“ Fox / American Legal Drama „
When Damages first came to the UK I vaguely remember showing little interest. However a fellow family member was very insistent that I should at least give it a try. I hold my addiction to it firmly in his hands. I have a thirst for crime shows anyway but Damages seemed to be a little different to your standard series, one storyline which is held throughout 13 episodes. A drama which includes a jumbled amount of time sequences. Flicking from the present day to 4 months in the past or maybe just a matter of weeks depending on how far in you are. Where if you don't pay attention you could easily miss something.
Currently into its third series we meet up again with the formidable Glenn Close as Patty Hewes. A ruthless lawyer she has become well known and people know better than to cause any frictions with her. Situations have changed since the last two series though as she is the one who needs the help.
The opening scenes show her car being forcibly rammed into by another vehicle. Although licensed to her business partner Tom Shayes, the driver is nowhere to be seen. However when the investigation begins he is found lying dead in a dumpster. Six months earlier though is where we begin to see what could of happened that somebody might of wanted either of them dead.
Tackling another high profile case this time Patty and co are trying to obtain hidden funds which Louis Tobin has managed to scam people out of. Millions of dollars have gone missing and all eyes are pointed at the family who clearly know more than they are letting on. Even though Ellen no longer works for Patty she is still a regular character and at times she is even able to help her rival company. Despite the fact that in previous series she has blamed her boss for the murder of her husband and her own attempted murder. The roles have been reversed but the question on everyone's lips is could Patty somehow be involved in the death of Tom Shayes?
I will admit that the main appeal for me is Glenn Close, possibly one of my favourite American actresses. In a single glance she can express a wide variety of emotions and as her character Patty Hewes, can unnerve anybody who she feels needs to be brought down a peg or two. The good thing about Damages is that it doesn't follow other crime shows. It has its own style and although murder does tend to happen in each series that isn't always the main focus.
It's generally devoid of the court room and a lot of meetings are held in small rooms with a few people around. This has the benefit of not making your mind wander as is what I usually tend to find with lengthy sequences. The flicking backwards and forwards in time also has the appeal of making things a bit more interesting. Each clip shows a little bit more and although it does repeat some of it I think it's necessary in some cases. Just as a small reminder so you don't forget the other sub plot.
I find that it captivates me quite a bit, always giving you small clues as to certain characters. What their actions might mean and if their personalities fit the crime committed. You do need to be awake to watch this as if you aren't paying enough attention then there are chunks which are vital that you are missing out on. With the potential to confuse everything that is happening.
This is a gritty American drama which can really grab your attention, especially with the, what I find, catchy theme tune. Sadly the BBC don't seem to care much about it as it's hardly advertised but you if do want to have a look you can see it on Wednesdays at 10:50pm. Each episode lasts for approximately 40 minutes but you can always catch up on it by going to the BBC iplayer.
Damages was recommended to me as I have watched The Wire, seven seasons of The Shield, I'm really into my intrigue and deception (only in TV life of course). Law drama's are not really my cup of tea, but as the wonderful Glenn Close was in the Shield for a season, I thought I would give it a go.
Damages Season 1 is 13 episodes. Starting back to front, we meet Ellen, she is in a police interview room all bloody with torn clothes and spaced out look on her face. We realise this is the present and something horrible has happened to her, someone has tried to kill her and have actually killed her fiancée David, she is being held responsible. We travel back in time 6 months to see where this all started.
We re-meet Ellen (Rose Byrne) a pretty lawyer who has a job offer from a law firm, she turns it down as she has an interview at Hewes & Associates. The law firm owned by Patty Hewes (Glenn Close). Her sisters wedding gets in the way of the interview but Patty turns up at the wedding and interviews her on the spot. Ellen can't believe her luck and starts work on the Monday.
Patty and her team are working on a lawsuit against Frobisher(Ted Danson) who has sold out all his employees as he was dealing underhandedly with his stock. This meant his employees with stock and pensions in the company have not only lost their jobs, their security as well. Patty is trying to prove that Frobisher knew the company would go down as he sold his stock the day before news leaked that his company went bust. 5000 people are depending on Patty to get a financial result for them. The case rests on a meeting in Florida in 2002 where they think he was given the information about the company, but they just need to prove it.
It quickly becomes apparent that Katie, David sister is somehow involved in the case Patty is working on. It appears she was in Florida the same weekend, and had actually catered for Frobisher's party. She maintains she knows nothing and doesn't remember seeing anything untoward. However since then, Frobisher - despite having never met Katie, bought her a restaurant on the strength of her pork loin. It becomes apparent to us and to Ellen that patty hired her to get close to Katie and find out what she knows.
I wasn't really a legal drama type person and despite Glenn Close being in this. I was glad it was only 13 episodes. Well was I wrong, this was brilliant. The story went back and forth so many times even in the last episode you weren't sure who tried to kill Ellen. You like then dislike Patty Hewes with frequency and you realise everything is for her and what she wants. She never backs down, or if she appears to, she still gets whatever she wants in the end. Luckily Ellen is really smart and tries to work it out as we do.
There is no legal mumbo jumbo, or technical court room stuff at all in this series, it is more of a detecting story and trying to find out who is lying about what which makes it all the more interesting.
Glenn Close really pulls it out of the bag in this one, and for a long time you see no emotion from her, then when you see it, she is so forceful you are sucked in. When things seem to be obvious it is all explained later on that this is not real at all. It is surprising how many people are sucked in by her, but you can see why. Ted Danson also appears throughout the series and is a brilliant, love to hate him, sometimes good guy, sometimes bad.
The only bit that did annoy was the flashbacks, which are great, but they repeated the same bits in almost every episode, so I was almost fast forwarding by the 5th episode. It was a little too much!
It was a brilliant series which a great cast. From the end of season 1, it looks like Glenn Close and Rose Byrne are going to be season 2 for another battle of wills, so I can't wait to see that.
Crime drama fans, Glenn Close fans and even legal drama fans will enjoy this immensely, it's not been a well advertised programme, but just like the Wire it's a great one !!
The brilliant, ruthless lawyer Patty Hewes has a law firm in New York City. She and her protégée Ellen Parsons find themselves attempting to win a class-action lawsuit against the former CEO of a corporation on behalf of his former workers.