Damages Season 2 Review: Starring Glenn Close, Rose Byrne, Timothy Olyphant, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt and Ted Danson
I love legal dramas. I love them even more if they use their thriller potential to the maximum. Up to now, I have been a big fan of The Practice ( starring Dylan McDermott) and Shark (starring the amazing James Woods), along with the absurdly humorous Boston Legal (with James Spader) – where the judges and the juries have to be won with wit,brains and some drilling cross-examinations of the witnesses. So my friend recommended Damages. It turned out to have the most impressive cast of actors I have ever seen on television:
I like Glenn Close as an actress. She may not be your typical screen beauty but she has an exceptional cool screen presence and she will make you buy whatever character and have you rooting for her, even though the character might be a villain,like the seductress she plays in Dangerous Liaisons. And she is no stranger to playing a lawyer. She has co-starred with Jeff Bridges in Jagged Edge. However this role is quite different. She is a smart, no-bullshit type who never fully trusts a person. She is also not the most honest and ethical person she is going to meet. She rarely loses a case. What sets this show aside though, it doesn’t concentrate what goes on in the courtroom but rather what happens at the law firm her character Patty Hewes runs and owns. Behind the scenes involve enough action and deceit to keep you glued to your seat.
So knowing Close can very well make a great show on her own, I started watching. But when I saw the cast, I was more than pleasantly surprised.
I’ve been a fan of William Hurt since I have seen Eyewitness, a really good thriller from 1981. I can’t wait to get my hands on its DVD and watch it again. My second favorite movie with Hurt is Dark City, by the director Alex Proyas (who got himself a much-deserved cult status with The Crow in 1994). Hurt’s acting is mostly subtle and he delivers perfect performances all over. So when I saw Damages and realized he had one of the most vital co-starring roles, I got even more addicted to Damages. He plays Daniel Purcell, a scientist who is an old acquaintance of Patty Hewes and asks for her help when he suspects the firm he works for is altering some crucial information to manipulate the energy industry. To make matters worse, his wife is killed. Now, you can never be exactly sure if his character is an imperfect but generally nice man or a sociopath who is just a really good actor or just someone in the gray area, neither entirely evil nor good. Hurt is perfect for this role that keeps you guessing and plays with your perception of him.
I find Timothy to be one of the most talented actors of his generation ( born in 1968, he is about the same age as Gerard Butler, Hugh Jackman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and such). He really can get into character- and he can get into it so well that the next time you see him in a movie, you might think it is the first time you have seen him. Yeah, he can be that diverse. I am not going to get much into his career, I’ll be writing a post on him soon. But let’s say that one of his recent appearances has been in the 4th part of the Die Hard quadrilogy Live Free or Die Hard, where he plays Bruce Willis‘s and actually the country’s worst enemy. He does well as smart and cool criminal. He can also just go and shave his heat and bring a video game character to life as he did in Hitman. Some of his other roles include a bisexual falling in love with his boyfriend’s best gal pal (Advice from a Caterpillar), the “manager” of a porn star (The Girl Next Door) and the misunderstood best friend of a girl’s recently deceased fiancé (Catch and Release). The role of Wes Krulik in Damages is not his first TV role, however. He made quite an impression in the western thriller Deadwood with his leading role.
Here he plays the confidant to Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne). A guy she knows from the grief counseling group she goes to, trying to deal with her fiancé’s death. Wes appears to be dealing with the death of his girlfriend and becomes one of the few people Ellen trusts. But then again, this is TV show that we can be sure of the intentions of one character only, and that is Ellen. Wes does seem too good to be true, in deed.
It is fun to see a familiar face on a show. Rose Byrne previously played Archilles’ love interest in Troy. Ellen is probably the only really good character in the show. She is by no means perfect but it is so easy to empathize with her and understand what she is doing and why.
Ted Danson is fun. He makes really enjoyable movies and he can be funny and charming at the same time, which is essential for comedic performances. Of course he has been on TV a lot: Cheers was really popular, and as was Becker. I especially loved him in Becker, where he plays a doctor whose bedside manners are not that different from Gregory House ‘s (from the medical drama House). I had seen him as clumsy,charming, grumpy, witty and /or clueless but I hadn’t quite seen him as a bad guy. Here he plays a billionaire (Arthur Furbisher) not so concerned with other people until something drastic happens to him. But it doesn’t seem like he can get away with it, since Ellen is onto him.
BRETT CULLEN AND MARCIA GAY HARDEN
It can be hard to catch these two in leading roles but no matter how big or small their parts are, their performances are solid. Brett Cullen plays an executive with good ties and you wouldn’t want to mess with him. He is Daniel Purcell’s (William Hurt) boss. Marcia Gay Harden plays Claire Maddox, legal consultant to one of the biggest firms in the energy sector. However you can’t exactly tell where her loyalty lies. Since everyone is in a complicated relationship with each other and true loyalty is very scarce.
The show is good. There’s enough suspense and drama to catch you on the edge. So I did cheat a little and started with season 2. But it is good and until season 3 premieres, I have a whole season to catch up with the characters’ pasts. Looking forward to it.