Damages – Season 3 (1): Who’s in the dumpster?

arialbold has been an excited quivering wreck since discovering the third season of Damages was upcoming on BBC. With Glenn Close as ice-queen who-will-she-get-next NY lawyer Patty Hewes, nothing is ever what it seems.

With Damages, practically the only things you seem to be able to rely on are the opening titles which have passed unscathed through into their third series.  I figured everyone would want to copy The Wire and have their opening music covered by a different cool artist each series – but maybe with Damages they need to leave you something that tells you which way is up.

The other now perennial feature – which gets a tad annoying at times – is that whenever they cut to what will be the denouement which gets slowly revealed episode by episode, everything goes slightly off kilter, with washed out colour and “eek eek” music.  It’s a useful signalling device in case you wonder why the person you have just seen bouncing happily round the office is now dead in the dumpster and oh he’s alive again.

And as a piece of TV rhetoric it’s great – constantly changing your perspective on what you’re seeing as the backstory unfolds.  In other hands it could be poor – and it verged on the hammer whack when you saw loyal and much put upon Hewes associate Tommy Shayes (who sadly only has two acting styles – happily stunned or unhappily annoyed – and wears that David Steel sartorial suicide note, the white collar and coloured shirt) watching his name going up on the door of the firm alongside Patty Hewes’, all the while you knew, you just knew, it was going to be him in the dumpster.

And this is clearly the show to be on if you want to make a strong left-field career move.  Dunno who their acting coach is but boy are they worth it.  Glenn Close had already made great TV with The Shield, but season one showed Ted Danson was not Sam Malone.  Season two had William Hurt doing his best stuff since way back.  And now season three – Martin Short!

As someone whose biggest film role I recall was The Three Amigos with Steve Martin and Chevvy Chase, and he was not even the third funniest out of the three of them, this was a revelation.   Bearing an uncanny resemblance to John Hurt edged with Quentin Crisp, he is a no-nonsense “Let me do what I’m best at” lawyer.  Brushing off a PR handler for his client as they walk down the NY streets, he suddenly bursts out “Dog Shit!”.  “Dog Shit!” pointing to the floor this time.  “That’s why I’m a cat man.  They can be taught to shit in a box”.

But it’s really Glenn Close that can’t be beaten.  And some of the best scenes were her dialoguing with former Hewes lawyer, now with the DA’s office Ellen Parsons, while looking at her in the mirror.  I swear that she is able to act in a way that the back of her head has one demeanour and her face has another. It’s extraordinary – you watch that next time.

Posted by arialbold

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Damages – Season 3 (1): Who’s in the dumpster?

  1. inkface

    As a West Wing fan, I’m keeping an eye on where those actors turn up again (Anna Deavere Smith in Nurse Jackie, for example) so was delighted to see the divine Lily Tomlin in this series.

  2. arialbold

    Not forgetting the connections with True Blood – the excellently named Željko Ivanek who plays Ray Fisk in Damages season one, turns up as the Magister in True Blood season one (and looks a lot happier as a vampire than he ever did as an attorney up against Patty Hewes).