Tate Donovan Discusses 'Damages' Finale and Decline of 'The O.C.'
Tate Donovan Discusses 'Damages' Finale and Decline of 'The O.C.'
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
The FX drama Damages may not be setting ratings records, but the intriguing cat-and-mouse game between corporate lawyer Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) and her team against corrupt businessman Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson) is coming to a boil.  With only two episodes left, the mysteries are coming to a close, and star Tate Donovan, who plays Hewes' associate Tom Shayes, help a conference call to discuss the show.

Donovan brought up several key issues, and though he didn't confirm yet that a second season will happen, he assures viewers that the Frobisher case and the murder of David Connor will all be settled by the end of the final episode.  However, he also promises an amazing set-up for a possible season 2.  Read on to find out Donovan's thoughts on co-stars Glenn Close and Rose Byrne, as well as his take on why The O.C. plummeted in the ratings after his character, Jimmy Cooper, was written off the show.

Although Michael Ausiello at TV Guide has said Damages will be renewed for a second season, Tate Donovan has said that FX doesn't like to announce renewals until after all the episodes have aired, so Damages fans may have to wait a bit for confirmation.  However, without revealing what happens, Donovan said that the ending of season 1 brilliantly sets up a possible season 2 and that viewers will be very excited if it  gets picked up.

As research for his role, Donovan and co-star Rose Byrne spent time with his uncle, who works as a corporate lawyer in New York.

He's actually unaware of the online integration with the show.  One reporter told him about a phone number announced on the show that leads to the voicemail off the law firm on the show, Hewes and Associates.

Donovan is just as interested in where the stories are going as the audience, because the actors don't really know until they get the scripts.  Though he was at first worried about how to play it, whether he's a good guy or a bad guy, he eventually enjoyed the freeing, Zen-like experience of just going along for the ride.

He has hopes of directing an episode of Damages in the second season, as he did on The O.C.  He feels directing helps a lot as an actor because he gets to see the bigger picture.  He may upset some people by saying that directing isn't as hard as most people would think.  However, Donovan is clearly a huge fan of the producers, repeatedly praising their brilliance and creativity for coming up with such a complex story.

Donovan is surprised whenever audiences view his character as evil, because he views Tom Shayes as a basically good guy who tries to take care of his family while doing his job well.  He recalls reading that there are two kinds of lawyers: those who want to be liked, and those who don't care.  He views his character as the former, and if there is a second season, Donovan thinks it would be interesting to see his character get into politics.

Briefly talking about his time on The O.C., Donovan addressed the fact that ratings dropped on that show after his character was written out.  He credits that downfall to the show moving away from the family dynamic to focus more on the kids, and as a result

The actor has plenty of praise for the people who run FX, talking about how bright they are and how they give shows a chance to grow and provide helpful, interesting notes.  Though the show itself is deadly serious, the attitude of the actors is on is anything bet.  Glenn Close is giggly and tells a lot of great stories.  Donovan believes Rose Byrne is one of the most fun, relaxed people he's ever worked with, which he credits to her Australian background.

In the Damages finale, viewers get to find out who killed David Connor and what happens in the Arthur Frobisher case, but while those bigger mysteries will be resolved, it also "sets up a dynamic for next year that is fantastic," according to Donovan.


-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of FX)

News from our partners