Damages: The Complete Third Season

Damages: The Complete Third Season
Despite easily being one of the best shows on television, crafting every season as a slowly assembled puzzle of seemingly desultory plot threads while loading each episode with wicked mind games and veiled character motivations, Damages has struggled with ratings, declining each season, since inception. It's likely the serialized nature of the series, which constructs every season around a single storyline, revealing both the beginning and end in the first episode, slowly filling in gaps and building intrigue until the finale puts everything together in typically shocking manner. And while the second season disappointed slightly, unable to reach the superlative heights of season one, this third season finds the series in top form, opening with high-powered attorney Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) falling victim to a hit-and-run right around the time that her second-in-command attorney, Tom Shayes (Tate Donovan), is discovered dead in a dumpster. From here, things jump back six months to when Patty was appointed trustee of the massive Tobin family Ponzi scheme, wherein thousands of investors have been left penniless after a Madoff-like scam implodes. She and Tom tackle the financial end, trying to find money buried by Louis Tobin (Len Cariou) for son Joe (Campbell Scott) and wife Marilyn (Lily Tomlin), while Ellen (Rose Byrne) – now working for the DA's office – works on the criminal end, trying to implicate additional family members in the large-scale crime. Eventually, these stories tie together, involving mistresses, flight attendants, sham lawyers and surprisingly, lucid homeless people, integrating unresolved plot threads from earlier seasons, like the murder of Ellen's fiancé, Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson), and Hewes's borderline sociopathic son, Michael (Zachary Booth), whose significantly older girlfriend is now very pregnant. Beyond the constantly intriguing and exceedingly complex plotline of this third season, the character developments anchor and expand all things preceding, revealing Ellen to be just as vindictive and manipulative as Patty, whose world starts to unfold as she revisits her past. On another level, this sharp legal drama also posits necessary evil as an inevitability of fighting a corrupt corporate ideologue, positioning Patty Hewes as an ersatz feminist heroine, battling male entitlement and such nonsense as deregulation. Surprisingly, none of this is discussed in the brief supplemental material, which includes a blooper reel, a director interview and a single commentary track on the season finale. Perhaps this has something to do with the series moving from FX to DirecTV, much like Friday Night Lights did. (Sony)