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The Birthday Present: Yachts, Murder, and Mischief on the Season Premiere of "Dirty Sexy Money"

Oh, Dirty Sexy Money, I've missed you.

What other series, returning after a hiatus of nearly a year (thanks to the writers strike of late last year) would kick off its second season by having one member of its central family arrested for murder, kill off another member, while having yet another cover up said death of the wife of one of its scions... by burning their gorgeous country home down to the ground? Not many, that's for sure. And that's what makes ABC's Dirty Sexy Money such a sinful treat to watch.

Sure, there was no mention whatsoever of errant Darling daughter Juliet (Samaire Armstong, who was a series regular last season is no longer with the series) who seems to have vanished into the wind and I had a hard time remembering just what went down between William Baldwin's Patrick and Donald Sutherland's Tripp Darling (or, hell, if Nick believed that Letitia had murdered his father Dutch), but last night's season premiere ("The Birthday Present") was such a breath of (soapy) fresh air that I didn't much mind.

It was smart of series creator Craight Wright and executive producer Jon Harmon Feldman (who co-wrote last night's installment) to push the action several months into the future since we last caught up with the Darlings last year, giving the audience some time to see what's happened to the clan in the intervening time. Patrick is still desperate to track down his missing transsexual lover Carmelita (Candis Cayne), who disappeared from her apartment several months earlier. While I suspected that Patrick's boozy wife Ellen (Bellamy Young) may have been behind Carmelita's abduction (after all, she had shot Patrick last season), I didn't think that she actually had Carmelita killed, to boot. (Or did she?) And just when Patrick learns this (as Ellen breaks down the glass wall of their shower with a fireplace poker), Ellen slips and hits her head on the bathroom counter... and dies. I knew that someone was going to go to the big mansion in the sky in this episode but didn't think that it was going to play out quite this way.

Karen Darling (Natalie Zea), meanwhile, is still seeing her father's enemy Simon Elders (Blair Underwood), even after all of these months. But I loved the fact that Simon told Karen that he loved her, despite knowing that she is using him to spy for her father. And while Karen may have returned that clean fuel that Simon and his scientists cooked up, I thought it only fitting that she steal something from Simon that was worth more than the billions he'd earn from selling that fuel: his beloved crystal swan, a symbol of his transformation from immigrant ugly duckling into billionaire swan. Ouch.

Do we think that Simon and mystery woman Nola Lyons (Lucy Liu) are working together, plotting to divide and conquer the Darling family? While we've seen nothing so far to link Nola and Simon together, there is the little matter of that secretive phone call Simon made to someone to indicate that their plan was coming together. Hmmm. Plus, Nola pushed Jeremy (Seth Gabel) to make a move on Nick's wife Lisa (Zoe McLellan)... which he did, only to have Lisa finally reciprocate, just as Nick catches them together.

How spectacular was that punch that Nick slammed down on Jeremy? Our darling Darling definitely had it coming to him and just in time for him to meet up with Nola, emotional and physically wounded, and fall into the back of a limo with her.

As for Letitia Darling (Jill Clayburgh), I have a feeling that her arrest for the murder of Dutch will definitely split the already fractured Darling clan further. I can actually see an alliance brewing between rivals Nick and Brian (Glenn Fitzgerald), united in their efforts to see their father's killer brought to justice, even if it means putting Letitia in jail to do so. I felt awful that Brian lost Will (a.k.a. Gustav) after regaining him for a four-week stretch, only to have Andrea (Sheryl Lee, yes, Laura Palmer!) waltz off with him back to Brazil. Sigh.

What did you think of the season premiere? Did it reignite your love for Dirty Sexy Money? Or was it a case of too little, too late for this series?

Next week on Dirty Sexy Money ("The Silent Auction"), the media speculates about the cause of the fire at the Darlings' Valhalla estate; Brian suggests to Tripp that a successor be named for Darling Enterprises.


Anonymous said…
I think this show is really underrated. It's definitely more fun and soapy than the new 90210. The cast and characters are fantastic and The Darlings provide limitless entertainment!
Anonymous said…
Give me Dahlia over the Darlings. I just can't get into this swarmy soapy, you just don't care for them the way you do the Don Drapers. A serious act of mercy, giving it another season, better than Lipstick Jungle at least. Saved by the timeslot.
Anonymous said…
Yeah its a great show! i love the drama but its not on channel 4, does anyone know what channel its on now or do i need to watch it through really bad sites on the internet. the birthday present was awesum btw i bet letitia darling did actually kill nicks dad
Unknown said…
I still enjoy it, but it's a more casual relationship than the one I have with, say, Chuck.

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