After a trademark twisty season, Damages' 90-minute finale (Monday at 10/9c on FX) will finally reveal who murdered Tom Shayes (Tate Donovan). But the more important question, according to co-creators and executive producers Todd A. Kessler and Daniel Zelman, is this: How will Patty (Glenn Close) and Ellen (Rose Byrne) move forward after Tom's death?
Damages: Tate Donovan reacts to the season premiere's shocking twist
"The most important part of the show for us is Ellen and Patty — their relationship and what makes them tick," Zelman says. "There's a certain amount of emotion in that relationship between the two women that is certainly going to play throughout the finale."
But what about the Tobins? And Arthur Frobisher? TVGuide.com was on the set in New York just days before production wrapped, and we got the inside word on everything that's kept you guessing.
So, who killed Tom?
Viewers aren't the only ones who have been in the dark all this time. "I just found out — today —how I die," Donovan told us as he headed into hair and makeup before shooting the death scene. The list of possible murder suspects hasn't really been narrowed, but all eyes are on Leonard Winstone (Martin Short), who cut a last-minute deal with Tom to give up the Tobin family to Patty after Joe Tobin (Campbell Scott) fired him for lying about his past.
Ellen also gets in on the action, as does an unexpected player: the homeless man (Michael Laurence), who we last saw sleeping across from Tom in Winstone's loft. "The homeless man's involvement is a surprise, and Winstone pulls a maneuver that is a surprise as well," Zelman says. The loft itself is also important. "Some of Tom's fate occurs in that location, but not all of it," Zelman says. "We'll see what happens in Tom's final hours. Obviously the centerpiece of the action is around Tom's death, but we won't rule out the possibility that there are some others as well."
What's Joe Tobin's next play after firing Winstone?
Joe clearly thinks he's ready to lead the family, but Zelman says the family may not be in any position to be led. "The family is already starting to fracture; we already see fault lines going into the finale," he says. "Joe started the season very reluctant to get involved any, but slowly he's been sucked into protecting his family and keeping the money. But how far will he be willing to go, and will he be able to keep his family together? Or will he, in his attempt to keep his family together, plant the seeds for his family's destruction?" More bad news for Joe: More than one bombshell is about to rock his world.
What's up with that horse in Patty's dreams?
We think it's safe to assume that the horse — as well as "sort of architect" Julian Decker (Keith Carradine), have connections to Patty's past. Luckily, we'll be seeing a young Patty in the finale. "We learn a huge piece of Patty's mythology — we add to what we already know about her past," Zelman says. "There's an event in Patty's past that she kind of has to come to terms with, and she starts to have to face it in a way she's never had to face it before. It definitely explains more about Patty's need for Ellen [Rose Byrne] and what Ellen represents to her."
How exactly does Ellen feel about Patty?
"I think this whole season, Ellen's relationship with Patty has been on her own terms for this first time," Byrne says. "It's been very much the way Ellen's dictated it. Ellen is involved, but she has to keep her distance, because otherwise she loses herself." Unfortunately for Ellen, Tom's death is going to force her to become even closer to Patty. "Ellen and Patty are left in the aftermath of that only having each other in a way," Zelman says. "That raises a question, which in a way is the question of the whole series: Are these two women meant for each other? There's always this obvious gravitational pull between the two of them, and we learn more about why that pull exists."
Will Patty help Ellen get justice by finally nailing Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson)?
"Frobisher has planted the seeds for his own destruction simply because he was trying to impress an actor," Zelman says, referring to Frobisher's hinting to Terry Brook (Craig Bierko) that he may have hired Detective Messer (David Costabile) to kill people, including Ellen's fiancé, David Connor (Noah Bean). Timothy Olyphant returns as Wes Krulik to provide some answers, as does another familiar face: Ray Fiske (Zeljko Ivanek). "He becomes the conscience of one of the characters, and he appears to give advice," Kessler says."
Who or what fell from the bridge?
"It's kind of a signature of our series that we like to put characters in a crucible and really examine what it means to be under pressure and what types of decisions people make," Kessler says. "The pressure that's usually exerted is by Patty Hewes, pursuing her own personal ends. So the nature of someone falling from a bridge into the East River is a result of Patty pursuing the Tobin money, and we think it will be an exciting reveal as to who it is and how it happens."
Who was driving the car that hit Patty?
At this point, all we know is that the car is registered to Tom, who is dead. "There are a series of misdirects involved in that, but suffice it to say, somebody has a reason to hit Patty with a car," Zelman says. "We're going to see who that is and what their reason is."
Could this season finale also be the series finale?
It's still too soon to know the fate of the critically acclaimed but ratings-challenged series. (Sony, which produces Damages, is in talks with DirectTV to work out a plan to save to keep the show going, following the Friday Night Lights model. Kessler says, however, that this finale, like previous ones, has a sense of closure. "Each season is one case, so the nature of our storytelling is that the story comes to an end," he says. "Tom's death will forever change Patty Hewes' life and Ellen Parsons' life, and in many ways, that is where the emotions of this season end."
Would Patty be able to go on after Tom's death, if the show is renewed?
Patty clearly would feel some guilt about Tom's bold moves to help her win the case and find the Tobins' money, right? "There's some question as to whether Patty is capable of taking the full amount of responsibility that she probably should take. Because if she did, she would have to stop," Zelman says. "That's a question we have to answer: Is she capable of taking responsibility or is she stuck in a place where no matter what the consequences are, she has to push forward and hold on to her power?"
How do you think the season will wrap up?