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Campbell Scott joins Damages

August
28

Campbell Scott just helped wrap up the first season of USA’s surprise summer hit, Royal Pains, as the weirdly charming Austrian gazillionaire, Boris.

And now we hear he’s already moved on to another cable smash: FX’s Damages.

(USA Network: David Giesbrecht)

Entertainment Weekly’s Michael Ausiello is reporting that the South Salem native is joining the cast for Damages‘ third season, set to launch early next year.

No word yet on whether Scott will play a new client, another associate at Hewes & Associates or opposing counsel in whatever crazy case Patty decides to pick up next.

Anyone else think that he’s a major score for the show, far better than William Hurt turned out to be last season?

Posted by Heather Salerno on Friday, August 28th, 2009 at 9:38 am |
| | 2 Comments »

‘Damages’ finale recap: ‘Trust Me’

April
3

Trust you, Patty Hewes?

Well, trust me when I say that this week’s finale of “Damages” was in lockstep with the rest of Season 2.

In other words, it was a big disappointment.

For a show that prides itself on the unexpected, this 90-minute resolution was way too tidy for my taste.

The bad guys went to jail.

Patty walked away scott free.

Ellen got closure on Patty trying to kill her last season. (To which I also say, what a crock…)

And good ol’ Tom got his job back.

Um, yay?

A tepid “yay” is not what I want to be saying when I watch a season finale of “Damages.”

I want to be full of questions, shouting “What the hell?” and “Wow, I didn’t see that coming!”

Last season, our jaws dropped when one of Frobisher’s employees shot him and left him for dead. The guy on Frobisher’s payroll who killed David turned out to be a dirty cop. And Ellen turned informant for the FBI to bring down Patty. Not to mention, it turned out that Ellen’s old mentor, Mr. Nye, had been helping to investigate Patty for awhile. (What happened to Mr. Nye anyway?)

Now, that was a “whoa” finale and a well-crafted season.

This time around, as I’ve said before, the show simply took on too much. There were way too many characters running around, and if they’d been more compelling, maybe we’d have been able to keep them straight.

We never even found out what Dave Pell’s job was. Written a different way, that could have been intriguing; instead, it was just boring.

Plus, I’m irked that the Daniel Purcell storyline simply faded away: That was what really had me hooked at the outset of the season. So much so, I even thought that Season 2 might be better than Season 1.

I’m not sure why it happened – did William Hurt refuse to come out of his dressing room or something? – but Purcell disappeared halfway through the season.

Finding out last week that he kind of/sort of killed his wife was a nice twist, but honestly, it wasn’t enough to make up for trading that entire plot for the UNR sculduggery. Ooh, illegal energy trades? Snore.

And as for Marcia Gay Harden? Three words: Waste. Of. Talent.

So let’s do a bit of recapping, starting with the mystery scene of the season: Ellen shooting someone in her hotel room.

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Posted by Heather Salerno on Friday, April 3rd, 2009 at 9:11 am |
| | 3 Comments »

‘Damages’ recap: ‘Look What I Dug Up This Time’

March
26

The season’s penultimate episode was at warp speed last night, moving fast to tie up all of those loose ends before the clock runs out next week.

So we finally got the answer to one of this year’s pivotal questions: Did Daniel Purcell really kill his wife?

And the answer is … uh, not exactly?

Smartly, the show brought the focus back to Daniel, who’d been pretty much AWOL since selling out Patty on the witness stand. And that was a mistake, because the UNR saga hasn’t been nearly as riveting. (Not to mention, Marcia Gay Harden’s talents have been pretty much wasted as Claire Maddox.)

Anyway, the mystery began unraveling when Daniel’s dog dug up the mystery object that we saw him burning in his backyard as the season opened. And the puppy churned up a charred … remote control?!?

Yup, it seems that Mrs. Purcell smacked her hubby in the head with said remote during their massive blowout right before she got whacked. She was upset by Daniel’s affair with Claire and his refusal to bring down UNR, despite their threats against their daughter.

As she went to call the EPA herself, an enraged Daniel strangled her – and then panicked and brought in Kendrick’s flunkies to clean up the mess.

But when the Deacon (a.k.a. Creepy Darrell Hammond) shows up at Daniel’s house, there’s a problem. Christine is still alive.

That’s what prompted his phone call to Kendrick, asking for further instructions. The Deacon is told to end it. (Boy, he really follows directions well, doesn’t he?)

By the episode’s end – and not before Daniel cracks the meaning of the GPS codes for Patty – Daniel is turning himself in to the police. For a murder he didn’t commit, even if he’d meant to.

(Y’all can debate the justice – or not – in that for yourselves.)

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Posted by Heather Salerno on Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at 10:04 am |
| | 1 Comment »

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‘Damages’ recap: ‘London. Of course.’

March
19

Sorry, “Damages” fans, I’m unable to perform my regularly scheduled recap this week. (I’m not in a hotel room at gunpoint, I promise.)

But feel free to use this space to discuss last night’s episode.

What do you think of Claire now?

What’s up with Patty’s secret?

What the heck do you think will happen next? There’s only two more episodes left!

Have fun, and tune in here next week when I’ll be back with the second-to-last chat of the season…

(Photo courtesy of FX)

Posted by Heather Salerno on Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at 9:30 am |
| | 1 Comment »

‘Damages’ recap: ‘Uh Oh. Out Come the Skeletons’

March
12

“Damages” is back on track, yeah!

I complained last week that the show had gone off the rails a bit this season, trying to answer too many questions in this second season. To continue with the locomotive analogy, I still think the schedule is overcrowded, but last night’s episode did get the plot moving swiftly again. And with only three more installments left, it’s not a moment too soon.

This time around, we’re learning that these bad guys might be worse than Frobisher – at least he didn’t off a cop.

As it turns out, the No. 1 bad guy isn’t even who we thought it was.

It’s not UNR CEO Walter Kendrick.

It’s not possible wife-killer Daniel Purcell.

It’s not even creepy UNR flunky, the Deacon.

It’s the calm, cool Man of Mystery, Dave. (He’s so bad, we don’t even know his last name.)

He’s the dude who’s really pulling the strings at UNR, helping cover up coal mine contamination and manipulating the energy market. Even more alarming, he’s apparently so high up in government circles that he can influence the president’s choice of cabinet members.

He can also call in a hit on a FBI agent and make it look like a heroin overdose.

Sheesh, between him, the federal agents on the take and the dirty cops linked to Frobisher, I’m starting to worry about the state of law enforcement.

Speaking of shady guys, Daniel Purcell popped up again, just in time to assist Claire in discovering that Kendrick is – GASP! – a criminal. (For a hard-nosed corporate attorney, she’s pretty naive. Is this really the worst she’s seen in 20 years of working for the guy?)

The show also teased us some more with this season’s overarching mystery: Who does Ellen shoot in that hotel room?

We saw Patty stumble out and collapse in the elevator, and the setup was just ambiguous enough to make us think that she was the injured party. But I think that was the look of someone wounded psychologically, not physically.

That blood on Patty’s hands? My bet is that it’s from someone else we haven’t seen yet in that room, maybe someone Patty has hurt in the past.

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Posted by Heather Salerno on Thursday, March 12th, 2009 at 9:41 am |
| | 3 Comments »

‘Damages’ recap: ‘You Got Your Prom Date Pregnant’

March
6

At the risk of sounding like Randy Jackson on “American Idol,” I just wasn’t feeling “Damages” this week: It was just awright for me, dawgs.

Honestly, it was a little all over the place – and not in the good way that this show is known for.

Instead of trying desperately to figure out how all of the whiplash-inducing information fits into this season’s mystery, I was a little – gulp – bored.

Yup, I said it. “Damages” has gone off the rails a bit mid-season, and I think I know why.

It’s gotten away from the initial mystery, the one that drew us in at the start: The murder of Daniel Purcell’s wife.

With the season due to wrap up on April 1 – can you believe it’s going that fast? – I’m guessing that this slump will fade away as the series races back and connects that murder to the UNR lawsuit. But there is one flaw to this season that isn’t likely to disappear.

There’s simply too much going on.

Last season, we wanted to know three main things: Who killed David, why Patty tried to have Ellen killed and would Patty bring down Frobisher?

Now, we’ve got crazy questions galore. Will Ellen nail Frobisher and the Bearded Man for David’s murder? Will Wes get rid of Ellen because she’s getting too close to the killers? Does Wes actually have feelings for Ellen? Will Ellen bring down Patty with the FBI? Will she end up shooting Patty? Will Patty expose UNR? Will she sue the FBI for Pete’s death? Why exactly did Purcell conspire to kill his wife?

It’s a little too much for me. And I didn’t even include all of Patty’s personal business, like what’s going on with her cheating husband (who’s having an affair with another woman and UNR behind Patty’s back) and weirdo son (what’s the big deal with this college essay he keeps bringing up?).

Although I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed Cokehead Trader Finn’s request for salty nuts and wasabi peas while meeting with the mysterious UNR-connected Dave.

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Posted by Heather Salerno on Friday, March 6th, 2009 at 10:57 am |
| | 2 Comments »

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‘Damages’ recap: ‘They Had To Tweeze That Out of My Kidney’

February
27

Holy revelations, Batman!

Just when we thought this episode was all about saying bye-bye to Uncle Pete and hello to the slimy Frobisher of old, “Damages” reminded us – with a BANG-BANG – that this show is all about the relationship between Patty and Ellen.

By the episode’s end, we were right back to the season’s opening mystery, which had kind of gotten lost in all this UNR business. But we still want to know: Who is looking down the barrel of Ellen’s gun?

Frobisher? Wes? Detective Beardy McCheeseburger? It couldn’t be Patty, could it?

It could, and damn, I didn’t see that one coming even though it was as obvious as could be. And Patty looked just as terrified of Ellen as she obviously hoped.

Yet there’s got to be more to this scenario, right?

Realistically, “Damages” is set for at least one more season – and I can’t see them killing off Glenn Close anytime soon. And how on earth could Patty keep Ellen on at the law firm after this? I suspect that “attempting to murder boss” is a firing offense in the Hewes & Associates employment contract.

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Posted by Heather Salerno on Friday, February 27th, 2009 at 10:48 am |
| | 1 Comment »

‘Damages’ recap: ‘New York Sucks’

February
20

Don’t blame me for the episode’s title: This one came courtesy of Walter Kendrick’s bratty granddaughter, who was visiting the Big Apple from out of town.

And wasn’t it sweet that dear ol’ Grandpappy Kendrick took some time off from orchestrating murders to take the kiddies to the zoo?

Kendrick actually didn’t do much in this installment except worry about some confusing stock trade that was supposed to happen with the help of a cokehead trader. Except the trader got busted with his hooker companion – and now Patty knows something’s up because Kendrick got Claire Maddox to defend the aforementioned hooker (in order to keep it on the down-low. Oops.).

Anyway, this hour was all about Uncle Pete, which I was pretty happy about. I’ve been wondering what’s up with this old geezer, who seems to know all Patty’s secrets and exactly how to get rid of any trouble-causing employees. (Well, almost. That hit on Ellen didn’t go exactly as planned.)

As it turns out, Pete actually IS Patty’s uncle. Or so she says. Patty told Ellen that Pete is her mother’s brother – and the Fibbers later discover that Pete is Pete McGee, whose versatile, lengthy rap sheet suddenly stopped years ago when Patty started defending him.

So the agents set up a sting with some crooks dealing with the still-shady Pete; they wire those crooks up and then swoop in to arrest Pete, too. They give him an ultimatum: Give us Patty, or you’ll go to jail and never see your dying wife of 60 years again.

And Patty was right: Pete is the most loyal man she knows, because he totally messes with the FBI plan.

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Posted by Heather Salerno on Friday, February 20th, 2009 at 9:47 am |
| | Comments Off on ‘Damages’ recap: ‘New York Sucks’

‘Damages’ recap: ‘A Pretty Girl in a Leotard’

February
13

I have to post an immediate SPOILER ALERT here, because if you haven’t seen this episode of ‘Damages,’ then you don’t know yet that ….

Arthur Frobisher is back!

He’s not simply waiting around in the wings for Ellen’s revenge. He’s back in the sense that he’s now a major player in this season’s twists and turns. We knew we hadn’t seen the last of him in the hospital.

But do you buy the way the show re-introduced him into the plot?

I have to say, I don’t. That’s not to say that I don’t dig seeing Ted Danson’s white mane up on that screen again: He is simply electric as Frobisher, and I don’t blame the writers for not killing him off.

Yet, there’s no way in hell this scenario would occur. Patty gets Frobisher to come on board as the lone UNR shareholder to sue the company?

First of all, I thought Frobisher was broke. So how was he able to hang onto any UNR shares (wouldn’t his assets have been liquidated to pay off last season’s settlement?) or get cash to buy new stock?

Second, no matter how desperate Frobisher is for a financial and social comeback, would he really partner up with the very woman who ruined him in the first place?

Third, doesn’t it show how very weak Patty’s case is against UNR that she couldn’t come up with anyone, ANYONE else to bring this lawsuit?

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Posted by Heather Salerno on Friday, February 13th, 2009 at 9:05 am |
| | Comments Off on ‘Damages’ recap: ‘A Pretty Girl in a Leotard’

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‘Damages’ recap: ‘Hey! Mr. Pibb!’

January
29

Last night was a monumental episode for “Damages:” For the first time, Patty Hewes was actually wrong about something.

Not to mention, this is probably the first time EVER that Patty has been played.

Man, you’ve gotta hand it to Daniel for having guts. Not only did he betray Patty in the courtroom, he did it right after she’d finally, FINALLY relented and told her son that Daniel is his father and allowed the two to meet.

After seeing that terrifying look on Patty’s face as she left the courtroom, I was almost scared for Daniel. But I think he can take care of himself.

And that’s what the addition of William Hurt has done for this phenomenal series:

Giving Patty a more than worthy adversary – and let’s face it, Ellen and the G-men are no match for her – has taken the show to another level.

So let’s toast that sentiment with a Mr. Pibb and dive into the episode – and what is up with “Saturday Night Live” veteran DARRELL HAMMOND playing a creepy henchman with a liking for lip balm?

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Posted by Heather Salerno on Thursday, January 29th, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

‘Damages’ recap: ‘I knew your pig’

January
22

This episode perfectly highlighted the genius of “Damages.”

It may as well have been titled, “All About Daniel,” because, boy, did we learn a lot about Daniel Purcell. Yet we’re no further along in understanding the man at all.

We have no clue about his agenda or whether he killed his wife. About the only thing we know for sure is that he gets Patty Hewes like no one else we’ve seen before.

“You don’t give a s*** about me,” he told her last night. “As soon as I give you information about Ultima, you’ll toss me aside.”

Ain’t that the truth. He sure has her number, doesn’t he? Patty Hewes doesn’t even harbor a soft spot for the man who fathered her child.

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Posted by Heather Salerno on Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 at 8:30 am |
| | Comments Off on ‘Damages’ recap: ‘I knew your pig’

‘Damages’ recap: ‘Burn it, shred it, I don’t care’

January
15

Last week’s premiere of “Damages” was a solid, slam-dunk opener. But if last night’s insanity is any indication, this season is sure to get even better.

Not that I’m surprised by this, but last night, we were assured that Daniel definitely isn’t what he seems.

Neither is Wes, Ellen’s new – and apparently psycho – love bunny.

And what should we make of the winner for Most Cleavage Revealed by an Opposing Attorney, Claire Maddox? (Marcia Gay Harden finally showed up, yay!)

So let’s dig into the mysteries right now … and is anyone else wondering about that strange look Patty had on her face when she introduced her disturbing son, Michael, to the equally disturbing Daniel?

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Posted by Heather Salerno on Thursday, January 15th, 2009 at 8:30 am |
| | 1 Comment »

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‘Damages’ premiere recap: ‘I lied, too’

January
8

So “Damages” fanatics, what did you think?

Are you, in a warped way, liking this tougher, rougher Ellen than last season’s naive newbie?

Who do you think is looking down the barrel of Ellen’s gun? Will we find out that person’s identity before the season finale? Will he or she end up dead, or is it just a scare tactic?

And what are we to make of Patty’s guilty conscience? Nightmares involving Ray Fiske? Possible remorse for putting a hit on Ellen?

You’d almost feel sorry for Patty, but then she goes and ruins the reputation of a teenage girl, just because her dad wouldn’t pony up the cash for her new charity. Not to mention, she involves her (in my opinion, creepy) son, Michael, in the scheme.

Then there’s this new guy, Daniel Purcell. What’s his past connection to Patty? Did he kill his wife, or did the corporate types he’s trying to expose have her murdered?

Questions, questions, questions! That’s all we’ve got when we watch “Damages,” isn’t it? There’s not just plot and subplot when it comes to this show: There’s a multi-level subterranean maze going on beneath the surface.

So let’s take the first episode in baby steps, shall we? We’ll break it down character by crazy character…

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Posted by Heather Salerno on Thursday, January 8th, 2009 at 8:30 am |
| | Comments Off on ‘Damages’ premiere recap: ‘I lied, too’

Season 2 of ‘Damages’ resumes roller-coaster ride

January
4

It’s been so long since new episodes of “Damages” have aired – 15 months, to be exact – that fans may have forgotten what they loved about the show.

But if you tune in to Wednesday’s Season 2 premiere (10 p.m., FX), your faith in this gut-churning legal thriller will be restored immediately.

The first episode is not quite as good as the series pilot, but that’s fine with me. Not much could top the jaw-dropping moment when Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) threw that dog collar into the ocean, and we all realized she was capable of anything.

(There is an almost, ALMOST equally stunning scene at the end of the second episode, however.)

But overall, the latest installments prove that this sophomore year has the potential to outshine the show’s incredible first season.

The series resumes not long after it left off, when Ellen (Rose Byrne) became an FBI informant in order to destroy Patty. (Her boss did try to kill her, after all.) She’s still grief-stricken over the murder of her fiancé, David, making Ellen more hardened and intriguing than the doe-eyed naïf from the last go-round.

This season, Ellen has a single focus: Bring Down Patty. And she doesn’t care how she does it, or who she ruins in the process. Sounds a lot like a scary female lawyer we know, doesn’t it?

The opening scene says it all about Ellen’s state of mind, as she drunkenly confronts an unseen and unidentified opponent with a gun, telling him or her that “you should be terrified.”

We’ll eventually find out who Ellen is up against – and why – as the season rolls out using its signature flashback elements. (Another plus: The producers say this technique won’t be used as much as last season, which should make following the show less confusing.)

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Posted by Heather Salerno on Sunday, January 4th, 2009 at 8:00 am |
| | Comments Off on Season 2 of ‘Damages’ resumes roller-coaster ride

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