Another May gone, another TV season over. Wow, that went by fast. After taking a moment to mourn the shows that didn’t survive another season, let’s look onwards to summer! Thankfully, the past few years have seen a significant increase in quality summer programming (shout-outs to HBO’s “True Blood” and AMC’s “Breaking Bad”), making the long wait ‘til fall a little easier.
However, even with a move to the summer season and 19 Emmy nominations under its belt, there’s one series that still isn’t getting the recognition it deserves. “Damages,” which is set to commence its fifth and final season on July 11th, is the best show that nobody’s talking about (or watching, for that matter). But like so many other stellar shows, its poor ratings and non-existent buzz certainly don’t reflect the show’s high quality.
Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) can’t believe it when, fresh out of law school, she is offered a job at a top law firm headed by the legendary Patty Hewes (Glenn Close). Ellen accepts the offer, unaware that taking the job with Patty is the contemporary equivalent of selling her soul to the devil. However, it doesn’t take long for Ellen to realize that Patty might just be as wicked and dangerous as the people they’re trying to prosecute.
Don’t let the subject matter fool you; this isn’t another courtroom drama. It’s a legal thriller that rarely ventures into the courtroom. It’s all about out-of-court settlements in the world of “Damages.”
At turns adversaries and allies, the increasingly complex relationship between Ellen and Patty is the show’s strongest asset, sold brilliantly by Byrne and Close.
The recipient of two Emmys for her work as Patty Hewes, Glenn Close hasn’t been this fearsome since 1987’s Fatal Attraction. Close as Patty is unprectably riveting.
Matching Close at every beat is the ever-diverse Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids). Under Byrne’s careful direction, there’s nary a false moment as Ellen progresses from Patty’s naïve pawn to cunning adversary.
Joining this already impressive ensemble for its final season are Jenna Elfman of “Dharma & Greg” and former teen heartthrob Ryan Phillippe.
The series, known for its complex non-chronological storytelling (each episode is bookended by head-spinning flash-forwards), is heavily serialized and certainly not for the inattentive viewer. For viewers who love analyzing plotlines and building theories, though, this series is just as addictive as any narcotic you’ll find on the streets.
Coming off a fourth season that focused on private military contractors, the show looks set to tackle a case relating to corporate and government transparency — ever pertinent issues in our times.
With the first three seasons available on Netflix’s streaming service and the imminent DVD release of the fourth season, now is the perfect time to get caught up on this underappreciated gem of a show.