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Case Number 17112

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Dirty Sexy Money: The Complete Second Season

ABC Studios // 2008 // 560 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // August 26th, 2009

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All Rise...

Judge Clark Douglas aspires to be dirty, sexy, and loaded with money. Hey, one out of three ain't bad.

Editor's Note

Our review of Dirty Sexy Money: The Complete First Season, published September 19th, 2008, is also available.

The Charge

Get down and dirty.

Opening Statement

"When you get back, we're going on a Simon-free, murder-free, amnesia-free vacation from all of this."

Facts of the Case

During the first season of Dirty Sexy Money, attorney Nick George (Peter Krause, Six Feet Under) agreed to become the personal lawyer of the wealthy Darling family, a position Nick's father Dutch had held before his mysterious death. Nick took the job partially because the money was irresistible, but also in order to get closer to the Darling family. He felt this would enable him to find out whether they played a role in his father's death. As the second season begins, quite a few new developments are taking place. Perhaps most notable is the fact that matriarch Leticia Darling (Jill Clayburgh, Running with Scissors) has been charged with murder. As the trial date nears, Tripp Darling (Donald Sutherland, M.A.S.H.) attempts to convince Nick to take on the job of defending Leticia. Nick is initially repulsed by the idea, since he thinks there is at least some evidence that Leticia may have actually been involved in Dutch's death. Nonetheless, he soon finds himself persuaded once again.

Nick's relationship with the Darling family continues to take a significant toll on the relationship with his wife Lisa (Zoe McLellan, JAG). It's not that Nick doesn't love his wife; it's just that there are so many other things to deal with. These include the aggressive business maneuvers of the slick Simon Elder (Blair Underwood, In Treatment), Karen Darling's (Natalie Zea, Hung) more-than-suspicious romantic relationship with Simon, Patrick Darling's (William Baldwin, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) decision to run for the U.S. Senate, Brian Darling's (Glenn Fitzgerald, Trust the Man) battles with his wife over the custody of their young son, Jeremy Darling's (Seth Gabel, The Da Vinci Code) typically irresponsible behavior, and so much more. Meanwhile, Nick continues to seek out the truth of his father's death. Who killed Dutch George? Find out in Dirty Sexy Money: The Complete and Final Second Season.

The Evidence

During its first season, Dirty Sexy Money was my "guilty pleasure" show. The acting strengths of stars Donald Sutherland and Peter Krause pulled me in and the addictively soapy writing kept me coming back. Unfortunately, that first season was cut short by the writer's strike. I returned for season two, but alas, ABC's entire Wednesday night lineup (comprised of this show, Eli Stone and Pushing Daisies) was doomed to be cancelled. As with the other two programs, only 10 of the 13 completed second-season episodes of Dirty Sexy Money were aired during the regular timeslot, while the remaining three episodes were aired very unceremoniously some eight months later during the summer of 2009. It's a terrible way for a show to die, but there was one slightly encouraging element to this particular part of the story. Unlike Pushing Daisies and Eli Stone, the final episode of Dirty Sexy Money hadn't been shot when the announcement came. Thus, the producers had the opportunity to give the series at least some measure of closure.

If you're reading this review, I'd guess that you're one of the many people who missed the final three episodes and are wondering whether or not the season manages to conclude in a satisfactory manner. I won't spoil anything, but I will tell you that the program only focuses on solving the big mystery while leaving most of small subplots hanging. You get a pretty good sense of where things are heading, but there are enough mysteries left that you won't be completely satisfied. Still, the big question since episode one has been, "Who killed Dutch George?" I'm pleased to say that the question receives a definitive answer during the final episode. Granted, it's an answer that inspires a lot more questions, but it's an answer nonetheless.

Ending aside, the second season provides the same sort of soapy entertainment the first season gave us, though it does get a bit sillier this time around. Fortunately, the cast is entertaining enough to carry the show through the more ludicrous passages. Blair Underwood very nearly steals the program from everyone this season as the magnetic Simon Elder, a man who surprises us at times with the many layers he has tucked away. Donald Sutherland seems to be amusing himself by attempting to discover just how dryly he can deliver his lines. William Baldwin has generated a good deal of publicity for the show due to the subplot involving his relationship with a transgender woman, but it should also be noted that his performance is also one of the stronger elements of the program. He has a way of bringing a certain measure of emotional weight to a show that is occasionally lacking in such things. The rest of the cast is thoroughly stellar (particularly the rock-steady Krause in the lead role), but the three aforementioned men are consistently elevating things.

The transfer is fine, giving the visually slick and vibrant program a good deal of depth and clarity. Every now and then there seems to be just a slight amount of color bleeding, but nothing terribly bothersome. The audio also gets the job done effectively, though it seems much of the pop-heavy scoring in this second season is a bit less aggressive than it was last time. Supplements are a bit lighter on this set than there were on the first-season set. For starters, there are no audio commentaries on any of the episodes. "Directing the Darlings" is a brief featurette that puts the spotlight on television director Jamie Babbit and her experiences helming an episode of the show. "A Total Knockout" is a fluffy profile of actress Natalie Zea and "Dirty Sexy Crafty" is a quick look at…craft services? Points for being atypical. You also get a small selection of deleted scenes and a gag reel. That's it.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

As I indicated earlier, some of the subplots in this season get pretty darn preposterous. I won't spoil any of the noteworthy twists that occur over the course of the season, but you know a show is entering reasonably shameless soap territory when phrases like, "amnesia," "who's the daddy?" and "I want to stage my own murder," enter the picture.

Closing Statement

The second and final season of Dirty Sexy Money is an entertaining romp. I'm sorry it finished so soon, but it was fun while it lasted.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 90
Audio: 89
Extras: 30
Acting: 87
Story: 84
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile

Studio: ABC Studios
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 560 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Drama
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Deleted Scenes
• Featurettes
• Bloopers


• IMDb

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