Tag: Tate Donovan

TCA Tour: Damages

I loved the first season of “Damages,” but time constraints kept me from following the second season of the series as closely as I would’ve liked. Still, my dedication to the show was such that, when I heard there was going to be a panel for its third season, I wanted to make sure that I’d checked out the screener of the season’s first two episodes before it took place, so that I’d be fully prepared for the event. What I hadn’t realized, though, was that I would be so caught up in those episodes that my first task upon returning home from the tour would be to immediately put Season 2 into the DVD player and watch it immediately. Yes, my love of “Damages” is back with a vengeance…which, given the theme of the series, is absolutely apropos.

There’s only one problem when it comes to discussing Season 3 of “Damages” and it’s this: a key event occurs in the season premiere that I can’t possibly give away. As such, I’m forced to dance around it…which sucks, because, man, I reeeeeeeally want to talk about it with someone.

What we can talk about, at least, is the general premise of the season, which revolves around a suspiciously-familiar concept: a high-profile financier who turns his wealth management business into a massive Ponzi scheme that defrauds thousands of investors of billions of dollars. But, c’mon, this panel took place before an audience of intelligent critics (and, no, that’s not a contradiction in terms, thank you very much), so no one was going to ask, “So, is it a coincidence that this resembles the whole Bernie Madoff situation?” The better question, obviously, was whether or not any other news stories were in competition for use as the thrust of Season 3.

“Well, I don’t know if I’d call it competition,” said executive producer Daniel Zelman, laughing. “But there were several stories we were looking at, not just the Madoff case. There was an attorney named Marc Dreier who fascinated us. You may have seen; he did an interview on “60 Minutes.” But he had perpetrated some $700 million con essentially. And also, a businessman named Allen Stanford had basically created a bank in Antigua that supposedly had billions of dollars in it, but had nothing in it. So we were really drawn to all of these stories, and we’re using elements of all these stories in the story that we’re telling, although coming through the front door, it’s sort of more around the Madoff scenario.”

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Old Show, New Season: “Damages”

If we were to organize those readers of Premium Hollywood who’ve watched the entire first season of “Damages” into two groups – the ones who watched it when it originally aired and the ones who watched it when it came out on DVD – and took a quick poll about why the latter group watched it on DVD, I’d guess a sizable number of people would say one of two things:

1. I missed the premiere, and when I tried to pick up the series a few episodes in, I felt like I’d already missed too much.
2. I missed an episode during the season, and I knew I’d never be able to figure out what happened, so I just decided to wait for the DVD.

Yeah, it’s true: “Damages” is that kind of show…and I should know, having been one of the people who missed the premiere. But when I got the Season 1 DVD set, I blew threw it as quickly as my schedule allowed. It was an enthralling thriller which managed to be that rare breed of legal drama which almost never set foot in a courtroom, with gripping performances from Glenn Close, Ted Danson, Rose Byrne, and Željko Ivanek and many a moment that left you breathless. In the end, Ellen Parsons (Byrne) went through hell and back, leading her to declare war on Patty Hewes (Close) by teaming with the FBI to bring her down from the inside, all the while maintaining a front and pretending to be her number-one employee.

Season 2 begins in approximately the same chronological manner as Season 1, starting in the present with a jarring opening scene, then jumping back in time to begin the process of explaining how things got to that point in the first place. How odd it feels, though, for the initial flashback scene to show Patty Hewes making an appearance on “Live with Regis and Kelly.” Not that we haven’t gotten the impression that Patty’s a major public figure in the world of law, but it feels rather jarring to see her in the comparatively day-glo lights of the “Live” stage. Still, you can also imagine it setting Patty up for a big fall when she waves Ellen onto the stage and declares to the studio audience and the millions of viewers watching at home that she’d be lost without her.

But will Patty fall this season? Well, if she doesn’t, it certainly won’t be for lack of Ellen trying to make it happen. “You just want to arrest Patti Hughes,” she says to her two FBI contacts. “I want to destroy her.”

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