'Damages' post-mortem: Tom's hole gets deeper

tate-donovan2-damages-320.jpgConsidering what happened to him in the season premiere of "Damages," you wouldn't think things could get much worse for Tom Shayes.

Wrong.

We learned in the season's second episode that Tom ( Tate Donovan) -- who is destined to die this season -- also has a personal connection to the legal case he and Patty (Glenn Close) are pursuing and saw a couple of pieces come together regarding the investment fraud and the mysterious homeless guy (Michael Laurence), who apparently lives next to a very important trash bin.

Donovan and co-creator Todd Kessler talked about those developments and more in a conference call Tuesday (Feb. 2). Some highlights:

Tom's connection to the Tobin case

Kessler: "What's revealed in the second episode is that the case is personal to Tom, in a way that no case in either the first season or the second season had been personal to Patty or anyone in the office. For us it was a really kind of poignant story idea that Tom, unbeknownst to him, was actually invested in these Tobin funds -- and it's something that actually is based on the reality of what happened with Madoff. ... So for Tom to lose a sizable portion of his personal wealth, and also for his family ... [to have] lost that based on his advising them to get into the same fund he put his money is really a game-changer for us and really helps raise the stakes for the character."

Playing dead

Donovan: "It was creepy to sit there for a couple hours and do the makeup. The guy they brought in was extraordinary. He's gone to morgues and stuff like that, and he showed me some photographs. The colors they put on their face -- it's horrific what happens to you when you die. ... It's a pretty intense thing to go through. ...

[On whether he's filmed his death scene]
"No, I have not. We find out along the way what caused his death, but we haven't shot that yet. I'm curious. I'm fascinated with how it's all going to come to an end."

Tom and Ellen: Romance?

Kessler: "[Tom and Ellen's relationship] definitely enters the main storyline soon, and it's something we're very excited about, because it's also taking the show to a place we haven't gone before. What is actually happening between them and how that's presented and how that puzzle comes together, we think, is going to be very exciting to follow.

Donovan: "Well, there's always a lot of chemistry when I work with a beautiful female. ... No. What happens is they get involved in something that gets them both in a lot of [trouble]. That's about as succinctly as I can put it."

Kessler: "The bond between Tom and Ellen [Rose Byrne] is many ways is very strong. ... It's really following up on the seeds that were planted from the very beginning of these two characters and how their lives are entwined and how their relationship has evolved. I know I'm being intentionally cryptic, because I don't want to ruin the story, but we really think it's going to deliver."

The magic Dumpster

Kessler: "We met the homeless man in the flash-forward [last week], and now he becomes a player in the main story ... where Tom meets up with him and they get the cowboy boots. ...

"[The trash container's location] is integrated into the story, so it will make sense as you start to see further pieces of this puzzle -- what the Dumpster's significance is, the location of the Dumpster, why that's significant and how it all relates to the main story. One of the things we really kind of pride ourselves on is that ... we don't just put out propositions and then not answer them. Things come back into play. We really hold onto those clues and deliver on the meaning of those clues throughout the season. So the Dumpster itself becomes extremely significant."

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Related:

'Damages' post-mortem: The season begins with an ending

Photo credit: FX
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