When Six Feet Under’s final episode aired in 2005, there was a gap in television. We were left with a Peter Krause-free-TV, and that was not okay. ABC attempted to fill this gap with Dirty Sexy Money. Its creator, Craig Wright, spun a tale of the rich and famous testing the theory that too much money will make a person crazy. Enter the Darling family.
The Darlings, not too unlike the Addams family, are a tantalizing cast of characters. There is Tripp Darling (Donald Sutherland), the patriarch in every sense of the word. Letitia (Jill Clayburgh), the matriarch who always has a glass of something in her hand. Patrick (William Baldwin) the Senator with a secret relationship. Brian (Glenn Fitzgerald) is a bitter and spiteful minister whose temper mirrors that of a two-year-old. Karen (Natalie Zea) is on her fourth marriage and still not happy. And then there are the twins who are also the babies of the family. Jeremy (Seth Gabel) is a young man who flirts with older women while using any drug he can find and Juliette (Samaire Armstrong) is the talentless daughter who only longs to be loved by the paparazzi.
And thrown into the mix is Nick George (Peter Krause). Nick is not a Darling. Nick is not New York elite. Nick is the help, just as his father was. Dutch George was the Darling family lawyer until his mysterious death. In the wake of his father’s death, Tripp woos Nick into taking his father’s place. Having spent his whole life in the Darling shadow, Nick has a pretty good idea of what this means and really is not interested. Despite his efforts to say “no,” Nick is faced with the reality that the money would be good for his young family. When Tripp offers to give ten million dollars a year to a charity of Nick’s choice, Nick finally agrees (which tells us more about Nick than it does Tripp).
And with that, the fun begins. Pills are popped. Yachts are won in poker games. Sex tapes are ransomed. And all the while Nick is there to take care of all the legal needs, which are endless. But that’s not all Nick is doing. He is using this time to try to solve the mystery of his father’s death, which is the main plot of the series. He gleans information from Tripp at every turn and from rival millionaire and businessman Simon Elder (Blair Underwood). Unfortunately, the series ends too soon and the writers give us a quick ending to the mystery.
This wild and witty drama parallels the simple life with the absurdly of the rich life. Krause gives an excellent performance as the morally distracted lawyer. Baldwin is convincing as the senator with the secret transgender girlfriend (oops!). The addition of Lucy Liu in season two as Nola Lyons, another lawyer, adds another layer of drama. Sutherland is superb as the patriarch and seems at ease in this role. And along the way there are narratives of self-discovery, lustful temptations, marital difficulties, and the ultimate certainty: forgiveness.
While network television wasn’t quite ready for the Darlings, your DVD player is. DVD extras include a making-of featurette, a look at directing the show with director Jamie Babbit, a bloopers reel from Season 2, and more.