Friday, September 07, 2007
"Damages" Gets Creepier, More Profane
And What The Hell's Up With Zeljko Ivanek's Accent?
Through the miracle of TiVo, I'm now caught up with "Damages," the delightfully demented legal thriller that took up Tuesday nights on FX, where "The Shield" left off.
Week by week the series gets more addictive. So what if Patty Hewes, the lawyer/queen bitch played by Glenn Close is a character who could only be concocted by a sleep-deprived and no one you'd ever meet in real life?
That's the point. She's someone who we'd want our lawyer to be, if only we could find one who is both amoral and charming in one fell swoop. Friends and enemies alike know to be afraid of her. Very afraid. This is a woman with the singular goal of winning at all costs, which often leaves her devoid of human feeling. On the last episode she talked about her first love in college, who worked two jobs to help put her through law school "I dumped him as soon as I got my J.D. He had no ambition."
Hewes is not just frigid, she's frozen to the bone. And like Close's character in "Fatal Attraction," she won't be ignored, and not above killing pets either. We'll see about the rest as the series unfolds.
Speaking of which, by virtue of its late-night slot on FX, the network lets it stretch a bit and allows shows like "Damages" to stretch the envelope, by allowing characters to utter medium-grade profanities like "shit" and "asshole."
Too often, though, as is also the case on "The Shield," writers on "Damages" have a bad case of the shits. Just because you can say it, doesn't mean you always have to. It then becomes a lazy writer's device. Which is bullshit for an otherwise high-quality drama.
"Damages" also benefits from a top-flight cast, including supporting players like Peter Riegert, Casey Siemaszko, Philip Bosco, and Peter Facinelli.
The only annoyance is Zeljko Ivanek's portrayal of Ray Fiske, the lawyer for evil defendant Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson). The normally reliable Ivanek's invested Fiske with a deep South drawl, which might be fine for a community theater production of "To Kill A Mockingbird," but totally out of place for a show that takes place in New York.
Ivanek has more than enough acting jobs to hide behind a bad accent. It's supposed to be a counterpoint to the hard-charging city slickers he's up against. Instead, it's just distracting, a rare misstep for a show that demands and deserves your attention.