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Win at all costs

(2008-05-30 08:24:06)
标签:

杂谈

 Damages as a legal term means "compensation in money imposed by law for loss or injury".

At stake is the future of some 5,000 workers whose lifetime savings evaporate at the hands of swindling employer Arthur Frobisher. Their only hope is to seek compensation with the help of the successful and hard-hitting high-stakes litigator Patty Hewes.

Not exactly the most interesting storyline you might say for a courtroom drama. But Damages (《法網裂痕》) is not the commonplace legal TV series you have in mind. It is a thriller more in the tradition of John Grisham's movies. The Firm (《糖衣陷阱》, 1993) starring Tom Cruise and The Pelican Brief (《塘鵝暗殺令》, 1993) starring Julia Roberts immediately come to mind.

In the pilot, the pace is set. A woman in a bloody trench coat is running in a busy New York street. She is Ellen Parsons (played by Rose Byrne), the high-flying protege of Patty Hewes (played by Glenn Close). She has just killed her attacker in self-defence. In her own apartment her boyfriend is lying in the bathtub with his head bashed in. Her fingerprints are all over the murder weapon. What has happened? She is later charged with the murder of her boyfriend and the scene at which she meets with her attacker has been totally wiped clean. As the mystery is slowly unravelled, we are taken back in time to when it all happened six months ago.

Golden Globe winner Glenn Close plays Patty Hewes in the TV series Damages. She is like the female version of Sebastian Stark (played by James Woods) in Shark (《律政狂鯊》)! Personally I think Patty Hewes is even tougher and more dangerous. On the surface, she is a good lawyer who is fighting for a just cause but underneath she is devious and manipulative, continually abusing her juniors and deliberately setting up situations that set them against one another. Patty Hewes' motto is summarised in one of her assertions: "This isn't about truth or justice! It's about winning no matter what the cost!"

She is not even a good mother because she has totally alienated her own son. As a result, he has become spiteful and rebellious. He even tries to get back at her by sending hand grenades by mail to her office. Of course he is no match and is later bullied into submission.

Throughout the series, Ellen is portrayed as a bright yet naive intern. She is employed because she can convince her future sister-in-law Katie who is a key witness to testify, thus bringing the fraudulent Frobisher to justice. Little does she know she is just a puppet on a string. So is Katie, who is induced to perjure by her boyfriend Gregory, another puppet in the opposite camp. Puppets, like pawns in a chess game, are dispensable. Ellen finally sees she has served her usefulness and will be discarded by the puppet master. She has decided to fight back and to avenge her boyfriend who has been brutally murdered. In the second season, she is after her mentor, the one who has ordered her execution.

Glossary

1. swindling 詐騙的

2. litigator 訴訟律師

3. commonplace 司空見慣

4. trench coat 乾濕褸

5. protege 門生、徒弟

6. self-defence 自衛

7. bash 重擊

8. just cause 正義的目標

9. devious 欺詐的

10. manipulative 喜操縱人的

11. junior 後輩

12. assertion 主張、堅持

13. alienate 疏離

14. spiteful 懷恨在心的

15. hand grenade 手榴彈

16. bully into submission 迫使就範

17. naive 天真的

18. puppet on a string 傀儡

19. perjure 發假誓

20. pawn 象棋中的兵或卒

21. dispensable 非必要的

22. mentor 師父

by Edwin Fok

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