Ray Donovan is the latest masterpiece by Southland creator Ann Biderman, and it has all the hallmarks of a Crimezine classic. Celebrity hijinx, brass knuckle action, and a double dose of Hollyweird kookiness, all set in the bad and beautiful city of Los Angeles, California.
The show features Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan, a Hollywood fixer who solves the myriad problems of his rich and famous clients—Dead starlet in bed? No problem—caught with a transsexual prostitute on Hollyweird Boulevard—forgedaboudit. Serial-stalker on millionaires row in Malibu—consider his arm as good as broke.
While the taciturn Ray has no problem fixing the myriad woes of his clients, he finds meeting the needs of his own family rather more difficult.
There is his wife, who cannot get to grips with her husbands role as freewheeling man about town; there are his kids who are growing up just a little too fast, and there are his haddock brained brothers, who run the family boxing business. Then there is Ray’s pops, played by screen legend John Voight.
Academy Award winner Voight has a hardworking Hollweird career stretching back five decades. He gained a whole shelf full of accolades for roles in such screen classics as Midnight Cowboy, and Deliverance. But he is perhaps best known in this age of tabloid obsession, as the man who spawned kooky glamourpuss Angelina Jolie. How appropriate then, that the marginally less kooky Voight should play Ray’s nutty jailbird pops Mickey Donovan, a man fresh out of a twenty-year stretch for murder.
In the first episode of Ray Donovan we see Mickey shoot a priest in the face and ogle a breast-feeding mom on a plane. Mickey is creepy and dangerous, no doubt. But he is also ruthlessly manipulative and wastes no time ingratiating himself with his long lost family, much to the chagrin of Ray.
Ray Donovan is an investigation of the celebrity enablers, as much it is a reflection of the crash and burn ethos that so often consumes the world of so called celebrity. The show is a sunshine Soprano’s on sea, Californication sans horse shit, along with a generous twist of Harvey Keitel’s “Cleaner” character, from the marvelous Pulp Fiction thrown in for good measure. From the premiere episode, it looks like the rich mix of hard action and factional celebrity sleaze will draw viewers in, so that they might be swept along by the swirling undertow of this deep running family drama.
Ray Donovan. You heard it here first Crimeziners.
Screens Sundays at 10pm on Showtime.