Season 3 has Patty taking on a Madoff type and Martin Short playing his attorney.
By MARY McNAMARA
January 25, 2010
The good folks behind FX's “Damages” have apparently never heard of the sophomore slump. Opening with a bang, literally, the third season of this gravity-defying balancing act of a show promises to be the best one yet.
Jumping at the chance to fictionalize Bernie Madoff, here thinly disguised as Ponzi-architect Louis Tobin (Len Cariou), creators Todd Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman offer us the mouth-watering opportunity to see what would happen if our gal Patty could get to the bottom of things, all in the name of the defrauded masses: murder and mayhem, of course, presented in the show's signature and still tantalizing time-warped bits and carried out by yet another killer ensemble.
The first season's casting revelation was Ted Danson's power mad chief executive, Arthur Frobisher; the second, William Hurt's wife-murdering scientist Daniel Purcell and Marcia Gay Harden's tough as nails lawyer Claire Maddox. For Season 3, the producers not only tapped Lily Tomlin to play Louis' wife, Marilyn, and Campbell Scott his barely recovering alcoholic son Joe, but they've also got Martin Short doing a fabulously sinister stare-down as the Tobin family lawyer, Leonard Winstone.
Martin Short! As the hard-ass lawyer! This is why "Damages" is one of the best shows on television -- it operates without fear.
The fabulous original cast is still with us, though perhaps not for long. Patty's protégé/victim Ellen (Rose Byrne) has left Hewes and Associates for a job in the district attorney's office, members of which are, of course, attempting to nail Tobin and his family on criminal charges even as Patty is the court-appointed civil litigator. Which means a lot of off-the-record confabs between Ellen and Tom (Tate Donovan), who conveniently remain let's-do-lunch friends.
Both teams are furiously trying to discover where Tobin has put whatever is left of his money, which opens up the plot for unfettered double-agenting, double-talk and mysterious people of interest, including architect Julian Decker (Keith Carradine) and a remarkably articulate homeless man played with relish by Michael Laurence.
Although Patty and Ellen may have reached a detente (or have they?), and Tom seems poised to become partner (or is he?), Patty's in the middle of a far from amicable divorce (or is it?)
So how surprising is it that after the season's opening scene, in which Decker hits on a laughing and softly lighted Patty, we see her driving alone only to be murderously broadsided. When, dazed and confused, she looks into the other car, she sees nothing but an inflated air bag and something that resembles the Lady Liberty bookend that killed Ellen's fiancé in Season 1.
Have Patty's sins come home to roost? Or is there a whole new set of folks who'd like to kill her?
Early episodes offer twists and turns galore, including, impossibly, the death of a main character, though veteran "Damages" viewers know better than to trust these early scenes. If history is any indicator, pretty much everyone will turn out to be lying, intentionally or not, and the action should be read like a partial photograph, with the images that supply context lurking just out of frame.
But even more important than the brilliant story line is the air of confidence that permeates early episodes. From the moment it debuted, "Damages" was something else again, but there were rough spots as the actors, the ground shifting almost weekly beneath their feet, tried to fix their characters.
This time around everyone, Byrne in particular, moves with an air of confidence that allows you to keep your eyes on the knives being juggled in the air rather than the person doing the juggling.
Which is exactly where you want the audience's eyes to be when you're pulling off a con, or a show like "Damages."
2. "Cannot fucking wait, here are more reviews:" In response to Reply # 0
swiped from AICN:
USA Today says:
… Patty, played once again with a bracing mixture of venom and good intentions by the inimitable Glenn Close, is about to get our money back for us from a fraudulent financier. Right off the bat that may strike you as a more fun case than last season's environmental conspiracy, and two episodes in, at least, that proves to be the case. …
The Los Angeles Times says:
… Opening with a bang, literally, the third season of this gravity-defying balancing act of a show promises to be the best one yet. Jumping at the chance to fictionalize Bernie Madoff, here thinly disguised as Ponzi-architect Louis Tobin (Len Cariou), creators Todd Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman offer us the mouth-watering opportunity to see what would happen if our gal Patty could get to the bottom of things, all in the name of the defrauded masses: murder and mayhem, of course, presented in the show's signature and still tantalizing time-warped bits and carried out by yet another killer ensemble. …
The San Francisco Chronicle says:
… FX sent the first two episodes of Season 3 for review and - yep - they are pretty addictive. Save for one far-fetched incident, the two hours provided enough clues as to where the season will head - and how much conflict from secrets and lies will be coming down the pike - to hook fans of the show who might have been waffling on the commitment. The trouble is, of course, that's just two episodes. There's plenty of time for the whole thing to go sideways. …
The Dallas Morning News says:
… The show's co-creators, Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman, wrote the premiere episode "Your Secrets Are Safe" (and Todd also directed). They pack everything that's smart and great and beautiful about Damages into this intro. …
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:
… As season three begins, "Damages" finally gets its formula right. Almost nothing from the past two seasons -- beyond the wary Ellen-Patty relationship -- has any bearing on this week's season premiere. Better yet, Ellen is more realistically working outside of Hewes & Associates in the district attorney's office. …
The Boston Herald says:
… TV’s best legal drama opens with a series-changing stunner. It starts with a car crash. It ends with the discovery of a body. The identity of that corpse will rattle fans of the show. The revelations next week only deliver on “Damages’ ” promise to shake things up in in its third season. If the series survives to a fourth year - and this fan hopes so - it will never be the same. Of course, all these dire revelations come via “Damages’ ” six-month flash-forwards. They have never been more suspenseful. …
… Any way you slice it, this is big-brain TV -- the kind of program that must be watched with close attention paid to the small details. … FX has often made its bones by seeking to push the pay-cable envelope in terms of standards, sometimes gratuitously so; "Damages" demonstrates that envelope-pushers needn't be edgier, necessarily, just smarter.
4. "Interview with show's producers about what happened (swipe) (SPOILERS)" In response to Reply # 3
>'Damages' exclusive: The scoop behind tonight's shocking twist!
by Michael Ausiello
WARNING: Stop reading if you have yet to watch tonight’s third season premiere of Damages. Everyone else, onward and downward…
Damages has performed some neat plot tricks over the years, but tonight’s climactic, flash-forwardy twist raised the OMG! bar to a whole new level. To recap: It was revealed that one of the show’s three core characters will end up (MAJOR SPOILER ALERT) in a body bag at the conclusion of the season! WTF? I got executive producers Todd A. Kessler and Glenn Kessler on the horn to answer that question and more.
Why’d you kill off Tom?
TODD A. KESSLER: The theme of the entire series being ‘What price success?,’ we had the idea back when we were writing the pilot that one of the central characters should (eventually) lose their life based on a case. We’ve been thrilled with Tate Donovan and the performance that he’s given the first two seasons, and really feel he’s an actor worthy of a great story and a great thrill ride. So we wanted to tell a story where one of the main characters loses their life, and we wanted it to be organic and not feel like a twist. I wrote and produced the second and third seasons of The Sopranos, and I wrote the episode where Pussy gets killed by Tony. It’s what makes cable a great venue; you can take chances and no one is safe character-wise. It really creates unpredictable storytelling.
Can you confirm that Tom is, in fact, dead?
GLENN KESSLER: We can certainly confirm that he’s in a dumpster and in a body bag at the end of the episode.
But this is Damages…
TODD: We do not believe the audience will feel manipulated at the end of the season when it’s revealed what has actually happened.
What was Tate’s reaction when you told him what you were doing this season?
GLENN: He told us he thought the story was incredible. He thought it was a fantastic plot twist. And he absolutely wishes he was not the guy playing it — only because he loved being part of the show. But he understands what our intentions are. We’re going to bring Tom front and center (this season). There’s been a lot of maneuvering going on between Patty and Ellen in the last couple of seasons, and Tom has been Patty’s right-hand man, and he’s also been with Ellen and against Ellen. And this season we get to broaden that triangle.
9. "great episode but the ending was a little over the top/ridiculous (spoil..." In response to Reply # 0
Tom Shayes finding out he was invested in a feeder fund was a great twist.
But come on, that dude drunkenly backing over Danielle while she tries to find her cat lol? This would have been much better executed if while he was drunkenly staggering around the apartment harassing her he mistakenly pushed her and her head hit a sharp corner of something.
12. "this season's gotten pretty good." In response to Reply # 0 Tue Mar-09-10 10:03 AM by inpulse
it started off really slow, and i thought this might be the shark-jumping season initially. it's definitely bounced back, but i feel like there's a lot less emphasis on the legal aspect of the show. that was my favorite part about the show. i've noticed each season seems to have less and less of it.
anyway, i'm almost positive that wasn't Tom Shayes on the floor w/ the hand twitching. he wasn't wearing a suit jacket in those particular flashback scenes. only the dress shirt.
13. "another fantastic season so far" In response to Reply # 0
what i love about this show is there really arent any filler episodes.
a lot of shit happens every episode and the writing is top notch.
im a little annoyed that they keep going back to the same flash forward technique... its executed well and definitely pulls your interest in further, but at the same time, its kind of a cheap way to do so. but 3 seasons in, im used to it by now so it doesnt bother me as much.
F/X is stupid as hell if they try and move it to DirectTV...Damages is drama GOLD these days...really. Nothing against Justified, but its not EVEN holding a candle to the quality of writing and acting DAMAGES has...
I hope F/X will get a clue and renew it for ANOTHER season....
21. "Last night was INTENSE. best ep of the season for sure *spoilers*" In response to Reply # 0
Glenn Close berating Ellen in her apartment..."leave it!" "You're ruthless. Get out of my apartment"
and Ellen's dumbfounded reaction.
I have to say, Rose Byrne does *dumbfounded* better than anyone else in Hollywood.
Was Ellen's vision of David the first use of dream/imaginary sequence since Fisk in season 1? I can't remember them doing much of that in season 2. It was nice to see David could still get a haircut in the afterlife.
So what, 2 more eps? right? that was 11. i assume there's 13.
OH YEAH! And Danson's whole interaction with Not-Danson was hilarious. and strange. and sad. and eerie. It couldve been a jump the shark moment for most shows, but the writers of Damages played it just right.
25. "so what did we think of the finale?" In response to Reply # 0
a TON of shit went down. It was very good, but not sure if im satisfied with the ending.
was very cool to see justice served on froebisher, especially after this season showed him in a "new light".
i was pretty much uttering "oh shit!" about every 10 seconds from the Loft scene through the end.
I still get a bit annoyed at how they film the show at times though... for example the screen fading to black during Patty's interview with Joe Tobin... stuff like that is ONLY done because the directors want to be crafty, but it just reminds you that you are watching a TV show and distracts from engaging me in the story. minor complaint though.
The only thing I was able to figure out during the course of the show was Michael hitting his Patty's car. Once he showed up that was kind of easy to pick up on. Everything else was coming out of nowhere for me.
It seems like they realize the show might not be coming back, so they tried to wrap up all the story lines as best as they could, and I think they did a good job of that. If the show does end up coming back, I wonder where it will go from here.
27. "SPOILERS GALORE/um i'm seeing emmy and golden globe noms for:" In response to Reply # 0
Glenn Close (she WILL win this year) Rose Byrne Lily Tomlin (talk about a ruthless bitch..i had *NO* idea Lil's had it in her) Tate Donovan Len Cariou Campbell Scott Martin Short Ted Danson
EVERYONE gave great performances this season...
the ending did feel like the showrunners knew it would be coming to and end...
and they DID wrap up SEVERAL LOOSE ENDS:
Patty's daughter Julia: OMG..she KILLED her unborn daughter because she wanted the associate position in NYC and being "the first woman"? DAMN..she's RUTHLESS..and i *LOVE* her for it...it makes so much sense as to why she did it, why she looks at Ellen as a daugther, etc. very powerful stuff.
Keith Carradine's character: so that's how they know each other...wow. wasnt' expecting that one.
Mama Tobin's death: HARDCORE craziness!
Campbell Scott killing Tom: WOW!
so much shit going on in Monday's episode it was crazy..I had to watch it TWICE JUST to make sure i didn't miss anything....
I HOPE it comes back...its one of the BETTER dramas on tv right now...PERIOD.
i think my mouth dropped 12 times in the last 30 mins.
BRAVO to Ted Danson for that breakdown with Olyphant in the truck.
BRAVO to Lily Tomlin for that breakdown with Joe/Patty/& while watching home movies.
BRAVO to Martin Short for his whole demeanor in the finale. Everything he did/said felt so real to his con-artist/gypsy past.
Seriously, can you believe these 3 brilliant comic actors brought DRAMATIC HEAT to a show so packed with dramatic greatness? Unreal.
Glenn Close was fantastic as usual.
Good to see Ray Fisk make a couple appearances. Loved the "Not this time" line to Art in the back of the squad car
Good to see Olyphant come back to settle things. The blunt truthiness he spit to Ellen in the diner was so refreshing for a show built on lies and deception. He was like fuck it, she deserves to know everything now that the air has cleared.
Goddam, Campbell Scott was a broken man falling deeper and deeper into the hands of greed this season. His scenes with Lily "You're Dead To Me" and the *flushing* of Tom was just vicious.
So much to let simmer in my mind.
I sincerely hope for another season to be worked out, but I won't be mad if this is how it ends. It's too bad we never got a scene with Ellen confronting her mother, but I guess it kinda makes sense for her character to just let it stir inside.