“Damages”: News for Hewes


Last night’s Paley Festival panel for “Damages” wasn’t a raucous affair, ala a night with Judd Apatow, but it offered a nice introspection on what makes FX’s legal drama so compelling.

Truly, there have been few lawyers on TV like Patty Hewes, so adeptly and connivingly played by five-time Oscar nominee Glenn Close. Glenn was quicky to defend Hewes, who tried to have her own associated killed at the end of last season, saying she isn’t a horrible person, just one who does whatever it takes to get the job done for her clients.Dam2_2

Glenn made her mark with such stellar turns in “Fatal Attraction” and “The World According to Garp” in the 80s, but for me, she’s really all about TV now, having been such a force in “The Shield” a few years back. Obviously, the experience of “The Shield” convinced her that TV is a place get those creative juices flowing… that, and the fact that the pace of TV is much quicker than movies, which involves a lot of sitting around doing nothing.

The pace is so intense, as exec producers Daniel Kelman, Todd Kessler and Glenn A. Kessler explained last night, that they were editing last season’s final episode up until the night before it aired.

Ted Danson said “Damages” has been a treat for him, as he’s felt he’s done the three-camera sitcom to death — his last foray in that genre, “Help Me Help You,” lasted 10 episodes in 2006 — and a quality drama offered him a change that any actor would gravitate toward. As for whether he’ll be back in season two after his character was shot, Danson said he’s clueless and that his agent isn’t even sure at this point.

Kelman and the Kessler brothers will start writing season two in a few weeks, determining where the story goes from here. As discussed Monday, they’re unsure as to whether the next upcoming 13 episodes will be one long case — the comparisons between “Damages” and ABC’s stellar Steven Bochco series “Murder One” were talked about — and which characters will come and go.Dam1

After the show sat on the fence for a while, FX president John Landgraf showed a bunch of faith in his cast and creators by renewing “Damages” not only for a second season but a third one as well, giving the writers a lot of latitude when coming up with story threads and character development.

Based on the Close’s Golden Globe win, nominations for Danson, Rose Byrne and the show itself, it seems like a wise investment.

(Photos by Kevin Parry/The Paley Center for Media)