New 'Damages' season begins on DirecTV

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"Damages" is back this week -- but only for DirecTV subscribers. The satellite company bought the series and has produced new episodes airing on The Audience Network (formerly Channel 101) beginning Wednesday at 10.

The new season picks up a few years after the third season, out on DVD Tuesday ($45.99, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), ended. Lawyer Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) is raising her granddaughter, which is tough since Patty lacks any maternal warmth, while her former protege, Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne), returns to Patty's orbit with a new case. It's a wrongful death suit against a Halliburton-like private military contractor Howard T. Erickson (John Goodman, "Treme"), who has a deadly associate in Jerry Boorman (Dylan Baker, "Kings").

Despite the move to a new network, this is not a "Damages" reboot (these new episodes do get away with a bit more profanity than when the show aired on FX, including two uses of the F-word in this week's premiere). Newcomers may be confused when characters from the past appear, including Patty's ex-husband, or when there are references to past events. Returning fans will get a kick out of some of the stories, particularly a plot involving Patty, court-mandated therapy and her condo's doorman.

As has always been the case, "Damages" remains a mystery-thriller whose characters and their psychological quirks are more intriguing than the plot. It's fun to watch how Ellen has learned from Patty and to see the wheels turning in Patty's head.


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