Damages: The Complete Fourth Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)
June 12, 2012 by Dennis Amith
Patty Hewes and Ellen Parsons put their differences aside and work as a team in “Damages” season four. The legal drama series with its dark and suspenseful storyline and its wonderful acting performances by Glenn Close, Rose Byrne and Dylan Baker, made “Damages: The Complete Fourth Season” exciting and definitely worth watching.
© 2011 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Damages: The Complete Fourth Season
DURATION: 10 Episodes (502 Minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: Color, English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Television, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Chinese (Mandarin Traditional), Korean, Thai
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RATED: NOT RATED
RELEASE DATE: June 26, 2012
Directed by Todd A. Kessler, Timothy Busfield, David S. Tuttman, Glen Kessler, Nick Gomez
Written by Glenn Kessler, Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman, Nancy Fichman, Jennifer Hoppe, Jason Wilborn
Music by James S. Levine
Cinematography by David S. Tuttman
Edited by Daniel A. Valverde, Aaron Kuhn, AnneMcCabe
Casting by Ross Meyerson, Julie Tucker
Production Design by Edward Pisoni
Art Direction by Fred Kolo, Ted LeFevre
Set Decoration by Mila Khalevich
Costume Design by Frank L. Fleming
Glenn Close as Patty Hewes
Rose Byrne as Ellen Parsons
Zachary Booth as Michael Hewes
Noah Bean as David Connor
Tom Noonan as Detective Victor Huntley
Chris Messina as Chris Sanchez
Derek Webster as Anthony Carter
Debra Monk as Deniece Parsons
Li Jun Li as Maggie Huang
John Goodman as Howard T. Erickson
Dylan Baker as Jerry Boorman
For brilliant attorney Patty Hewes (two-time Emmy® winner Glenn Close), the stakes have never been higher, professionally or personally, in the riveting Fourth Season of the hit legal thriller. When Patty joins Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) to expose a corrupt security firm in Afghanistan, they unravel a cover-up at the highest levels involving an inscrutable mercenary agent (Dylan Baker), a key witness taken hostage (Chris Messina) and the powerful CEO (double Emmy® winner John Goodman) with his own explosive secrets. It all comes down to one final, fatal double-cross.
With the final fifth season of “Damages” set to air on the Audience Network in July 2012, the exciting fourth season (featuring ten episodes) on DVD will be released on DVD in June 2012.
The award winning legal drama was created back in 2007 by Daniel Zelman and brother Glenn and Todd A. Kessler (the trio are collectively known as KZK). And since airing on television, “Damages” has received critical acclaim and numerous television awards.
The series revolves around the brilliant but ruthless lawyer named Patty Hewes (as portrayed by Glenn Close, “Fatal Attraction”, “Dangerous Liasons”, “Air Force One”) and her protegee, Ellen Parsons (as portrayed by Rose Byrne, “Bridesmaids”, “X-Men: First Class”, “28 Weeks Later”). We get to see this relationship between this powerful lawyer, Patty and her protegee, Ellen, who is slowly becoming as brilliant as her, but there is jealous and resentment that Patty has towards Ellen because she finds someone who is almost as brilliant as her.
The first season involved Patty’s firm taking on a powerful man and Ellen being accused of murdering her fiance; the second season involved Patty’s firm taking on a billion dollar corporation but Ellen thinking that her boss Patty is trying to have her killed; and the third season featured a Bernie Madoff inspired storyline in which Patty goes after the Tobin family, responsible for deceiving and stealing money from millions of people. As Patty and Ellen are much more distant this time around, both must work on the same case. Meanwhile, Ellen must deal with a family crisis.
But with the fourth season of “Damages”, it’s a new start for the series as “Damages” has moved from FX to DirecTV’s Audience Network in a collaboration with Sony.
The series takes place two years later. Ellen has since moved on with her new life and works as an attorney for Patty’s old firm and trying to find a powerful case that she can take on. Meanwhile, Patty has started her own firm but her life has not been the same since her son left his daughter with her and left town.
Meanwhile, Ellen has found a very powerful case and this one relates to her high school friend Chris Sanchez (as portrayed by Chris Messina). Chris works for a private military company known as High Star, which is owned by Howard T. Erickson (as portrayed by John Goodman).
High Star is trying to get the funding from the U.S. Government to renew their contracts and continue their operations in the Middle East against the Taliban but it looks like they do not have the votes or support from members of Congress who feel their operations are expensive.
Meanwhile, as Ellen looks into the company, she learns that three American employees of High Star were killed and High Star may be responsible for their deaths. But the only way she can try this case is if the decease employees captain, her friend Chris, works with her on this case and provides testimony in behalf of his fellow soldiers who died under his command.
But Chris is having experiencing some personal issues as he is haunted by his group’s death. High Star had sent them on an illegal mission which led to their deaths but as much as Chris wants to help Ellen, a ruthless mercenary named Jerry Boorman (who works for Howard Erickson) will do all he can to make sure that Chris does not work with the lawyer and keeping the illegal operation under wraps.
Ellen knows that she needs additional firepower to take on this case and that is through the help of her friend/rival Patty. But can these two women, who have a professional admiration towards each other, but equally loathes each other, work together on this troubling case?
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“Damages: The Complete Fourth Season” is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1). For the most part, picture quality is good for DVD but as expected for a DVD release, you can see a bit of compression but nothing that would hurt your viewing of the film and for the most part, for most viewers, this is a non-issue for a DVD release.
The drama series is presented in English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound with subtitles in English, English SDH, French, Chinese (Mandarin Traditional), Korea and Thai. As a drama series, audio is primarily a dialogue-driven track with some use of scenery ambiance for surround channels. For the most part, audio is very appropriate and dialogue is clear and understandable.
“Damages: The Complete Fourth Season” comes with the following special features:
- What Am I Doing Here? A Case for War: The Cast and Crew Discuss the Fourth Season – (13:46) The writers and cast discuss the fourth season of “Damages”.
- Deleted Scenes – Featuring a total of nine deleted scenes.
- The Evolution of Patty Hewes – (7:00) The writers talk about the changes that Patty has gone through in the last few seasons.
- Outtakes – (4:18) Outtakes from season 4 of “Damages”.
“Damages: The Complete Fourth Season” comes with a slipcover case.
As the fifth and final season of “Damages” is set to air on a cable, it’s unfortunate that a fine series such as “Damages” is not getting the ratings that it once had.
“Damages” which came out strong in its first season, but has been taking a hit in the ratings since season two. Best known for its writing and its use of a nonlinear narrative with many flashforwards and with episode after episode, red herrings and a continuing storyline that captivated viewers up to the final episode.
While the first season was fantastic as we start to see this rivalry and “friendship” between Patty Hewes and Ellen Parsons which culminated in the bitter second season finale, by season three…the writing deviated quite a bit. Even season four, “Damages” although retaining its characters and fine writing, would utilize recent events for its storyline. While the story is quite relevant, especially of what continues to go on in the Middle East, I did enjoy the fourth season’s episodes which dealt with a private military company, a darker storyline and taking the two main characters into different situations.
But perhaps the direction of the characters may not be as satisfying to viewers as the ratings have shown. May it be competition with other cable networks that are now creating their own drama series, with “Damages”, the writers definitely had to make the fourth season stick out or keep to the same formula. Personally, I’m not sure if they war storylines, especially that revolve around the middle east are situations that will turn off quite of viewers. But what I do know is that “Damages” strength as a series relied heavily on Patty Hewes, the alpha female who will bite you and spit you out. She’s that brilliant of an attorney and Ellen Parsons, has always been like the Patty-lite. The protegee who dares not walking that same line as Patty Hewes, but yet she respects her ability as a fearless attorney.
But just when you think that Ellen can handle things on her own (after three intense seasons), once again, she has to go back to Patty Hewes for help. I was hoping to see some of that kick-butt attitude that Ellen had learned in previous seasons to make her more of a go-getter, to become a stronger and headsmart and less likely to turn to Patty but not this season.
How much longer will this storyline between Patty and Ellen continue? Boss and protegee, boss may be trying to kill me… friends, rivals… by season four, I wanted to be surprised. But instead we see Patty Hewes’ character much more human, having to deal with personal issues but perhaps people are so used to that cold demeanor that they forget she does have a heart. But I personally saw the direction of Patty in Season 4, worried about her son and her granddaughter’s well-being to be a interesting change of pace for her character.
And as for Ellen, it’s the same Ellen that we have seen in the past few seasons but this time, we may see what appears to be an Ellen who has let bygones be bygones and is not afraid of working with Patty once again. But interesting enough, we are left with one final scene that eventually sets things up between Patty and Ellen for the final fifth season… I hope. The frienemies storyline is starting to get stale and I hope they manage to give viewers some closure for the final season.
While Glenn Close and Rose Byrne continue to do a fantastic job on the series. For the fourth season, while it was good to see John Goodman once again on television, the actor that did a fantastic job playing the crazed antagonist was actor Dylan Baker as Jerry Boorman (“Spider-Man” films, “The Cell”). A creepy mercenary without a conscience, Baker did a fantastic job playing the bad guy this time around.
As for the DVD, you get ten episodes and a few special features. Video and audio quality is good on DVD, but its a shame that Sony has not continued to release the series on Blu-ray as the cinematography and overall look of this film is great.
Overall, “Damages: The Complete Fourth Season” was good, but compared to previous seasons, it seemed as if the writing focused too much on the corruption and changes for the characters, when possibly the reason why people are driven to the series is because Patty is the ultimate Queen B, who will not let her protegee Ellen Parsons, get the best of her. And as these two were typically on opposite ends with each other, this time around, they are like a team. A dysfunctional team but surprised that Ellen had to resort to going back to Patty for help, again.
While the season finale of season four, definitely sets the stage for the final fifth and possibly the final collision between both Patty Hewes and Ellen Parsons (Will they remain friends? Or become enemies?) , “Damages” season four brings together Patty Hewes and Ellen Parsons, who put their differences aside and work as a team.
The legal drama series with its dark and suspenseful storyline and its wonderful acting performances by Glenn Close, Rose Byrne and Dylan Baker, made “Damages: The Complete Fourth Season” exciting and worth watching.
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