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"Damages:" Fast chat with Tate Donovan

tate and ell

tate and ell Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke/FX




"Damages" fans got a nasty jolt the other night when...spoiler alert...the cold gray and evidentially a very deceased Tom Shayes was discovered in a dumpster, with his homeless pal near by. ("Oh, that's Tommy..." he tells the cops.) 

Tom Shayes - played so well and so long and so utterly convincingly by Tate Donovan ("O.C. fans well remember as Jimmy) - is gone. 

 Though, of course, the story of how he ended up in such a place will be unraveled through the season, ending (doubtless on the last night) when everything comes together. ( Will Patty be involved in some way? Isn't she always?)

But honestly, no one - save Todd and Glenn Kessler and Dan Zelman - know for certain right now how this one wraps. It looks like a great season so far, in any event.

  Tom's departure is a huge one, given the simple fact that he's a such a perfect Hewesian foil  - a decent family man who hides her secrets as well, or better, than Patty herself. He is her Other - her yin (to his yang.)

 Just got off the phone with Tate...(he is directing the current episode)

 Here's what he had to say: "It's funny but about a week before we started [shooting], Todd called up and said listen, we're thinking about doing a story and want to know how you felt. I was like - 'it's a fantastic story, it's a great story for the show. I just wished I wasn't the actor playing Tom Shays.' I just love this job. It's one of the best jobs I've ever had. I've gone through all the stages of death: I was in shock, then I was sort of angry at everyone [he laughs]. Then sad. Now I'm getting to the acceptance phase. It's a bummer. "

 Why kill off a key character? "They wanted to give me a very juicy story line - that Tom has been playing third fiddle for the first tow seasons and they wanted to give me some juicy stuff and get involved in my family...They felt this was the best way to do it.

 "Right now, it's fantastic. I'm directing episode nine, and I still have no clue how I die and who kills me.

 "It's one of the great experiences of dong this show. Sometimes actors will be kept in the dark for a reason, but it's not like they keep us in the dark. They haven't made up their minds."



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