When the first scene of a pilot shows a frantic woman, wearing only underwear and a bloody trench coat, running through the streets of New York, there’s a lot to live up with regard to shock value. And amazingly, beginning its third season, Damages delivers.
This year, after defeating a corrupt CEO in the first season and a closing down a polluting company in Season Two, bad-ass litigator Patty Hewes (Emmy Award-winning Glenn Close) has been hired by the feds. Her daunting legal task? Recovering billions of dollars for broke New Yorkers who gave everything to financier Louis Tobin (Len Cariou), the fictional alter ego of Bernie Madoff.
Martin Short plays Tobin’s attorney and Lily Tomlin plays his wife. No Ed Grimley or Edith Ann (obscure SNL and Laugh-In/Sesame Street references for you youngsters) to be found here. Tomlin and Short are both serious as a car wreck. And speaking of car wrecks, Hewes is in a bad one within the first few minutes.
As with all episodes of Damages, the plot line shifts between the present day and scenes set six months later (which are shot in ominous lighting with a blue tint).
Initial background-establishing scenes reveal Hewes’ assistant, Tom Shayes (Tate Donovan), finally being made partner, and Tobin’s son, Joe (Campbell Scott) being accosted by a Ponzi-scheme victim on the street.
In ominous blue tint (current, six months later) detectives find Shayes’ body in a dumpster, and we fi nd out that his car hit Hewes, and that he and Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) had an affair.
Parsons, Hewes’ once-innocent protege, now works for the District Attorney’s office. She’s trying to distance herself from Hewes but gets sucked into the Tobin case when Shayes asks for her help.
Joe Tobin (a recovering alcoholic) backs his car drunkenly into his dad’s girlfriend, a potential key witness for Hewes; she’s hanging by a thread. Also, Hewes and her husband are going through an ugly divorce, and they both want the dog. Frankly, when Hewes cuddles up to her own dog, all I can picture is the dog she had killed in the first season to scare a key witness into testifying.
Like I said: baass. You think this synopsis is dizzying? Watch the show. Flawlessly written, amazingly cast, and with a diversity of admirably evil characters.
The Sarah Silverman Program
Fans of Sarah Silverman’s wholly inappropriate stand-up and her wickedly bizarre comedy sketch show, The Sarah Silverman Program, delight at its return. Starting the show’s third season on Comedy Central, Silverman and co-creators (Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab) keep finding new levels of hilarious. That a show can be smart and filled with gay, Jew and fart jokes just proves Silverman’s magic. (Comedy Central, Thursdays, 10:30 pm)
Solving History with Olly Steeds
Internationally recognized explorer and investigative reporter Oliver “Olly” Steeds seeks to uncover new truths about ancient mysteries. Steeds has investigated Atlantis and Nazca Lines (massive geo-glyphs in the Peruvian desert rumored to be created by aliens), and this week he’ll look for clues inside a Nazi treasure. (Discovery, Wednesdays, 10 pm)
I am a lover of puns (SHEAR genius, being CUT from the show), overtly gay hairstylists and before-and-afters, and this show has them all. Bravo’s hair-designer elimination show, with a $100,000 cash prize and Nexxus contract at stake, has begun its third season, doubling viewership in its time slot. And, oh, the colors and couture! Fabulous. (Bravo, Wednesdays, 10 pm)