Network: FX, DirecTV’s Channel 101
Episodes: 59 (hour)
TV show dates: July 24, 2007 – September 12, 2012
Series status: Cancelled
Performers include: Glenn Close, Rose Byrne, Tate Donovan, Ted Danson, Zeljko Ivanek, Noah Bean, Anastasia Griffith, and Philip Bosco.
TV show description:
New York City Attorney Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) is as revered as she is feared. A merciless and powerful litigator, one of Hewes’ most recent cases is to obliterate former CEO Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson) in a class action suit.
Represented by Ray Fiske (Zelijko Ivanek), Frobisher is being brought to trial by his former employees who accuse him of insider trading and lying to them about the state of the company. Under Hewes’ wing is recent law school graduate Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne).
Though Ellen had been courted by other impressive litigators like Hollis Nye (Philip Busco), getting the chance to work at the renowned Hewes & Associates firm was the chance of a lifetime — even if it means sacrificing time with her fiancé, David (Noah Bean).
Shortly after she’s started to work at the firm, Ellen is assigned to the Frobisher case, one that she knows will either make or break her career. As she devotes herself to the case, Ellen begins to discover just how much she’s willing to give for the sake of her career.
Episode 59 — But You Don’t Do That Anymore
In the middle of the night, Patty comes down the stairs in her living room to find her father Lyle sitting on the couch. He asks what happened to her little girl and Patty, referring to Julia, says she was stillborn. Lyle points a shotgun at Patty, tells her she’s lying and motions to the terrace. Patty sees Catherine outside, pressing her hands against the glass door. When Patty explains that Catherine is Michael’s daughter, Lyle says “Not that one.” Patty sees he was gesturing toward the dining room, where Ellen—dressed in the bloody green overcoat—is sitting on the table. Lyle asks, “What the hell happened to your poor little baby?” Patty says she doesn’t know, but Lyle says she does. Now the shotgun is in Ellen’s hands and she raises it at Patty. Just as she’s about to shoot we hear a horse neighing. Now we see young Patty standing in a field with blood on her hand. Patty’s bare feet are also covered in blood as we cut back to Patty’s living room and see Ellen pull the trigger, firing at Patty.
Patty jolts awake on her couch. Another dream.
In the flash-forward, we see the pigeon perched on the rooftop of Ellen’s office. Then, in the interrogation room, Detective Ortiz tells Patty that Ellen is missing.
In the present, Ellen’s in a doctor’s office. The doctor tells Ellen she’s not surprised Ellen’s been feeling exhausted. Blood tests show that Ellen’s anemic and her immune system is severely depleted. The doctor tells Ellen she needs to rest. Ellen says she’ll be able to rest after the trial, to which the doctor replies. “I’m afraid that may be too late. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
At Hewes & Associates, Patty and Bill Herndon meet with Rutger Simon, who’s secretly agreed to be a witness for Patty. Herndon reiterates that Ellen won’t go after Torben and Herreshoff because they could damage her case. But Patty tells Rutger she wants to go after them once the McClaren trial is over. Rutger is shaken to hear this, but reluctantly agrees to help her.
That night, Kate comes to Patty’s apartment. Patty surprises Kate by telling her she’d like to see their father Lyle and asking if he’s still coherent enough to have a conversation. Patty asks what Lyle was like as a father to Kate and Kate says he wasn’t a walk in the park for her, either.
In Ellen’s office the next day, an Assistant US Attorney tells Ellen McClaren has a choice: either reveal who provided him with the US military leaks or go to jail. Later, Ellen meets with Chris Sanchez and Tony, the man who helped Chris obtain the information for McClarenTruth. They explain the situation to Tony and ask him if he’s willing to admit what he did and save McClaren. Tony refuses.
That night, Ellen has a vision of her late fiancé David, who visits her in the office. David says he likes Chris. When Ellen agrees, David says it’s clear then that she can’t betray him by outing Tony to the authorities. But Ellen argues that the McClaren case is too important and Chris will understand in the future. David tells Ellen he never realized how important winning was to her.
Sitting in a car late at night, Rutger thinks back on the origins of the deal with Torben and Herreshoff. Back in Rome one year ago, Rutger approached Bennett Herreshoff with a plan to get rid of Channing McClaren. Rutger asks for personal information he can be use to embarrass and undermine Naomi. In another flashback, we see that Herreshoff arranged it so Naomi’s correspondence with him would be removed from the incriminating data so Herreshoff’s relationship with her wouldn’t become public. Then we see Rutger in the carriage house posting Naomi’s personal information on McClarenTruth. Later, Naomi accuses Rutger of colluding with Herreshoff and threatens to bring them down if they don’t set her up for life.
Back in Ellen’s office, Patty drops by to deliver an updated witness list, the one that now includes Rutger Simon. After Patty leaves, Ellen flies into a rage and throws everything off her desk, a move Damages fans will remember Patty pulling in Season 1.
The next day, Ellen warns Helmut Torben that Rutger has turned on them. Though Torben still denies wrongdoing, Ellen says his denial doesn’t matter if Rutger is prepared to tell the truth in court.
Torben and Rutger head to Herreshoff’s to talk strategy. While waiting for Herreshoff to appear, Rutger reflects on another part of the deal’s history. When he told Torben the amount Naomi wanted to keep quiet, Torben agreed to pay it. Rutger persuaded Torben that Naomi’s impulse to talk would never be squelched by money alone. Torben understands Rutger’s implying the best solution is to kill Naomi. We then flash to Naomi’s apartment and see her killer on her terrace, followed by her murder.
Rutger snaps to as Herreshoff arrives. He explains to Torben and Herreshoff that things will get better once he testifies against McClaren and the trial is behind them. Torben and Herreshoff point out that Patty has long decried Wall Street and will probably pursue them. Rutger brushes off their concern, saying all Patty cares about is her personal war with Ellen. After Rutger leaves, Herreshoff looks at Torben and shakes his head.
That night, Rutger walks down the street talking on the phone. As he books a flight to Dublin, we notice a figure on the street watching him.
The first day of trial arrives. Patty and Ellen are in the courtroom, ready to argue the McClaren case before a jury. Just as she’s about to make her opening statement, Patty gets a call. Rutger Simon is missing and there’s no way to locate him. Reluctantly, Patty withdraws her case, unable to proceed without Rutger’s testimony. Outside the courtroom, the press whips into frenzy with the news of Ellen’s victory.
That night, Kate asks Ellen if she knows why Rutger refused to testify. Ellen lies, saying she has no idea.
At the carriage house, Gitta calls Rutger a coward for abandoning them, adding that he’ll be easy to replace. McClaren disagrees, saying it will be very difficult to replace him. Gitta tells McClaren he’s a hero, but he insists there will be other lawsuits, more persecution. McClaren asks, “Why do people hate you so much when you tell the truth?” Gitta takes their bags to the car, which is waiting to take them to the airport.
In a flash-forward in the interrogation room, Patty tells Det. Ortiz that she’s supposed to be in court for Michael’s custody case. When Det. Ortiz asks if Patty knows what Ellen was going to say on the stand, she answers, “No. And if she’s missing…I guess we’ll never have a chance to find out.” Then we see over the edge of Ellen’s office rooftop, to her lifeless body lying on the ground below.
Back in the present, Ellen tracks down Chris in New Jersey. After Ellen turned over Chris’ Army colleague to the US Attorney in order to spare McClaren, Chris moved out of Ellen’s apartment. Infuriated that his colleague is in jail for action Chris asked him to take, Chris blasts Ellen for betraying him. When Ellen says the case was more important and argues that Chris will understand some day, it enrages him further.
Scully meets with Patty in the dog park. Scully mentions he was close to Uncle Pete and feels like he knows Patty since he’d done work for her in the past. Then he shows Patty the bloody business card Ellen gave to the police, explaining it led them right to him. When he says the D.A.’s office has offered him immunity in return for testifying that she paid him to kill Ellen, Patty asks how much it would cost to prevent him from doing that.
Later in Ellen’s office, we see Scully taped his conversation with Patty. Ellen plays it for Michael and asks if he will allow her to use it at his custody trial. Michael says it’s fine, adding, “It just feels like she hasn’t been hurt enough, somehow. You know?”
Patty visits Lyle in his nursing home room. She tells him she’s been thinking about forgiveness. Lyle asks if she’s made a decision on the land he wants to leave to Michael. Patty answers that as soon as he dies she plans to sell it to the lowest bidder. Lyle says she’s tough because he was hard on her; that he made her what she is. Patty retorts that she became the woman she is despite him. Then she opens both barrels, saying, “I want you to remember this moment forever. This feeling of helplessness. Of weakness. Of me looking you in the eyes and telling you how much I hate you. There’s no forgiveness for you. No mercy. Only death.”
That night at her apartment, Patty finally introduces Michael to Catherine. With a conciliatory tone, she offers him a 50-50 custody deal. But Michael wants full custody and claims Ellen’s evidence can get it for him. Patty replies that Ellen has only lies and slander. Michael says they should just let the judge decide.
The next morning, Ellen walks to her office in advance of the custody hearing and leaves a message for Michael, telling him to meet at her office and they’ll head over together. Then she goes missing. Hours pass. Scully and Cooper wait in Ellen’s office. Scully suspects Patty of foul play. Cooper calls Detectives Williams and Ortiz to alert them that Ellen’s missing. They take Patty into custody for questioning and we see snippets of Det. Ortiz questioning her.
Still in Ellen’s office, Scully suggests they check the roof. Once there, Cooper and Scully see Ellen’s body lying on the sidewalk below. From the sidewalk, we see Scully’s head peering over the edge of the building, as we have in flash-forwards throughout the season.
Then we flash back to earlier this morning. As Ellen walks to work, becoming dizzier and dizzier, we see and hear more flashes of her conversation with her doctor. The doctor says she doesn’t like the dizziness and irregular bleeding Ellen has experienced. As she hands Ellen a piece of paper, the doctor says, “I don’t want you to lose this baby,” and we see the doctor hands Ellen a sonogram! Flashing back to the street, Ellen loses her balance and falls, smacking her head on the sidewalk and knocking herself unconscious.
Cooper calls an ambulance while Scully heads back to Ellen’s office, where he finds Michael. Scully says since Ellen’s dying in the alley he has no incentive to testify since no one can put him at the scene of Ellen’s attempted murder. Michael claims that he saw Scully and Uncle Pete that night. When he left Patty’s apartment he saw the two men talking by a car, then Uncle Pete led Scully into the building. Michael threatens to turn in Scully if he doesn’t testify at the custody hearing.
Meanwhile, down on the sidewalk, Cooper tends to Ellen. He sees the ultrasound that spilled from her purse when she fell, then calls to Ellen and gently shakes her. Her eyes open and Cooper helps her sit up.
In the observation room, Det. Ortiz takes a call. Her expression turns dark and she walks into the observation room where she tells Patty something. We don’t hear what she says but Patty’s face registers profound shock.
Cutting back to Ellen’s office after Michael threatened to turn in Scully, we see Scully pull a gun on Michael. He fires twice, shooting Michael in the chest. Blood splatters against the wall behind Ellen’s desk as Michael slumps into her chair.
Grief consumes Patty in the interrogation room. Tears roll down her cheeks as the enormity of Michael’s death washes over her.
Days later, Patty stands at the end of her beach house dock. Ellen approaches, saying she’s sorry for Patty’s loss. Patty blames her for Michael’s death, arguing that if she hadn’t enlisted Scully in the custody case Michael would still be alive. Ellen says Scully wouldn’t have been involved if Patty hadn’t hired him to kill her years ago. Patty tries to protest her innocence, but Ellen says she has the DNA evidence and bank records, proving Patty paid Scully. Patty accepts this, saying they both have blood on their hands. Patty goes on to say the McClaren case on its face meant nothing to her—she just wanted to see how far Ellen was willing to go. Confused, Ellen asks what Patty means. Patty says she told Ellen that Rutger had switched sides to be a witness for Patty to see what Ellen’s reaction would be.
Cutting back to Ellen’s conversation with Torben, we see Ellen tell him that he and Herreshoff will be in deep trouble if Rutger testifies. She punctuates this warning by saying, “The time to act is now. Am I making myself clear?” Torben understands. Then we flash back to Rutger on the street, booking his flight to Dublin. The figure on the street follows Rutger and we see it’s the same man who killed the hacker Samurai Seven. He and another man grab Rutger, take him to an underground room and hang him.
Back on the dock, Patty says Rutger’s dead and Ellen didn’t lift a finger to stop it. Patty congratulations Ellen for taking any measures necessary to win. Ellen stares at the water. She can’t say anything because Patty’s right. “You’re finally in the game, Ellen,” Patty says. “I look forward to going up against you again some day.”
A few years later, Patty enters a Manhattan pharmacy. A 5-year-old girl blocks Patty’s path to the counter, accidentally knocking an item from a display. A woman’s voice calls, “Honey, come stand by Mommy.” Patty’s gaze follows the voice until it lands on—Ellen. The women make eye contact for a moment then Ellen turns to pay the cashier.
Outside, Patty gets into her limousine and tells her driver to take her home. A few seconds later, there’s a knock on the window. Patty rolls it down–it’s Ellen. Ellen says, “I wanted to finally thank you. I’m really grateful. For everything.” Patty tells Ellen she’s welcome. Then Ellen introduces her daughter. Patty looks at the girl for a long time, then locks eyes again with Ellen.
The driver asks Patty if everything’s okay, disturbing Patty’s daydream. We see the limousine window is closed and realize Ellen never knocked on the window. Patty imagined it. “I’ve changed my mind. Take me to the office.”
Ellen and her daughter leave the pharmacy. As they walk down the street the girl asks if Ellen knew that woman, “I used to. Before you were born. When I was a lawyer.” Ellen then says, “Should we go find Daddy? He’s at the VA today,” meaning that she got back together with Chris.
Patty stares straight ahead for an unusually long time as her driver takes her to the office.
Finale recap courtesy DirecTV.
First aired: September 12, 2012.
What do you think? Are you sorry to see Damages end? Would you be interested in seeing the characters return some day?