Tate Donovan Talks ‘Damages’ With Chit Chat Gal

Tate Donovan Damages FX

Tate Donovan Photo

Chit Chat Gal got a chance to speak with Tate Donovan, one of the stars of ultra addictive thriller 'Damages' about the show and his character. The season finale of 'Damages' airs tonight at 10:00PM EST on FX.

Does FX know that when you wrtie Jimmy Cooper off the show ratings could drop 20% like the O.C. did?

Tate Donovan: [Laughs] I don’t know but you should let them know that. Okay. I really appreciate that. But it is oddly true. That was funny. I think that O.C. sort of made a shifting focus, you know, when they dropped my character they were like, “Let’s see how things end up if it’s less family and make it more about the kids.”  And I think they lost a lot of the adult audience when they sort of did that.

Is the season finale of 'Damages' pretty much completely wrapped up or will it kind of rollover into next season?

Tate Donovan: What’s pretty cool is that they really answer a lot of the major questions. I mean really certain big mysteries are wrapped up. You find out who kills David. You find out what happened to the Frobisher case. The big central sorts of mysteries are solved. But what they’ve done is they set up a dynamic for next year that is fantastic. I mean when I finished reading it I was like, “That is so good”. It totally makes you, you know, satisfied and then it totally makes you go, “Oh, my God. I got to check out next season because that’s going to be amazing”.

I’m curious. How do you prepare for that like how do you as an actor get ready to be able to fly by the seat of your pants?

Tate Donovan: You just let go, you know. I think when we first started we were really like, “Where am I going? Am I good a guy? Am I bad guy? What do I do? You know, why am I lying to Patty.” Sort of like life itself. I’m going to just be as good as possible in the scene. For what I know this is where Tom is going. So I’ll try to do my best to create it. And it’s very – it’s an interesting – it’s very Zen like experience.

This is a show that really plays (lesson) free with morality and I’m wondering then if you view Tom as evil or he’s just sort of humanly flawed.

Tate Donovan:  It’s so funny. I have to say I’m shocked by how people see me as evil or awful and terrible and – I’m kind of personally are taken aback. I see Tom as a guy who’s really just trying to do the best he can in pretty precarious world. He’s a good father. He’s a good husband. He’s a good employee. He’s a good partner to Patty and I think he’s treated Ellen for the most part really well. He had a moment of weakness. But who doesn’t, you know? And he’s lied and he sort of fudge the truth and he’s sort of gone beyond people’s backs. But it’s a pretty tough competitive world out there. And yeah, I see Tom as far more sort of, you know, good or understandable than I think a lot of the audience.

I’m just wondering if there is a second season of Damages where you would hope that the producers and writers take your character?

Tate Donovan: I read this great book called “Letters to a Young Lawyer." He said there are two kinds of lawyers one who want everyone to like them and the other doesn’t care at all and maybe even prefers to be disliked. And Tom is definitely a guy who wants to be liked.  So I think it would be fun to take Tom into maybe the realm of politics. And, you know, that sort of world where being liked is super important. It’s really up to them as long as I have lots to do I’m a happy camper. They want to make me the mass murderer, that’s fine with me. If they want to make me a hero that saves people in the end, I’ll take it, you know. I just like to be in the mix.