‘Damages’ Finale Thrills Dozens of Viewers

Courtesy of FX

After premiering to shrugs in July, the pulpy FX drama Damages aired its season-one finale last night. You didn't watch it, but you should have, given how sucky the bulk of fall TV has proven to be. Glenn Close is the real bionic woman of 2007; she could probably chop through steel with her face. Close has always lent gravitas to camp, and vice versa; as Patty Hewes, she has turned out to be even more nefarious than bunny boiler Alex in Fatal Attraction. During her legal assault, Patty ordered a hit on the dog and inspired a rival to shoot himself in front of her. She’s fierce in Thomas Pink shirts as she eviscerates adversaries and underlings — sort of like a Gossip Girl regular with a law degree and legitimate psychosis. As Patty’s chief whipping girl, Rose Byrne was initially so bland we wanted to off her ourselves; her progression to hard-ass, straight-talking renegade widow (she found her hubby bludgeoned to death by a Statue of Liberty figurine) has been better than any makeover show. As a sleazy billionaire-CEO, Ted Danson has finally embraced his inner douche bag: He screws his salty employees of their pension in a cover-up, favors skanky hookers and coke, beats up his would-be biographer, and frets that his kids hate him.

Last night’s denouement was as shocking and twisty as any May-sweeps cliffhanger on Heroes or Lost, except plots were lucidly resolved and characters logically developed, with lingering clues that intrigued rather than infuriated: Someone fell on a knife? The henchman is who? Patty’s weeping and wheezing in the Hamptons why? They hid the tape where? The FBI said wha? So Netflix this sucker tout de suite. It sure beats Viva Laughlin. —Justin Ravitz