I am two episodes in to Showtime’s gritty new drama Ray
Donovan and I am hooked. This show is intense and raw and
really delivers in the
white-guy-with-demons-but-a-good-heart department. Liev
Shrieber plays the title character as a transplant from
South Boston (with the dreamy accent to match) that works as
a “cleaner” of sorts for Los Angeles’ rich and famous;
sorting out messes that could involve (but are not limited
to) dead hookers, transvestites, stalkers and cheating
husbands.. Ray has two brothers in LA, as well, that run a
boxing gym. Bunchy, played by Dash Mihok, is a drunk and an
addict as a result of being molested as a young boy by a
priest, and seems the most damaged of the three. Terry
Donovan, played by Eddie Marsan, has Parkinsons,’ developed
after years spent as a boxer and is a quiet force in the
first two episodes of the season. Ray’s wife is the
harping, hard-edge Abby, brought to life by Paula Malcolmson.
Her Boston accent, is far less dreamy as she nags Ray to
move them to a better neighborhood, and enroll their
children in better schools.
The show quickly becomes two-sided as we see Ray navigate
these two worlds that define him as a character. One the one
hand, we see Ray breaking hands, and offering cryptic
ultimatums such as “the bag or the bat.” But on the other,
we see him interact with his two children in a fiercely
loving way that endears you to him, even when he is holding
a gun to his own father’s head. But, in Ray’s defense,
Mickey Donovan, played by Jon Voight, is a bad guy, and the
producers are being very stingy in doling out plot points
concerning his character and his twenty-year prison stint.
There is poison between the father and son, and it only adds
fuel to the smoldering cinders that the first two episodes
Shrieber’s brooding, man-in-black, fish-out-of-water bit is
irresistible and I LOVE this incarnation of the anti-hero.
The most compelling moments of this show are inevitably the
interactions between Ray and the sleazy, smarmy Hollywood
clientele. We are meant to see Ray through their eyes as
they long to be him -- aloof, detached, cool. Conversely, we
see them through Ray’s eyes as as he tolerates and manages
their catastrophes with disdain and barely veiled contempt.
It creates a hierarchy that places Ray firmly on top, and
that is what is driving this show.
The opinions in these articles are those of the writer and do not
necessarily reflect the opinions of The TV MegaSite or its other volunteers.
We need more episode guide recap writers, article
writers, MS FrontPage and Web Expression users, graphics designers, and more, so
please email us
if you can help out! More volunteers always
Back to the Main Reviews Page
Page updated 8/27/13
Back to the Main Primetime TV Page