Episodes of “Damages” have a habit of dropping big revelations in their minutes. The bomb this time was suicide of Louis Tobin (Len Cariou), who took his own life rather than spend the rest of it in prison after running a massive investment fraud.
Cariou and co-creator Todd Kessler talked about the development, the show’s “Godfather” inspirations and how Louis Tobin will continue to be a part of the show in a conference call Tuesday (Feb. 16).
More to come
Kessler: “We were absolutely thrilled with Len’s performance, and we still are thrilled with Len’s performance, which means that yes, we will be seeing more of the character. … What happened on Thanksgiving, which is the day Louis Tobin confessed [his massive securities fraud] to his family, we’ll return to throughout the rest of the season. So Louis Tobin will live in flashbacks from Thanksgiving.”
Cariou: [Laughs] “This is nice news for me.”
Dealing with death
Cariou: “When I got the script that said I was killing myself, I thought, ‘Aw hell — I was just beginning to enjoy this.’ But then I said to Tate Donovan, I’m gone already, and he said, ‘Listen, they’ve been killing me off for two years now, and I’m still here. So don’t worry about it.’ And I’ve just heard now that that’s indeed what’s going to happen.
“I understood from a dramatic point of view why Tobin would take his own life, because I think he was so ashamed of what had happened, and he was in terrible misery because of what had happened with his son and his wife and his daughter — his whole family doesn’t want anything to do with him anymore. He’s just heartbroken and very, very ashamed. … He thinks that this will bring some kind of peace, not only to him, but to everybody else.”
Louis Tobin is ashamed?
Cariou: “If you back to the first Thanksgiving [flashback] — there’s a scene right after dinner where he asks his daughter-in-law [Reiko Aylesworth] and her son out of the room. … He’s about to tell what he had done. Because of the way it’s shot, with the flashbacks, that’s probably why you didn’t get that feeling. But on the other hand, he’s a pretty ruthless guy. But he does have a conscience.”
Kessler: “There’s also a huge kind of story point which was subtly made. When Louis is preparing to commit suicide, he pulls out an envelope that says ‘Deliver to Patty Hewes’ on it, and he in no way expected Joe [Campbell Scott] to be the one to find that. That’s something that’s going to have our story take a turn because Joe did find it. That will be further explained, and the ramifications of that will lead the story into the next chapter. For us last night was the end of act one of our story, and next week begins act two.”
The family business
Kessler: “Now that Joe went to visit his father and found that envelope, Joe’s presence in the story and Joe’s sense of taking control really start to emerge in next week’s episode and beyond. … With Louis taking his own life, the ground has shifted. For us, we’ve thought of it — not to elevate ‘Damages’ to the level of ‘The Godfather’ — but it’s kind of Michael Corleone’s emergence now that there’s a vacuum and his father’s no longer alive, Joe has to step up and has real decisions to make. …
Kessler also talked about the scene with Joe and his son in the cornfield evoking Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) chasing his grandson around the garden in “The Godfather.” “We had talked to [director Matt Penn] thematically about Joe’s emergence, and we’re all huge fans of ‘The Godfather,’ so it happened to work out that we could find a location that would be evocative of that.
“It was also nice to see Joe with his family. … What we’ve really tried to do with this family is show that there is caring and close relationships, even though there’s deceit and fraud that’s been perpetrated on the public. Whereas in Patty Hewes’ family, her relationship with Michael, or Ellen’s [Rose Byrne] family, the people who are trying to take down the Tobins don’t have nearly as strong family relationships as the Tobins do.”
Here’s a preview of next week’s episode.
Photo credit: FX