"Damages": A Taut Legal Thriller You May Have Missed The First Time Around
Recently, I decided to check out the TV drama "Damages". Although it just began it's fifth and final season on July 11 of this year, I had never seen an episode. Once again, I cannot believe I missed this well-written legal drama starring some of my favorite actors. "Damages" is set in NYC and stars Glenn Close as Patty Hewes, head of the elite law firm of Hewes and Associates. The first season begins with the hiring of Ellen Parsons, played beautifully by Rose Byrne. Ellen is just out of law school and is being sought by several high profile firms. But despite some warning from a mentor, she decides to jump headfirst into a new career with Hewes. The relationship between the two women is complex and develops more with each new episode. There is often a nonlinear plot line that goes between the present to the past to bring the story into complete focus.
Glenn Close is mesmerizing in the role of Patty Hewes. I could not take my eyes off of her. The presence that she brings to the big screen of films is not lost on the small screen of TV. She shines like never before. This role is so multidimensional and it would really take an experienced actor to bring it to life. And Close does not fail. She acts not just with her words but with her whole physicality. The best part to me, is that the story doesn't end after 2 hours; I get to watch a 13 hour movie with Glenn Close! It's pretty great.
Rose Byrne is terrific as Ellen Parsons, the young ingenue that gets caught up in the intrigue of Hewes' firm. Due to the nonlinear presentation of the plot, we know from the start that some terrible things await our young heroine. It is fascinating to watch her go from young, bright-eyed, inexperienced lawyer to the mature, jaded woman we see at the end of Season 1.
One of my favorite actors has always been Tate Donovan. It has long been my opinion that he is sorely underappreciated and undercast. In "Damages", he really gets a chance to show his acting chops. He plays Tom Shayes, Patty's second in command. She depends on him for just about everything, but doesn't give him the recognition he deserves. The first season shows him finally develop the guts to ask for what he deserves from Patty.
There are some amazing supporting cast members that bear mentioning. In the first season, Zeljko Ivanek plays Ray Fiske, the opposing counsel in a high profile case with Hewes' firm. Ivanek is a Slovenian-born actor that truly shines in this role, as evidenced by the well-deserved Emmy award for his performance. It's hard to believe he is not from the American South because he demeanor and accent are truly spot-on. He is torn between doing what he knows is the right and ethical thing to do and the often sleazy tactics of his boss, Arthur Frobisher played by Ted Danson.
I'll state up front that I am not usually a fan of Danson, but in this drama, he is exceptionally well-cast. He plays the sleazeball billionaire perfectly in the first season of this drama. The audience can truly hate him.
I have just started watching Season 2, but I can say that I'm hooked. I can't wait to see where this series is going to take me. I do know that I can look forward to supporting roles from the likes of Timothy Oliphant, William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Martin Short, Lily Tomlin, John Goodman, and Ryan Phillippe. So if you're like me and you missed this show when it first aired, take the time to watch it now. You can catch it on Netflix Streaming or Amazon Instant Video.
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