Who is Ray Donovan?

Just one of those days, huh? Better call Ray. Woke up with a dead girl in bed next to you? Addicted to drugs? Got a stalker? Troubles with the husband? The wife? The lover? Legal problems? No problem. Call Ray Donovan. He can fix it. That’s right … Ray Donovan is a fixer.

Liev Schrieber plays the title role in the new Showtime series, Ray Donovan. Ray is a man seemingly prepared to handle any situation. After all, he is Mr. Fix It for the Hollywood elite. The man makes big money to make bad situations go away. Which he does to perfection, that is, until situations start rising up around his personal life.

The pilot episode sets the stage for what is to come on Ray Donovan. While securing the livelihood of others, Ray’s own life begins to crumble around him. There seems to be a distant relationship with his family, most of all his wife, Abby (Paula Malcomson). Then there’s the would-be lover and former client, and a slew of other situations with actors like Elliott Gould, Josh Pais and Frank Whaley.

But Ray, naturally, has a dark past, one that continually haunts him. And there’s his father, Mickey, played by Jon Voight.  In this first episode, Mickey is unexpectedly paroled and apparently very upset at Ray for having somehow been the cause of his imprisonment.

Ray Donovan
Season 1, Episode 1
The Bag or the Bat
Allen Coulter
Liev Schreiber, Jon Voight, Paula Malcomson
Release Date
July 1, 2013
Influx Grade: B+

There is an interesting triangle between Ray, Abby and Mickey, and possibly a question of where Abby’s loyalty truly lies. The first episode shows that Ray Donovan isn’t afraid to break bones, shed blood, or bury bodies, so the show could go a lot of directions from this point forward. There is plenty of room for the development and growth of both characters and story lines. It has sort of a gangster-esque feel to it. After the first episode, the viewer is still trying to figure out Ray’s role in this chess game. Is he a king or a pawn or somewhere in between?

One thing is certain, this seems a perfect role for Liev Schreiber to shine. He has been one of those actors whom for many years has seemed poised and on the cusp of greatness.

If nothing else, Ray Donovan will give us all a chance to see just how good Liev Schreiber really is.

Grade: B+

Review by Gordon Shelly, special to Influx Magazine