Damages season one review
Patty Hewes don’t play. I mention this early on because there are times when watching Damages when you may think that Patty, played by Glenn Close, has a heart of marshmallow beneath her tough exoskeleton. Trust me, the girl does NOT play. Patty is a high-end criminal damages lawyer, brilliantly gifted and utterly ruthless. Coming up under Patty at her law firm is idealistic rookie Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne). Rose Byrne looks exactly like Veronidurrrr in Prison Break and for her sake I hope Ellen Parsons has better credentials than the world’s thickest lawyer and walking kidnap threat.
Damages begins with Ellen running barefoot through the New York streets covered in blood and subsequently being arrested for murder. It’s her fiance, you see, David Connor (Noah Bean). He’s in their apartment lying in their bath with his brains bashed right the fuck in by a pair of ugly Statue of Liberty bookends (what an ignoble end!) So the bulk of what transpires in Damages is told in flashback to six months earlier when Ellen began working for Patty – one of the best legal gigs in New York for a young, ambitious lawyer with a loving fiance with an intact skull. Oops.
"Frobisher royally fucked over his employees by encouraging them to invest in his company when he sold a bundle of stock. Bad Frobisher!"
We find Patty arse deep in a class action litigation suit against Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson) – a scruple-free billionaire who apparently royally fucked over his employees by encouraging them to invest in his company when he had sold a bundle of stock. Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake. Bad Frobisher!
Now, the interesting thing is that while Ellen believes she was hired for her brilliant legal mind, Patty actually hired her because her fiance’s sister Katie Connor (Anastasia Griffith) catered for Arthur Frobisher and is a crucial potential witness in the case against him. Bad Patty!
"Frobisher reckoned without the sturdy chops on Katie who walks straight into Patty’s office and gets all up in her face like ‘let’s nail that dog killing fuck!’ and Patty is all ‘Dude, I’m ON the motherfucker’"
Katie is worried about the intimidation being a whistleblower will invite and her fears are realised one day when walks through her flat and finds her dog with its throat cut and a message scrawled in its blood pegged do the fridge door: QUIET! What is it with dog murderers these days? Seriously, I can see how you might want to send a message but they don’t have e-mail where you are? It’s obviously that bastard Frobisher trying to keep her quiet but he’s reckoned without the sturdy chops on Katie who walks straight into Patty’s office and gets all up in her face like "let’s nail that dog killing fuck!" and Patty is all "Dude, I’m ON the motherfucker"
"Glenn Close shoots buffalo for fun then drinks wine from their hollowed out skulls so it is not likely to bother her.."
What Katie doesn’t know, and what we learn in a devastating reveal, is that it was Patty who ordered the dog killing to drive her star witness straight into her arms. Glenn Close, the original bunny boiler in Fatal Attraction, Cruella De Vil in 101 Dalmatians and the evil Marquise in Dangerous Liaisons now has a dog’s death on her acting conscience. A more sensitive actress would worry that consistently winning such parts meant her face lacked maternal warmth. But Glenn Close shoots buffalo for fun then drinks wine from their hollowed out skulls so it is not likely to bother her.
"After three episodes it’s clear that Damages enjoys fucking with us, that your best friend could be your enemy and that we know nothing about anything."
So what are we to make of Damages? Well mainly that it is an excellent, enthralling and perpetually twisting legal drama, murder mystery and multilayered character study. Close is terrific, deserving the Golden Globe her icily convincing performance won. After three episodes it’s clear that Damages enjoys fucking with us, that your best friend could be your enemy and that we know nothing about anything. That’s cool, though, because with writing this good ignorance really is bliss.
The best thing about it: Glenn Close
The worst thing about it: More dead dogs?
The verdict on Damages: Patty Hewes don’t play. It bears repeating.
Marks out of 10: 8