The new season of Damages starts Wednesday, and I have a feeling it's going to be good. The first three episodes are just as tense and twisty as I'd hoped, and I think untangling the web of who knows what is going to take the entire season — if not well into the next one.
Recently, the show's creators and its star, Glenn Close, hopped on a conference call with reporters to talk a bit about season two, which premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. on FX. Here are some of the highlights:
- Patty has a lot to deal with this season. "She’s been highly, highly traumatized. I think the Ray Fiske suicide spun her into a place that she’d never been before; she lost control, she put a hit out on Ellen, there’s a lot that she regrets, and you have to take that into consideration," Close said. "People do not easily recover from that, and it actually, informs, I think, the entire second year."
- And get ready to see her at home. "We’re going to see much more of Patty’s personal life," creator Todd Kessler said. "Her relationship with her husband, Phil, and her relationship with her son, Michael, her relationship to Uncle Pete, who is played by Tom Aldridge, who is a man that probably she has known for longer than anyone else in her life. We’re going to explore all of that."
- William Hurt's character isn't just Frobisher 2. "He enters sort of the opposite way, where he has a past with Patty and Patty actually starts the season trying to help him," creator Daniel Zelman said. "And it was important for us to have a different dynamic in that regards, but at the same time William has a lot of scenes with Glenn; a lot more scenes with Glenn than Ted had last year. And so it was even more important for us that we have an actor who really can hold his own in scenes with Glenn . . . The dynamic between his character and Patty’s character this season is quite different from the dynamic between Patty and Frobisher last year."
To hear what's coming up with Ellen and why the paranoia you feel while watching the show is a good thing, just
- Ellen's coming into her own, bigtime. "We have kind of realized that the first season in many ways was Ellen’s birth into the professional world and taking her up to kind of pre-adolescent, and this season we’ve come to realize it as potentially Ellen’s adolescence where she is rebelling against the parental figure or the boss in that of Patty Hewes," Todd Kessler said. "And so this season will follow a trajectory of that rebellion, and then coming out of the end of the second season, heading into the third, our desire is to explore a more kind of adult relationship between these two characters as they are functioning together."
- Patty has one consistent motivation. "She really genuinely hates bullies," Zelman said. "Her compass is sort of always attuned to where the bullies are in society, and she’s always looking to stand up for the weak against the bullies. That’s something that we feel is genuine to who she is and genuine to her experience in life."
- The time structure isn't going to get any less complicated. "It’s something that continually challenges us and inspires us, to work in two different timeframes," Todd Kessler said. "So what started as a way of just telling stories in the first season in a significant way has emerged as a signature to our storytelling for Damages."
- Feeling paranoid? That's a good thing. "In terms of character and story, another thing that became, to us, a terrific one of our mantras is that nothing is as it seems," Glenn Kessler said. "It seems that the audience very much got on board with that. So that there was a level of paranoia, even amongst viewers as they were watching, that when they were watching people lie they suspected it and when they were watching people tell the truth they suspected them of lying . . . There were a lot of twists and turns to the story, and we kept them guessing to the end."
Photos courtesy of FX