Damages (TV series)
|Created by||Todd A. Kessler
Marcia Gay Harden
|Opening theme||"When I Am Through with You" by The VLA|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||59 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Todd A. Kessler
|Location(s)||New York City, New York|
|Running time||40–60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||KZK Productions
Sony Pictures Television
|Original channel||FX (2007–2010)
Audience Network (2011–2012)
|Picture format||480i, 576i (TV)
720p (FX HD; BBC HD; AXN HD)
|Audio format||DD 5.1 (DVD, HDTV)
Dolby TrueHD (Blu-ray)
Stereo Surround (TV)
|Original run||July 24, 2007– September 12, 2012|
Damages is an American legal thriller television series created by the writing and production trio of Daniel Zelman and brothers Glenn and Todd A. Kessler (collectively known as KZK). It premiered on July 24, 2007 on FX and aired for three seasons before moving to the DirecTV channel Audience Network in 2010, where it aired for a further two seasons, concluding with the fifth season.
The series revolves around the brilliant, ruthless lawyer Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) and her protégée Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne). For the first few seasons the series centers around the law firm Hewes & Associates (located in New York City). Each season features a major case that Hewes and her firm take on, while also examining a chapter of the complicated relationship between Ellen and Patty. Later seasons center more on Patty and Ellen's relationship as Ellen begins to distance herself from Patty and begins to concentrate on her independent career.
Known for its depiction of season-long cases from the point of view of both the law firm and the target, the series is noted for its plot twists, nonlinear narrative, technical merit, season-long storylines, and the acting ability of its cast. The series has attracted many stars to play characters on the side against Hewes, including; Ted Danson, William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Martin Short, Lily Tomlin, John Goodman, Dylan Baker, and Ryan Phillippe. The series has received widespread critical acclaim and several television award nominations, with Close and first-season co-star Željko Ivanek winning a Primetime Emmy Award for their performances, while several of the other performers have been nominated as well.
Creators Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman devised the series as the relationship between a mentor and a protégée: two women in powerful positions. Although the initial story idea did not have the series set in the legal arena, the creators chose it because they felt the legal world included women who commanded power and influence. The concept was inspired by the creators' interaction with their superiors along with their experiences in the entertainment industry. The series steers away from usual legal dramas, where storyline is set inside the courtroom and instead describes the characters' lives and interactions outside the courtroom and the behind-the-scenes power maneuvering and manipulation. About the characters of the show Zelman notes, "We don't look at any of the characters as good or bad or anything like that. What really motivated us to write about this world, first and foremost, was our interest in power dynamics, the dynamics of power in society."
The series was designed with the main character, Patty Hewes, tackling one case per season. The first season of the series focuses on a class-action lawsuit against the fraudulent multi-billionaire CEO of a defunct company. The plot was inspired by various corporate scandals and characters involved in them, most notably from the 2001 scandal surrounding Enron. The second season deals with the energy industry and related environmental issues. The story is influenced by recent and ongoing environmental cases in the United States in the mining industry and also by the events of the 2001 California energy crisis. The writers were guided by environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who shared his experience in the field with various corporations and CEOs. The third season is largely based on the 2009 epic Bernie Madoff scandal, with veiled references and similarities to the case of the collapse of the Stanford Financial Group of companies and their use of Antigua's opaque banking laws.
The series uses nonlinear narrative while employing flashforwards, foreshadowing and red herring narration techniques. This approach has given the writers flexibility in storytelling. The narrative handles multiple plot lines and has loose ends. Zelman explains, "We know where we’re going. We have tent-pole moments that we’re building to all the way through to the end, and it’s very clear to us where we want to end up. [However], we want to leave room for improvisation..." While the two different time-frames format was initially intended for the first season, in preparation for the second season the producers felt that the nonlinear format had become a signature of the series and decided to continue it for the second season. With the serialized format of the show decreasing the viewership, Todd Kessler contended that the second season would contain stand-alone storylines to make the show more accessible.
When creators Kesslers and Zelman pitched the show to executives at FX, network president John Landgraf suggested that they should consider Glenn Close for the main character Patty Hewes. Close had earlier worked on FX's The Shield and had conveyed to the network officials that she would be interested to be cast as a lead in another show, so long as the show was set in New York City. After a three-hour meeting with the creators, Close accepted the role, impressed particularly by the powerful persona of the character "as the head of her own law firm [...] in a male-dominated world." In preparation for the role, Close met with several female attorneys in New York, including Mary Jo White, Lorna Schofield and Patricia Hynes. The creators chose Ted Danson for the part of Arthur Frobisher, a corrupt billionaire CEO, because of his role in the 1979 film The Onion Field. Danson was immediately attracted to the project after he learned that Close would be playing the lead role. As part of preparation, Danson studied the collapse of Enron by watching documentaries such as The Smartest Guys in the Room and meeting CEOs of various Fortune 500 corporations. The producers also suggested that Danson consult Close's acting coach Harold Guskin. Danson was initially hesitant about this suggestion, but found the consultation extremely helpful.
Series cast members Rose Byrne and Tate Donovan, portraying Ellen Parsons and Tom Shayes respectively, secured their parts through auditions. Byrne had been unavailable the first time she was approached because she was shooting the film 28 Weeks Later, but was able to audition later when the part had not yet been cast. Both Byrne and Donovan prepared for their roles by consulting lawyers and attending court trials. According to producers, the characters of Ellen's fiancé David Connor and his sister Katie were the hardest to cast.
For the first season cast, Noah Bean, who got the role of David, said he "gave an awful first audition," but managed to get the part when he was given a second chance while waiting for an elevator. When British actor Anastasia Griffith auditioned for the part of Katie Connor, the producers were hesitant to have a British actor play an American, especially since they already had an Australian (Byrne) playing an American. However Griffith convinced the producers by speaking in an American accent throughout their follow-up meeting. At the time of casting, Griffith's role was intended only for three episodes, but was extended after the producers realized the success of the character. Željko Ivanek scored the initially very-minor role of Ray Fiske through an audition, but as producers watched Ivanek's work in the dailies they beefed up the role considerably.
For the second season cast, Marcia Gay Harden was, according to producer Josh Payne, a "no-brainer" for the role of Claire Maddox. They wanted an actress that could hold her own against Close. Harden's casting was also due in part to the fact that she lived in New York City where Damages shoots. William Hurt and Timothy Olyphant were cast late in the process. The producers debated whether they should go with one actor that created a love triangle involving Patty and Ellen, but they ultimately went with the two separate actors.
For the third season cast, Lily Tomlin's casting evolved out of her fandom for the show. At an art exhibit she bumped into creator/exec. producer Todd A. Kessler, and interrogated him for information about upcoming twists on the show. Todd kept her in mind, and later cast her as Marilyn Tobin. Dominic Chianese was also cast because of his past relationship with Kessler, as the two worked together on The Sopranos. Martin Short was the last major actor to be cast that season; he too was a Damages fan. Producers were excited to work with Martin, though he had very little dramatic work to refer to; he added to the Damages reputation of casting against-type.
For the fourth season cast, producers initially considered actors like Edward Burns and Wentworth Miller for the role of Howard T. Erickson because they were closer in age/physique to Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater whom the season was based on. John Goodman stressed his availability and the role was tailored to suit his style. Creator Daniel Zelman saw Dylan Baker on stage years ago when Daniel was an apprentice at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. His performance left an impression, and producers had thought about casting him several times before and the timing didn’t work out until Season 4, where he was cast as Jerry Boorman. Chris Messina at his first casting call, refused to play a Republican or a lawyer on the show because he was repeatedly cast in such roles beforehand. He was awarded the role of PTSD-plagued Chris Sanchez, and went through considerable preparation for the role. He would "stay awake and not sleep...and right before action...drink two Red Bulls." He was also reluctant to join a show so late in its run. The role of Bill Herndon was, like with Ray Fiske or Katie Connor, conceived as a very minor role but was significantly increased after Judd Hirsch made a good impression.
For the fifth season cast, Ryan Phillippe initially wasn't too interested in doing Damages, but on a phone call with producers he changed his mind after being told his character was modeled after Julian Assange, with whom Phillippe was fascinated. Jenna Elfman followed in the steps of Ted Danson, Martin Short, and other well-known comic actors by playing against-type on Damages. She enthusiastically signed on for the opportunity to "play the types of scenes I haven't yet had the opportunity to play." Janet McTeer became close friends with Glenn Close while working on the film Albert Nobbs, and Close worked with producers to offer her a key role in the fifth season.
Title sequence 
The title sequence, set to the song "When I Am Through with You" by The VLA, depicts images of New York City public sculpture, including "The Glory of Commerce" atop Grand Central Terminal, "Civic Fame" atop the Manhattan Municipal Building, and "Asia" in front of the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House. The frieze of the New York County Supreme Court Building is also shown, inscribed with a quote from George Washington, "The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government." The title sequence, produced by the graphic design firm BigStar, was nominated for a People's Design Award, awarded by the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper–Hewitt, National Design Museum.
Season one 
A young woman, Ellen Parsons, is found running through the streets half-naked and covered in blood. Investigation by the police reveals that her fiancé, David, has been bludgeoned to death in their apartment, and Ellen is quickly arrested.
The scene shifts to six months earlier when Ellen, a newly minted lawyer, is being courted for prestigious jobs. She turns down an offer to work with the defense attorney Hollis Nye (Philip Bosco) in favor of working for notorious lawyer Patty Hewes. When Nye finds out about this, he warns Ellen that working for Patty will change her.
Ellen soon becomes engrossed in the major case which Patty's firm, Hewes and Associates, is pursuing. Patty has been retained in a class action lawsuit by the former employees of billionaire Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson). In a case reminiscent of Enron, Frobisher is accused of insider trading and lying to his employees about the health of his company even as he unloaded hundreds of millions of his own stock, depriving his employees of their retirements and benefits.
Early on in the series, Patty shows that she is willing to go to extreme, even unethical and illegal, lengths to win her case. One such instance is when she has the pet dog of a reluctant witness killed in a manner which makes it look as if Frobisher is responsible. This action emboldens the witness to testify against Frobisher.
As the season progresses, Ellen becomes more and more involved in the case and in Patty's shady dealings. Part of this is due to Ellen's personal connections to the case. Her fiancé's sister turns out to be an important witness in the case. For most of the season, Ellen skirts the edge of what is unethical, but eventually comes to cross that line.
As Ellen becomes more and more devoted to the case, her relationship with her fiancé becomes strained. The situation is not helped when Patty betrays his sister. Eventually Ellen and David tire of Patty, and Ellen publicly leaves Hewes and Associates. However, she still has an interest in the case and soon becomes personally embroiled in it again.
Throughout the first season, the series plays with time. Instead of unfolding in the present and showing flashbacks of the past, the main narrative unfolds several months in the past, and is interspersed with flashes of events that are taking taking place in the "present" time of the story. These flashes of the present gradually reveal that Ellen's fiancé David has been murdered, and that Ellen, while staying at Patty's apartment, appears to have been attacked. These glimpses of what will happen to the characters later, information the characters are not privy to, heighten the suspense and increase viewers' speculation about where the main narrative is headed and about the identity of David's murderer. Viewers are led to suspect one character after another of the crime -- including Ellen, Patty, Frobisher, and a character who has been stalking David.
By the end of the first season, the main narrative of the show has "caught up" with the flashes of the present and most of the questions raised by those flashes have been resolved. The murder charges against Ellen are dropped. The identities of David's murderer and Ellen's attacker are revealed to the audience, and the Frobisher case is resolved: Frobisher gives two billion dollars of his personal fortune to the employees, in exchange for a guarantee that no criminal charges will be filed against him. He is later shot and left for dead by a former employee whom he had double-crossed earlier by manipulating him for information.
Season two 
Glenn Close, Rose Byrne, and Tate Donovan returned as regulars for the second season. Season 1 recurring star Anastasia Griffith became a regular and season 1 regular Ted Danson returned for five episodes. William Hurt, Timothy Olyphant and Marcia Gay Harden joined the cast. John Doman guest starred.
Season 2 begins with once naive young attorney Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) talking to an unknown person off-screen. Suddenly, she pulls a gun into the frame and pulls the trigger twice.
Six months earlier, a mysterious scientist named Daniel Purcell (William Hurt) sends Patty (Glenn Close) a box of documents after her victory over Arthur Frobisher. Purcell asks for Patty's help, proclaiming he is being threatened, but she refuses. The following night, Purcell's wife, Christine (Paige Turco), turns up dead and Patty agrees to help him. As the case of the murder unfolds, Patty realizes that there is a major conspiracy taking place between Purcell's scientific firm and a huge energy corporation, Ultima National Resources. As they continue to make headway the case rolls on. Over time, the presumed killer of Purcell's wife is arrested and the corporation's environmental hazards are exposed. When Patty is moments away from bringing UNR down, however, Daniel turns on her in open court and defends UNR. We later realize that Purcell has been working for UNR all along and he is indirectly yet knowingly responsible for the murder of his wife. UNR CEO Walter Kendrick (John Doman) is revealed to be merging his company with another corporation for reasons far more complicated, bizarre and secretive than meet the eye. When Patty realizes this, she decides to use a plaintiff of the UNR lawsuit to stop what could happen. She is then able to convince Frobisher (Ted Danson) to become involved, to repair his image. Meanwhile, unbeknown to Patty and the remaining plaintiffs, Kendrick's attorney, Claire Maddox (Marcia Gay Harden), had an affair with Purcell. Claire at this time is unaware of Kendrick's involvement in Christine's murder.
The mystery of the murder later comes to a close when it is discovered that Purcell choked his wife when she threatened to tell the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about UNR's contamination. He thought he had killed her, but she was still alive when Deacon (Darrell Hammond) arrives at the house. Kendrick tells Deacon to finish the job. He does just that, leaving Purcell to think he had murdered his wife. Purcell cannot bear the guilt and confesses to police that he murdered his wife.
Ellen, meanwhile, still under the impression that Patty had tried to have her killed, is working with Agent Werner (Glenn Kessler) and Agent Harrison (Mario van Peebles) of the FBI to bring her down. The audience discovers it was possible that it was Uncle Pete who commissioned Ellen's attempted murder. In grief counseling, Ellen meets and befriends a mysterious loner named Wes Krulik (Timothy Olyphant) and begins to confide in him. Wes, however, is secretly working with Rick Messer, the police detective on Frobisher's payroll who had murdered David Connor and who is still working for Frobisher. Krulik also has a shrine of newspaper articles on Arthur Frobisher, articles about David's murder, and articles from Ellen's arrest, as well as a large variety of guns and other weapons. As the season closes, Wes refuses to follow Detective Messer's order to kill Ellen, as Ellen has begun to suspect police involvement. As Messer tries to lure Ellen into a trap, Wes executes Messer in the season finale.
When Katie (Anastasia Griffith) re-enters Ellen's life, she begins to bring up old conflicts as well as new issues. Katie recognized a police officer as the man who tried to kill her. She told Ellen, who enlisted Patty's help. They got nowhere, so Katie went to the police dept. and filed a report against him. This led to an argument between Ellen and Katie, with Katie claiming that if Ellen had never met Patty, David would still be alive. Katie questions Ellen's reasoning for going back to Patty. Ellen attempts to explain that she has her reasons, reasons that Katie would not understand. When Messer realizes that his partner's cover has been blown, he shoots and kills him.
Frobisher returns as a plaintiff against UNR for Patty in an effort to "get his name back". This creates an opportunity for Ellen to find new information and eventually link Frobisher to Detective Messer's agency. Wes recovers this information and lets Messer know, and he threatens Frobisher's life, forcing him to pull out of the case. Messer's problems continue. However, as Wes begins to develop feelings for Ellen, he wonders if Wes can be trusted. When he tells Wes to take Ellen out, Wes refuses until Messer brings up his past and Wes feels he has no choice but to comply.
Walter Kendrick is now initiating a merger which is discovered to be a scheme to make money based on manipulated energy fraud. His partner, Dave Pell (Clarke Peters), has much more incentive than Kendrick because he has a relationship with Patty's husband Phil (Michael Nouri). Pell makes Phil a tempting offer, which Phil accepts. It is at that time that Phil's extramarital affair comes to light. When it is leaked to the press, Patty kicks him out of their house and Phil is no longer considered a candidate. We also find that Pell has been talking to the FBI with information on Patty. Subsequently, when Agent Werner's cover is blown, Pell executes Harrison.
Kendrick's illegal activities continue. When Claire attacks Patty, Patty mentions Fin Garrity (Kevin Corrigan), the energy trader being used by Walter and Dave. Claire begins to realize she is being used in a conspiracy and asks for the assistance of Daniel. Claire lets the idea of power get the best of her, realizing she could head up UNR. A suspicious Kendrick catches her having sexual relations with Daniel. Kendrick uses this to get Claire thrown out of UNR, and she immediately goes to Patty saying, "I want you to destroy him." Claire tells Patty that she can trust Daniel Purcell. Patty therefore successfully uses Purcell to crack the energy codes which gives Patty enough evidence to testify against UNR in court.
Tate Donovan returns as Patty's partner Tom Shayes. After he is given an infant mortality case which the FBI wanted Patty to take in order to bring her down, the witness asked Tom for some money to hold her over until the trial or she would go to another attorney. He was about to hand over the money until Patty heard about the bribe and convinced Tom to join her in the case against UNR. While chasing a lead to find out more information on Fin Garrity, Tom is propositioned by a call girl. It is unknown whether Tom gave in to her advances. Despite being named a partner with Patty, he is still left in the dark when it comes to certain issues regarding the case. Tom's wife also just gave birth to a son this season.
Patty realizes that victory in the UNR case relies on the GPS code from Walter Kendrick's Cadillac to be entered into evidence. Because the car was stolen to retrieve the codes, it cannot be entered into evidence. To fix this, Patty puts Ellen up to the task of bribing the judge. But Patty soon takes back the request and gives the job to Tom. After Ellen and Agent Werner were planning to use this to bring down Patty, they target Tom and take him into custody, citing his almost-bribe with Agent Hawkins in the infant mortality case as the reason, while he is on his way to the hospital where his wife is giving birth. Ellen convinces Tom to wear a wire and he goes back to Patty and turns down the job of bribing the judge, and urging Patty not to do so either. Angry, Patty fires Tom for letting her down.
In the season finale, Ellen convinces Patty to bribe the judge after the judge makes it clear that in the current state of the case, he will not allow the evidence of the stolen SUV (a subtle hint to Patty's firm that he needs a payoff). Ellen feels she has Patty setup and arranges with Agent Werner to monitor the payoff. Meanwhile Patty confronts Fin Garrity, the energy trader involved with UNR. This sets off a chain reaction between Garrity, Kendrick, and Patty and which causes Garrity to seek out Patty as she is taking the bribe to hand over to Ellen at Ellen's hotel room. In the run-up to the final confrontation between Patty and Ellen (alluded to in flash forwards all season), Patty makes a deal with Pell. Pell will call off the FBI and reveals Ellen to be the insider working for the Feds. Patty gets Pell to hand over the data that UNR is using toxic chemicals. In return, Patty will drop the energy trading angle of the case. She also sets up Ellen as the fall guy for bribing the judge. Ellen, meanwhile, works a deal with Tom, procuring a handgun in the process, after Wes refuses to get her one.
Ellen confronts Patty about her actions from season one. She has evidence from Uncle Pete's wife that she feels is proof Patty set her up to be killed. However, when she hands the evidence to Patty, the folder is shown to hold only a message that the Feds are watching, not the evidence of Patty's involvement with Ellen's attempted murder. Ellen fires two shots at Patty, but instead of aiming for Patty, she aims at the camera installed by the FBI. She then gets Patty's confession that she indeed was responsible for setting up Ellen to be murdered. Satisfied with the confession, Ellen leaves with the bribe for the judge. Patty leaves after Ellen, but is shown to be bleeding. Patty is found in the elevator by Agent Werner, who assumes Ellen shot Patty and leaves to pursue Ellen. Wes, who was monitoring Ellen from across the hall, also finds Patty (right after Agent Werner leaves) and gets her to the hospital. It is revealed that Patty had been stabbed by Fin Garrity on the elevator before her confrontation with Ellen. When Ellen bribes the judge, Agent Werner has her and the Judge arrested for bribery. As they leave, Federal Marshals (led by Tom's sister) arrest Agent Werner for corruption. Tom reveals to Ellen that Patty, apparently, had discovered the FBI scheme and worked with him to record the conversation with Pell. This leads to both Kendrick and Pell getting arrested. The season ends one month later with Patty recovering at home, Tom returning to Patty's firm, and Ellen with a new unrevealed job offer (and out of touch with Hewes and Associates). However, Patty states she feels that Ellen will be in contact with them soon.
Season three 
Glenn Close, Rose Byrne, and Tate Donovan returned as regulars for the third season. Season 1 regular Ted Danson returned for five episodes. Martin Short and Campbell Scott joined the cast. Lily Tomlin and Keith Carradine special guest starred.
At the start of season three, Patty is involved in a car accident. The other car belongs to her partner, Tom Shayes, who is later found dead in a dumpster. It is implied that Ellen is involved in Tom's death, as her blood-stained purse is found among a homeless man's belongings. Prior to his death, Tom is seen handing Ellen a bag full of money from Leonard Winstone, the Tobin family's attorney. The police discover that Tom had drowned, and died two hours after Patty's accident. When Patty finds out about his death, we see her making a phone call, hysterical, screaming "I told you not to go through with it! I don't understand, I told you to stop!"
When Detective Huntley questions Ellen, he discusses what the homeless man told him and asks if she was romantically involved with Tom. Ellen replies "We were starting a law firm together."
Six months earlier, Patty Hewes is tackling a new case. Appointed a trustee by the US government, she is tasked to recover billions of dollars lost to the largest investment fraud in Wall Street history; a fraudulent Ponzi scheme run by Louis Tobin (Len Cariou), a Bernie Madoff-type. Patty believes Tobin has hidden the money, and that members of his family, most notably his loyal son Joe (Campbell Scott), his secretive wife Marilyn (Lily Tomlin), daughter Carol, and his trusted attorney and family friend Leonard Winstone (Martin Short), know much more than they claim to. It is revealed that Tom has a personal involvement in the case; he invested in the Tobin fund and lost his savings, which compromises his professional involvement. Ellen, meanwhile, has stayed true to her promise not to return to Patty, and has not seen her for the past year that she has been working at the District Attorney's office. Ellen runs into Tom and she mentions she has trouble cracking a drug case. Shortly afterward, Ellen's case is suddenly resolved under suspicious circumstances, and she receives a package from Hewes & Associates containing an expensive Chanel bag from Patty (the same bloodstained bag that ends up in the hands of the homeless man). While Hewes & Associates is working on recovering money for the victims, the District Attorney's office is only interested in bringing criminal charges against the Tobin family. Believing Hewes and Associates is more capable than the district attorney to bring about restitution, Ellen starts to secretly cooperate with Patty and Tom and they all get drawn into the Tobin family's world of lies and deceit.
The story begins on Thanksgiving night when Louis Tobin tells his family the truth about the fraud. Knowing he will be imprisoned, he shares his secrets with his much-loved but weak son Joe. The night before his prison sentence is set to begin, Louis Tobin commits suicide, leaving Joe to take responsibility for the disgraced family. A recovering alcoholic and a disappointment to his father, Joe finds Louis's body along with a potassium mixture his physician supplied earlier that night and an envelope addressed to Patty Hewes. The envelope contains all details about the fraud and instructions on how to recover the hidden money. Joe must decide whether to give the money up and clear his name or risk imprisonment and take care of the family and its future. Not wishing to lose his wife and son and wanting to provide for his mother, Joe chooses money over the truth and begins working with the family's lawyer, Leonard Winstone, to follow his father's conspiracy plan. Leonard, who was intensely loyal to Louis and considers himself part of the Tobin family, shifts his allegiance to Joe. Already devastated by his father's fraud and death, Joe learns his old flame, Danielle Marchetti (Mädchen Amick), had an affair with his father that resulted in a daughter, his half-sister. Her involvement with Louis may have drastic influence on the family's future with regard to Patty finding the money. Joe crumbles under the pressure and starts drinking again, spiraling out of control. Leonard has him followed and is prepared to have him committed to rehab to prevent compromising the family further; but Joe realizes how important he is to the family and stops drinking. As more obstacles and threats appear and the plan to recover the family fortune is endangered, his remaining moral integrity becomes more compromised. He almost lets his ex-girlfriend and his father's mistress die, trying to get her out of the country so she could not testify against them.
Danielle doesn't escape death though and after a brief visit by Carol Tobin, Joe's sister, Danielle is found poisoned with the same mixture Louis Tobin used to invoke his heart attack. Joe and Leonard are recovering the money through Louis Tobin's old friend, shady businessman Mr. Zedeck. The money is stashed in a secret account in Antigua in the Caribbean, transported to the US in smaller amounts by a courier and then laundered through a charity. The courier is a young flight attendant and no one else but Danielle Marchetti's daughter Tessa. Tessa makes weekly visits to the bank but seems to think she is signing legitimate documents to receive her salary, unaware of any fraud. Fond of Louis Tobin, whom she believes was her father, she withholds information that could incriminate the family and make her a witness for Patty and the DA.
Joe is pleased with Tessa at first but she's contacted by the lawyers repeatedly Joe expresses concerns about her loyalty. Leonard hastily meets with Marilyn Tobin, telling her that Tessa isn't safe and that Joe needs to know the truth. Marilyn promises to tell Joe that Tessa is, in fact, his daughter. Meanwhile, Tessa is approached by both by Patty and the DA's office and when Tom desperately tries to make her testify and he tells her Tobins killed her mother, she agrees to cooperate. Tessa is found dead together with Patty's private investigator Malcolm in Antigua where they were trying to obtain the documents from the bank. Leonard is seen talking to Marilyn Tobin again, clearly outraged she did not tell Joe the truth, thus causing Tessa's death. With that, each member of the family has caused somebody's death.
After Tessa's demise, Patty is desperate and the case stalls. Patty decides the only way to win is to "rip that family apart". Carol is guilt-ridden over killing Danielle and is the first to be apprehended for her crime. Joe receives information about their attorney Leonard Winstone, who turns out to be a small-time crook with stolen identity and no law degree so Joe fires him. In return, Leonard and his career-criminal father get access to the account and make withdrawals without the knowledge of Joe or Mr. Zedeck. Marilyn Tobin eventually tells Joe that his father only devised the fraud to cover up Joe's mistake which left his investors high and dry. Joe is furious, tells his mother she will never see him or her grandson again and kicks her out. Marilyn gets drunk and sentimental watching old home videos, leaves home, takes a taxi and just asks the driver to take her to the East River and jumps off the bridge. Her body is later found in the water. With nothing left to lose, Joe decides to find Tom whom he blames for losing his house, family, and everything.
In the meantime, Tom has made a deal with Winstone. Tom and Ellen promise Winstone immunity from prosecution in return for money for Tom and the envelope Louis Tobin left on the night of his death. Ellen meets with Winstone to present him with the immunity deal and Winstone takes her purse without her noticing. Patty doesn't trust Winstone and has an odd feeling about the arrangement and instructs Tom and Ellen not to go through with the deal. But Tom is motivated by being scammed himself and refuses to let go of his chance for revenge. Winstone and Tom meet so that Winstone can give Tom the money, but first Winstone replaces Ellen's purse in Tom's car. Seeing this, Tom's homeless friend steals the purse. After Winstone leaves, Zedeck's associate shows up asking about Winstone's whereabouts. When Tom can't tell him, he stabs Tom. It appears he might be killed but is saved by Leonard in the last moment. Tom, Zedeck's associate and Winstone fight and it appears that only Tom survives. He asks his homeless friend to do something for him. Injured, Tom makes his way home. Joe finds Tom, bleeding in the bathroom of his house and after Tom calls Louis Tobin a thief, Joe becomes enraged, drowns Tom in the toilet and puts his body in a dumpster. Meanwhile Tom's homeless friend begins to take care of things in the flat where Tom was stabbed, and he realizes that Winstone is still alive. Winstone calls Ellen to let her know he left the evidence in her purse because he didn't trust Tom or Patty. When he hangs up, we see he has a bag full of money and is boarding a flight. Ellen, knowing that the purse was recovered from a homeless man, goes to find him where he lives and he gives her the envelope with the evidence Winstone provided. Joe is arrested and after a short, private talk with Patty, confesses all.
Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson) returns, launching his new environmentally-friendly company. He is working with an actor (Craig Bierko), who originally showed little interest in working with him beyond an investment. However, after reading Arthur's book, he decides that he wants to make this into a movie about Frobisher's case against Patty – and he is given the film rights to the book in exchange for being Frobisher's company spokesman. In the season finale, Ellen contacts Wes who comes back to tell her of his previous covert role and execution of Messer, who murdered her fiance David. He offers to help her convict Frobisher, but she rejects his offer on the grounds she does not want Wes to go to prison. Wes nonetheless later corners Frobisher at gunpoint in his car and with Frobisher begging for his life, Wes calls the police to confess everything. Frobisher's last scene is sitting in the back of a police car under arrest for murder, trying to figure out how he can get off.
The relationship between Patty and Ellen is different than in past seasons, because they have reached a point of clarity and distance between them. The unspoken bond between the two resurfaces as they work on the same case. Throughout the third season, Ellen is trying to prove that she can get to and manipulate Patty although she never really succeeds. Ellen is bitter about being replaced by a new, young and highly ambitious girl, Alex, who is willing to do just about anything to get the job and please Patty. Unaware of the animosity, Alex comes to Ellen for advice and Ellen is sabotaging her every step of the way. Patty eventually gets tired of Alex being so submissive and enslaved and fires her anyway. Patty is trying to come to terms with her son Michael being grown up and leaving home but she cannot overcome the fact he is dating a woman (Jill) at least fifteen years his senior. When Patty finds out the couple is expecting a baby, she decides to step in and offers Jill money to leave her son and the city. Jill returns to accept the offer, asks for five hundred thousand but breaks the conditions of the deal, stays with Michael and spends the money on a luxury car and an apartment. Before long, Jill finds herself in custody for having sex with a minor and about to lose everything including her freedom and the baby. In one brief moment we learn that indeed the car that hit Patty was driven by Michael, raging because of Jill's incarceration.
Ellen too deals with a family crisis when her sister is arrested on a drug charge. She denies selling drugs and blames a friend for ratting on her. Ellen uses Malcolm, Patty's investigator, to try to help but digs out her sister was lying to her all along and has been dealing drugs for some time. Ellen decides not to help her out of jail to straighten her out but also not to tarnish her reputation at work. Finally, we also learn about an old and painful secret Patty has been keeping for years. Through memories and dreams Patty repeatedly sees herself, highly pregnant, walking somewhere up to a ranch with horses and a man she briefly talks to. He asks her what she's doing so far away from her home in her condition and Patty answers her doctor said she'd be ok. In a flashback Patty is talking to a doctor and they agree that the child is more important than school, work or anything else. In another flashback however, the doctor is telling Patty she absolutely must stay in bed and avoid any physical activity or else the baby will die. Then her memories and dreams reveal the walk and that she started bleeding at the ranch. Following Tom's funeral, Patty indirectly admits to Ellen that she brought on the miscarriage so that she could go to New York and accept an important job offer thus beginning her climb to the top of the legal profession. Ellen then asks her "Is it worth it?". Patty doesn't reply, and Ellen leaves.
Season four 
The fourth season finds Patty and Ellen embroiled in a wrongful-death suit against a private military contractor, Howard T. Erickson (John Goodman), who heads the "HighStar" company. Erickson has made a fortune supplying the U.S. Government with security forces in Afghanistan and is protected by his connections within the highest echelons of power in Washington, D.C. Chris Sanchez (Chris Messina), a decorated soldier who now works for the security firm, is drawn into the web of intrigue when Ellen and Patty set their sights on his corrupt employer. Complicating matters is Jerry Boorman (Dylan Baker), a shadowy opportunist with ties to both Erickson and the Central Asia who is intimately involved in the season-long conspiracy at the heart of the lawsuit. Griffin Dunne plays a foreign correspondent who’s looking to write a story about the embattled company, Bailey Chase plays Ellen Parson's love interest and Judd Hirsch as an old mentor of Patty's.
Season five 
The season centers on the subject of government and corporate transparency, focusing on how the ever-changing digital landscape shapes the way in which information is obtained and shared. A future timeline, from which clips are shown during each episode, shows Ellen Parsons' body in an alley, having seemingly fallen off a building.
After four seasons of professional and personal manipulation and deceit, season five sets the stage for the final showdown between Patty and Ellen. In a storyline inspired by the vicissitudes of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, Channing McClaren (Ryan Phillippe) portrays a computer expert and the iconoclastic founder of a website, McClarenTruth.org, devoted to government and corporate transparency. In a promotional interview, one of the show's executive producers uses the phrase "loosely inspired by", however Phillippe says in the same segment that he studied all the material about Assange that he could get to, both before and after he got the part.
The series main focus is the mentor-protegee relationship between high-stakes attorney Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) and newly graduated attorney Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne). During the first three seasons Tom Shayes (Tate Donovan) acts as Patty's associate, right-hand man and later partner. Michael Nouri stars in the first two seasons as Patty's husband Phil Grey, and makes periodic guest appearances in subsequent seasons due to their characters' separation. Zachary Booth stars throughout the series as Patty's damaged son, Michael Hewes.
The first season mainly focused on a case involving Arthur Frobisher, played by Ted Danson, a man blamed for embezzlement and fraud; Željko Ivanek played his regretful attorney Ray Fiske. Noah Bean starred as David Connor, Ellen's fiancé, with Anastasia Griffith recurring prominently as Katie Connor, David's sister and the key witness in the Frobisher case (at the end of the first season Bean and Ivanek leave the main cast with the death of their characters, but still serve as occasional guest stars with their characters appearing in flashbacks). Notable recurring characters during the first season were played by Peter Facinelli, Philip Bosco, and Peter Riegert.
The second season found Patty and her firm inadvertently thrown into a massive case against the billion dollar-worth energy corporation Ultima National Resources (UNR). William Hurt played Daniel Purcell, a mysterious man from Patty's past who initiates the case and puts it in Patty's hands. John Doman played Walter Kendrick (in a billed recurring role), the primary antagonist of the season as the CEO of UNR, while Marcia Gay Harden joined the cast as UNR's misinformed but smart and vicious lead counsel Claire Maddox. On the personal front, Anastasia Griffith returned as Ellen's friend Katie Connor, who helps her in taking down Frobisher, while Timothy Olyphant played a man in grief counseling who bonds with Ellen under ambiguous motives. Returning recurring actors in prominent roles were Ted Danson, David Costabile, Tom Aldredge, Mario van Peebles and Glenn Kessler. Notable recurring characters during the second season were played by Clarke Peters, Brett Cullen, Kevin Corrigan and Darrell Hammond.
The third season, inspired by the Bernie Madoff scandal, tracked Patty's aggressive pursuit of bringing down the disgraced Tobin family after they were revealed to be a part of a Ponzi scheme that ripped off millions of citizens. Campbell Scott played Joe Tobin, the shamed but ultimately spoiled and selfish youngest son of the family. Martin Short played the family's longtime trusted lawyer Leonard Winstone who finds his place in this family changes as the Tobins reveal their true colors. Lily Tomlin special guest starred throughout the season as the secretive matriarch Marilyn Tobin, while Len Cariou appeared as the patriarch of the family blamed for all of the fraud and conspiracy. Returning recurring actors in prominent roles were Ted Danson, and also Timothy Olyphant in a single guest appearance. Notable recurring characters during the third season were played by Dominic Chianese, Mädchen Amick, Ben Shenkman, and Keith Carradine. Wallace Shawn also made a notable guest appearance.
The fourth season, the first without Tate Donovan, followed a wrongful-death suit filed against a military contractor over a mysterious incident in a war zone. John Goodman played Howard Erickson, the CEO of the shadowy military contractor who becomes the defendant against Patty and Ellen over the corruption that occurred in the war zone. Dylan Baker played Jerry Boorman, a mysterious figure with secretive ties to the Middle East. Chris Messina played Chris Sanchez, an old high school friend of Ellen's and a decorated soldier suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Notable recurring characters during the fourth season were played by Derek Webster, Griffin Dunne, Judd Hirsch, Fisher Stevens, and Bailey Chase.
The fifth and final season pitted Patty and Ellen against one another in court, with the case surrounding the suit of the founder of a WikiLeaks type of website, Channing McClaren, played by Ryan Phillippe. Jenna Elfman played Naomi Walling, the investment bank employee whose daughter Rachel (Alexandra Socha) sues McClaren after he releases Naomi's personal information along with the financial records she leaked to him - leading to Naomi's suicide (in reality, she was murdered and the suicide faked). Janet McTeer played Kate Franklin, an old colleague of Patty Hewes who teams up with Ellen. John Hannah played Rutger Simon, the gatekeeper of McClaren's website who is devoted to exposing fraud and corporate misconduct. Returning recurring actors in prominent roles were Judd Hirsch and Chris Messina. Notable recurring characters during the fifth season were played by Victor Garber, M. Emmet Walsh, William Sadler, Gbenga Akinnagbe and Gillian Alexy.
|Glenn Close||Patty Hewes||Main|
|Rose Byrne||Ellen Parsons||Main|
|Tate Donovan||Tom Shayes||Main|
|Noah Bean||David Connor||Main||Guest||Guest|
|Ted Danson||Arthur Frobisher||Main||Recurring|
|Željko Ivanek||Ray Fiske||Main||Guest|
|Anastasia Griffith||Katie Connor||Recurring||Main|
|Zachary Booth||Michael Hewes||Recurring|
|Michael Nouri||Phil Grey||Recurring||Guest|
|William Hurt||Daniel Purcell||Main|
|Marcia Gay Harden||Claire Maddox||Main|
|Timothy Olyphant||Wes Krulik||Main||Guest|
|Campbell Scott||Joe Tobin||Main|
|Martin Short||Leonard Winstone||Main|
|Lily Tomlin||Marilyn Tobin||Recurring|
|John Goodman||Howard T. Erickson||Main|
|Dylan Baker||Jerry Boorman||Main|
|Chris Messina||Chris Sanchez||Recurring|
|Ryan Phillippe||Channing McClaren||Main|
|Jenna Elfman||Naomi Walling||Recurring|
|John Hannah||Rutger Simon||Recurring|
|Janet McTeer||Kate Franklin||Recurring|
The first season of Damages received positive reviews from critics with the series ranking in the top ten lists of several critics, including Robert Lloyd (The Los Angeles Times), Alessandra Stanley (The New York Times) and Robert Abele (LA Weekly) among others. TV Guide ranked the season one finale episode #52 on its list of "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time". The return of the series for its second season was also met with critical acclaim. Damages also received high critical acclaim for its third season, Verne Gay from Newsday, gave it an A+ and stated it was "Gorgeously acted, written, paced, structured and conceived, it remains one of the best shows on TV--and maybe the most enjoyably addictive." When it returned for its fourth season in July 2011, after it was saved by DirecTV, Maureen Ryan of The Huffington Post gave it an 80 and said "Damages knows what it's about these days. And if you want to see some prime, grade-A Acting, well, you could do a lot worse." While TV Guide's Matt Roush gave it a 91 and stated that "Damages is worth it. And for those without access to DirecTV, worth the wait."
Awards and nominations 
Damages is a winner of 4 Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, a Casting Society of America Award, and a Satellite Award. It has been nominated for a Producers Guild of America Award, a Writers Guild of America Award, 4 Screen Actors Guild Awards, and 4 Television Critics Association Awards, among others.
For its first season, Damages was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series at the 2008 Primetime Emmy Awards, along with six other nominations. Co-creators Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler, and Daniel Zelman were nominated for writing and Allen Coulter for directing the pilot episode ("Get Me a Lawyer"). Glenn Close received a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, with co-stars Ted Danson and Željko Ivanek nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. Close and Ivanek won in their respective categories, with the series also receiving a Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series. The series earned four nominations at the 65th Golden Globe Awards, including Best Television Series – Drama, Close for Best Actress, and Rose Byrne and Ted Danson for their supporting roles. Close won the award in her category.
For its second season, Damages was nominated for seven Primetime Emmy nominations at the 2009 Primetime Emmy Awards, with Glenn Close receiving her second Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Ted Danson also received another nomination, for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. Rose Byrne earned her first Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and William Hurt was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. It was also nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (Todd A. Kessler for "Trust Me") and received its second and final nomination for Outstanding Drama Series. On September 20, 2009, the show won its fourth Emmy Award when Glenn Close won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. The series earned three nominations at the 67th Golden Globe Awards, including Close for Best Actress, and Byrne and William Hurt for their supporting roles.
For its third season, Damages earned its most acting nominations at the 2010 Primetime Emmy Awards. Along with Glenn Close, Rose Byrne, and Ted Danson returning in their respective categories, featured cast additions Martin Short and Lily Tomlin as newly nominated actors. Short was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and Tomlin was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. For the first time, Damages was unable to win a major Primetime Emmy despite their success in the nominations, as Glenn Close lost for the first time in her category, losing to Kyra Sedgwick.
For its fourth season, Damages earned a Critics' Choice Television Award nomination for Dylan Baker as Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series, a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Glenn Close for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series, and a fourth consecutive Emmy nomination for Glenn Close, in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category.
For its fifth and final season, Glenn Close received her third Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress – Television Series Drama, after being absent the previous two years.
The series premiere on July 24, 2007 drew 3.7 million viewers, with total of 5.1 million viewers including re-airing on the same night, becoming the most watched cable television program for the night. However, the viewership declined over the first season, partially due the story's serialized approach, with the season finale drawing 1.4 million viewers. Regardless of its critical acclaim, Damages seriously suffered in its second season ratings. Season Two premiered with only 1.7 million viewers watching, even with the momentum that was built following its Golden Globe and Emmy wins. Despite the show's low ratings, FX picked up and secured the program for a third season. John Landgraf hoped the show would continue on the air following its third season; after taking into account the encore presentations and "extraordinary" DVR numbers, the ratings appeared to be quite good.
Move to DirecTV 
Due to the low ratings and high costs, it was speculated early that Season 3 might be the last season of Damages. However, Sony reached an agreement with DirecTV to share the cost of future seasons with its Audience Network (formerly The 101 Network and originally Freeview). Other outlets were also approached about sharing the cost of a new season. However, no other network opted to pick it up, leaving Audience Network as the new broadcaster. Damages made its first premiere on DirecTV on January 5, 2011. Season one through three ran until the season 4 premiere on July 13, 2011.
Home video release 
The first four seasons have been released on DVD in regions 1, 2, and 4, while only first season has been released on Blu-ray Disc.
|13||January 29, 2008||April 14, 2008||December 19, 2007||
|13||January 19, 2010||August 31, 2009||November 23, 2009||
|13||July 12, 2011||October 18, 2010||October 27, 2010||
|10||June 26, 2012||July 16, 2012||September 5, 2012||
|10||July 16, 2013||July 15, 2013||N/A||
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