receives a package from Hewes & Associates which turns out to be an expensive Chanel bag from Patty (the bag we later see blood-stained in the hands of the homeless man). While Hewes & Associates is working on recovering money for the victims, the District Attorney's office is only interested in criminal charges against the Tobin family. Believing Patty is more capable than the district attorney, Ellen starts to secretly cooperate with Patty and Tom and they all get drawn into the Tobin family's world of lies and deceit.

The story starts on Thanksgiving night when Louis Tobin tells his family the truth about the fraud. Knowing he will be imprisoned, Louis Tobin shares his secrets with his much-loved but also weak and disappointing son Joe, whose character we then watch change and succumb to the power of money. The night before his prison sentence is set to begin, Louis Tobin commits suicide, leaving Joe to take responsibility for the disgraced family. Joe finds his father's body along with a potassium mixture his physician supplied earlier that night and an envelope addressed to Patty Hewes. The envelope contains all details about the fraud and instructions on how to recover the hidden money. Joe must decide whether to give the money up and clear his name or risk imprisonment and take care of the family and its future. Not to lose his wife and son and to provide for his mother, Joe chooses money over the truth and begins working with the family's lawyer, Leonard Winstone, to follow his father's conspiracy plan. Leonard, who was much more than just an attorney to Louis Tobin, stays fully loyal to the remaining Tobins and Joe in particular. Already devastated by his father's fraud and death, Joe learns his old flame, Danielle Marchetti (Madchen Amick), had an affair and a daughter with his father and may even have drastic influence on the family's future in reference to Patty finding the money. Joe crumbles under the pressure and starts drinking again, spiraling out of control. Leonard has him followed and is prepared to have Joe locked up in a rehab to prevent a disaster but Joe realizes how important he is to the family now and kicks the habit. His moral integrity starts to get compromised, however, as more obstacles and threats appear and the plan to recover the family fortune is endangered. He almost lets his ex-girlfriend and his father's mistress die, trying to get her out of the country so she could not testify against them.

Danielle doesn't escape death though and after a brief visit by Carol Tobin, Joe's sister, Danielle is found poisoned with the same mixture Louis Tobin used to invoke his heart attack. Joe and Leonard are recovering the money through Louis Tobin's old friend, shady businessman Mr. Zedeck. The money is stashed in a secret account in Antigua in the Caribbean, transported to the US in smaller amounts by a courier and then laundered through a charity. The courier is a young flight attendant and no one else but Danielle Marchetti's daughter Tessa. Tessa makes weekly visits to the bank but seems to think she is signing legitimate documents to receive her salary, unaware of any fraud. Fond of Louis Tobin, whom she believes was her father, she withholds information that could incriminate the family and make her a witness for Patty and the DA.

Joe is pleased with Tessa at first but she's contacted by the lawyers repeatedly Joe expresses concerns about her loyalty. Leonard hastily meets with Marilyn Tobin, telling her that Tessa isn't safe and that Joe needs to know the truth. Marilyn promises to tell Joe that Tessa is, in fact, his daughter. Meanwhile, Tessa is approached by both by Patty and the DA's office and when Tom desperately tries to make her testify and he tells her Tobins killed her mother, she agrees to cooperate. Tessa is found dead together with Patty's private investigator Malcolm in Antigua where they were trying to obtain the documents from the bank. Leonard is seen talking to Marilyn Tobin again, clearly outraged she did not tell Joe the truth, thus causing Tessa's death. With that, each member of the family has caused somebody's death.

After Tessa's demise, Patty is desperate and the case stalls. Patty decides the only way to win is to "rip that family apart". Carol is guilt-ridden over killing Danielle and is the first to be apprehended for her crime. Joe receives information about their attorney Leonard Winstone, who turns out to be a small-time crook with stolen identity and no law degree so Joe fires him. In return, Leonard and his career-criminal father get access to the account and make withdrawals without the knowledge of Joe or Mr. Zedeck. Marilyn Tobin eventually tells Joe that his father only devised the fraud to cover up Joe's mistake which left his investors high and dry. Joe is furious, tells his mother she will never see him or her grandson again and kicks her out. Marilyn gets drunk and sentimental watching old home videos, leaves home, takes a taxi and just asks the driver to take her to the East River and jumps off the bridge. Her body is later found in the water. With nothing left to lose, Joe decides to find Tom whom he blames for losing his house, family, and everything.

In the meantime, Tom has made a deal with Winstone. Tom and Ellen promise Winstone immunity from prosecution in return for money for Tom and the envelope Louis Tobin left on the night of his death. Patty doesn't trust Winstone and has an odd feeling about the arrangement and instructs Tom and Ellen not to go through with the deal. But Tom is motivated by being scammed himself and refuses to let go of his chance for revenge. Waiting for the Tobin lawyer, Tom gets stabbed by Zedeck's associate when he wouldn't give up Winstone's whereabouts but is saved by Leonard in the last moment, injured but able to make his way home. Joe finds Tom, bleeding in the bathroom of his house and after Tom calls Louis Tobin a thief, Joe becomes enraged, drowns Tom in the toilet and puts his body in a dumpster. Joe is arrested and after a short, private talk with Patty, confesses all. Winstone calls Ellen to let her know he left the evidence with the homeless man because he didn't trust Tom or Patty. When he hangs up, we see he has a bag full of money and is boarding a flight. It is when Tom's body has been found that Patty calls Ellen and screams "I told you not to go through with it! I told you to stop!"

Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson) returns, launching his new environmentally-friendly company. He is working with an actor (Craig Bierko), who originally showed little interest in working with him beyond an investment. However, after reading Arthur's book, he decides that he wants to make this into a movie about Frobisher's case against Patty – and he is given the film rights to the book in exchange for being Frobisher's company spokesman. In the season finale, Ellen contacts Wes who comes back to tell her of his previous covert role and execution of Messer, who murdered her fiance David. He offers to help her convict Frobisher, but she rejects his offer on the grounds she does not want Wes to go to prison. Wes nonetheless later corners Frobisher at gunpoint in his car and with Frobisher begging for his life, Wes calls the police to confess everything. Frobisher's last scene is sat in the back of a police car under arrest for murder trying to figure out how he can get off.

The relationship between Patty and Ellen is different than in past seasons, because they have reached a point of clarity and distance between them. The unspoken bond between the two resurfaces as they work on the same case. Throughout the third season, Ellen is trying to prove that she can get to and manipulate Patty although she never really succeeds. Ellen is bitter about being replaced by a new, young and highly ambitious girl, Alex, who is willing to do just about anything to get the job and please Patty. Unaware of the animosity, Alex comes to Ellen for advice and Ellen is sabotaging her every step of the way. Patty eventually gets tired of Alex being so submissive and enslaved and fires her anyway. Patty is trying to come to terms with her son Michael being grown up and leaving home but she cannot overcome the fact he is dating a woman (Jill) at least fifteen years his senior. When Patty finds out the couple is expecting a baby, she decides to step in and offers Jill money to leave her son and the city. Jill returns to accept the offer, asks for five hundred thousand but breaks the conditions of the deal, stays with Michael and spends the money on a luxury car and an apartment. Before long, Jill finds herself in custody for having sex with a minor and about to lose everything including her freedom and the baby. In one brief moment we learn that indeed the car that hit Patty was driven by Michael, raging because of Jill's incarceration.

Ellen too deals with a family crisis when her sister is arrested on a drug charge. She denies selling drugs and blames a friend for ratting on her. Ellen uses Malcolm, Patty's investigator, to try and help but digs out her sister was lying to her all along and has been dealing drugs for some time. Ellen decides not to help her out of jail to straighten her out but also not to tarnish her reputation at work. Finally, we also learn about an old and painful secret Patty has been keeping for years. Through memories and dreams Patty repeatedly sees herself, highly pregnant, walking somewhere up to a ranch with horses and a man she briefly talks to. He asks her what she's doing so far away from her home in her condition and Patty answers her doctor said she'd be ok. In a flashback Patty is talking to a doctor and they agree that the child is more important than school, work or anything else. In another flashback however, the doctor is telling Patty she absolutely must stay in bed and avoid any physical activity or else the baby will die. Then her memories and dreams reveal the walk and that she started bleeding at the ranch. Following Tom's funeral, Patty indirectly admits to Ellen that she brought on the miscarriage so that she could go to New York and accept an important job offer thus beginning her climb to the top of the legal profession. Ellen then asks her "Is it worth it?". Patty doesn't reply, and Ellen leaves.

Season Four

On July 19, 2010 DirecTV announced that it had officially picked up the series for a fourth and fifth season, each consisting of ten episodes.

Glenn Close returns as Patty Hewes and Rose Byrne as Ellen Parsons in season four, which focuses on private military contractors in Afghanistan. John Goodman and Dylan Baker join the cast as series regulars with Chris Messina, Judd Hirsch, Fisher Stevens, Griffin Dunne, Julie White, Bailey Chase and Derek Webster in recurring roles. The show was created and is executive produced by KZK and co-executive produced by Mark A. Baker.[21]

The fourth season of Damages finds Patty and Ellen embroiled in a wrongful-death suit against a private military contractor, Howard T. Erickson (John Goodman). Erickson has made a fortune supplying the U.S. Government with security forces in Afghanistan and is protected by his connections within the highest echelons of power in Washington, D.C. Chris Sanchez (Chris Messina), a decorated soldier who now works for the security firm is drawn into the web of intrigue when Ellen and Patty set their sights on his corrupt employer. Complicating matters is Jerry Boorman (Dylan Baker), a shadowy opportunist with ties to both Erickson and the Middle East who is intimately involved in the season-long conspiracy at the heart of the lawsuit. Griffin Dunne plays a foreign correspondent who’s looking to write a story about the embattled company, Bailey Chase plays Ellen Parson's love interest and Judd Hirsch as an old mentor of Patty's.[21]

Season Five

On July 19, 2010 DirecTV announced that it had officially picked up the series for a fourth and fifth season, each consisting of ten episodes. Production for Season 5 is scheduled to begin sometime in October 2011, although, an air date for the fifth season has not been set.

At the finale party for Season 4, Todd Kessler stated that the fifth season would indeed be the final season of the series and that the writers are coming up with an idea where Patty and Ellen are forced to go head to head against one another during a case.

Glenn Close returns as Patty Hewes and Rose Byrne as Ellen Parsons in the upcoming fifth season. Ryan Phillippe has been cast as Channing McClaren, a Julian Assange type-character who becomes the lynchpin in the case between Ellen and Patty. Jenna Elfman has a recurring role and will play an investment bank employee who is troubled by her company’s conduct, while Alexandra Socha will play her daughter.[22][23] John Hannah has also been cast and will play Rutger, McClaren’s loyal adviser.[24]

Characters

The series main focus is the mentor-protegee relationship between high-stakes attorney Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) and newly graduated attorney Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne). During the first three seasons Tom Shayes (Tate Donovan) acts as Patty's associate, right-hand man and later partner. Michael Nouri recurs throughout the series as Patty's spouse, and Zachary Booth as her son.

The first season mainly focused on a case involving Arthur Frobisher, played by Ted Danson, a man blamed for embezzlement and fraud; Zeljko Ivanek played his regretful attorney Ray Fiske. Noah Bean starred as David Connor, Ellen's fiancée, with Anastasia Griffith recurring prominently as Katie Connor, David's sister and the key witness in the Frobisher case (At the end of the first season Bean and Ivanek leave the main cast with the death of their characters, but still serve as occasional guest stars with their characters appearing in flashbacks). Notable recurring characters during the first season were played by Peter Facinelli, Philip Bosco, and Peter Riegert.

The second season found Patty and her firm inadvertently thrown into a massive case against the billion dollar-worth energy corporation Ultima National Resources (UNR). William Hurt played Daniel Purcell, a mysterious man from Patty's past that initiates the case and puts it in Patty's hands. John Doman played Walter Kendrick (in a billed recurring role), the primary antagonist of the season as the CEO of UNR, while Marcia Gay Harden joined the cast as UNR's misinformed but smart and vicious lead counsel Claire Maddox. On the personal front, Anastasia Griffith returned as Ellen's friend Katie Connor, who helps her in taking down Frobisher, while Timothy Olyphant played a man in grief counseling that bonds with Ellen under ambiguous motives. Returning recurring actors in prominent roles were Ted Danson, David Costabile, Tom Aldredge, Mario van Peebles and Glenn Kessler. Notable recurring characters during the second season were played by Clarke Peters, Brett Cullen, Kevin Corrigan and Darrell Hammond.

The third season, inspired by the Bernie Madoff scandal, tracked Patty's aggressive pursuit of bringing down the disgraced Tobin family after they were revealed to be a part of a Ponzi scheme that ripped off millions of citizens. Campbell Scott played Joe Tobin, the shamed but ultimately spoiled and selfish youngest son of the family. Martin Short played the family's longtime trusted lawyer Leonard Winstone that finds his place in this family changes as the Tobins reveal their true colors. Lily Tomlin special guest starred throughout the season as the secretive matriarch Marilyn Tobin, while Len Cariou appeared as the patriarch of the family blamed for all of the fraud and conspiracy. Returning recurring actors in prominent roles were Ted Danson, and also Timothy Olyphant in a single guest appearance. Notable recurring characters during the third season were played by Dominic Chianese, Madchen Amick, Ben Shenkman, and Keith Carradine. Wallace Shawn also made a notable guest appearance.

The fourth season, the first without Tate Donovan, followed a wrongful-death suit filed against a military contractor over a mysterious incident in a war zone. John Goodman played Howard Erickson, the CEO of the shadowy military contractor who becomes the defendant against Patty and Ellen over the corruption that occurred in the war zone. Dylan Baker played Jerry Boorman, a mysterious figure with secretive ties to the Middle East. Chris Messina played Chris Sanchez, an old high school friend of Ellen's and a decorated soldier suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Notable recurring characters during the fourth season were played by Griffin Dunne, Judd Hirsch, Fisher Stevens, and Bailey Chase.

Actor or actress Name Starring seasons Recurring seasons
Glenn Close Patty Hewes 1, 2, 3, 4 N/A
Rose Byrne Ellen Parsons 1, 2, 3, 4 N/A
Tate Donovan Tom Shayes 1, 2, 3 N/A
Ted Danson Arthur Frobisher 1 2, 3
Željko Ivanek Ray Fiske 1 2, 3
Noah Bean David Connor 1 2, 3
Anastasia Griffith Katie Connor 2 1
Timothy Olyphant Wes Krulik 2 3
William Hurt Daniel Purcell 2 N/A
Marcia Gay Harden Claire Maddox 2 N/A
Campbell Scott Joe Tobin 3 N/A
Martin Short Leonard Winstone 3 N/A
Lily Tomlin Marilyn Tobin 3 N/A
John Goodman Howard T. Erickson 4 N/A
Chris Messina Chris Sanchez 4 N/A
Dylan Baker Jerry Boorman 4 N/A
Ryan Phillipe Channing McClaren 5 N/A

Home video release

DVD Season Format #
Episodes
#
Disc(s)
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4 Special Features
The Complete
First Season
DVD 13 3 January 29, 2008 (2008-01-29)[25][26] April 14, 2008 (2008-04-14)[27] December 19, 2007 (2007-12-19)[28]
  • Deleted Scenes
  • The Shield: Final Season Tease
  • Willful Acts: The Making of Damages
  • Understanding Class Action: Interactive Guide
  • Trust No One: Insight from the Creators
  • Episode Commentaries
Blu-ray N/A August 18, 2009 (2009-08-18)[29]
The Complete
Second Season
DVD 13 3 January 19, 2010 (2010-01-19)[30] August 31, 2009 (2009-08-31)[31] November 23, 2009 (2009-11-23)[32]
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Cast and Crew Commentaries
  • Season 1 Recap
  • Character Profiles
  • Post Mortem: Reflecting back on Season Two
Blu-ray N/A N/A N/A
The Complete
Third Season
DVD 13 3 July 12, 2011 (2011-07-12)[33] October 18, 2010 (2010-10-18)[34] October 27, 2010 (2010-10-27)[35]
  • Episode Introductions
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Commentary with Martin Short and Writers/Creators Glenn Kessler, Todd A. Kessler and Daniel Zelman
  • Damages Season 3 Teaser
  • Commentary with Rose Byrne, Tate Donovan and Writers/Creators Glenn Kessler, Todd A. Kessler and Daniel Zelman
  • Damages Season 3: A Look Back
  • Bloopers
  • Directing Damages
Blu-ray N/A N/A N/A
The Complete
Fourth Season
DVD 10 3 N/A N/A December 14, 2011 (2011-12-14)[36] N/A
Blu-ray N/A N/A N/A
The Complete
Fifth and Final Season
DVD 10 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Blu-ray N/A N/A N/A

Damages is also available for purchase through Amazon Video on Demand and Seasons 1-3 on the iTunes Store. Seasons 1 through 3 are available via Netflix's Instant service.

International broadcasts

Country/region Channel Debut
Australia Nine Network
W
GEM
September 16, 2007
Austria ORF 1 April 14, 2008
Belgium (Flanders) 2BE
Belgium (French) RTL-TVI
Bulgaria Nova Television
AXN
January 8, 2008
October 12, 2009
Canada (English) Showcase February 18, 2008
Canada (French) TVA January 21, 2009
Catalonia TV3 January 7, 2010
Chile MEGA November 16, 2008
Croatia Doma TV January 3, 2011
Czech Republic TV Nova
AXN
June 16, 2010
Unknown
Denmark TV3 Puls
DR1
March 31, 2009
August, 2011
Finland Nelonen 2008
France Canal +
Paris Première
M6
February 28, 2008
January 27, 2009
July 7, 2009
Germany Kabel 1, Sixx April 21, 2008
Greece Mega Channel June 21, 2011
Hong Kong ATV World May 15, 2008
Hungary RTL Klub January 30, 2009
Ireland RTE2 February 2, 2010
Israel HOT3 March 13, 2008
Italy AXN April 30, 2008
Japan NHK BS 2 April 2, 2008
Latin America AXN February 12, 2008
Malaysia TV2
AXN
2009
Season 2 premieres on Dec.30th, 2009 Tues at 12midnight
Morocco 2M July 5, 2010
New Zealand TVNZ One November 7, 2007
Norway TV 3 October 31, 2007
Poland AXN
Polsat
September 13, 2009
December 6, 2009
Portugal TVI (Free-to-air)
AXN (Pay-TV)
Romania AXN October 6, 2009
Russia Domashniy February 16, 2009
Serbia TV Pink, TV Pink Family October, 2009
Singapore AXN April 6, 2008
Slovenia POP TV Season 1: February 26, 2008
Season 2: September 22, 2009
Season 3: February 22, 2011
South East Asia AXN January 8, 2008
South Africa M-Net
Spain Canal+ April 15, 2008
Switzerland TSR 1 February 1, 2009
Sweden SVT1 Season 1: 2011
Tunisia Hannibal TV September, 2009
Turkey DiziMax March 3, 2008
United Kingdom BBC One and BBC HD January 6, 2008
The Middle East Showtime Arabia
MBC 4
Colombia Caracol Television May 2010

Reception

The first season of Damages received positive reviews from critics[37] with the series ranking in the top ten lists of several critics, including Robert Lloyd (Los Angeles Times), Alessandra Stanley (The New York Times) and Robert Abele (LA Weekly) among others.[38] The return of the series for its second season was also met with critical acclaim.[39] TV Guide ranked the season one finale episode #52 on its list of "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time".[40][41]

Awards/nominations

Damages is a winner of 4 Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, a Casting Society of America Award, and a Satellite Award. It has been nominated for a Producers Guild of America Award, a Writers Guild of America Award, 3 Screen Actors Guild Awards, and 4 Television Critics Association Awards, among others.

Damages was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series at the 2008 Primetime Emmy Awards. Co-creators Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman were nominated for writing and Allen Coulter for directing the pilot episode. Glenn Close received the nomination for her lead role, with co-stars Ted Danson and Željko Ivanek nominated for their supporting roles.[42] Close and Ivanek won in their respective categories,[43] with the series also receiving the Emmy for best casting.[44] The series earned four nominations at the 65th Golden Globe Awards, including Best Television Series, Close for Best Actress and Byrne and Danson for their supporting roles. Close won the award in her category.[45]

For its acclaimed second season, Glenn Close received her second nomination for Best Lead Drama Actress Emmy. Ted Danson also received another nomination, for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. Rose Byrne, earned her first Emmy nomination, and William Hurt, was nominated as a supporting actor in a drama. The series again was nominated for direction, and the series itself was nominated again for best drama. On September 20, 2009, the show won its fourth Emmy Award when Glenn Close won the Best Actress in a Drama Series.

For its third season, Damages earned its most acting nominations yet at the 2010 Primetime Emmy Awards, with, along with Glenn Close, Rose Byrne and Ted Danson returning in their respective categories, featured cast additions Martin Short and Lily Tomlin as newly nominated stars. Short was nominated for the Supporting Actor in a Drama award, and Tomlin as a guest actress. Damages was unable to, for the first time, win a major Primetime Emmy despite their success in the nominations, as Glenn Close lost for the first time.

Ratings

The series premiere on July 24, 2007 drew 3.7 million viewers, with total of 5.1 million viewers including re-airing on the same night,[46][47] becoming the most watched cable television program for the night.[48] However, the viewership declined over the first season, partially due the story's serialized approach, with the season finale drawing 1.4 million viewers.[49] Regardless of its critical acclaim, Damages seriously suffered in its second season ratings. Season Two premiered with only 1.7 million viewers watching, even with the momentum that was built following its Golden Globe and Emmy wins. Despite the show's low ratings, FX picked up and secured the program for a third season. John Landgraf hopes the show will continue on the air following its third season; after taking into account the encore presentations and "extraordinary" DVR numbers, the ratings appear to be quite good.[50]

The third season premiere, which aired on January 25, 2010, only managed to draw in 1.483 million viewers,.[51] The third season finale managed to pull in only 975,000 US viewers.

Move to DirecTV

Due to the low ratings and high costs, it was speculated early that Season 3 might be the last season of Damages. However, Sony reached an agreement with DirecTV to share the cost of future seasons with its Audience Network (formerly The 101 Network). Several outlets were also approached about sharing the cost of a new season. However, no other network opted to pick it up, leaving The Audience Network as the new broadcaster.[52] Damages made its first premiere on the 101 Network on January 5, 2011. Season one through three will run until the season 4 premiere on July 13, 2011.[53]

References

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