We thought that after her fiancé’s murder, Ellen would never recover. Until we met Chris Messina. He joined the Damages cast in the fourth season as Ellen’s high school friend, Chris Sanchez. Chris is perfect for Ellen and we can’t wait to see more of him in Season 5. Chris also appeared in Law & Order and Six Feet Under, and is now starring in The Newsroom as Reese Lansing. Josh Payne tells us more about his role on Damages.
Chris Sanchez is a high school friend of Ellen Parsons who joined the Marines and spent the bulk of his 20s deployed to hotspots around the world. When his mother’s medical bills began piling up, Chris left the service to work for High Star, a private military company that pays a much higher salary than the armed forces. Ellen begins thinking about suing High Star and reconnects with Chris, learning that he recently left the company and suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. With encouragement from Ellen, Chris begins seeing a therapist and agrees to be a witness in her lawsuit against the company. High Star deceives Chris into returning to Afghanistan, and Ellen must fight to keep him alive while she presses her case against the company. When it comes down to a choice between the two, Ellen chooses Chris.
This was a very challenging role to cast. We needed someone who could play the violent fragility of someone suffering from PTSD while still radiating enough charm and intelligence to attract Ellen. Chris Messina fit the bill perfectly. He threw himself into the role by interviewing servicemen, researching private military firms, and talking to therapists familiar with PTSD.