Damnation (TV series)

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Genre Period drama
Created by Tony Tost
Composer(s) Adam Taylor
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 10 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Tom Cox
  • Jordy Randall
  • Nellie Nugiel
  • Brian Dennis
Production location(s) Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Giles Nuttgens
  • Pierre Jodoin
  • Adam Bluming
  • Curtis Thurber
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 41-54 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor NBCUniversal Television Distribution
Original network
Original release November 7, 2017 (2017-11-07) – January 18, 2018 (2018-01-18)
External links

Damnation is an American period drama television series. The series was ordered on May 12, 2017.[1] The series is a co-production between Universal Cable Productions and Netflix. Netflix will stream the show worldwide outside the United States, where it will air on USA Network.[1] The series premiered on November 7, 2017.[2] On January 25, 2018, it was announced that the series had been cancelled after one season.[3]


Set in the 1930s, Damnation follows a man with a violent past who poses as a preacher as he rallies townsfolk to stand up against greedy industrialists and the corruption of the local bank, sheriff's department, and newspaper.

According to creator and showrunner Tony Tost, Damnation is "1/3 Clint Eastwood, 1/3 John Steinbeck, 1/3 James Ellroy. That is, it takes some characters you’d normally see in a tough western, plops them in the world of Grapes of Wrath, and places them in the sort of pulpy paranoid narrative you see in Ellroy’s novels. We have two main characters. One is Seth Davenport, a man with a violent past who is masquerading as a small town preacher but who is secretly teaming with a woman named Amelia to try and instigate a second civil war of the poor versus the rich. The other is Creeley Turner, a cowboy from Wyoming who’s been hired by a powerful industrialist to stop Seth and Amelia’s ploy. We soon find out that Seth and Creeley have a secret bloody past with one another." [4]


The Farmers' Holiday Association campaign for a farm strike in the early 1930s is the actual historical event on which the story is based; the Iowa locale in the series is essentially based on Plymouth County, Iowa during this time, the strike and related events in the county seat of Le Mars, Iowa and rural areas of the county specifically beginning in early May 1932.

A coal miners' strike at the same time in Kentucky, known as the Harlan County War or Bloody Harlan, is the basis for that element of the plot. Both Sheriff JH Blair and Florence Reese are historical characters, with Reese's folk song "Which Side Are You On?" (performed in the second episode) being inspired by Sheriff Blair's actions during the Harlan County War.

Both the Pinkerton Detective Agency, which employs Creeley Turner, and the William J. Burns International Detective Agency, which employs Connie Nunn, are historical agencies that focused on strikebreaking in the 1930s.

Likewise, the villainous Black Legion vigilante group in "Damnation" is based on the 1930s militant separatist political/fascist paramilitary group of the same name. The Black Legion terrorized ethnic, political and religious minorities throughout the Midwest, targeting labor organizers and striking workers in particular.[5]



  • Killian Scott as Seth "Preacher Seth" Davenport, an enigmatic preacher behind the strikes in Holden County, who has a mysterious past and isn't quite who he appears to be
  • Logan Marshall-Green as Creeley Turner, Seth's older brother and a Pinkerton Detective
  • Sarah Jones as Amelia Davenport, Seth's wife who writes inflammatory sermons under the alias "Dr. Samuel T. Hopkins"
  • Chasten Harmon as Bessie Louvin, the only prostitute at the local brothel who is capable of reading and is "engaged" by Creeley to be his secretary
  • Christopher Heyerdahl as Don Berryman, the local sheriff of Holden who also owns the town's speakeasy and casino
  • Melinda Page Hamilton as Connie Nunn, an agent of the William J. Burns International Detective Agency with a grudge against Seth, whom she believes killed her husband
  • Joe Adler as DL Sullivan, a reporter for the town's local newspaper


  • Paul Rae as Melvin Stubbs
  • Phillipa Domville as Martha Riley
  • David Haysom as Deputy Raymond Berryman
  • Dan Donohue as Calvin Rumple
  • Tom Butler as Burt Babbage
  • Juan Javier Cardenas as Lew Nez
  • Arnold Pinnock as Victor
  • Teach Grant as Preston Riley
  • Gabriel Mann as Martin Eggers Hyde PhD
  • Zach McGowan as Tennyson Duvall
  • Timothy V. Murphy as Gram Turner
  • Bradley Stryker as Tanner Phillips
  • Rohan Mead as Sam Riley Jr.
  • Alexis McKenna as Brittany Butler
  • Hannah Masi as Cynthia Rainey
  • Nola Augustson as Della

Special Guests[edit]


Originally, Aden Young was set to play the lead role but dropped out due to creative differences and was later replaced by Killian Scott.[6]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUS viewers
1"Sam Riley's Body"Adam KaneTony TostNovember 7, 2017 (2017-11-07)0.91[7]
A local strike led by the enigmatic Preacher Seth in Holden, Iowa becomes a powder keg when a strikebreaker shoots one of the protest leaders, Sam Riley, in cold blood. Things escalate when yet another body is found, and three thugs from Chicago try to kill Preacher Seth. Meanwhile, a William Burns detective named Connie Nunn is on the hunt for Preacher Seth, whom she believes killed her husband. The strikebreaker, Creeley, turns up at the local brothel and hires prostitute Bessie to act as his secretary. When Sam Jr. is taken into custody for the second murder, Seth decides to confront Creeley, who reveals that Seth is his little brother. Seth decides to send a message to the town, and specifically the town's local banker, Calvin Rumple, when he pins Sam Riley's body to the front of the Savings and Trust building in town, with the sign "Which side are you on?" hung around his neck.
2"Which Side Are You On?"Adam KaneTony TostNovember 14, 2017 (2017-11-14)0.77[8]
Creeley begins to reveal details about his relationship with his brother and investigates what his brother's life is like now, as Sullivan collects the townspeople's opinions on the strikes. The Black Legion make an appearance at the church and shoot at the parishioners. Meanwhile, Bessie pays off the local newspaper editor, asking him not to publish anything about Sam Riley's death or crucifixio, and she begins to collect information on the strikes across the country, while Calvin Rumple meets with the mysterious "Doctor", Martin Eggers Hyde PhD. Connie continues on her mission to find Seth while also disrupting the miner's strikes in Harlan, Kentucky. Seth organises a protest march with the farmers and hunts down one of the Black Legion members, but refrains from killing him when he sees a cross formed from light on the floor. It is also revealed that Bessie is sheriff's illegitimate child. Amelia meets Creeley when he breaks into her house, and warns her to leave Seth and take her cause elsewhere.
3"One Penny"Rod LurieTony TostNovember 21, 2017 (2017-11-21)0.79[9]
When the local farms face foreclosure, Seth and Amelia must find a way to win them back; Creeley and Bessie run afoul of the Black Legion.
4"The Emperor of Ice Cream"Rod LurieMichael D. FullerNovember 28, 2017 (2017-11-28)0.81[10]
Negotiations commence between the farmers and the bank; Creeley divides the farmers.
5"Den of Lost Souls"Eva SorhaugJulia CohenDecember 14, 2017 (2017-12-14)0.50[11]
When a traveling carnival comes to Holden, a collection of new and familiar faces put Seth and Creeley on their toes.
6"In Wyoming Fashion"Eva SorhaugKevin LauDecember 21, 2017 (2017-12-21)0.61[12]
Seth and Lew are presented with an unexpected opportunity when Calvin Rumple is run out of town.
7"A Different Species"Alex GravesNazrin ChoudhuryDecember 28, 2017 (2017-12-28)0.67[13]
Creeley meets his master on an exclusive hunting retreat, but finds there is more than one game at play; Seth infiltrates a nearby factory.
8"The Goodness of Men"Katie JacobsReyna McClendonJanuary 4, 2018 (2018-01-04)0.63[14]
When Bessie discovers the grand industrial plans for Holden, Seth and Amelia must decide whether to protect her from the Black Legion.
9"Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground"Kate DennisJulia Cohen & Michael D. FullerJanuary 11, 2018 (2018-01-11)0.52[15]
Seth and the farmers take on the Black Legion with the help of unlikely allies.
10"God's Body"Adam KaneTony TostJanuary 18, 2018 (2018-01-18)0.63[16]
Seth and Creeley must confront the truth about their past and figure out a way to survive the rapidly arriving future.


The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 60% approval rating, with an average rating of 6.36/10 based on 20 reviews. Users gave the show a 91% approval rating, with an average rating of 4.5/5 based on 247 reviews. The website's consensus states "Damnation's complex character driven mystery is intriguing, though it occasionally feels like homework."[17] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 57 out of 100 based on 15 reviews, indicating "Mixed or average reviews".[18]


  1. ^ a b Petski, Denise (May 12, 2017). "'Damnation' Period Drama Picked Up To Series By USA Network". Deadline Hollywood.
  2. ^ Pederson, Erik. "'Damnation' Gets Premiere Date As USA Network Unveils Fall Schedule". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  3. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 26, 2018). "'Damnation' Canceled By USA Network After One Season". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
  4. ^ https://www.fayettevilleflyer.com/2017/05/23/ua-grad-tony-tost-talks-about-writing-for-tv-new-series-picked-up-by-usa-network/
  5. ^ https://www.usanetwork.com/damnation/blog/damnation-101-heres-what-you-need-to-know-for-historical-context
  6. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 28, 2016). "'Damnation': Lead Aden Young Exits USA Pilot". Deadline Hollywood.
  7. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (November 8, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.7.2017". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  8. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (November 15, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.14.2017". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  9. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (November 22, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.21.2017". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  10. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (November 30, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.28.2017". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  11. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (December 15, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 12.14.2017". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  12. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (December 22, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 12.21.2017". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  13. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (December 29, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 12.28.2017". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  14. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (January 5, 2018). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 1.4.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  15. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (January 12, 2018). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 1.11.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  16. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (January 19, 2018). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 1.18.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  17. ^ "Damnation: Season 1 (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  18. ^ "Damnation: Season 1 (2017)". Metacritic. Retrieved November 22, 2017.

External links[edit]