Damages- season 4

I am endlessly grateful to Direct Tv for rescuing this superlative show from the dustbins of TV history.  Season four has opened with another ripped from the headlines plot about the goings on inside a high profile private company which works security and other does other hush-hush work for the U.S. government. Apparently, one illicit mission involved Chris Sanchez, who just happens to be an former high-school classmate of Ellen Parsons.

  •  Damages – the title refers not only to the civil law term but to the psychological damages exhibited by the characters.
  • Ellen Parsons is clearly the surrogate daughter Patty never had (in fact Patty miscarried a daughter who would have been roughly the same age, as we learned from flashbacks in an earlier season). She’s also an alternate version of herself who might make better/different choices.
  • Granddaughter Katherine is clearly interested in the law, running away from one of her handlers to look in on Grandma Patty as she talks to opposing counsel. Otherwise, this little girl looks utterly miserable in most of her scenes as Patty churns through nannies.

It’s very telling that during Patty’s court-ordered therapy session, she’s not willing to talk about her son Michael very much, but she is able to voluntarily introduce the subject of Ellen and how Ellen needs her help with a case, but Patty feels unwilling to give it. “Everything she has is because of me,”  she tells the therapist.

I also found it very interesting that Ellen tricks Patty into helping her with the Highstar case by hiring guys to pose as antagonistic thugs, very similar to the way that uber-creep Jerry Boorman (played with devilish relish by Dylan Baker, remember him at Emmy time, please) tricks Chris Sanchez (a fine Chris Messina) into thinking that the enemy has persued him from Afghanistan.  Maybe Ellen Parsons will get her own hot-shot law firm after all, given the right amount of amorality and motivation;)