Drama all the way as 'Damages' closes
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The final season of DirecTV's "Damages" (9 p.m. Wednesday, Audience Network) promises a final showdown between lawyer Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) and her former protege, Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne, "Bridesmaids"). That is as it should be.
While "Damages" was an over-the-top gothic soap in its early seasons, last year the show became more believable. Oh, there are still some ridiculous elements -- investigators who worked on the murder of Ellen's fiancée in season one "bend the rules" to give Ellen evidence from the case -- but Patty versus Ellen makes sense in a way Ellen continuing to work for Patty in earlier seasons after Patty tried to kill Ellen did not.
The new season features a Wikileaks-type web guru, Channing McClaren (Ryan Phillippe "Cruel Intentions"), who solicits dirt from corporate employees in an effort to expose wrongdoing. His chief lieutenant, Rutger Simon (John Hannah, "Spartacus"), arranges to receive data from investment banker Naomi Walling (Jenna Elfman, "Dharma & Greg"). Then all hell breaks loose.
McClaren ends up hiring Ellen to represent him when he's sued; Patty represents the plaintiff. The show's patented flash forwards suggest one of them won't make it out alive.
More personal stories also percolate through the season, including Patty's challenge to a custody lawsuit by son Michael (Zachary Booth) for custody of the child he abandoned to Patty's care. Ellen volunteers to testify against Patty.
The second episode of the season introduces Kate Franklin (Janet McTeer, who co-starred with Close in "Albert Nobbs"), one of Patty's former proteges who goes to work for Ellen.
When it began airing on FX in 2007, "Damages" was an early entry in a wave of female-led cable dramas, and it eventually grew into one of the most unique and engrossing efforts. It's a relief to see DirecTV give the show an opportunity to end on its own terms.
"Damages" fans without DirecTV take note: Season four, the first season that aired exclusively on DirecTV, came out on DVD June 26. This final season will be out on DVD at some point in the future.
First Published July 8, 2012 12:00 am