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Dirty Sexy Money - Season 2 (Review)

Dirty Sexy Money, Season 2

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

THE second and ultimately final season of Dirty Sexy Money proved a bitter disappointment. While never the most essential of shows, its first season did at least provide guilty pleasure style viewing with absorbing characters.

Season two, however, derailed itself and the decision to axe the programme felt not only fair but kind of inevitable.

The show focused on idealistic attorney Nick George (Peter Krause) as he took a job representing the ultra-rich and ultra-famous Darling family following the death of his father, in the hope of finding the people responsible.

The Darlings, however, were a ruthless, power-obsessed clan led by patriarch Tripp (Donald Sutherland), who quickly had Nick wrapped around their finger.

Season two picked up six months after its debut season and plunged its characters into new scenarios, including the death of a not-so central character and the arrest of matriarch Letitia (Jill Clayburgh) for murder.

Over the course of the ensuing 13 episodes, Nick found himself increasingly compromised and corrupted by the Darling influence, so that his relationship with wife Lisa (Zoe McLellan) suffered, and his dorment feelings for Karen Darling (Natalie Zea) became re-awakened.

Darling nemesis Simon Elder (Blair Underwood) also made increasingly ambitious moves to take power away from the family and revelled in his bad guy opportunities.

But whether the threat of the axe played a part, or the writers just couldn’t hack it, Dirty Sexy Money became ever more ludicrous, contrived and unlikeable the longer its second season lasted.

For every intriguing storyline, there were two more that didn’t work, while stand-alone experimental episodes such as The Facts – in which an investigative reporter with Scandalous magazine calls on the Darling home with details of a juicy scoop – just didn’t work at all and irritated.

Characters also began to behave erratically, as though driven by the need to drive ratings up, rather than remain true to past behaviour. Hence, the break-up of Nick and Lisa’s relationship felt manipulated, while the decision to turn Lisa into a new show villain also grated.

Last-act revelations about Nick’s father, meanwhile, just seemed completely OTT, while Underwood’s manipulation of Lucy Liu’s lawyer took the show into more unlikely directions.

Of the cast, few really shone. Sutherland remained an enigmatic presence and shared some nice scenes with Krause, while veteran Clayburgh also had her wickedly malevolent moments.

But the likes of Zea, McLellan, Glenn Fitzgerald (as former priest Brian Darling) and Seth Gabel (as amnesiac Jeremy Darling) were left to flounder due to the increasingly absurd directions the screenwriting took them in.

By the time final episode The Bad Guy aired, we didn’t even care that it left us dangling. Dirty Sexy Money had long since lost our interest and the announcement of the show’s demise came as some relief.

Certificate: 15
Episodes: 13
UK DVD Release: October 19, 2009