Fans of the show who may have caught its earlier seasons on the BBC, or perhaps caught up with it since on DVD, will already be well aware of the show’s considerable appeal, but for newcomers there’s no better time to catch up. Damages follows ruthless lawyer, Patty Hewes (Glenn Close), and her protégée, Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne), who work at the New York-based law firm Hewes and Associates.
Each season examines their complicated developing relationship, set to the backdrop of a major case that the firm takes on. If you want to get to know the show a little better before embarking on a recommended marathon, then here’s our handy Beginner’s Guide.
It’s Damages by Numbers…
There are five seasons of Damages in total, with the show originally airing on the basic-cable channel FX in the US for its first three seasons, before moving to DirecTV for the fourth and fifth. The show aired between 2007 and 2012
In each season Glenn Close’s high-stakes litigator Patty Hewes tackles one new major case, with each being inspired by real events. The first season is based in part on the 2001 Enron scandal, the second on the California energy crisis, the third on the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal, the fourth was loosely based on the private military company, Blackwater, and the fifth was inspired by Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange.
Each case seen on screen is fictional, but watch closely and you’ll begin to see some (in some cases very obvious) parallel with real stories you’ve seen in the news.
Over the course of its five seasons, Damages aired a total of 59 episodes. The first three seasons are all made up of 13 episodes, while the final two are ten episodes long each.
The first episode, “Get me a Lawyer,” aired on July 24th 2007, with the series finale airing a little over five years later on September 12th 2012. The final episode was titled “But You Don’t Do That Anymore,” and like every episode that came before it, the title was taken from a line of dialogue spoken by a character in that episode.
The office of Hewes and Associates, the fictional law firm at the centre of the show, is located at 400 Tribeca West Plaza, in New York City.
Trivia fans may also enjoy that the phone number (212) 752 4708, which is mentioned on the show, is an actual working phone number. Call it up and you’ll find a recorded message from Hewes and Associates. The fictional law firm has been around since 1992 according to the advertising for Damages, and you can find your way to the show’s official website by visiting www.hewesassociates.com.
There have been a total of 15 actors who have received star billing for playing a character on Damages, with Glenn Close and Rose Byrne the only two to retain that status through all five seasons.
Ted Danson (Cheers), Tate Donovan (The O.C.), Zeljiko Ivanek (24) Noah Bean (Nikita) and Anastasia Griffith (Trauma) all starred in the first series, with Griffith’s Katie Connor being bumped up to main character status in Season 2.
The serialised nature of the story-telling and a new major case each season allowed for the constant introduction of new characters, with William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Timothy Olyphant, Campbell Scott, Martin Short, John Goodman, Dylan Baker and Ryan Phillipe making up the extremely impressive list of acting talent who joined in major roles throughout the show’s run.
Over the course of its first four seasons, Damages picked up an impressive 20 Emmy nominations, and it could be set to add to that total when this year’s nominations are announced later this month.
Damages has converted four of those nominations into wins, with Glenn Close taking home the Outstanding Actress gong in 2008 and 2009. If Close is nominated again later this month, she’ll have achieved the impressive feat of being nominated for every season of the show. Zeljiko Ivanek won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2008, and the show overall won for Outstanding Casting in the same year.
2008 was also the year that Damages, alongside Mad Men, made Emmy history by being the first basic-cable shows to be nominated in the prestigious Outstanding Series – Drama category. Damages has also been nominated for eight Golden Globes, with Close again winning a Best Actress award in 2007.
Not only have seven members of the Damages cast been nominated for Emmys for their performance on the legal thriller, but the show has also been able to boast an impressive seven Oscar nominees amongst the cast.
Winners Glenn Close and Zeljiko Ivanek are joined by Rose Byrne, Ted Danson, William Hurt, Martin Short and Lily Tomlin as Emmy nominees for Damages. Close famously shares the record for an actress with the most Oscar nominations without a win (an astonishing six nominations), whilst fellow Damages stars Lily Tomlin, Judd Hirsch and Janet McTeer have all also been nominated by the Academy.
There are three Damages cast members who have actually taken home a golden statuette too. William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden, who star in the second season as scientist Daniel Purcell and rival attorney Claire Maddox, were Oscar-winners for Kiss of the Spider Woman and Pollock, respectively. Keith Carradine, meanwhile, who guest stars as Julian Decker in Season 3, won for his Original Song, “I’m Easy,” in Nashville.