RAY DONOVANJuly 21, 2013


RAY DONOVAN

Ray Donovan (Showtime)

On Demand Weekly provides new reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: “RAY DONOVAN.”

Fixers are the new doctor or detective on television. They are popping up all over. SCANDAL features Kerry Washington as a DC fixer for politicians. On PERSON OF INTEREST, Paige Turco plays a recurring character: a bigtime fixer for New York City politicians and celebrities. And why not? Who wouldn’t want someone (good-looking someone, of course) to make your problems go away. Let them get their hands dirty! Showtime enters the game with Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan, fixer to the rich and powerful in Hollywood.

As many of the tributes to the late, lamented James Gandolfini have pointed out, without Tony Soprano, there would be no Walter White (BREAKING BAD) or Dexter, or any other popular television character who is ostensibly evil, but remains sympathetic to the audience. Ray is another. He will gladly beat someone into a pulp with a baseball bat, but is sweet and empathetic to a transsexual hooker who is blackmailing one of Ray’s clients. He can’t resist a young woman’s offer of oral sex, but he fiercely loves his wife and children.

Bringing a complicated character to a series should be expected from creator and executive producer, Ann Biderman (SOUTHLAND), who also wrote the pilot episode. The pilot was directed by Allen Coulter (THE SOPRANOS, SONS OF ANARCHY), who also serves as producer on both the pilot and the second episode of the series. The Gandolfini effect is in full force.

As with Tony Soprano, taking care of the family Ray loves is not turning out to be as easy as bashing in someone’s head. When Ray’s father, Mickey (a remarkable Jon Voight) is let out of prison early, Ray worries that his past is going to wreak havoc on his wife and kids, and sure enough, Mickey heads straight for Ray’s home and turns on the charm, pitting Ray not only against his wife, but against his brothers, too.

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