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'Damages' casting scoop: Chris Messina joins web of intrigue when show debuts on DirecTV

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Chris-Messina_240.jpg Image Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images The news just keep getting better for fans of Damages, the former FX drama that’ll air on DirecTV’s 101 network this summer. EW has learned exclusively that Chris Messina (Julie & Julia) will play a high school friend of Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) who was a decorated soldier before being recruited to work for a private security firm in Afghanistan. He’s drawn into a web of intrigue when Ellen sets her sights on his corrupt employer (played by John Goodman). Dylan Baker (Secretariat) has already joined the cast as a shadowy opportunist with ties to the Middle East.

Unlike DirecTV’s arrangement with NBC for Friday Night Lights, Damages will only air on DirecTV.  The 101 network will air two additional seasons of the drama – each consisting of 10 episodes. The network has yet to announce a start date.

Last year, the producers told EW that the budget for Damages will remain the same in season four, as will the content. “DirecTV wants us to do the show that we’ve been doing,” said exec producer Daniel Zelman. “If anything, they want us to push what we’ve been doing even further. They’re encouraging us to be as bold as possible, which is something we strive for anyway. There have been no discussions about altering the show in any fundamental way.” Added exec producer Todd A. Kessler, “What’s exciting for us as creators is that on the 101 Network there are no commercials, so it’ll be an uninterrupted hour. And that lends itself to the type of storytelling we do.”

Originally posted January 31 2011 — 6:00 PM EST

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