Each season is inspired by real events. Season 1 is based on the 2001 Enron scandal. Season 2 was based on the 2001 California Energy Crisis. Season 3 was inspired by the 2009 Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme. Season 4 is loosely based on the private military company Blackwater. The fifth and final season will be based on WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.
Damages was canceled after season 3 had aired in early 2010 by FX Networks, due to the low ratings and high costs of each episode. In July of the same year, Sony Pictures Television reached an agreement with DirecTV to save the series and produce two new seasons.
Actors on the show have little time to prepare as they are given their scripts a few hours before filming. Glenn Close herself has described this style of filming as "challenging, but a great exercise."
The show is known for casting comedians, or actors that work in that genre, such as Ted Danson, Martin Short, Lily Tomlin, Garret Dillahunt, Darrell Hammond, John Goodman, Judd Hirsch, and Jenna Elfman.
Initially in the second season, the producers wanted to cast one actor to create a love triangle involving Patty and Ellen. They ultimately went with two separate actors; Timothy Olyphant and William Hurt.
Actress 'Kristin Bell (I)''s favorite TV show. She once checked into a hotel with the alias Holly Frobisher, the wife of Arthur Frobisher (as played by Ted Danson). Kristin Bell met Danson at the same hotel and he told her that he was flattered that she used his character's name.
'Chris Messina' at his first casting call, refused to play a Republican or a lawyer on the show because he was repeatedly cast in such roles beforehand. He was awarded the role of PTSD-plagued Chris Sanchez in season four, and went through considerable preparation for the role. He would stay awake and not sleep, and right before filming, drink two Red Bulls.
The show's creators were hesitant to hire Anastasia Griffith for the role of Katie Connor because they were concerned about a Brit playing an American, especially since Australian actress Rose Byrne had already signed on. "To put their fears at rest", Griffith addressed the producers in an American accent from beginning to end of the audition. After being cast, Griffith and Byrne visited New York University dialect coach Deborah Hecht to perfect their accents.
Lily Tomlin was a huge fan of the show, so much that when she was at an art exhibit and bumped into Todd A. Kessler, one of "Damages" creators and executive producers, she grilled him for information about upcoming plot twists. Todd kept Lily in mind and later cast her for the role of Marilyn Tobin in season 3.
In preparation for his role, the producers asked Ted Danson to meet with CEOs of Fortune 500 corporations and watch documentaries such as Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, which examines the collapse of Enron.
William Hurt, who joined the cast in the second season, had a difficult time adjusting to the show's tough schedule. The show is known for giving actors little time to rehearse, as well as changing scenes last minute. Hurt later expressed his dislike for this style of filming and stated that he acted like a "spoiled brat" and that he would "fight for more rehearsal time."
Uncle Pete refers to every day above ground being a "Pyyrhic victory". Ancient Greek king Pyrrhus of Epirus defeated the Romans at Heralcea in 280 b.c., but at the cost of a great number of his own troops. Afterward, he is said to have remarked, "Another such victory would be the end of me", hence the expression ascribed to any victory or benefit gained at great personal expense.
For the fourth season cast, producers initially considered actors like Edward Burns and Wentworth Miller for the role of Howard T. Erickson because they were closer in age/physique to Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater whom the season was based on. John Goodman stressed his availability and the role was tailored to suit his style.
The title sequence depicts images of New York City sculptures, including "The Glory of Commerce" atop Grand Central Terminal, "Civic Fame" atop the Manhattan Municipal Building, and "Asia" in front of the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House. The frieze of the New York County Supreme Court Building is also shown, inscribed with a quote from George Washington, "The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government."
The famous flash forward scenes that usually open and close episodes are filmed along the rest of each particular episode, not filmed at the end of the season, when are no longer flash forwards. This means that many times the writers and specially the actors don't know exactly how the plot would get to that point or what they are really doing in the scene (the actors).
This is the first time actress Janet McTeer appeared in an American television series. She joined the cast in season 5. She had appeared earlier opposite Glenn Close in the feature film Albert Nobbs (2011).
For the fifth season cast, Ryan Phillippe initially wasn't too interested in doing Damages, but on a phone call with producers he changed his mind after being told his character was modeled after Julian Assange, with whom Phillippe was fascinated with. He had also been following the Wiki Leaks scandal for a long period of time.