Hot new legal thriller on FX! Set in New York's world of high stakes litigation, Damages follows the lives of Patty Hewes, the nation's most revered and most reviled litigator, and her bright, ambitious protégée Ellen Pars... more »ons as they become embroiled in a class action lawsuit targeting Arthur Frobisher, one of the country's wealthiest CEOs. As Patty battles Frobisher and his attorney, Ellen learns what it takes to win at all costs, and that lives, not just fortunes, are at stake.« less
If you like to watch Glenn Close chew the scenery and think lawyers are the true cause of all the free world's problems, this over-the-top super soap opera is for you. Although the baby-faced coquettish Australian model Rose Byrne owns only two expressions--wide-eyed amazement and pouty rage--she makes a fine highway for veterans like Ted Danson, the brilliant Zeljko Ivanec and fading pretty boy Tate Donovan to run over. It's evil billionaire (Danson) versus the ultimate ruthless ambulance chaser(Close) as they pile on the dirty tricks behind the scenes of a very public civil action suit. I thought the first seasons of 'The Wire' and 'The Sopranos' were great entertainment until they both reached for more relevance and meaningfulness as writers quickly ran out of original ideas. There's no such pretense from the producers of 'Damages.' Great T.V.
Barry B. from DEERFIELD, IL Reviewed on 12/22/2008...
Mesmerizing! Unique storytelling, fascinating plot twists, and complex characters played by superb actors.
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No One Remains An Innocent In This Decidedly Twisty, And Twi
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 12/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the biggest treats of the 2007 television season was "Damages," a wicked and wonderful legal thriller from FX. Headlined by Glenn Close, I expected to enjoy this show--but I wasn't prepared for the level of sophistication, complexity, and intelligence it offered up from its first twisty, and twisted, moments. Made for adults, this drama demands attention and may not be for the casual viewer. With its intricate plotting and structure, the story is told from different time periods interwoven throughout each episode. Essentially, snippets of the story are presented in each time frame, so the audience is left to speculate about the full truth in any given instance. However, as the season progresses, the pieces start to connect in unexpected ways that can both surprise and frustrate. I'd compare the narrative flow of "Damages" to that of a fine novel--telling you just enough so that you are tantalized to stick around for the next chapter.
The plot of "Damages" is a knotty web that is difficult to describe briefly. Ostensibly, the show revolves around a naive young lawyer played by Rose Byrne. The opening scenes show a bedraggled and bloodied Byrne stumbling down the streets of New York--apparently the victim (or perhaps the perpetrator) of an act of violence. Cut to six months earlier and a proper introduction is made. Byrne is seduced and recruited by a major law firm run by Glenn Close. Close seems to have a hidden agenda, but Byrne is quickly overcome by the trappings of success and acceptance. The firm is handling an enormous class action lawsuit against one of the town's most prominent businessmen, played by Ted Danson, and Byrne ends up squarely in the midst of much legal intrigue. What follows includes lying, blackmail, corruption, and even murder--no one in this story remains an innocent.
While I actually think the plot is the real star of "Damages" (I don't think I've ever said that about a TV show before)--it certainly doesn't hurt that the cast is uniformly excellent. Don't be surprised if you see Close front and center come awards time. Her thinly veiled menace and cutting remarks make for classic villainy, but Close pulls it off in a way that you can't help but love! Byrne and all the key supporting players are solid and believable. I particularly liked Zeljko Ivanek and Peter Facinelli, but the real revelation to me was Ted Danson. Honestly, I've followed Danson since he was a bit player in "Body Heat" and I think this is by far his best role. Mixing equal parts charm and bile, this is a great actor in a beautifully written role.
Again, I don't recommend "Damages" to everyone--I only wish I could! If, however, you love sophisticated drama--give this a shot. The DVD format is the perfect way to watch this show at your own pace and enjoy all its subtleties, surprises, and delights. But, be reminded, if you sit down to watch this show--WATCH IT! Otherwise, you might not appreciate how intricately put together "Damages" really is. KGHarris, 12/07."
Machiavellian characters dominate this complex legal drama
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 01/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There aren't any eccentric characters that make you laugh like Denny Crane on "Boston Legal" nor are there any cases neatly tied up at the conclusion of each episode with a bow on them. "Damages" follows a single case and the follow out from that case from its beginning until its bitter end. "Damages" begins with Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne from "28 Weeks Later" and "Sunshine") bloodied and battered walking the streets of New York until she is discovered by the police. From there the series takes a trip back in time six months earlier a case that Ellen worked on as a new attorney at Patricia Hewes (Glenn Close) & Associates. It's a civil case where Hewes is suing multi-billionaire Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson) for hollowing out his company and robbing 5000 employees of his company of their pension plans in the process. Having escaped the prosecution of the U.S. Attorney's Office, Frosbisher now must defend himself from claims that he benefited by selling his stocks before his company collapsing and getting away scot-free. Frobisher of course insists that he is innocent and was as much a victim losing the company he cared for as the employees. We see the entire case unfold before our eyes, the double dealings, double crosses and underhanded attempts by both the Hewes and Frobisher's attorney to gain the upper hand in this litigation.
"Damages" is compelling, fascinating and well written featuring a wide variety of characters with their own agendas. No one truly is an angel here although the naïve Ellen comes mighty close as she finds herself dragged into Hewes' world and manipulated as much by her boss as she is by the opposition in the case. A personal connection between Ellen and the case is uncovered which also makes Ellen suspect that the only reason she got the job was so that she could be used to gain the upper hand in the case. In the process Ellen sees her ambitions and dreams pull further and further away from her reach just as she thinks she is climbing the corporate ladder of success. Hewes tells Ellen at one point, "trust no one" and the same could be applied to everyone involved in the case.
Academy Award nominee/Emmy winner Close, Emmy Award winner Danson, Bryne, Tate Donovan, Peter Riegert, Michael Nouri and a host of film/TV/Broadway veterans bring these characters to life with a vibrancy rare in series television. If the story sounds like it was ripped from the headlines, the Enron, Worldcom and other scandals where corporate CEO's betrayed the public trust and manipulated the market inspired the series but it's the compelling characters and drama that will make you stick around to the conclusion of this 13 episode FX series.
The opening had me scratching my head in puzzlement--it looked like crappy low-rez video. It's a façade like everything else here as it is simply a sequence showing us the raw reality that Ellen finds himself trapped in. As the show jumps back six months in time to the beginning of the case, we get a beautifully rendered video image. There are a couple of problems with video noise that occur.
Audio sounds marvelous with a 5.1 mix that uses the format quite well. The 5.1 format is nicely used given that this is primarily a dialogue driven show with nice ambient effects captured in the surround channels.
I was surprised that we only get two audio commentaries on this set as I had hoped for more but both are effective and insightful. Glenn Close, writers/producers Todd Kessler & Glenn Kessler, Daniel Zelman and director Allen Coulter appear on the pilot episode discussing issues they ran into shooting on location in New York during a nasty winter, issues they ran into with trying to bring the series in on budget but short shrift the quality of the show. I would have loved to hear close and her co-stars on a separate audio commentary track discuss the craft of acting, their approach to the material and some of their thoughts during their performances but what we do get is quite good.
The second audio commentary features actor Zeljko Ivanek front and center dominating the discussion with the Kesslers and Zelman joining in with technical tidbits from time-to-time. Ivanek has long been one of my favorite character actors and he has largely been underused in many TV shows and movies so its nice to see him get a character as juicy as defense attorney Ray Fiske to sink his teeth into southern drawl and all.
"Willful Acts" is a half hour behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the series. "Trust No One" clocks in under fifteen minutes and focuses more on the characters in the series. We also get a variety of deleted scenes. The really cool feature of this set is that the disc is enabled so that the player can remember which episodes you've watched and jump right back to the one you had next in rotation if you choose the "play all" feature.
"Damages" is a terrific, compelling legal drama. All 13 episodes of the series plus the extras are on three Blu-ray discs and you also get an insert that gives you the title of each episode, a brief synopsis and credits for each one as well.
Well Suited To DVD
M. Cook | Australia | 11/27/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This series burst onto TV screens amid a blaze of hype and critical acclaim. Down Under (where I live) , this series was at first proclaimed as nothing short of the next coming of Christ by the critics. The local network screened it twice a week in its first three weeks, in addition to many (and I mean MANY! Late night.. mid-day) "encore presentations" . Then, when it failed to sustain the ratings, the network switched it to a late night slot (and only once a week!). And, coincidentally enough, the critics all began to sing a new tune. "Convoluted" , "dour" and "confusing" became the new key words by which it was measured. Sure, it can be a little confusing, what with all the switches in time, but that is also what sets the show apart. Hence my title for this review. I personally find it a welcome bonus to engage in a show/film/book, etc that demands a lot from my attention, imagination and time. A show like "Damages" is definitely more worthwhile and satisfying than something like, say, "Friends". Anyone who fails to understand this simply doesn't operate on the same wavelength. And that's not to pass judgment on anyone. It's simply stating a fact. Glenn Close is definitely the best part of this show. She commands one's attention in every single scene that she is in. A couple of episodes where her involvement was downplayed, the show actually dragged. Such is the quality of her performance! I definitely look forward to watching this when it hits DVD. A show like "Damages" is truly diminished by the interruption of commercials."
Great mystery, and stellar acting
Jordan Michel | Dallas, TX USA | 01/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You think the mysteries of LOST are intriguing? Wait until you see the first season of Damages. No mysterious clouds or polar bears attacking people on a tropical island... just people and their secrets. The show jumps around in the timeline, giving you a sense of what's coming, but as soon as you think you're starting to piece it together, they throw in a new twist. In addition to great writing, this series also relies on great acting to create complex characters who you can never really trust. Get the DVD, and catch up before the second season starts."