Our insider, Josh Payne, brings you a detailed recap of every new episode plus extra background info only a Damages writer would know!

The writers began breaking the story for Damages‘ final season almost as soon as we wrapped shooting on Season 4. We talked about a number of possible cases drawn from the real world—mercy killings at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina; a cell phone-cancer case; a food-safety case following an E. coli outbreak—before settling on a WikiLeaks-inspired story.

Once the case was chosen, we picked up the threads from the previous season finale, in which Patty’s son, Michael, is suing her for custody of his daughter, Catherine. Patty adopted Catherine after she had Catherine’s mother sent to jail and Michael went missing. At the end of Season 4, Patty learns that Ellen has agreed to be a character witness for Michael in the custody case. Fearing that Ellen will spill her secrets to the world, Patty scrambles for a way to prevent Ellen from taking the stand.

Ellen tries to get a fresh start in her personal and professional life. She begins a romantic relationship with Chris Sanchez, her old friend who was the lynchpin to the case against High Star Security Corporation last season. At the same time, Ellen is setting up her own law firm, having just moved into a new office space.

When Channing McClaren, a famous computer hacker and champion of government and corporate transparency, asks Patty to represent him, she sees an opportunity. Rather than take him on as a client, Patty refers him to Ellen. Knowing that Ellen just launched her own law firm Patty suspects she won’t be able to resist such a high-profile client.

Shortly after his meeting with Patty, one of McClaren’s sources is found dead in an apparent suicide. Patty files a wrongful death lawsuit against McClaren and taunts Ellen into defending him so the women can face each other in court. When Ellen agrees to defend McClaren, the judge in the custody case rules that Ellen cannot take the stand until the McClaren case is settled.

Patty succeeded in manipulating Ellen and buying herself some time. And Ellen finally has a chance to go head-to-head against Patty.

In the flash forwards for this episode, we see Patty arrested and taken from her apartment building in the back of a squad car. Elsewhere in the city, Ellen lies on the ground. Her vacant eyes stare at the sky and a pool of blood collects behind her head.

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