Damages: The Complete First Season Review
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I love the twists and turns of a good legal drama. I love the chilling suspense of James Patterson’s crime thrillers—and the carefully planned strategy of a Law & Order court scene. But FX’s Damages is a completely different kind of legal drama—one that takes place in closed offices and dark alleys instead of in the courtroom.

The 13-episode first season of Damages goes behind the scenes of a high-stakes class action suit targeting billionaire CEO Arthur Frobisher (Ted Dansen). Frobisher’s former employees lost everything when the company suddenly collapsed, while Frobisher walked away without a scratch—and they’ve hired the infamously ruthless attorney Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) to handle their case. Patty will stop at nothing to prove that Frobisher was tipped off about the company’s collapse—even if her methods aren’t exactly ethical. Meanwhile, Frobisher and his faithful friend and lawyer, Ray Fiske (Zeljko Ivanek), will stop at nothing to cover up as much as possible—and settle for as little as possible.

First-year associate Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) gets entangled in the Frobisher case from her first day at Hewes and Associates until, six months later, it almost costs Ellen her life.

From the very first episode, Damages holds nothing back. We know that Patty’s nothing but trouble. She’s a woman who doesn’t like to lose—and she’ll use and manipulate anyone she can to get what she wants. And Close plays her like a rabid kitten: at times, she may seem sweet and innocent and even sincere—but, really, she’s just plain deadly. She’s so good at being evil, in fact, that it’ll give you chills.

In the beginning, we also know that, in six months, Ellen will be found wandering the streets of New York, bloody and delirious and accused of murder. And, from there, the show builds, growing creepier and more suspenseful with each new episode. With each revelation, the plot becomes more and more twisted—until you, like Ellen, will have no idea who’s working for whom and who could actually be telling the truth.

Damages is a sensationally gripping thriller. Though you’ll want to watch the episodes back-to-back, you’ll find that you need to stop and catch your breath between them. The story is so intricately detailed—and so tangled—that it’ll make your head spin. And the characters are completely fascinating—from Patty, who can manipulate anyone into doing anything, to Ellen, who gets tougher and more street smart with each episode, to Frobisher, the fun-loving billionaire who just wants to protect his “legacy.” While Close definitely deserved her Golden Globe for her performance as Patty, Dansen deserved a Globe of his own for expertly portraying such a multi-dimensional character.

If you love a good crime thriller as much as I do, don’t miss the first season of Damages. Just one episode will have you hooked—and as soon as you finish watching the first fascinating season, you’ll be dying to find out where the story will go in season two.

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