I just finished watching the series premiere of Damages on FX. This was one of the best premieres I have seen. This is about a litigator, Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) who will stop at nothing at winning her cases and the young associate she hires, Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne). Hewes is embroiled in a class action lawsuit against a CEO, Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson). Frobisher’s lawyer, Ray Fiske (Zelko Ivanek) battle Hewes.
In the premiere episode, we see a bloodied and catatonic Ellen running out of an elevator into the streets of New York. She’s picked up by police and from there, we piece together Ellen’s story from six months before, being turned down by one law firm because she reveals she has been contacted by Hewes’ firm. From there, Ellen is hired by Patty and we see that Patty is no ordinary attorney. She’s cut-throat and she’ll stop at nothing to win her lawsuits. And she presses on against Frobisher, but she’s being railroaded by her clients who want to accept a settlement.
As the episode reveals itself, we see that Ellen’s boyfriend, David Connor (Noah Bean) is wary of her joining the firm, but as we get further into the hour, we see him dead in a bathtub. Is this connected to Ellen being bloodied? David’s sister, Katie (Anastasia Griffin) is tied to Frobisher as a chef and eventually will be asked by Ellen to turn over as a witness. But of course, Frobisher knows this and will try to silence Katie.
And we also see that Patty’s long-time associate, Tom Shayes (Tate Donovan), knows his boss inside and out, but is fired for not seeing the clients wanting the settlement. But Ellen tries to get some info out of him. And it appears he’s still working for Patty on the side. So what’s going on here?
I think Damages has the potential to be very good. Glenn Close is a very good actress. Rose Byrne has done good work in the UK and Australia, of course in 28 Weeks Later and 28 Days Later. I’ve never been a fan of Tate Donovan, but he shows a mysterious side here. The series is shot well and I think will do well in the 10 p.m. Tuesday slot for FX. This will be a weekly primetime pick.
Now I haven’t written about Meadowlands since the first episode because I felt the series screeched to a halt after an excellent first episode. The last two episodes have been much better. We’re finding more about what the place is about. At first, we thought it was for people who need to be put under witness protection and never be seen by the outside world again. However, as the series has been progressing, we find it’s a social experiment to see if people can change their identities and sense of themselves so they become someone else.
As we discover, the Brogans, the family who we first saw at the beginning of the series, are hiding a secret. So is everyone who has been moved to Meadowlands. Danny Brogan had to testify against criminal associates who helped him to open a bar.
Jack the Handyman had kidnapped a woman when he was 14 and subjected her to sexual abuse. Eventually, Jack was killed by Danny.
Golf Pro Tom Tyrell was actually a left wing journalist who’s wife was killed.
And Samantha, Danny’s handler is actually the adopted daughter of a Professor who’s theories led to the creation of Cape Wrath, the town where Meadowlands exists. Samantha wasn’t the actual daughter of Professor Campbell, she was taken from a remote farm in South Africa and provided a new life by her “father”. But she finds out as he’s about to die.
So the whole thing about Meadowlands is discovering the secrets and also, trying to see whom is really whom. The last episode saw Danny trying to find out more about Cape Wrath and Samantha getting the truth from her father. This Sunday is the season finale. I have seen the previews and they do look good.
Lucy Cohu (Evelyn Brogan), Felicity Jones (Zoe Brogan), Ralph Brown (Constable Wintersgill) and Nina Sosanya (Samantha) have all been excellent in the series and helped to have given the series a dark edge.
Here’s hoping Meadowlands returns for a second season on Showtime.