Damages

This is the kind of program that must be watched with close attention paid to the small details.

With:
Patty Hewes - Glenn Close Ellen Parsons - Rose Byrne Tom Shayes - Tate Donovan Joe Tobin - Campbell Scott Leonard Winstone - Martin Short

While the second season of “Damages” built and improved upon the first, because of the loose ends that were tied up, the third flight is forced to undergo a reboot — and does so quite effectively. Incorporating both a clearly Bernie Madoff-inspired financial scandal and a murder mystery, there’s a “Law & Order”-like “ripped from the headlines” quality to the festivities, albeit serialized, elongated and employing the FX show’s demanding time-bending formula. Any way you slice it, this is big-brain TV — the kind of program that must be watched with close attention paid to the small details.

The first two episodes again boast topnotch casting, if not perhaps quite the same level of wattage displayed in season two.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Patty Hewes (Glenn Close, a two-time Emmy winner for the role) has been appointed by the U.S. government to locate billions bilked from investors by Louis Tobin (Len Cariou) in a sweeping Wall Street fraud scheme. The really interesting ethical dilemma, however, surrounds Tobin’s son Joe (Campbell Scott), who has been cooperating with the authorities but finds his impulse to do what’s right severely tested.

Not far away, meanwhile, is Patty’s former employee Ellen (Rose Byrne), who has moved on to a job in the district attorney’s office — one that begins to intersect with the Tobin case, and thus bring her back into Patty’s dangerous orbit. Byrne has grown in the part since season one, and her strange relationship with Hewes and Patty’s loyal colleague Tom (Tate Donovan) hints at new dimensions in these opening hours.

“Damages” has come to be defined in part by its use of a tricky narrative device — jumping back and forth in six-month intervals, foreshadowing what’s going to happen while gradually puttying in how those events unfold. The series has also made good use of its backdrop of big money, white-collar corruption and corporate power, which have proved to be extraordinary timely themes in light of recent headlines.

A happy consequence of that milieu has been the conspicuous casting of older actors in meaty roles, which has benefited the show enormously — from Ted Danson’s recurring gig as mogul Arthur Frobisher to Cariou and Lily Tomlin as his wife in the latest salvo.

In a sense, “Damages” has become the U.S. answer to British costume dramas — only here, the sumptuous outfits are fresh off Manhattan’s runways, and the Dickensian villains generally have better teeth. FX has often made its bones by seeking to push the pay-cable envelope in terms of standards, sometimes gratuitously so; “Damages” demonstrates that envelope-pushers needn’t be edgier, necessarily, just smarter.

Damages

FX, Mon. Jan. 25, 10 p.m.

Production: Filmed in New York by KZK Prods., FX Prods. and Sony Pictures Television. Executive producers, Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler, Daniel Zelman; director, Todd A. Kessler; co-executive producers, Mark Baker, Aaron Zelman, Mark Fish; producer, Lori Jo Nemhauser; writers, Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler, Zelman;

Crew: Camera, David Tuttman; production designer, Edward Pisoni; editor, Aaron Kuhn; music, James Levine; casting, Julie Tucker, Ross Meyerson. RUNNING TIME: 60 MIN.

With: Patty Hewes - Glenn Close Ellen Parsons - Rose Byrne Tom Shayes - Tate Donovan Joe Tobin - Campbell Scott Leonard Winstone - Martin ShortWith: Len Cariou, Ted Danson, Michael Nouri, Tom Noonan, Ben Shenkman, Lily Tomlin.

More Film

  • Graphic Novel 'Under,' About Sewer Mutants,

    Graphic Novel 'Under,' About Sewer-Dwelling Mutants, Being Adapted Into Movie (EXCLUSIVE)

    While the second season of “Damages” built and improved upon the first, because of the loose ends that were tied up, the third flight is forced to undergo a reboot — and does so quite effectively. Incorporating both a clearly Bernie Madoff-inspired financial scandal and a murder mystery, there’s a “Law & Order”-like “ripped from […]

  • Daniel KaluuyaThe Metropolitan Museum of Art's

    Daniel Kaluuya to Star in Romance Drama 'Queen and Slim' From Lena Waithe

    While the second season of “Damages” built and improved upon the first, because of the loose ends that were tied up, the third flight is forced to undergo a reboot — and does so quite effectively. Incorporating both a clearly Bernie Madoff-inspired financial scandal and a murder mystery, there’s a “Law & Order”-like “ripped from […]

  • Durban Fest Fetes South African Women

    Durban Fest Fetes South African Women With Diverse Line-Up

    While the second season of “Damages” built and improved upon the first, because of the loose ends that were tied up, the third flight is forced to undergo a reboot — and does so quite effectively. Incorporating both a clearly Bernie Madoff-inspired financial scandal and a murder mystery, there’s a “Law & Order”-like “ripped from […]

  • Predator Comic-Con panel

    'The Predator' Teases Battling Aliens at Gory Comic-Con Panel

    While the second season of “Damages” built and improved upon the first, because of the loose ends that were tied up, the third flight is forced to undergo a reboot — and does so quite effectively. Incorporating both a clearly Bernie Madoff-inspired financial scandal and a murder mystery, there’s a “Law & Order”-like “ripped from […]

  • Durban FilmMart, CaribbeanTales Push Co-Productions for

    Durban FilmMart, CaribbeanTales Push Co-Prod Opportunities for Women of Color

    While the second season of “Damages” built and improved upon the first, because of the loose ends that were tied up, the third flight is forced to undergo a reboot — and does so quite effectively. Incorporating both a clearly Bernie Madoff-inspired financial scandal and a murder mystery, there’s a “Law & Order”-like “ripped from […]

  • New Line Comic Con

    Everything We Saw From 'It 2' During New Line's Scare Diego Comic-Con Presentation

    While the second season of “Damages” built and improved upon the first, because of the loose ends that were tied up, the third flight is forced to undergo a reboot — and does so quite effectively. Incorporating both a clearly Bernie Madoff-inspired financial scandal and a murder mystery, there’s a “Law & Order”-like “ripped from […]

  • Lin Manuel MirandaVanity Fair Oscar Party,

    Lin-Manuel Miranda to Make Directorial Debut With 'Tick, Tick...Boom!'

    While the second season of “Damages” built and improved upon the first, because of the loose ends that were tied up, the third flight is forced to undergo a reboot — and does so quite effectively. Incorporating both a clearly Bernie Madoff-inspired financial scandal and a murder mystery, there’s a “Law & Order”-like “ripped from […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content