While some stars may have the luxury of playing murdered characters and still be able to claim I Know Who Killed Me, Noah Bean, who plays dead fiancé David Connor on FX's Damages has no such luck. In a recent interview for which I was able to submit questions, Bean was asked how he prepared for a role in a show that operates during two different time periods, in one of which his character has died. He responded that:
…our producers are very tight-lipped even with us on what’s going to happen in the next episode. And we don’t really get the scripts even until the last minute. And a lot of times … I’ve been begging them to tell me who did it to me and why and everything like that. I can’t get anything out of them. We’re in episode seven, so we definitely do know a bit more than the rest of America, but you just got to play every scene for the scene. And it’s fascinating because then you know the next week, you might find out that you were lying in that scene. Or that suddenly something is revealed that with all the Katie Connor stuff that I think none of us really knew what was — and that’s going to continue on in the next few weeks of it getting more complicated and more things revealed that none of us had any idea. It’s a lot like life. You kind of go along and then all of a sudden, something is revealed and you could be suddenly playing a different tactic or different motive. It’s like taking it one day at a time. And our producers will tell us just enough to get us to where we need to be for that scene, but it’s exciting. We’re finding out new things just like the rest of everybody else.
Lying, changing motivations, different tactics. And this all coming from the guy who plays a doctor on the show, not one of the lawyers. Is there some sort of irony that the doctor ends up dead at the end of the timeline? Noah did not answer that question, but did give us some insight as to what he thinks about playing a guy who ends up dead:
…at first, I was kind of thrilled because I thought this was just great. I get one season on this great show. And then once we started shooting it, I was like, “Darn it, this stinks" because it’s so great. It’s just gotten better and better and better, the show as we’ve continued shooting. So it’s a little bit of a bummer, but I think it’s going to be sort of fascinating. I think the guys, our writers and our creators, have got some really cool story lines that are going to kind of build up to the end of the season and then like you said, I think that we’ve all kind of got no idea where this may go. So who knows? It may not be the complete end of David Connor, although I don’t think I’m going to be coming back to life from these days in this. Yes, so it’s—I think it’ll be the build-up as we get further and further into that of who did it and why they did it. I think it’s going to be some really fun stuff to play and to watch. It’s kind of a bummer, but the same time, it’s exciting.
Taking a second to examine these two answers, we are only left with more questions. What could Noah mean that "it may not be the complete end of David Connor?" He also said that he does not get the scripts terribly far in advance, so he cannot know the ending yet, or could he? Might he be lying to us all? He admits that David won't be coming back from the dead (the show is based in the real world, not a supernatural one), but does this tell us anything about possible directions that the producers may be contemplating for season two? Is it possible that Ellen Parsons' (Rose Byrne) life is connected with more than one case at Hewes and Associates? That seems just a little too fortuitous, doesn't it?
As this season of Damages continues to unfold, more and more questions are being asked of the characters and the audience. Eventually, one assumes, things will get wrapped up, the story of both David's murder and the court case being tackled at his fiancee's firm will come to some sort of conclusion. Will David be the only person not left standing at the end? As Noah said, they are only shooting lines for the seventh episode right now (the season will run for 13 episodes), so he is not quite in a position to tell us.
Damages airs Tuesday nights on FX at 10pm.