Launched just as the U.S. economy was tanking, ABC's Dirty Sexy Money makes wealth seem more like a burden than a blessing. The most well balanced character, lawyer Nick George (Six Feet Under's Peter Krause), represents the Darling clan, a blue-blooded cross between the Corleones and the Kennedys. As patriarch Patrick "Tripp" Darling (Golden Globe nominee Donald Sutherland) tells him, "We're not perfect; we're messy."
In the second season, the political career of eldest son Patrick (William Baldwin) takes another hit when his wife, an abusive alcoholic, dies after a nasty spill. Tripp concocts an alternate story and ropes in right-hand son Brian (Glenn Fitzgerald) to play along. Just when things couldn't get much worse, Letitia (Jill Clayburgh) stands trial for the murder of Nick's father, Dutch. Nola (new cast member Lucy Liu) prosecutes the case when she isn't sleeping with party boy Jeremy (Seth Gabel). Samaire Armstrong's Juliet appears only briefly, which leaves socialite Karen (Natalie Zea), who accepts an offer of marriage to entrepreneur Simon Elder (a deliciously devious Blair Underwood), unaware of his plan to seize her shares and take over Darling Enterprises.
Like those other "D" dramas of yore, Dallas and Dynasty, Dirty Sexy Money conforms to the soap opera template, but the merger between comedy and tragedy can make for an awkward fit. Broadcast in two truncated seasons, partly due to the 2007 writers' strike, the show met with cancellation before it had the chance to successfully integrate the two. Gabel and Zea, for instance, handle the humor like champs, while Fitzgerald is so splenetic at times he looks like he might burst, though his proposal to Sheryl Lee's Andrea, the mother of Brian's son, is surprisingly sweet. Supplements include featurettes focusing on Zea and director Jamie Babbit (But I'm a Cheerleader), outtakes, and deleted scenes. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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