A list of major and supporting characters on Damages
. There will be spoilers
open/close all folders
Hewes & Associates
Patricia "Patty" Hewes
Played by Glenn Close
A brilliant attorney who wins her high-stakes lawsuits by any means necessary
. Hewes is a tempered-steel Iron Lady
, but still manages to frequently surprise with the depths she'll sink to to Pay Evil unto Evil
. Her backstory and true motivations are slowly revealed as the series progresses. Could easily be the poster child for Amoral Attorney
, and in any other show, would be the villain.
Played by Rose Byrne
Begins the series as a fresh out of law school intern to Hewes and Associates, personally hired by Patty, who dreams of becoming a corporate lawer. Initially seeing Patty as a role model, she learns that there is a dark side to corporate litigation and that her new boss has no scruples when it comes to winning. Arguably the true protagonist of the series, the entirety of season 1
shows her gradually learning the stakes and becoming a chess master
in her own right.
- Ambition Is Evil: Ellen's entire problem in a nutshell; even though a sane person would have walked away from Patty after season one, Ellen's driving ambition to be the best sadly keeps her in Patty's orbit in order to be used by her. While Patty spends most of seasons two and three trying to get Ellen to embrace her destiny and let herself be groomed to run the law firm when Patty retires, by season four Patty realizes that Ellen will never bow down to her in order to "get her reward" and wants to outdo Patty (hence her taking on not-Blackwater).
- Brainy Brunette
- Break the Cutie: The entire first season is this for Ellen.
- Broken Bird
- Broken Pedestal: Heavily implied that Patty Hewes is this for her especially after the events of season 1.
- Cartwright Curse
- Fake American: Ellen is played by the Australian Rose Byrne.
- Foregone Conclusion: SUBVERTED. Her demise is revealed in a flashforward at the end of the season 5 premiere, but it isn't until the last fifteen minutes of the final episode that we see she was actually alive.
- The Mole: In season 2 for the FBI.
- Na´ve Newcomer: At the start of the series.
- Not So Stoic
- Promoted Fangirl: Is a big fan of Patty who is a giant in the lawyering world.
- Sadistic Choice: A milder version. Given these by Patty throughout season 1 to see if she's more loyal to her career or her family.
- Stepford Smiler: After the first season finale and up until the end of season 2.
- Supporting Protagonist
- Took a Level in Badass: Compare season 1 Ellen to the Ellen of seasons 2 and 3
- Welcome Back, Traitor: After season 2.
- You Remind Me Of Me: Patty tells her this in season 2. Season 1 Ellen would have jumped for joy at this. Season 2 Ellen... not so much.
Played by Tata Donovan
Patty's partner in her firm and one of the most moral members of the main cast. Unlike Patty he doesn't get many of the high-profile cases because of his stern moral code.
Peter "Uncle Pete" McKee
Played by Tom Aldredge
Patty's right hand man for several years. According to Patty he is her maternal uncle. When Ellen becomes a liability in Season 1, he is ordered by Patty to kill her. Luckily Ellen survives the attempt.
Season 1 Characters
Played by Ted Danson
A corrupt executive of a major company. Patty represents his former clients who were defrauded out of millions by his schemes.
Frobisher's lawyer and insider trader.
Played by Noah Bean
Ellen's fiance. He is a doctor and initially disapproves of Ellen joining Patty Hewes' law firm.
Played by Anastasia Griffith
David's sister and Ellen's future sister-in-law.
- Advertised Extra: After becoming a main cast member in season 2 she contributes a whole lot less to the plot than she did in season 1.
- ChekhovsGunwoman: Had a one night stand with a witness Patty wanted to testify against Frobisher. To get closer to the witness Patty hired Ellen, knowing that she was sister-in-law to be to Katie, and tried to get to the witness through her.
- Dumb Blonde: Subverted.
- Fake American: Anastasia Griffith is a British actress playing an American.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: In season 2.
- Unwitting Pawn
Season 2 Characters
A respected scientist and former friend of Patty in the past. He becomes involved in Walter Kendrick's energy profiteering scam. He has his own secrets that he is trying to hide...
- Corrupt the Cutie: In his backstory with Patty.
- Happily Married: Subverted. He tried to kill his wife when she found out about his involvement with Kendrick. Unbeknownst to him, she was still alive when he left, only for a hitman hired by the Kendricks to come in and finish the job.)
- Luke, I Am Your Father: He's the biological father of Patty's son Michael.
- New Old Flame
- Not So Stoic
- Real Life Writes the Plot: William Hurt didn't enjoy the fact that he frequently received only fractions of a script at a time which made it difficult for him to navigate his character's arc as he had never worked on a TV series before. This led to him being difficult to work with and caused his arc to be less prominent, with Marcia Gay Harden's character expanded to fill in his role in the plotline and the creation of a new villain in the form of Walter Kendrick.
- Smug Snake
- The One That Got Away: For Patty.
Played by Marcia Gay Haden
- Aborted Arc: In the second season finale when he saves Patty's life it seems to hint at the beginning of some sort of storyline more directly involving the two of them. Unfortunately, the potential arc got shelved thanks to Olyphant becoming unavailable for the third season other than a couple brief scenes in the finale.
- Similarly, his backstory: implied to have a personal reason to hate Frobrisher and his backstory (which falls under Multiple-Choice Past) has him either as a disgraced dirty ex-cop or a crook being blackmailed.
- Anti-Villain: Starts out like this until his Heel-Face Turn.
- The Bus Came Back
- The Mole: For Rick Messer.
- Multiple-Choice Past: One episode implies that he's a dirty ex-cop who owes his freedom to Messer and another implies that he's a criminal that flipped into being his personal slave in exchange for him not arresting him for an unstated crime.
- Put on a Bus
- The Power of Love: Facilitates his Heel-Face Turn.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Olyphant getting cast in Justified caused the producers to have to shelve any plans they had for the character beyond season 2.
Played by Clarke Peters
A whiz-kid mathematician.
Played by Darrell Hammond
Season 3 Characters
Played by Campbell Scott
Played by Lily Tomlin
Leonard Winstone /Lester Wiggins
Played by Martin Short
Season 4 Characters
Howard T. Erikson
Played by John Goodman
Played by Dylan Baker
Played by Chris Messina
Played by Zachary Booth
Patty's teenage son with Daniel Purcell
. He is the closest thing to a Morality Pet
that Patty has, although she is not above manipulating him for her own ends.
Detective Rick Messer
Played by David Costibale
- Beard of Evil
- Dragon Their Feet: After the case with Arthur Frobisher is more or less resolved he spends the bulk of season 2 tying up his own loose ends related to the case.
- Corrupt Cop
- Detective Mole
- Killed Off for Real
- Internal Affairs: Messer spent several years working in the NYPD Internal Affairs division, where he used his position to protect dirty cops and create a network of friends who all owed him huge favors which he routinely cashed in for evil purposes.
- Noodles Incident: His connection with Wes Kulick; one episode implied that Wes was a dirty cop that lost his job but managed to avoid being arrest for an incident that Messer investigated during his time in IAD (hence Wes owing Messer) while another one implied that Wes was a two-bit crook who Messer was blackmailing into being his informant, and ultimately a spy/assassin.
- Playing Against Type: David Costibale is largely known for playing nice guys, the type who are goofy or eccentric and The Woobie. Rick Messer is quite the polar opposite.
- The Reveal: In the season finale when he goes into a crime scene to retrieve some evidence while the cops are still around... only for him to pocket it and make his way out the door because he's actually a cop.
- Villain with Good Publicity