Julian Assange versus Patty Hewes!
Not exactly, but close enough.
With its tricky flash-forwards and dream sequences, “Damages” never completely tips its hand, but the first episode of the legal drama’s final season is a series game changer.
Expect a quick hello and bloody goodbye to a newcomer and, barring one of those now-you-see-it illusions, a grisly end for a beloved regular.
This year’s reality-based storyline features Ryan Phillippe as the Assange character, a baby-faced tech wizard named Channing McClaren threatening to post documents implicating a major Wall Street investment bank in an insider trading scandal.
But a whistleblower, played by Jenna Elfman, has second thoughts (maybe). The violent convolutions propel the series’ long-in-coming showdown between Hewes and her former protege Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne).
Five seasons in, Close’s brilliance needn’t be rehashed, and Byrne continues to make a perfect foil. Elfman, playing against her fluffy sitcom image, is impressive as the guilt- ridden loose-lips, and Phillippe grows into his creepy role by the second episode.
More intriguing, though, is Janet McTeer’s Kate Franklin, Patty’s former colleague who teams with Ellen to slay their dragon.
Someone’s bound to get scorched.
“Damages” airs Wednesday on Directv’s Audience Network at 9 p.m. New York time. Rating: ***
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(Greg Evans is a critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)
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