Dirty Sexy Money: The Complete First Season Review
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As Nick George (Peter Krause) explains at the beginning of each episode of ABC’s Dirty Sexy Money, his father, Dutch, once served as lawyer for the richest family in New York: the Darlings. The job controlled his life, costing him his marriage—and, eventually, even his son.

When Dutch is killed in a plane crash, Nick inherits his father’s biggest client. It’s the last thing he really wants, but the money is really, really good—and it allows him to set up a foundation to give lots and lots of money to deserving charities—so he reluctantly accepts the job. After all, it might just help him figure out what really happened on the day his father was killed.

But being the Darlings’ lawyer is a lot like being a nanny. Nick is always on call—and his first day on the job makes him understand why his father was never home. Brian (Glenn Fitzgerald), an Episcopal priest, asks Nick to get his secret illegitimate son, Brian, Jr. (William Shadley), into prep school. Attorney General Patrick (William Baldwin) tries to get Nick to dump his transsexual mistress, Carmelita (Candis Cayne). Serial divorcee Karen (Natalie Zea) confesses her undying love for Nick. Slacker Jeremy (Seth Gabel) gets arrested. And Juliet (Samaire Armstrong) attempts suicide. Nick also learns about a 40-year affair between Dutch and Darling matriarch Letitia (Jill Clayburgh)—which could have given Nick’s new boss, Tripp Darling (Donald Sutherland), a pretty good motive for killing his father. And that, my friends, is just the first episode.

Dirty Sexy Money mixes the wheeling, dealing, and back-stabbing of FX’s Damages with the family drama of the Godfather movies—with the occasional touch of humor thrown in to keep things from getting too heavy. And it all revolves around an incredibly fascinating family of characters. The Darlings are a tabloid editor’s dream—and they pack every one of the 10 episodes in the show’s first season with lies, deception, scandal, and deliciously juicy gossip. You’ll never really know whom to believe—and that’s what makes the show so much fun to watch. Because just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, the writers will reveal a new little detail that throws another wrench in the works and changes everything.

Of course, the show isn’t without its flaws—or its far-from-likeable characters. Father Brian is so angry and bitter that he’s often difficult to watch—but even he eventually shows that there might be a heart in there somewhere. Maybe. I could definitely do without the party-girl exploits of Paris-Hilton-clone Juliet, too. Fortunately, though, the Darling family is a big, messed-up family—and other family members (along with supporting characters like Carmelita and Darling chauffeur Clark, played by Shawn Michael Patrick) more than make up for it. And it’s all so fabulously scandalous that it’s sure to snag you from the very first episode and keep you coming back.

Extras on the first season’s three-disc set include deleted scenes and bloopers (including my personal favorite, with Donald Sutherland in a Marie Antoinette wig), a making-of feature, tours of the spectacular set and the costume closet, and a feature on Candis Cayne and her character, Carmelita.

Dirty Sexy Money was one of the shows affected by last year’s writers’ strike—which means that the season ends abruptly after the tenth episode. When it ends, everything is still up in the air, and very few of the season’s questions have been answered. So this is definitely a show that you’ll want to catch on DVD before the next season begins—because there’s a lot of gossip to get caught up on before the story continues in the second season.

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