DSMDirty Sexy Money: The Complete Second and Final Season (2009, Buena Vista)
purchase from Amazon: DVD

You may not recall, but there were two “rich folks with problems” TV shows that premiered in the fall of 2007: the CW’s hit series Gossip Girl and ABC’s drama, Dirty Sexy Money. While the former continues to thrive, Dirty Sexy Money has been canceled. For those of you loyal enough to stick with the show, and those of you curious for something stylized and slick, Buena Vista has released the final 13 episodes of the show in a three-DVD box set that includes deleted scenes, a behind the scenes “day on the set” featurette with actress Natalie Zea, and bloopers.

Dirty Sexy Money starred Peter Krause (Six Feet Under) as Nick George, a well intentioned lawyer caught up in the abyss that is the Darling family, one of those rich and powerful New York clans you only see on television. Donald Sutherland co-starred as the family patriarch, Tripp Darling, Jill Clayburgh as his boozy wife, Letitia, and William Baldwin as one of his train wreck sons, Patrick. The first season was a hoot, as the producers also brought in Blair Underwood as the nemesis of the Darling family, Simon Elder, and introduced many people (myself included) to the wonderful talents of Natalie Zea and Glenn Fitzgerald, who played the spoiled, grown up Darling children Karen and Brian. Unfortunately for Dirty Sexy Money, the writer’s strike happened and ABC held off on producing any new episodes between January 2008 and the fall of that year. Any momentum the show had was killed and Dirty Sexy Money’s ratings were way down. By December the network pulled the show from air and eventually burned off the rest of the second season during this past summer… when no one was watching.

The second season begins with a bang as matriarch Letitia, is arrested for the murder of Nick’s father, Dutch, who was the Darling family lawyer for over 30 years, was Tripp’s best friend, and Letitia’s lover. The mystery of who killed Dutch is a story arc that carried over all the way from the pilot episode and would not be resolved until the series finale. It is the reason I stuck with the show, as I’m sure many viewers did.  The prosecution of Letitia brought in Lucy Liu to the series as pitbull lawyer Nola Lyons, a woman who harbors her own secrets, one of which is carrying on an affair with party boy Darling son Jeremy (Seth Gabel). Nola has other secrets but I won’t reveal them because that would ruin it for those of you interested in checking out the show.

Other continuing storylines include Nick and his wife Lisa’s (Zoe McLellan) disintegrating marriage, Karen’s engagement to Simon Elder and how that effects Nick,  and onetime minister Brian’s struggle with his faith as the mother of his child fights for her life.  The most interesting plot, one that garnered some media attention, was Senator-elect Patrick’s love affair with Carmelita, a trans woman (played by real life transgender actress Candis Cayne). This story was handled with grace, humor and sensitivity, rare in a nighttime soap.  Although some of Dirty Sexy Money’s stories sank into fanciful territory and the dialogue could border on cheesy, the cast of this show makes the series much classier than it deserves to be. The ensemble cast makes the show worth watching, in addition to the wardrobe and glitz.  Still, nothing could save the series finale, which is primarily a series of “a-ha” revelatory flashbacks. That episode seems so out of character with the rest of the show it feels as if the writers were rushing to finish it so they could move on to their next gig.

While it seems that ABC was hoping for a Dynasty type hit from Dirty Sexy Money, it just wasn’t meant to be. I believe that average adults just didn’t want to watch rich socialites bemoan their problems during these difficult economic times, fantasy or not. As Gossip Girl is aimed squarely at teenagers, it had a better chance of survival with its youthful, beautiful cast. However, after watching the second/final season of Dirty Sexy Money, I wish that ABC had allowed for a proper series wrap up instead of the cliffhanger we’re left with in the end. From now on I believe TV producers should have a clause in their contracts that allows for TV series to shoot a series wrap up exclusively to DVD should their show get the axe before every story arc is complete. If anything, these type of DVD exclusives could be used to help bring more attention to DVDs, like Dirty Sexy Money, that may get overlooked by the casual viewer.

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About the Author

Scott Malchus

Scott Malchus is a writer, filmmaker and die hard Cleveland Indians fan. His memoir, “Basement Songs,” is available in paperback and Kindle. He wrote and directed the film “King's Highway." His family is heavily involved in fund raising to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. Scott Malchus is an employee of Cartoon Network and Turner Broadcasting. The opinions expressed on Popdose are his own and do not reflect those of his employer. Email: Malchus@popdose.com. Follow him @MrMalchus

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