Broadcast reports the BBC has acquired new US legal drama Damages, starring Glenn Close, for broadcast on BBC1 next spring. They're billing it as John Grisham's The Firm crossed with Steven Bochco's Murder One, and that's not a bad analogy. Close is best known as a film actress, but stuck her toe in TV waters with a season-long guest spot on the FX corrupt cops drama The Shield. [Season four to be precise, recently released on Region 2 DVD in the UK. Go, get it. Now.] Now she's back playing the lead in Damages, a legal drama that avoids the usual table-thumping cliches for a gri and gritty serial about a lawyer who'll stop at nothing to win.
Among the creators and lead writers of Damages is Todd A. Kessler, whose previous credits include The Sopranos. David Chase's mob family series may be gone, but its legacy will cast a long, long shadow. As well as Damages, another Sopranos alumni has an interesting new series screening this summer across the Atlantic. Matthew Weiner's Mad Men is set in the world of New York advertising during 1960. I read somewhere he wrote the pilot script nearly a decade ago, and it got him a gig working on The Sopranos. Now his pilot has spawned a series on the American Movie Channel, which is moving into original programming.
How many more great new TV dramas can we expect from people who used to work on The Sopranos? Plenty is my guess. In the meantime, keep an eye out for Damages when it reaches the BBC next year. It's got a cunning mystery structure that parcels out information in tiny amounts at a time, so you never know what'll happen next - yet you already know [or think you do] what has happened. Clever, clever, clever.