The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Paley Fest 2008: Damages

Written by: Tony Lazlo, CC2K Staff Writer

ImageCasting is underway for season two of FX's underwatched and underrated legal drama Damages. The series' creators and principal cast revealed some details about the show's sophomore season at the 2008 Paley Fest in Los Angeles last Monday night.

I asked series co-creator Todd A. Kessler if Rose Byrne's character would bring any other characters into her plan to nail Glenn Close's superpowerful attorney for attempted murder. Kessler didn't go into any details, but he did say it was possible she might bring other characters into the mix, and he added that season two would focus on a "web" of intrigue and machinations surrounding the FBI's investigation into the show's central law firm, Hewes and Associates. The relationship between Glenn Close's and Rose Byrne's characters will also figure heavily into season two.

The Damages panel at Paley Fest 2008 felt like – almost – the spectral opposite experience of the Buffy panel. The Damages discussion drew a much older crowd, including some TV-savvy retirees, and a much more sedate atmosphere.

What did they both have in common? Both panels drew very, very intelligent people.

Some more highlights and news from the Damages panel:

The show's writers are currently hard at work on season two, including casting for three new characters.

Ted Danson has been happy to take more dramatic roles since his Cheers days: "I stayed at the dance too long and was no longer amused with myself."

Danson also didn't feel like his character was a villain: "The writing was so complicated and interesting, that I didn't have to play a bad guy."

At the writer's behest, Glenn Close never fleshed out her character's backstory, though she did say she felt like Patty Hewes' regret over having children – "Don't have children. They'll ruin your ambition" – stood at the core of her character.

Despite the show's impressively circular imagery, the writers mostly, well, wung it. They agreed on a few "tentpole" events for the season, but mostly they improvised what happened.

The stalker character was always intended to be a red herring.

The writers did loads of legal research for the show. They spoke with lawyers and judges to get an idea of how a law firm worked, and they also read Bill Gates' deposition from the Microsoft antitrust suit. Very cool.

The panel opened with a clip from Something About Amelia, a TV movie starring Glenn Close and Ted Danson.

Glenn Close said she was surprised that audience members tended to call her character "evil," while calling Michael Chiklis' corrupt cop on The Shield "complicated."

Apparently, Chiklis once called her with a theory about that phenomenon:

"I killed my partner – you killed a dog!"