Dani’s Top 5 Shows: #2 – DAMAGES

Glenn Close - Damages

It was no trouble at all to pick my top two TV shows of all time. Falling in at number two is DAMAGES starring Glenn Close and Rose Byrne. FX gave us this brilliant show in 2007 and it had three excellent seasons there before being picked up by Direct TV for the new season.

What this show is about:

Damages centers around Patty Hewes (Glenn Close), a strong willed and very successful litigator with her own firm and her own way of doing things, and Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne), a fresh out of law school young attorney who looks up to Patty and wants to learn everything she can from her. Unfortunately, not everything is as it seems with Patty and her firm, Hewes & Associates, and soon Ellen’s life is changed in more ways than one. In later seasons, Ellen must choose whether to stay at Hewes & Associates and potentially succumb to all that is Patty, or try to leave it all behind her for a more saner way of practicing law, and life.

What I love about this show:

Each season of Damages centers around one big case that Hewes & Associates are handling and is usually a rip-from-the-headlines type scandal. The first season dealt with a Martha Stewart type corporate stock dump situation and featured a gloriously evil Ted Danson. He is hands down one of my favorite recurring Damages supporting actors. The next season involved a whistleblower from a large corporation that was polluting residents. And last season dealt with a Madoff-type family ponzi scheme. Some major actors and actresses have guest starred including, not only Ted Danson, but also William Hurt, Timothy Olyphant, Marcia Gay Harden, Martin Short, Lily Tomlin, and Dominic Chianese.

However, what is even more compelling is that every season also has a murder mystery involved in addition to, or part of, the major storyline. Damages uses a Memento type effect to give the audience little bits and pieces of the end reveal as early as the first episode of that season. Typically an episode will start off in present time with a snippet and then go back a certain period to tell the story leading up to the end. By the last episode, all of the pieces have fallen into place, and usually I am stunned by the twists and turns the show has taken. I know that I personally have never figured out the truth behind what happened in each season until the final moment when I am basically told in the climax. I like to think of myself as good at figuring these things out which is why I think Damages is so compelling.

Why you should watch this show:

The writing is superb and the storyline is compelling. More importantly, the actors are amazing. Glenn Close as a sharp tongued brilliant no holds barred attorney makes you want to offer to carry her briefcase just so you can be in the same room with her and soak up her amazingess. Rose Byrne, relatively new to the scene when the show premiered, has a quiet even delivery that is perfect for her newly licensed attorney character and which also works well as her character develops to become a worth adversary to Patty Hewes.

The dynamic between Patty and Ellen is what drives the show. What really brings it home, though, is the development of those two characters. Rather than just remaining one dimensional, the writers allow the audience to see what lies beneath. For Patty, this is a softer side and explanations as to how she became who she is. For Ellen, it is a tougher side that is built from dealings with Patty and a survival instinct that had no choice but to kick in.

While the first season of Damages will always be my favorite, the third season is right behind it. By then the relationship between Patty and Ellen has changed, but they cannot stay away from each other. Watching them battle themselves to stay apart and indifferent makes for some interesting episodes.

If you like shows that are not just legal dramas, but something with a little bit more suspense, I think Damages is for you. Personally, I think Glenn Close rarely disappoints in any role, but she knocks it out of the park in Damages. I will always be a fan.

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