Wednesday 23 January

Damages
Wednesday 23 January. 8.30pm

During her celebrated career, Glenn Close has played her fair share of villains: she was Marquise de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons, Cruella De Vil in 101 Dalmations; and gave a tour-de-force performance as a woman scorned in Fatal Attraction. But she insists high-powered attorney Patty Hewes, her character in Damages, which concludes tonight at 8.30pm on TV ONE, isn’t all bad.

“I’ve played people that have been labeled as evil; [but] I don’t think they’re evil. Cruella de Vil is evil, because she’s the devil. [In] all the other characters, I have been able to find a common humanity with them somewhere, knowing where they’re most fragile, where they’re most vulnerable, knowing some of the things that happened to them might have formed this kind of behaviour. So, I do not think Patty is evil. I don’t think she’s even a hero in her own mind. I think she’s very vulnerable, as far as her son is concerned. I think she’s very conflicted, and I really like that about her.”
Intimidation, espionage and even murder have come into play as Patty Hewes has pursued a class-action suit representing 5,000 employees against the tycoon (Ted Danson) who allegedly cheated them out of their pensions. The five-time Oscar nominee has given her character the perfect mix of ruthlessness and compassion that always leaves viewers doubting her motives. Co-creator Todd A. Kessler who, as an ex-producer on The Sopranos, is no stranger to dark protagonists says, “Patty is not someone to be f—ed with, and Glenn brings that to every scene. We knew we were going to need someone who could show up and seem larger-than-life. And the truth is, there aren’t a lot of actors who can bring that kind of force and power. But she does”.

Patty’s ruthlessness also brings out a few changes in her protégé Ellen Parsons (Rose Bryne). “I think over the course of these various episodes that Patty, whether she’ll fully admit it or not, develops a respect for Ellen’s talents and for who she is as a human being,” says Close. “I don’t think Patty considers herself a great mentor. I think she’s too competitive for that. And I think there are certain things about Ellen, her youth for one thing, that she has no tools to compete against. I think she’s always kind of hovering between developing her or nurturing her and making sure she’s not going to invade her territory. So I think it makes a very kind of juicy relationship.”

Close had no qualms about making the transition to television for the role of Patty. “For me it’s simply because you’re given a great role. There used to be a huge snobbism between the film industry and the television industry. What should make someone decide whether they want to do something or not is the quality of the writing and the people involved, not whether it’s a film or television. And I also have always felt that television has a huge potential for the kinds of audiences that some films would never dream or ever be able to have. So that potential is very exciting to me.”

In the final episode of Damages, Ellen uses the Malina videotape to fight the charges that she killed her fiancé and Patty engineers a confrontation with Frobisher that brings the lawsuit to a dramatic conclusion.

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