TV/DVD Recommendation – DAMAGES
I`ve become less and less of a TV watcher over the last few years, as TeeVee has devolved into a medium for the furtherance of marketing and other varieties of pandering. But through the swamp-torrents of audiovisual slime like Big Brother and Pop Idol there occasionally can be found, like diamonds prospected from the mud, a great series or a documentary or a film. DAMAGES is just such a thing, a gritty legal drama which makes Boston Legal look like Jackanory – and I`m a big BL fan!
It stars Glenn Close as top lawyer Patty Hewes, head honcho at Hewes Associates; Ted Danson (yup, he of CHEERS fame) plays Arthur Frobisher, a mega wealthy businessman whose big corporation crashed, leaving thousands of employees out of work and pension, yet he himself managed to offload his own stock – this is the main driving motivation of the narrative, in that Patty Hewes is representing the former workers against Frobisher who, if he loses, will lose practically everything. Let the party begin.
And it is a vicious party, full of doubletalk, backstabbing, divide and rule, assassination, beatings and other coercion, fabulous and intricate lies, and the character of Patty Hewes who towers over the entire imbroglio like an unholy hybrid of Aunt Livia from I Claudius and the Evil Queen from the 10th Kingdom. Also, the series employs a fairly daring time structure; the 1st episode begins with one of the main characters, Ellen Parsons, running from a building, bloodstained and shoeless, and ending up in custody – and most of the rest of the narrative is a massive flashback from that point, beginning 6 months in the past. A couple of times per episode you get a brief glimpse of how Ellen is doing and what happened to get her in the state she`s in, which demands that you pay attention. I mean, just a bit. The acting is great, the dialogue is sharp, the plotting is suitably twisty and bedecked with mini surprises and revelations as it progresses.
And as a demonstration of plausibly ruthless and heartless people it is superb, while of course we hope that they get whats coming to them. It has already been shown on the Beeb, but is out on DVD (region 1) so track it down. Worth every penny.
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