Damages Episode 4-1 Review: There’s Only One Way to Try a Case

Damages is a show of diminishing marginal returns, starting from its premise. The elaborate setup of flashforwards and flashbacks was revolutionary in the first season, especially with a bloody Ellen running into the street. But after three seasons, we know what to expect. The devilish twists and turns don’t quite have the pop they used to have, and there will always be the combinations of corrupt corporate types and hired hit men.

And yet, Damages remains a fascinating show, stretching the boundaries of television storytelling when so few shows take that extra step. The push-pull relationship between Patty and Ellen, despite them going back and forth many, many times, is still interesting, as each character evolves separately and their relationship in turn also evolves. The clues are doled out slowly, the writers refusing to give us easy answers and by the end of the episode the viewers–along with Ellen and Patty-are sucked into a crusade that will last a season.

The setup this season doesn’t seem too different from the previous ones. There is a private security company trying to get enough votes for the government to renew its contract while Ellen looks into the company for an illegal operation. The acting remains topnotch, with Glenn Close and Rose Byrne joined by John Goodman playing the CEO of the private security company and Dylan Baker as his associate. The flashforward shows a hooded person, presumably in Afghanistan, getting killed before Ellen walks in and begins crying. The obvious choice for the hooded person is Christopher Sanchez, but the writers probably have more twists lined up.

Score: 8.7/10