Damages Post Mortem: EPs Answer Burning Qs About Finale (Including That Stunning Last Shot)

After five seasons of backstabbing and whodunits — not to mention a life-saving leap from FX to DirecTV — Damages adjourned for good Wednesday night with an episode that saw the epic feud between Patty and Ellen at last come to a head. [If you have yet to watch, this is your chance to hit the nearest exit.]

Now, TVLine is calling to the stand exec producers Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman to answer your burning questions about the swan song, reveal new details about the epilogue’s flash-forward and tell the story behind that final iconic image of leading lady Glenn Close.

TVLINE | So, did Patty put a hit out on Ellen or not? All the evidence pointed to the fact that she did — including Patty’s own confession to Patrick Scully — but then the scene on the dock with her and Ellen had me questioning it again.
ZELMAN | Yes, we can 100 percent confirm that she did.
KESSLER | That’s actually satisfying to hear. We’re not trying to confuse people. We feel like there’s a string of details and facts that line up to solidify the fact that it happened. But it’s satisfying that even after five seasons, Patty is still compelling enough of a liar that she still has credibility. People are still willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

TVLINE | The season — and the series — seemed to be building to this big courtroom showdown between Patty and Ellen, but then the trial lasted all of two minutes. What was the thinking there?
ZELMAN | We recognize that it was a risk. But the show was [never] about, “Ladies and gentleman of the jury… ” It was never about what actually happens in a courtroom. It was always about the power maneuvers outside of the courtroom, and we wanted to stay true to that until the very end. In our mind, the case this season was never about the case. It was about a battle between these two women.

TVLINE | One of my favorite scenes in the finale was Patty confronting her father. Glenn Close was mesmerizing.
KESSLER | I directed the episode and it was remarkable. We actually did something in the editing of it that we may never have done before, which is it was all just one take. The camera is just on her for one minute and 40 seconds, which is somewhat unusual in television to let a scene play out like that. But [given her] performance, we didn’t want to touch it. In its own way it was perfection. To tamper with it would’ve lessened it. Obviously Glenn has been spectacular throughout, but to have a scene like that in the finale and just let her go to town… it’s just a testament to everything she brought to the show for five seasons. It’s one of our favorite scenes as well.

TVLINE | In the epilogue, why didn’t you specify how many years you were flashing forward?
KESSLER | For a long time we did have a specific number attached to it, but then [we determined that] that the number of years that have passed is not the point. When one talks of a fairytale or tells a joke, the details have the potential to get in the way of the meaning…. Also, there’s a number that’s inherent in it because obviously Ellen’s child has been born. You’re given a framework that it was probably around five years based on the age of the child.
ZELMAN | There were several factual, expositional details that we left out. We wanted the epilogue to feel much more emotional and psychological, and not feel like we were wrapping things up by giving the audience a lot of facts. There are two other areas where we did that. One has to do with Ellen and her relationship with Chris. In our mind, Ellen is together with Chris. And there is one line in there that references it, but it’s subtle. The other example is that we never referenced specifically whether Patty is on the Supreme Court or not. But again, there was a subtle thing that we did with the fantasy Patty had where Ellen comes to that window. Prior to that, Patty asks her driver to take her home. And then after the fantasy she says, “I’ve changed my mind; take me to the office.” The main thing that meant for us is that all Patty has left is her work. And whether she is on the Supreme Court or not, it doesn’t really matter.

TVLINE | What was going on in Patty’s subconscious that led to the fantasy? Why did she need Ellen to thank her?
KESSLER | By the time the series is over, Patty has lost everybody of meaning in her life. Her son. Tom Shayes. Her husband. As someone said to her, “Everyone in your life either leaves you or dies.” And that fully comes to fruition once Ellen is out of her life. The redemption in her life would be that if it was worthwhile. If that, some number of years from now Ellen actually recognized that what Patty brought to Ellen’s life and what she was trying to do for Ellen was not just ruin her but in fact build her up to be a potentially powerful attorney. So a “thank you” makes it all worthwhile. It means that Patty still has a human connection to someone.
ZELMAN | Also, when someone comes up to you and says thank you — and, in essence, the subtext there is, “I owe you so much” — there is a sense that you still have sway over their life.

TVLINE | The final close-up on Patty’s face — did you always plan to hold on that shot that long?
ZTLMAN |
We wanted to end it with a shot that let the audience really watch her. Just to sit and watch her in a private moment we thought would be a pretty interesting thing. We’ve seen her in her private life before when she’s doing things. But we haven’t really ever seen her in her private life where she’s simply alone, sitting. And she really is alone in the world.

TVLINE | What was going through her mind in those final moments?
ZELMAN |
We tried a lot of things when we were filming it. And, obviously, Glenn has the potential within one shot to have many different things wash over her face. We tried her thinking about loss. We tried her thinking about feeling justified and okay with the success that she’s had. Another version [was about her having] no one anymore. All she has left is her work. And then ultimately we came up with the version we used, which is uninflected as to what an audience is supposed to think. There’s a lot of room to read into things.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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116 Comments
  1. John Wisher says:

    I liked the ending. I haven’t really stuck with Damages through the years, but I was intrigued enough to see what the end was going to be like, and … I liked it. Now, in saying that, for all the years of their attempts to be unpredictable, I thought the ending for Ellen was … actually somewhat predictable with how the season went. They tried to throw a curveball in there with the pregnancy, but at some point, it was clear that Ellen had to cross the line, but whether or not she would stay … whether or not she would become Patty, was the question. And in the end, she didn’t, which I think was the right course of action.

    Time, money, and eyeballs hampered this show, but the acting was always top notch, and I will miss these two leading ladies facing off.

    • Sharon says:

      I would have liked to know what happened to Patty’s granddaughter. It was a wonderful series.

      • Josh says:

        I’m sure Patty kept her but 100% uninvolved in her life. The nanny was raising her anyway. She’d turn out just like Patty’s son, resenting and hating her for the love she never gave.

    • sherriyll says:

      I just watched the final season, but im confused & feel I missed a lot of the story. I didnt see anywhere that Ellen was pregnent. I didn’t see who actually killed Ellen. I just see her lying on the ground & the guy who tried to kill her before looking over the edge. I see Patty’s father die & flash to scene of Ellen lying on the ground???? Did I see all of the stiory??

  2. Kim says:

    I am going to miss this show with its tremendous writing and acting. The epilogue disappointed me because it had a very “The Devil Wears Prada” feel to it, Damages has been so original all along it could have closed in a more original way. I’m really going to miss this series. Thanks for five great seasons.

    • Nicole says:

      I thought the exact same thing about The Devil Wears Prada. Weirded me out

    • cathy says:

      I totally agree.. and the ending didn’t impress me that much actually, except for Glenn Close. This woman’s acting, just by her face, is amazing and that’s what made the scene deeper than in teh devil wears prada to me…

  3. Lisa tush says:

    Fabulous show. Great acting. Good suspense. Both original and timely with story lines. I will miss it!

  4. Dick Whitman says:

    That scene with Patty and her father was just perfection. I’m really gonna miss this show.

  5. T says:

    I completely took away from it at the end was all that Patty had left was her work but then I thought about Katherine and that she actually had a chance to get a relationship she had right for once, especially a maternal one. Guess we’ll never know. Thanks to everyone that worked so hard on it to give us 5 great seasons!

  6. This was one of the greatest series finales i have ever seen , but I am not impress. I expected more. Most of the twists I had already guessed many episode in advance. Many questions did not get answered. I was right all along. Ellen did not have what it takes , I am glad she quit the law because she kept putting people’s lives at risk without never resolving anything. Patty totally let her win and by doing so she won the greatest manipulation ever.. Ellen took every person Patty ever loved away from her. She made Patty paid pretty badly for trying to kill her all those years ago. Patty didn’t try to kill her the second time and i knew this. She can’t do no wrong. well the only really bad thing Patty has done is to let Ellen enter her life. She should had her out of her life as soon as she served her purpose. I hope Patty had learned her lesson. I hate the final scene. So now, a woman can’t be successful , powerful and at the top of her career without being completely lonely and not happy. The only other choice is to settle to be a house wife like Ellen Parsons to be happy? The scene before that was more appropriate way to end it. Not knowing what would become of the two women is more exciting. The only thing I like about the final scene is that Patty looked absolutely hot and sexy. Ellen looked as if she was ran down by a car. Patty, you sexy, hot, stunning, attractive bitch, I love you. Ellen was and is just an annoying whiny bitch. Patty had to spell out everything for her to the very end when she confessed she only wanted to see if she would have Roger killed. so, she ran and quit the law. very predictable.

    The scene that I really love is Patty at her dad’s deathbed side. Glenn Close deserves an Emmy , Oscar for this. I wish they would let us see more why Michael hated her mother so much since the beginning of the show? He tried to kill her twice. aside from the fact that She put his girlfriend in jail, I don’t see why is he so hateful towards her. She tried to control him , but that is not enough to hate your mother. He was the one who ran away from Catherine.

    The Scene where Patrick met Patty , I knew he was wired. Why didn’t Patty see that coming? It is so not her to overlook this kind of scenarios. This is so upsetting.

    Who is going to take Ellen’s Parsons daughter away from her? She did ordered a hit on Rutger and she actually had him killed. She doesn’t deserve to live life carefree. She needs to pay. She made patty Paid. Now is her turn to pay. oh, yeah , now she has to live the life she never wanted to live. She has a boring husband (Sanchez) who she doesn’t love. She doesn’t have a career. She never won anything. She only has her daughter. Patty has Catherine. Patty doesn’t take a husband because she doesn’t want to.Her ex-husband wanted her back. She had at least two men who wanted to be with her. She obviously doesn’t want one. who won? I am sure everybody knows who.

    • Angela says:

      ” I hate the final scene. So now, a woman can’t be successful , powerful and at the top of her career without being completely lonely and not happy. The only other choice is to settle to be a house wife like Ellen Parsons to be happy? The scene before that was more appropriate way to end it. Not knowing what would become of the two women is more exciting.”

      Same thought here! As a lawyer I was disapointed with the 2 options for those great women.

      • Sam says:

        I thought it was much more complicated than career vs housewife.

        It was pretty clear after season 1 that Ellen had a “problem”. She had to win. She put winning ahead of everything in her life. Being a lawyer was toxic for her. It was like a drug. Even when she knew her decisions were wrong it didn’t matter. She chose her case in season 5 over Chris … even after her hallucination with David. The doctor tells her in season 5 that if she doesn’t slow down that she may lose her baby … she doesn’t care. I love that the epilogue didn’t tell us what she does. It only tells us that she is not a lawyer. She can’t play that game because she can’t recognize that it’s only a game. Who knows what she does now? She might be a manager at the VA office for all we know … it’s not important. What is important is that she isn’t a clone of Patty anymore. Oh and I like that they insinuated that it wasn’t the “career” that was the problem but it was Ellen’s interpretation. She told her hallucination that he was a doctor. Implying he had the same issues. But we know this wasn’t true. David always put Ellen first. And even her hallucination reminded her about that.

        I do find it interesting that we’ve had similar movies about men and we consider that ok. But when a woman is the centerpiece that it becomes about taking choices away from women. Personally, I loved that it was a woman (Ellen) who was struggling with this. They were able to add elements (like her pregnancy or Patty’s lecturing about motherhood etc.) that is much more captivating with women.

      • Patty says:

        You hate it because it’s true and you are living the lie.

    • C says:

      Reading some of your comments…did you really WATCH the show? How you think Patty is blameless in anything is beyond me. Ellen didn’t take every person Patty loved away from her, Patty DROVE them all away, because she is a manipulative narcissist. Michael had the most truthful line throughout the whole series, one that was replayed over, and over again, which was: “people either leave you, or they die. Those are the only two endings possible with you”.
      I could go on, and on, but to spell the whole thing out would take more space than is available here, and more time than I wish to spend.

    • barb says:

      Right on with the “two choices” comment you made. Very irritating sell-out by the writers. What was it—a flashback to the 50’s? Why was Patty suddenly so intensely rigid and still in some fantasy that Ellen would thank her? Please! Ellen was nobody right out of law school and Patty gave her everything yet all Ellen wanted was to out-win Patty. Patty was at the top of her game yet the series ends with her looking like she wanted to cry?
      Right from the beginning Ellen was willing to sacrifice her beloved David for her career in spite of his for-warnings and those of the attorney who wanted to hire her. Ellen chose Patty.
      Like the son, Ellen resented Patty for everything Patty offered them. Patty and Ellen were both ruthless attorneys except Patty had the staying power and Ellen got pregnant and stuck with whining, boring husband and QUIT. Patty had a husband and child at Ellen’s age too…..

      Patty built her life as a powerful career woman in spite of a tyrannical, abusive father, poor role models growing up, an early miscarriage she continues to grieve, a cheating husband, self-centered son, expectantly having to raise her grand-daughter alone, and having to work hard for everything she achieved.
      I will picture Patty gliding away in her chauffeured car—smiling. If anyone should have doubt it’s Ellen.

    • ck1 says:

      Oh yeah. You hit every point. My partner and I laughed out loud as we read this. And pretty much agree with everything you said! So true. We finally finished the series after watching it for several years. Ellen was left with no career and a sad sack husband that she didn’t love. And what was with her little girl’s coat? Who wears that to walk to a pharmacy? Party looked hot and probably went off to crush wall street. A true hero. Patty would never make such a rookie mistake of confessing to that fool. But stupid Ellen gets everyone killed in the end. She was a sh*ty lawyer who consistently got out-played by Patty. She didn’t do one clever thing the entire series. Patty has a limo. The. end.

  7. ingmarhappy says:

    I loved the finale. The past year TV has broadcast a lot of great series finales. What I love the most is that Ellen didn’t die and that she finally decided it was time to go on a different path, away from Patty for once and for all. Their chemistry and their struggles has been the thing that kept me watching the show for all these years besides the amazing writing ofcourse. I loved every season. Also, I never really liked Michael so his death didn’t hurt me. It served the story right, and that was the most important to me. Patty got what she deserved after all. Lost by everyone. And Ellen won. That’s how I see it. Ellen realised, because of Patty, that there was more than the law. And I love that the show always tried to tell her. Just go back to season 4 ( ep 9 ) in which her ex boyfriend tells her she has a choice to make ; be like Patty, or go for a different approach. I don’t agree with Alajandro that Patty looked sexy in the flash forward. If anything she looked scary. Then again, Ellen looked to happy imo. I get that she is more happy now than she was when she was working the law, but they made her look to happy if you know what I mean. Because Patty looked so scary I thought the last shot was pretty bad. I wish the show would have ended on Ellen and her face. But that’s just me. And thanks to the writers for finally answering the biggest question : Did Patty kill Ellen? Or order the hit anyway? Now we have the answers. Althought t was always clear she made the order. I will miss Damages, it’s a GREAT show. Both Patty and Ellen, were remarkeble characters who are really iconic, even in 20 years.

  8. Things I have learned from Damages

    1. If you really want to be successful and still have a family, people who care about you, never let somebody like Ellen Parsons into your life. You should crush this person as soon it serves his/her purpose. Patty I hope you have learned your lesson.

    2. Never feel remorse to whatever you have done to this person because she/he most definitely use this against you. Don’t try to help them or feel sympathy, or care about them. You must finish the job and kill him/her.

    3. Don’t get attach to your grand-daughter. You should let her/him go to foster care that way your enemy will not have anything to go against you. Even if you support her, care about her, celebrate her birthdays, make sure she is healthy, love her you still are a bad grandmother anyway.

    4. never hire an incompetent inexperienced person to kill somebody for you.

    5. Don’t try to proof a person they have what it takes when you know right from the beginning they don’t. It is a waste of your precious time.

    6. True happiness can only be obtain when you quit your dream of being successful and dedicate your life to be a housewife, with a husband you don’t even love.

    7. It is better to accept a husband/boyfriend even if you don’t like him so you will not be alone. That way people will think you are truly happy.

    8. A successful woman is completely alone even though she has a grand-daughter living with her. But if she doesn’t have a husband, she should be unhappy.

    9. You are an evil woman who deserves the worst even though you have never really killed anybody. just a dog.

    10 If somebody tried to have you killed and in return you have another person killed and put others lives at risk, alone with other dark manipulations and blackmailing, you are Ok. The person who tried to kill you is the one to blame for your behavior. At the end you get to live life without remorse and fake happiness.

    11. Patty’s true sin is to have let Ellen into her life and stay for 6+ years.

  9. Bradley says:

    I find it remarkable how much contempt people have for Ellen in this comment thread. She certainly tread through some moral grey areas, but she most certainly wasn’t ordering a hit on Rutger Simon. Her insistence that he be taken care of only seems like a kill order when compared to the tactics we have come to expect from Patty.
    I don’t think, in any way, the show was saying that in order for a woman to be happy she needed to become a housewife. Patty’s success was on the backs of so many betrayals and at the expense of so many lives. That is why she paid the way she did. Had she reached those heights less dubiously, I have no doubt there would have been a happier ending for her.
    As for Ellen, what choice did she have but to leave the law? She recognized in watching Patty the same spirit of moral compromise in herself and, in order to avoid a similar fate, walked away.
    I do have to say though that it is a testament to both of these women’s acting prowess that there is such intense and divided takes on their characters and their motivations. For someone who was so clearly despicable in many ways as Patty to be able to still elicit sympathy and heartbreak from the audience is the clearest evidence that Glenn Close is a master. Any and all accolades she has and will receive from her portrayal of this character Are beyond deserved.
    I’ll miss you Damages.

    • John says:

      What type of tragedies could Patty help create to force Ellen out of her temporary retreat and back into the game? After all, Ellen’s daughter seems to be at least five years of age which is more than enough time for Ellen to come back to her senses and to the career she was born for. People like Patty needs people like Ellen to level the ground field otherwise the innocents and the little guys will have to face this nightmare or lioness, Patty, in the courtroom jungle with their heads bit off.
      She is against Patty yet works along side her when it benefits her. Yet Patty is so ruthless that you need the angel face Ellen who still believes that she can take on more than she can chew even when the how is completely unclear. Patty understands that ambition to succeed in Ellen and can’t have enough of it.

      So many possibilities for a next season exist. I can’t have enough of that poker face…..those eyes, that smirk, that laugh, just give me back my Patty. Ellen is gentle but a lioness nonetheless as long as she is not provoked like her dad did.

  10. Amanda Lahti says:

    Anyone else remember from Season one, inside that Statue of Liberty souvenir that ended up being David’s death weapon…..David had slipped some film into the base of that statue , as i recall, and it was very damning to Patty. I was just SURE that film was going to surface again this season, esp when the police dept returned it to Ellen. But that aside…..excellent ending to this show. thank you.

  11. J Belmonte says:

    I find ridiculous to try simplify the message in ‘women can only be either succesfully alone or happy as a housewife’.

    For me it’s clear the problem with Patty and Ellen was not that they wanted to succeed. It was that they wanted that at any cost. Given the time they’d cross all limits to get what they want.

    I only find two big questions unresolved, but the finale pretty much implies the answers.

    1. Patty had Samurai Seven killed so Ellen wouldn’t get the information.

    2. There won’t be any difference with Katherine. She’ll either leave Patty or die as a consequence of Patty’s actions.

    There’s a third matter unresolved and that is the situation with Ellen’s parents. But I guess that’s life, it just doesn’t have an immediate ending. The purpose of that storyline was only to get Ellen more and more into Patty’s position, so after it’s served its purpose there was no reason to continue with it.

    It was a brilliant episode, and despite Rose Byrne has done a fantastic work, Glenn Close’s acting was just of out of this world. She needs to win the Emmy next year, I’ve never ever seen her like this, partly thanks to the fact that the directing really played on her behalf with those long close ups.

    I will say that the season in general did not meet my expectations created in the premiere. There were episodes in which the 80% of scenes were about people sat at a table, having a conversation that wouldn’t help to resolve the misteries either (particularly the 7th or 8th episode).

    Still, a great series with a superb acting and a very satisfying ending. There’s not much more you could ask.

  12. We all knew Ellen was pregnant, but when she collapsed I was completely tingling because I thought she was following in Patty’s footsteps ie exhausting herself to cause a miscarriage. I really wanted Ellen to die, not because I dislike Ellen that much. I mean I dislike her a lot, she’s an ungrateful child lawyer. But I just wanted Ellen’s death to be real to either be a backfire from messing with Scully or from something else.
    I had two main scenarios, what I hoped for and what I predicted. What I was praying for was that Ellen gets Patty arrested for allegedly trying to kill her, and Ellen getting killed by Scully. That to me would be perfect, mutual destruction. Michael gets Katherine back and Patty maybe gets acquitted at the trial. Because in the end, Patty always has to win.
    The other scenario which I was hoping they wouldn’t do because it had been done and that was essentially the ending to Devil Wears Prada. Ellen decides she doesn’t like what she becomes and drops out, and Patty continues on.

    • Jay says:

      They cheated in the pre-flashes of Ellen’s “death”. Each of them showed a thick dark liquid on the ground behind her head which pooled to one side as if it had drained from her skull. The liquid or anything resembling it was gone from the finale.

  13. I sound like I’m just being negative and I really did like it, not as much as I hoped but I just wanted something final and brutal because that is what Damages normally delivers. Also they made a big fuss about Patty vs Ellen and nothing happened, I mean we had the little games but Ellen never really posed an actual threat to Patty, so I don’t see them as competition more like Patty being the cat and Ellen being the mouse that Patty plays with to amuse herself.
    I’ll end my rant how the episode ended, with that amazing image of Patty in the car. Obviously there is this whole “You can either be successful and unhappy or a nobody housewife and happy” message they stole from various cliches which I loathe, but that finale image. It’s just so haunting and Glenn Close once again NAILS it.
    Damages is the story of why Glenn Close is the best actress you’ll see on a show with this level of writing. Period.
    I’ll miss Damages. :( I agree with this message somebody let at tumblr

  14. john vartoy says:

    Can somebody plrease explain the reasoning behind Helmut Torben’s decision to finance fund 23 as well as mclaren truth. I understand he had ties to hershoff and was using inside trading to generate profits for the firm but why on earth would he have incentive to fund the organization that would expose his corruption?? The only explanation I can think of was that he used rutger as a mole in the organization to delay the naomi walling leak but then why was rutger so surprised when he found out that torben was one of their main donors. Please someone explain for this is driving me crazy.

  15. William says:

    …two words…….FRIGGIN’ DISAPPOINTING!…

  16. Irena Gallo says:

    For the folks who talked about how far Ellen had gone…Did you pay close attention to the opening scene with Ellen in the doctor’s office? When Ellen said she would rest AFTER the McLaren trial…and the doctor said “That may be too late. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

    Ellen basically knew to save her child that she had to do whatever is possible (As she said to the doctor: Tell me what to do and I’ll do it [paraphrasing] ) and that meant getting thru the McLaren trial as quickly as possible. And that meant NOT having Rutger testify.

    Was Ellen telling Torben and H. to have Rutger killed? I don’t think so.

    I have never found Patty to be a sympathetic character but I really hated on her when she stole the granddaughter from Katherine’s mother. (Replacing her own lost child? Well, she didn’t do very well by Katherine. Patty is NOT mother material by a long shot.) TO my mind, she would sacrifice anyone or anything that got in her way–her sorrow at her son’s loss? After what she put him through by keeping his daughter from him? Can’t be sorry for Patty at her “loss” given how she treated him.

    Patty is so hateful and vindictive that she put a hit on Ellen. For what purpose? I never really understood because we all knew that for Ellen to act on what she knew about Patty would place ellen in jeopardy as well.

    Season 5 needed to be longer. I felt the writers were constrained and it showed. Superb acting, as always, but the storyline just didn’t compel as in the past and given its timeliness, it could have been far more well told than it was. The story should not have been JUST a vehicle to set up the ultimate Patty-Ellen showdown. Lots of wasted time with “extraneous” bits (the subplot about Ellen’s mother/father, for example; the whole Chris expose bit…) taking up needed time away from main plot development.

    And what a waste of talent. You bring on Janet McTeer and barely use her at all (Oh. She’s patty’s half-sister by her father’s second marriage. Did we need a second marriage or half-sibling to showcase Patty’s hatred for her father? I think not.)

    Damages was doomed once it went to DirectTV. Very limited audience and Damages deserved much better. With all the junk on regular cable and network, it’s hard to believe that a show of this caliber could not find a home where a devoted fan base could have had two much fuller and richer seasons to close it ouTh

    The terrific guest stars were a tribute to its quality writing and acting by the leads.

    In some ways, I think it backed itself into a corner when it knew it only had two seasons left. It then had to bring the Patty/Ellen dance full circle.

    This show could have had that undercurrent for years if it had really strong stories independent of that.

    But I’m grateful we had the five seasons. Still one of the best shows ever on TV.

    • Rivk says:

      It was Glenn Close who backed away from the series. She wanted to spend more time with her daughter. No Glenn Close = No Damages.

      • Pat D. says:

        I dunno….I heard once it moved to the Audience Network, the ratings were horrifically bad, and the cost for the cast became way too much to justify for so little advancement of “must see DirecTV only” programming. Glenn may have decided to leave too, but even last season DirecTV execs were already regretting giving it 2 guaranteed seasons. Thats what I remember, anyways.

    • Hunter says:

      Just wanted to comment on the “extraneous” bits. Both the plots you mentioned weren’t followed up in any more detail because their purpose was never those stories themselves — it was to show Ellen’s slide to the dark side. She, like Patty, was molded by a controlling, angry father. She was pushed to the point where she was willing to pull a gun on him. Likewise, the Chris plot showed that she was willing to give up a good person (Chris’ friend) in order to protect her case. It had become that important to her. But that was the only purpose it served, so there was no reason to dwell on it any further. IMO, this was a near-perfect series finale. It never lost its focus: the Patty/Ellen dynamic. (Although, I have to say, I never quite saw what Patty saw in Ellen in the first place… Ellen has the emotional range of a damp rag.)

      • Cyr says:

        (Although, I have to say, I never quite saw what Patty saw in Ellen in the first place… Ellen has the emotional range of a damp rag.) Couldn’t agree more. I thought Rose Byrne’s acting was atrocious. Whether it was her choice or she was instructed to play the character that way, there was no emotional range to her acting at all. She is no Glenn Close and that is an understatement. I loathed Ellen Parsons and consider her the show’s weakest link. It was Glenn Close’s and the amazing guest stars who carried this show.

        I second the major criticisms of the finale as well (not listed in any order of importance):

        1. The pool of liquid at Ellen’s head that wasn’t there in the final episode. Way too cheap a trick for this great series.
        2. The pat career or happy family gal ending.
        3. The whole Devil Wears Prada rip off. Meryl Streep deserved the Oscar for that last shot in the movie and Glenn Close deserved better than a copycat last scene to play. She made the most of it and I thought she was stunningly brilliant throughout the series. She deserved a better final bow as compelling as most of the show; the writers really let us all down there.

  17. Dede says:

    What I took away from the final show was that Patty became just like her father in the way she treated Ellen, trying to make her tough. It was a wonderful run. I agree Glenn deserves an Emmy. Thanks for a wonderful series

  18. I thought the one part everybody overlooked was completely brilliant. It was when Patty was on TV after the trial, and she finally admitted defeat, which is something that was hard for her to do especially when she always won every case in the past. She paid the ultimate price for how she treated Ellen over the years, and you can see that in her face that she has a bit of remorse for her actions when she sees Ellen, who is happy, in the store with her daughter.

    Michael’s death didn’t fall on Ellen’s shoulders one bit, Patty’s failed attempt on Ellen’s life did. SHE brought Patrick Scully into the mix, not Ellen. The truth always comes out eventually, and that’s what this season meant to me: all of Patty’s skeletons regarding Ellen finally coming out. If Patty never made that botched hit on Ellen’s life, Michael would still be alive. Karma is a bitch, and it certainly came knocking at Patty’s door when she lost her case and subsequently, her son.

    She drove everyone in her life away, and the scared yet vacant look on her face shows she realizes that, but is more concerned with her work than the harm she has caused to others when she changed her mind to go to her office. Seeing Ellen happy with her new life did her in. That second made her realize that what Ellen and Michael said to her: “You chose winning over everything: your husband, your son and me. All you have in your life is your next case” and “Everyone either leaves you, or they die.” Such a brilliant end, and that fantasy just goes to show how narcissistic Patty is in that she still expects Ellen to thank her despite doing horrible things to her.”

    Ellen’s not an ungrateful child, she’s just real and has a conscience where Patty doesn’t.

  19. Jen says:

    I liked the ending, and this is coming from someone who also liked the ending of The Soprano’s. I like when series finales are not all fireworks and fairy tale endings. I like them to be “just another day”. The best part was Patty and her father. This showed all the insight you needed to figure out why Patty became who she was; a lawyer who went after and destroyed all the MEN that terrorized, bullied and ruined innocent people. She spent her life destroying her father, over and over again.

  20. Peter Schafer says:

    Lot of problems and loose ends with the finale.
    1. Patrick would never been able to have a gun in Ellen’s office, Ellen’s security guy would have made sure of that.
    2. Ellen would have never been able to lay in a NYC alley like that for two hours, she would have been found almost immediately. Try it sometime in NYC, absurd.
    3. What happened with Patrick? Surely he would not have been able to just completely disappear after murdering Michael. The police already knew about Patrick and Patty.
    4. The police would have been all over the murder of Michael, motives, etc. No way Patty would have walked away completely unscathed.
    5. What the hell happened with Katherine? So Patty kept her? There was no custody trial. Patty was not completely alone then and she would have had her granddaughter and a part of her son through the granddaughter.
    6. It’s beyond ridiculous that Ellen would drop off the bag of all the damning evidence with Patty.
    7. There is NO WAY Patty would have been able to make it on the Supreme Court, OMG, how ridiculous. So it is not even a question as to whether or not she made to the Supreme Court, no way. So many skeletons would have surfaced, just off the charts absurd.
    8. All in all, some poor choices, shallow writing, disappointing and completely absurd.

    • Paul Segraves says:

      Peter. . . Your seven points are exactly what I also have been thinking, as well, and thank you for articulating them so well. I couldn’t believe Ellen left that brief case on the pier with Patty. But then I thought as you that too much was way out in the open with Michael’s murder, Scully, and all that the investigators would have enough to close in on Patty. What I liked about the series ending was that Ellen left the law rather than continue her moral slide down the ladder into becoming like Patty. Though I could feel empathy for Patty because of her father I wanted her to be convicted and put in prison for what she did. The end shot was great of her. Reminded me more of Cruella deVile rather than Prada. I didn’t figure at the end Patty was on the Supreme Court. Seemed she and Ellen were still living in the New York City area when they randomly ran into each other. And if Patty has Catherine in her custody, God help that child.

    • barb says:

      All excellent points. #2: Laying in an alley in NYC for two hours? She would have been picked clean of all her valuables within minutes!!! THEN someone might have called 911.

  21. lizbeth says:

    Michael just HAD to get in the last word with Scully. He did not inherit his mother’s sense of discipline after all. He should have let the killer walk out, and then he should have ran the other way fast. He had to know his mother wouldn’t suffer THAT much by his death, plus why would he sacrifice his daughter like that?

  22. Aspiring Writer says:

    The ending made enough sense with the themes, but it seems the writers were afraid to go the distance and damage one or both of their characters completely. The season built up to an anti-climactic end. We expected a boom. . . . and we heard a fizzle. And that is the result of the writers afraid to destroy their characters–to take them all the way and give them a dramatic, tragic end. The writers played it safe. Patty’s ending was no more different than her end in Season 4–Still alone with her cases. Ellen’s end was also not much different to Season 4’s end, where she chose her life ahead of her work. That’s why this final season was really more of an extension to the last episode of Season 4. The writers tried to create a twist at the end where Patty confesses she never cared or planned to win the case, it was all to build up Ellen into a super lawyer. But that twist also created the whimper that everyone expected to be a bang.

  23. Hermit says:

    It doesn’t seem right that nobody ever found out that Jenna Elfman’s character was in fact murdered and didn’t commit suicide.

    • Paul Segraves says:

      Did I miss something with Naomi’s murder? It seemed earlier when they showed it there were two men who came in, with one holding her down and the other cutting her forearms. Then at the finale, you see it was Rutger.

  24. MFHewes says:

    They could not have ended the series any other way. The writers did an amazing job at the finale; they tried to please all the viewers. The episode was heartbreaking, sad, beautiful and epic. I thoroughly enjoyed this series, its so original, there will definitely not be another one like this and there will never be another actress like the great Glenn Close. Who by the way, acted her ass off in this episode. She deserves the emmy, golden globe, SAG for best actress. Overall it was a very satisfying ending. Thank you Directv for saving this show, thank you KZK for creating this wonderful series. Thank you Glenn and Rose and all the cast who made this show amazing. My favorite series of all time, has ended.

    • Candice says:

      The finale was amazing!! It made me cry! Glenn you are a phenomenal actress!!!! It pleases me that at least Patty has Katherine, so she isnt exactly all alone. Great ending. I will miss it very much. :'(

  25. Buddy says:

    I’m a little confused as to why the flashforward made no mention of Michael’s daughter. That seemed like Patty’s one last connection, especially since the show frequently suggested Patty saw the child as a “second chance” after botching her relationship to both Michael and Ellen. Where are we to think she is after this time?

  26. Buddy says:

    Also, do we really think Patty did nothing to get revenge on Scully? That’s just not even remotely possible.

  27. Robert Latham says:

    Glenn’s closing scene as Patty Hewes bookends her frightfully and equally superb closing scene before the mirror, nearly 25 years earlier, as the Marquise de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons.

    • tricks says:

      I thoutht the same

    • aquarius1271 says:

      It is one of the biggest travesties of all time that Glenn Close did not win the Oscar that year for that absolutely stunning performance in Dangerous Liaisons. It is still one of my favourite films of all time afetr all those years and her final closeup never fails to give me the goosebumps. Glenn Close is a mesmerizing actress and Damages will always remain one of my all favourite series if only because it enabled me to spend five hugely satisfactory years with such a great performer. What a ride it was..

  28. SKH says:

    Glenn Close is a superb actress. Could be that the writers left enough question marks to do another episode(s) to fill in the blanks.

  29. In the final scene Patty Hewes broke my heart. I love Glenn Close for giving me so much feelings.

  30. Pat D. says:

    About halfway through the season I kinda expected Ellen to have survived that shot we saw in the first episode, but I still loved the way they set it up, and how I wasnt completely SURE until she blinked that she survived.

    And for me, the best scene in the entire season was right after that awful green screen background when they were standing on the dock (what was up with THAT?): Ellen, walking away visibly disturbed that Patty had turned her into Patty Hewes 2.0 after sending that witness to his death. That was superbly done by Rose, and of course Glenn.

    I am REALLY going to miss this show. One of the most underappreciated, underrated series of all time.

  31. pedro raychtock says:

    I feel completely overwhelmed for what it was the episode, and this show overall.
    I don’t think I never seen in my entire life such an acting. Glenn Close probably destroyed every little chance that any actress could compete with her in a million years.
    The final scene was one of the most touching, sad and utterly overwhelming in a level that I just cannot put into words.
    Thank you so much for this masterpiece, guys. Congratulations.

  32. Lane says:

    An absolutely spellbinding final season and stunning finale! I have watched this series from the start and have never been disappointed! Glenn Close is simply amazing and her scene with Emmet Walsh in the finale was other-worldly. Rose Burne is one of my favs … she has a great career ahead of her.

  33. DavidSask says:

    Glenn is a great actress this we know but damn that finale sucked and for every reason listed by commenter’s above, it was cop-out and everyone that stuck by the show sees through the flaws and unanswered questions and the wasted filler crap they put in the last season instead of finishing proper and on top!!

  34. ( I agree with this comment somebody posted) A lot of people think Patty deserves the life she has been left with. I don’t. I think she’s a prisoner of her own struggle to prove to herself that “despite” her father she could be successful. Despite him she is who she is. Her success is her fight against him, and whatever he did has driven this woman to become what the rest of the world would perceive as a monster. I see her as a tormented soul, not a monster. I pity her.

    If they were intending to make Patty a villain, they failed. She plays the part of the villain in the first season, yes. But after that, we slowly begin to see a side of Patty that reveals her humanity and forces us sympathize with this woman. What she does is obviously wrong however all her life she’s chosen not to fully realize the consequences of all her actions because she’s always been so blinded by her addiction to success. I think that’s key. She doesn’t want to see the truth until the very end when she’s blindsided by it and forced to see it with open eyes. That final scene in the finale shows, not her realization but, her acknowledgement of how her actions have alienated all the people around her and how many lives she’s hurt and destroyed along her path to success, beginning and ending with the two most important sacrifices, Julia and then Ellen. I think she finally acknowledges the fact that sacrificing love and human connection wasn’t worth it. It took losing Ellen to make Patty acknowledge the truth, which hits her harder than a head-on collision and she literally dies inside.

    If Patty were truly a villain or some psychopath, there would be no remorse. It is clear as we watch Patty’s constant torment that Ellen has literally reached in and ripped the entrails of Patty’s emotions out from inside her. The dreams, the flashbacks. Only Ellen provokes these feelings of guilt, remorse, loss, and love that are so deeply routed within Patty. It seems Ellen is Patty’s only source of holding onto the only bit of humanity she has left. Without that connection, she is practically soulless. All she knows how to do at this point is return to the one thing she has in her life. Work. ”I changed my mind, take me to the office.”

    Regarding how people are saying Catherine is still in Patty’s life and Patty’s not technically alone…I get that, but Ellen’s connection to Patty was an obsession almost as strong as her obsession with success. She doesn’t seem satisfied by anything else. They could have shown Patty with Catherine but they chose to show her alone. And what I’ve stated above is what I believe to be the reason for that.

    • Irena Gallo says:

      You write, re Patty, ” What she does is obviously wrong …” and then you defend her? THe woman wanted Ellen DEAD! Sorry. No defense for actually putting a hit on someone. I don’t care how badly Patty’s father treated her, what did Ellen ever do to warrant having Patty having her killed?

      Seriously. Patty Hewes’ gets NO sympathy from me. She is sick. And while I’m no shrink, she’s got sociopathic and psychopathic tendencies. It is way beyond her denial of her role and responsibilties for her choices and behavior (and isn’t it something how easy she finds it to lie to Ellen about Patty’s attempt on her life?) Come on. You can’t seriously defend this woman’s behavior, can you?

      And there is plenty more to say about Patty’s choices. Does a “loving” mother or human deprive the the mother and father of a child a life with that child—as Patty did with her son’s girlfriend and her son? The woman is a MONSTER. Pure and simple.

      She uses her crusade to help others as an excuse to indulge her own agendas.

      She never cared about Naomi Walling. Or Ellen.

      It’s a tribute to the writers of Damages that even some people defend Patty or that manage to find something “redeeming” in her character, when there is none.

  35. Chase says:

    Wow. Just wow. I am extremely disappointed by this finale, and I have been a Damages fan from day 1.

    Let’s go into all the things that were missing:

    -Patty on the Supreme Court. Come on, guys. We all know that Patty would’ve gotten that position on the Court. Why not give her that scene? In addition, an ending with Ellen on the Supreme Court would have been a good twist as well.

    -Another Ray Fiske flashback. These were /so/ effective right after Fiske died. To not even have him speaking to Patty in flashback at all in the finale was a very bad choice, in my opinion.

    -A court battle scene. Yeah, yeah, “Damages is all about what happens outside the confines of the courtoom,” but the finale is not “just another episode” where you can use all of your old conventions and expect an emotional impact.

    -A unique ending. Anyone could’ve seen the “Patty has her work, Ellen has a life” ending from miles and miles away. This line of approach is boring and the point was established without incorporating a “cementing” scene that reaffirms everything we already knew.

    -A scene to let us know, “it’s all over.” This is a good thing, for me, because I like Damages and although there’s little to no chance of it ever “coming back to life,” It’s still fun to hope. Even Byrne said recently, “never say never” to the idea of a 6th season/reboot. There was no finality, which can be taken multiple ways I suppose.

    Basically, everything I would’ve hoped for is missing, and everything I dreaded came true. This is the worst finale I’ve seen in some time, which is saddening because Damages is one of very few shows that I think are worth watching.

  36. NICOLA BENNETT says:

    thought it was a great twist that ellen ended up with the little daughter that patty had craved all those years when she lost ‘julia’

    • barb says:

      Uh….Patty has her own “little daughter” considering she’s raised her granddaughter since her birth and continues to raise her. She doesn’t need to crave Ellen’s child.

  37. I still do not understand Patty’s obsession with Ellen. Why she let Ellen stay in her life for so long? and she still wanted her company at the end? This woman is really damaged. If she wants what Ellen has, Why didn’t she just take a husband and lived happily ever after with Catherine? She is alone because she wants to be alone.

  38. Jiaks says:

    but she still has catherine…

  39. Stephen says:

    Very disappointed with the finale. Patty didn’t get what was coming to her, and instead Michael paid the ultimate price, which seemed totally unfair. Also, I didn’t like how the court case became an afterthought. It just seemed like a lot of wasted potential.

    I loved the show for the first few seasons, but this last season was incredibly weak, and the finale was a massive let-down.

  40. what I really still very upset is that they made Ellen the hero of this story and Patty the villain . I don’t agree with either of these two titles. Ellen is not a Hero. Patty in a sense was the one who saved her from a terrible future by telling her about Rutger’s death. She was completely happy and willing to continue practicing law before that. Patty in her twisted way made her realized she didn’t want that life for her. Patty is not a monster. She is a very tormented soul. I really pity her and wish she had somebody at the beginning of her life, like Ellen did, to change her ways.

    • Irena Gallo says:

      They were both damaged, Ellen and Patty. But Patty made some horrific decisions on how to handle things. Ellen, when forced with a choice between her pregnancy/baby and others, chose herself. Given the behavior of Rutger in all of this, I’d say Good riddance. Karma. Payback.

      That Ellen may or may not have intentionally intimated that Rutger be removed (permanently?) is immaterial. Eventually Thorben would have realized there were no options. So, for the storyline’s sake, it was rushed as it were by Ellen who knew the only way to quickly end the case was to get rid of Rutger.

      Rutger was a hateful and unsympathetic character–and when it was revealed that it was he who prompted Thorben et al to kill Naomi Walling, well, geez, who had any sympathy for him when he got killed by Thorben et al? I mean really. Payback is a bitch.

  41. Pete Baney says:

    So will someone please tell me what became of Catherine, Michael’s daughter? So does she stay with Patty? And if not, who raises her now? …The end of the show has Patty alone with nothing (except for her work). So the implication is that she lost Catherine too. But Michael is dead, so what gives? …Also–if I am disappointed with the finale, it’s with the fact that Patty is never put away for trying to kill Ellen. I’m sorry dude. That’s not right. She got away with it.

    • Brian says:

      umm obviously she gets to keep Catherine. But she loves her job and that’s the other thing she has left. Ellen also thought the punishment of losing a child was enough for her, plus Ellen had something to do with Rutger’s murder. Ellen understands now why Patty tried to kill her. Rutger was going to confess, just like Ellen is season 1. So now Ellen feels a bit Patty-esque and she feels she has no right to tell Patty she is a bad person. Viewers like myself sympathize with Patty and view her as an anti-hero, so I would not like her to go to jail. The writers did a great job with satisfying the audience. Best finale ever if you ask me!

  42. Kris says:

    I was team Ellen all the way.

  43. sib says:

    The finale was disappointing. The message sent is either you are a mean-driven workaholic bitch with no scruples or you quit your professional life. There were so many possibilities… Ellen could have taught a lesson or two about working ethically, but no, she either had to quit or be Patty Hewes II. And if one were to retire, I would retire Patty and have her be devoted to her grandchild. It would had been interesting to see Ellen be the merciless lawyer that Patty was in her stead.

  44. Sam Krupinski says:

    I though it was fitting end to what I consider one of the greatest shows ever on TV!! Patty Hewes, brought to life by the incomparable Glenn Close, will be remembered as one if the greatest TV characters of all time!! Gonna miss this series, it is one of my all time favorites. Great writing and great storylines and a top notch cast made for some awesome TV!!

  45. I just wanted to thank you, Mr. Ausiello, for this interview. This was the best series finale I’ve ever seen (even better than The Sopranos). I just think it was so brilliant. Having the audience, throughout the season, think Ellen is pushed over the roof by Patrick..Ellen pushing her body past its limit while pregnant just like Patty did..and then Patty losing her son, because of her own evil actions years earlier. It was just PERFECT. I am just going to miss this show SO MUCH.

  46. I am Team Patty all the way.

  47. Kurt-James Dexter Kaulbach says:

    I want to scream and scream. I am a faithful diehard who is not afraid to scream and scream about how truly awful these last two seasons have been. Forgive me if I cause any other diehards offence, but I have been pushing through the last 20 episodes as if some miracle of tension would thread it all together, but the dialogue, the storytelling, and the intrigue have been shallow, rote, and ineffective since the close of season 3. The only blessing we as fans received was the retention of a complete cast when production flipped to DirecTV. The events in the 4th & 5th seasons are dull and unbelievable, and for the most part I was insulted at how literal the themes became therein. I just want to scream and scream. It’s as if the show became a parody of itself! How am I supposed to care about anyone. You kill Naomi Walling so brutally and then give us no time or reason to care about her. And who cares about the little Afghani boy locked in the bedroom? All of it, so off course… (head in hands). The two minor highlights of a muddled, poorly directed final episode (why the 3 parts? pretentious much?) were delivered and only made effective by the tremendous talent of Ms. Close (stupid ‘die-daddy’ deathbed scene and perfect and moving reaction to the ‘too-much’ murder of Michael) I have decided to denounce these seasons as abominations. That epilogue was disgraceful. The saving of this show by DirecTV was a divine act in the world of television, but I now wish everyone had walked away from a job well done.

    Oh, and big hole, kids: what about all the blood Ellen was covered in in the first scenes of the series? Wasn’t there an investigation? Plus, she ran out of Patty’s in her PJs, and then is roaming the street in nothing but a trenchcoat and heels? Where’s that trenchcoat?

    • May says:

      Sorry you feel that way.
      As a diehard fan of the show, I feel the complete opposite. Can’t wait to have season 5 on dvd, I love this show so much!!

    • jamie says:

      Exactly! I have been flabbergasted reading these positive reviews! I watched the finale feeling sorry for the talented actors given this drivel. The first season was one of the best seasons of any show ever on Tv, but the last two made matlock look high brow. I felt nothing, even though the series started out as intensely gripping. Such wasted potential.

  48. Anna Helenes says:

    Whyyyyyy didn’t Glen Close win an Emmy for this? Just that un-cut scene on her fathers bed, I mean come on….

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