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'Damages': The departed Uncle Pete speaks

February 25, 2009 | 11:00 pm

Unclepete_2 Big revelations on tonight’s episode of “Damages”: Seems like the bearded man is large and in charge now. Frobisher has put Ellen back in his crosshairs. Ellen’s having hallucinations of dead fiancé David.

And then there’s Uncle Pete. Poor, dead Uncle Pete. Turns out Patty’s Uncle Pete was really her uncle. Turns out he loved Patty, even more than he loved himself.

But did Patty really love Uncle Pete? Do you think she was behind his death? How heartless can she really be? Either way, it seams like she may be in for some comeuppance: In the final scene, there was Mrs. Uncle Pete, finding that box of evidence against Patty. And there she was handing it over to Ellen. And wham! We finally find out that it is in fact Patty Ellen’s been waving that gun at since the first episode of this season.

What does it all mean? (After all, there will definitely be another season of “Damages” on the way.) We turn to the departed Uncle Pete himself, actor Tom Aldredge, who most of you will recognize as Carmella’s dad on "The Sopranos," for his take and a final goodbye:

How did they deliver the news?
They told me what they had planned just before the last couple of episodes I filmed. I was a little disappointed, but what a way to go, huh? I think it’s ironic to have survived five years on ‘The Sopranos’ and then to be whacked on the second season of ‘Damages.’ Bummer, right?

Did you suspect you weren’t going to be around for the long haul?
I knew something was in the wind because the FBI was going to be after Uncle Pete eventually. But I think this is a wonderful turn of events. Particularly the scene where Patty is at Uncle Pete’s bedside, and she asks him why he had stayed with her. It reveals something that I had thought about this even back when we were shooting the original pilot — that Uncle Pete loved her.

He did all the dirty work! He’s a delicious character, he really is. Especially having his own personal scams going on while he’s doing all of her dirty work (laughs). That was great.

Is that how you played him? As someone who genuinely cared for Patty?
Oh, yes. I had to decide early on: Why was it that Uncle Pete was willing to do these things for Patty? Why was he so loyal? Her enabler, in a sense. So I had decided on my own that he loved her. Now in the last episode, you find out that that’s right, that when her father left her family, Uncle Pete took over and raised her as his daughter.

Yeah. And then she stabs him in the back! Who do you think ordered the hit on Pete?
It has to be Patty! But that is just my own opinion, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m going to watch every Wednesday night as a rapt fan of this show.

You don’t know what happens?
Oh, no. They only let us read the scripts that our characters are in. You don’t get to read everything. They don’t send you scripts you’re not in.

What do you make of the last conversation between Patty and Uncle Pete, when Patty told Uncle Pete to turn her in and save himself?
My own read is that she meant it, but God knows she probably changed her mind, right? As you saw, he did have the evidence on her. What happens to that is going to be fascinating.

How do you think Patty will survive without Uncle Pete?
She’s going to miss him! Of all the people in the show, he was the only one totally loyal to her. Not her husband, certainly, not even her son, for that matter. And there was no one that she was that close with that she could reveal secrets to. My own personal feeling is that they’re going to miss me, by God.

What was it like working with Glenn Close?
I was so fortunate to do most of my scenes with her. There’s magic in those eyes, I felt. Because what she’s saying to you is not only the truth of the moment but it’s like she’s saying, ‘Watch carefully, because this is how it’s done.’ I mean she’s a great teacher.

How do you think this season stacks up against the previous one?
My only negative feeling is that it gets so plot intense it sometimes can be difficult to tie it all together. On the other hand, it does cause audience argument. So I don’t blame them for that. I think it’s all wonderful.

So is this really the last we’re going to see of Uncle Pete?
Well, we did shoot one scene. A flashback. Patty has a dream. I can’t tell you more than that! I jokingly suggested to the writers that maybe Pete has a twin brother, Uncle Charlie. Maybe he’s a bishop in a Brooklyn diocese and he comes to Hewes & Associates to defend him against a child molestation case (laughs).

— Denise Martin

Photo: Tom Aldredge as Uncle Pete on “Damages.” Credit: FX

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