Damages: The Complete Third Season


On DVD: 
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Congratulations, season three of Damages. You've turned a humble reviewer into a bona fide fan. Of all the lawyer shows in all of television, you need to watch this one.

I had my doubts jumping into the third season as someone who'd never seen even a moment of the show, but the script is so well-written that, despite the jumps back and forth in time, it was easy to get at least a loose grasp on what was happening on screen. The show is based on powerful litigator Patty Hewes (Glenn Close), and each season deals with one big case. This season tackles the Tobin family, whose leader is responsible for the biggest Ponzi scheme in Wall Street history. As is usually the case with power, it comes at a cost of lives, money, and trust. Both Hewes and her former employee-turned-frenemy Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) are working on the case, and though Hewes and Parsons had a falling out in the previous season, it becomes clear to both of them that working together on the case is inevitable, albeit somewhat unethical. It's obvious that Hewes is playing both sides, and part of the fun is figuring out whether to love her or hate her. Same goes for Parsons, who seems like a do-gooder but quickly starts doing no good to serve her own interests.

Rose Byrne really doesn't get enough credit for how talented she is. Not only does she pull off an American accent very convincingly, but she also has the chops to handle both comedic roles (Bridesmaids, anyone?) and dramatic roles with ease and grace. Martin Short, Lily Tomlin, Ted Danson, Tate Donovan, and basically all the other supporting cast members give compelling performances. I can't think of a single actor on the show who was ill-cast or not up to par.

Do I even need to talk about how great Glenn Close is as Patty Hewes? There's a reason she's a legend in Hollywood. She gives her character all the layers necessary to create a character that is neither good nor evil, totally guarded nor vulnerable. Life doesn't work in absolutes, and Close navigates the murky gray areas with the finesse only an experienced actor like her can.

Some of the flashbacks and interrogations are treated with a blue cast, which is a nice touch to set the somber mood of the scenes. The whole series is very film noir, which is somewhat of a rarity these days, especially in television. If you have the patience to sit through the complex storytelling and webs of allegiance, you will be handsomely rewarded with a quality series that should be way more successful than it actually is.

Review by Patty Miranda