Damnation: Sam Riley’s Body

Damnation: Sam Riley’s Body | Season 1, Episode 1 | Rating: 8/11 |

Damnation is a period drama set in America’s heartland during the 1930’s.

It’s a hard time for people: folks are striking, farmers are desperate for money, and there’s no alcohol thanks to Prohibition. Desperate people are ripe for the taking and there’s plenty of people ready to get a piece. Enter Seth Davenport (Killian Scott) as the grifter masquerading as a preacher, Don Berryman (Christopher Heyerdahl) as the sheriff who’s also a bootlegger, and Creeley Turner (Logan Marshall-Green), a Pinkerton who’s seemingly come to break up the mining strike. He also doesn’t care who he has to shoot along the way.

Killian Scott is immediately endearing as Seth, who seems to have fallen genuinely into the role of preacher. Seth is similar to Scott’s character, Tommy, on the Irish drama Love/Hate where he played a thug with a heart of gold. He’s a repentant man trying to galvanize strikers with his wife, Amelia (Sarah Jones), at his side. Neither of them are aware that a woman from Seth’s past (Melinda Page Hamilton) is hunting him down.

Logan Marshall-Green (AKA Not Tom Hardy) gives an enigmatic performance as Creely Turner. Turner comes to town, immediately shoots the leader of the strike, Sam Riley, then he hires a prostitute named Bessie (Chasten Harmon) as his secretary and co-conspirator, and then shoots another man only to blame Riley’s son for the killing. And it’s all to get the attention of his little brother …Seth. Also, the chemistry between Bessie and Creeley is worth the price of admission.


Damnation is reminiscent of shows like Peaky Blinders. Although the first episode took some time to ramp up, they’ve set the table for a great season. It’s all about intrigue in a time of lawlessness and everyone in this town is going to have to decide if they’re on the side of the companies or the common folk.

Damnation airs Tuesday nights at 10pm Eastern/9pm Central on the USA Network.