Release date: Oct 18th, 2010
Running time: 550 minutes
Created by: Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler & Daniel Zelman
Cast: Glenn Close, Rose Byrne, Tate Donovan, Takako Haywood, Martin Short, Michael Pemberton, Tom Noonan, Campbell Scott, Lily Tomlin, Ted Danson
Power is a mysterious thing, one that ultimately damages people. Mind games, deceit and betrayal are its faces, and even if you are on the good side, having and losing power can push you over the edge and make you a loner. In a world like that, nothing is as it seems, and ‘Trust no one’ becomes the maxim of survival.
From its first season in 2007, Damages has built on this premise like no other show. The narrative is complex and intricate, at times even more than in Lost, and I can’t imagine watching the show broken up by commercials. Like the first two seasons, the third instalment tells a story that only adds up if you watch it to the end with the big picture getting whole in the last episode.
Adding numerous plot twists, interlaced time sequences and a thread of subtle mystery, Damages evidently has pushed the envelope of prime time TV, with the finale of Season 3 having not even 1 million viewers. However, a solid fan base as well as prestigious award nominations and wins may have saved the show from an untimely end. Two more seasons with 10 episodes each will be aired on The 101 Network.
The basic plot of season 3 is borrowed from a real-life case, the Bernard L. Madoff scam with hundreds of thousands of victims and cost of some $50 billion. Played by Len Cariou, the Ponzi schemer in Damages, Louis Tobin, learns what it means to cross New York star attorney Patty Hewes (Glenn Close). She is the Dexter Morgan of litigation, results-driven, ruthless and shrewd. She gets the job done. Appointed by the U.S. Government to recover money for the former Tobin investors, Patty again is forced to run with the pack.
Her former protégée Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) is back in the mix, though now as a member of the District Attorney office. In a way, the two of them continue to work out their love-hate relationship, not only trying to unravel the case together but also dealing with the no less disturbing and revealing turns in their personal lives.
The characters and the cast of Season 3 make once more for a riveting legal thriller. The Tobin’s family lawyer Leonard Winstone, played by comedian Martin Short, is a devoted and devious man with a dark past in his own right. Alongside Lily Tomlin, a comedian herself and brilliant as family matriarch Marilyn Tobin, the couple of Tobin loyalists are multifaceted characters with a comic streak that is only ever almost funny.
The lack of black-and-white personnel and story-lines keeps Damages from being the standard legal drama. In fact, the ‘bad guys’ appear so shockingly ordinary that you wonder how they were able to commit their crimes in the first place. And the ‘good guys’ are at times so overwhelmed by the events that pull them into the whirl of financial and human disasters that the line between right and wrong is not only blurry but becomes virtually invisible.
In the end, Damages is not only a showcase of power games and mutual manipulations that happen to everyone in everyday life, the series also mirrors the amount of loneliness in the modern western society. When we see Patty Hewes in her huge apartment, she looks lost and vulnerable, a solitary woman who has lost her mercurial nature.
In an IGN interview (2007) Glenn Close said about her role:
Season 3 of Damages is addictive television, watched best as a 9-hour movie – without a break.
One of the Editors in Chief and our webmaster, Jonahh is a photographer and journalist who has been working in the media industry for over 15 years, mainly in television, design and art. As a boy, he made his first short film with an 8mm camera and the help of his father. His obsession with (moving) images and stories hasn’t faded since.
His passion for intricate stories and the ‘seven basic plots’ (ask him!) often times makes his friends and family put him in the doghouse for "predicting" too many twists and endings.
You can follow Jonahh on Twitter @Resonance_Zero.