THE PLOT THUS FAR
Inspired by recent worldwide economic events, the acclaimed third season of the award-winning legal thriller stars two-time Emmy®-winner Glenn Close as litigator Patty Hewes. Confronting the most challenging case of her illustrious career, Patty and trusted lieutenant Tom Shayes (Tate Donovan) meet their match against the manipulative Tobin family empire, matriarch Marilyn (Lily Tomlin), son Joe (Campbell Scott) and the clan’s loyal attorney Leonard Winstone (Martin Short). When former protegee Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) is also pulled into the maelstrom, she discovers she hasn’t escaped Patty Hewes after all.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
Damages had one of the best first seasons in recent memory. Television drama is being raised to new heights since the start of the 00s, but what Glenn Close is doing is amazing. Sure, I don’t know want to take attention away from Tate Donovan’s impressive work this season. But, Close took a trip to Sunset Boulevard first. Take from that what you will. Patty Hewes is one of the greatest characters on television. Glenn Close did amazing work during The Shield, but there’s something about Damages that plays towards her strength. When Close is working against Byrne, Hurt or Danson; you see the wheels turning in her head. There’s no visible notion of what she’s planning to do. But, it’s like watching a panther eating rodents. So much power, yet nothing that rests higher on her legal food chain.
The new elements for the third season run the gamut. Lily Tomlin, Len Cariou and Martin Short are the highlights of this season’s overall Ponzi Scheme storyarc. Martin Short stands out as the Tobin Family’s lawyer. It’s weird to see the guy from Clifford breaking balls and taking names. Still, he doesn’t command the power and respect of a Hewes or even Rose Byrne. Series creators Daniel Zelman, Glenn Kessler and Todd A. Kessler experiment a lot with narrative, as much as they play off old constructs. What I don’t get is the weird flash-forwards and then six month folds into the past. It worked in the first two seasons, but it felt rush here. Too much high intensity was packed into this year’s opening without really earning it. Where’s the build to a Fiske-like death? I hate to call it instant gratification, because it doesn’t feel like the audience earned anything. It was just dropped in our laps.