The Bernie Madoff scandal always seemed like prime fodder for Hollywood.
From the very beginning, it was one of those juicy (Jewish) stories so outrageously sinister, it was considered implausible. Only, it wasn’t; it actually happened. Which is all the more reason it will make for delightful television.
Starting tonight, season 3 of the FX drama “Damages” will feature a storyline ripped straight from the headlines. Glen Close stars as Patty Hewes, New York’s most ferocious litigator, who is hired to take down a billionaire ponzi schemer. The season-long drama will unspool with family secrets, hidden assets and a sizzling list of guest stars that includes Martin Short and Lily Tomlin.
The narrative is once again cut up into jumbled time sequences, but the Madoff scenario is a more plausible and inviting crime than the sinister energy-corporation conspiracy that Patty eventually took down last season. That story line presumed that corporate titans were not just greedy and murderous but also brainy, and that’s a bit much to swallow in the current economy.
The Madoff fraud would be even harder to believe, except that it just happened.
And viewers get to experience the moment the crooked financier confesses his crimes to his family — at Thanksgiving dinner, after pie is served. No one may ever satisfactorily divine what Mr. Madoff said at that moment, let alone explain what possessed him to deceive and ruin even close friends and associates for all those years. “Damages” posits a fictional scenario that may be the closest people ever get to the truth.