DVD Review: Damages season one

The addition of original dramas to cable television has resulted in some incredible shows: The Wire, Dexter, The Sapranos, The Shield, Rescue Me…the list is a long one.

2007 saw FX offer up a show that may very well end up sitting up at the very top with some the aforementioned shows.

Damages is a stellar drama that seems to delight in the murky shades of gray that are all too common in the everyday life.

Who am I kidding?

If my life had a even a portion of the malevolent drama this show has, I would be under my bed hiding.

Glenn Close stars as Patty Hewes, a high-powered New York attorney whose reputation for ruthlessness is only exceeded by her reputation as a winner. Good lawyer? Sure, but with as much empathy as a barracuda.

Hewes is handling a class action suit against Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson in his most charming and most sinister role to date), the CEO of whateverthehellitiscalled. Mr. Frobisher is being sued for defrauding over 5000 employees. While Arthur clearly is a shit, he just might not be as big a shit as we think. Not surprisingly, this case is massive and is going to required every trick that Hewes can think of (and she can think of quite a few) to come out on top.

With these two very twisted leads, the show needs somebody a little…fresher. Enter Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne), an ambitious young lawyer fresh out of school. She joins Hewes very reputable firm to get her career off to a strong start, but soon finds herself heading down a path that makes her question her own moral compass.

Honestly, to go too far into the twisting, turning plot would spoil much of the fun. I will say that the intention of the show is to keep you guessing and it certainly succeeds at that.

Among the extras is a nice featurette about class action lawsuits. Very nice since I nothing (Well, I have likely aborbed a little from L.A. Law and the first couple seasons of Boston Legal) about the legal system. Class action suits are not usually the subject of films and television so the enlightenment was much appreciated.

Willful Acts: the making of Damages and Trust No One: Insight from the creators of Damages are both enjoyable featurettes that compliment each other. Because of the complexity of the series, these are actually pretty nice. They give insight into the process and what they hoped to achieve, both critically as well as commercially, with the series.

Also included are a couple of commentary tracks (that include Close, co-star Zeliko Ivanken, Writer/creator Todd Kessler, writer/creator Glenn Kessler and a few others) and some deleted scenes.

So much of today’s television panders to the lowest common denominator, offering little of substance. When something special comes along, it needs to be grabbed with both hands and treasured. You would be doing yourself, and the series, a disservice if you pass Damages by. Pick up a copy and treat yourself to some of the finest television of 2007.

Order Damages from Amazon.
Jeremy Lynch
For more reviews from myself, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.