DVDs in Review #114: Damages: The Complete Third Season.

Category: , , , , By Rev/Views

Over the past week I've spent just over nine hours catching up with the third season of the Glenn Close tour de force that is Damages. As I mentioned previously I have a great deal of respect and enjoyment for the first season, but I felt that the second season - despite some excellent performances from the cast - wobbled more than a few times and came dangerously close to falling over thanks to weak plotting and poor editing choices.

It wasn't a deal breaker, but I was concerned that the third season would also suffer from similar issues.

Spoilers, it doesn't. In fact it's everything the second season wanted to be and more. Damages continues with it's own indomitable style; strong female leads, non-linear plotting, twist revelations, shocks and high stakes in the world surrounding the law courts.

This time the show focuses on the Tobin family, who are involved in a ponzi scheme that has bankrupted everyone who was involved in it. Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) and Tom Shays (Tate Donovan) are given the task of recovering the money for the various victims while Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne), now working for the DA's office, is involved in the criminal side of the investigation.

Sadly the adorable Anastasia Griffith does not return as Katie Conners, but Ted Danson does as Arthur Frobisher, and he's not the only familiar face who graces our screens as the plot moves along by touching on events from the past. There's also a host of superb guest stars, including Campbell Scott, Martin Short, Len Cariou and my all time favourite actress Tara Summers - who I can unashamedly say is utterly brilliant in every moment she is on screen.

Performances are throughout, superb, in particular I have to praise Rose Byrne - who previously has struggled to bring any real emotion or rounded characterisation to her performance as Ellen Parsons, something I've often felt was caused by her need to maintain a US accent (she's from Australia). She's more comfortable with the new, slightly evolved, Ellen - and she's able to play someone who's learnt about the manipulation game from the best. Yes, that's right - Ellen is becoming a schemer of epic proportions in her own right, a much warranted and superb development for the character. In fact, every core character gets some deserved character development, we delve further into Patty's past while also gaining a broader perspective on both Ellen and Tom's lives.

The third season of Damages is everything you've come to expect from the show; it's dark, exciting and clever with strong characterisation layered on top of a plot so twisted you might as well call it a pretzel. It's one of the current cream of the crop drama shows out there and it's one of the few running a genuinely serialised plot over it's thirteen episodes. In fact the serialised nature of the show makes it a better experience on DVD than when it's shown weekly, you can dive into the murky depths of Patty's world and only come up for air when you choose to. As such I can highly recommend picking up a copy of the boxed set and settling down to enjoy a dark tale of deception, embezzlement, lies, fraud and more than a few murders. It's Damages and it's great.


1 comment so far.

  1. Ken 20 November 2010 at 09:55
    Nice review. I agree that Season Three was a great improvement over Season Two. There was one thing about the dvds you forgot to mention, however: the charming blooper reel.

    As far as I'm concerned, the only thing more satisfying than watching Patty Hewes triumphing over the baddies is watching her behave like a complete goofball.

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