When it comes to popular television shows that permeate mainstream audience across all age groups, networks and production companies such as HBO, The CW, NBC, and FOX tend to have their pick of great shows with this level of reception. When it comes to absolute quality, however, with the exception of HBO, the other networks tend to lag behind. ‘Smaller’ networks like Showtime, because of their smaller budget are a lot pickier when it comes to their lineup of television shows, thus resulting in a more quality lineup such as a show like Ray Donovan.
Ray Donovan has been on the air on the TV Network since making its debut on air on June 30, 2013. Since then, the show has maintained its place as one of the quality shows in a sea of television shows airing on television. The show, which was created by Ann Biderman has run for six seasons with a seventh already planned for release in the fall of 2019.
The creation of Ann Biderman, who served as showrunner in the first season of the show has been the recipient of a few award nominations with its cast earning several awards and nominations for their portrayal of the characters she created. Before, Ray Donovan, Ann Biderman created Southland and was a writer on NYPD Blue.
Ray Donovan – The Plot
Ann Biderman’s creation Ray Donovan is centered around a man whom the show is eponymously named, Ray Donovan. A former South Boston henchman who has found a more lucrative role as the fixer for a Los Angeles law firm, helping various celebrities, from athletes to film stars to businessmen, navigate the messy waters of being a public personality, fixing their clubs through every means necessary. A wrench is thrown into his work as a fixer when his father is released from prison and he is forced to deal with a past he left Boston for.
The show’s plot explores the dynamics of reconciling a messy past with the present and the dangerous world of a criminal lifestyle.
Seasons and Episodes
Ray Donovan has been on the air for six seasons, airing its first episode on the 30th of June, 2013. Each season so far has twelve episodes, making it a total of 71 episodes thus far, at an average run time of 60 minutes per episode.
The first season, for which Ann Biderman was the showrunner, aired from June 30, 2013, to September 22, 2013. The first season, which was an introduction to Ray Donovan and his world, was rated 76% on review aggregator site, Rotten Tomatoes. The second season was rated 73%, the third season improved on the quality of its previous seasons and earned a 77% rating on the site. The fourth season, however, was the lowest reviewed season of the show with it earning a 50% rating.
It, however, turned out to be a blip in the quality of the show has it earned an excellent 100% rating in its fifth season. Currently, the sixth season is tracking for a 60% rating. The show has been renewed for a seventh season and is expected to air in the summer/fall of 2019.
Each season has been released on DVD and Blu-Ray and is also available to watch online on the Showtime website.
Awards and Recognitions
Despite what could be considered a topsy-turvy rating by critics, the show has enjoyed admiration by award bodies. The show in its first season won the Critics’ Choice Awards for the Most Exciting New Series and has since earned plenty of other nominations and wins for itself and cast such as the Golden Globe Awards for Jon Voight as Best Supporting Actor. So far, it has 21 Awards and Nominations to its name.
Ray Donovan’s Cast and Characters
When it comes to storytelling on television, there is a significant balance necessary between the quality of writing and the quality of the cast to achieve greatness. Whilst Ray Donovan surely do not lack in quality writing, it stands even greater in the quality of its cast, through whom the show has stood against the competition of the release of new shows across various networks. Here is a quick look at some of the notable cast members on the show and their equivalent characters.
Liev Schreiber – Ray Donovan
The titular character is played by Liev Schreiber, who has starred in many productions over the course of his career including starring in films like Spotlight, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Sum of All Fears, Salt and Isle of Dogs. Liev is an actor with an extensive resume of critically acclaimed projects, from television to film to stage plays.
Liev is also a director and screenwriter. He has lent his range of skills honed over many films and shows to play a character that has become one of the most beloved on television. While he hasn’t won an award for its portrayal of the character, he has earned himself five Golden Globe nominations and three Primetime Emmy Award for it.
Eddie Marsan – Terrence ‘Terry’ Donovan
Many modern fans would know Eddie Marsan from playing the Headmaster villain in Deadpool 2 but the English actor has a resume that spans years from 1987. He has starred in critically acclaimed projects like Gangs of New York, V for Vendetta, Mission: Impossible III, Sherlock Holmes and many more. He is a major character on Ray Donovan, playing the older brother of Ray Donovan who is a retired boxer afflicted with Parkinson disease.
Dash Mihok – Bunchy Donovan
Dash Mihok plays Bunchy Donovan on the show, who is a part of the Donovan family, which are the central focus of the show. He is the younger brother of Ray and is described to be a sexual anorexic. Dash Mihok might be one of the lesser known names on the show but he has extensive experience, having starred in over 50 films and television shows before getting cast on Ray Donovan. Some of his notable past works include The Day After Tomorrow, I AM Legend, Pearl, Greetings from Home, among many others.
Pooch Hall – Daryll Donovan
Another member of the Donovan clan is Daryll Donovan, played by Pooch Hall. Daryll Donovan is a half brother of Ray and just like Terrence, is also a professional boxer who moonlights as a limousine driver. The role is one of the most high-profile roles in Pooch’s career thus far as he has mostly starred in bit part roles in films, television shows, and television films. His other notable role was his role as Chuck Wepner in a 2016 biopic titled Chuck. He is also a rapper.
Katherine Moennig – Lena Barnum
Katherine Moennig plays Lena Barnum on Ray Donovan as Liev Schreiber’s investigative assistant. Katherine, before Ray Donovan, hadn’t appeared in a lot of projects with minimal roles in films like Gone, Art School Confidential. She also had TV experiences as a guest on shows like Law & Order, The L Word, and CSI: Miami. Playing Lena Barnum on Ray Donovan is her highest profiled character till date.
Paula Malcomson – Abby Donovan
Paula Malcomson plays Abby Donovan, Ray’s loving wife who, together with Ray is forced to deal with his past. She appeared on the show consistently between season one and season five. Paula went into the role as one of the most experienced actors on the show having appeared on shows like Deadwood, Lost, Caprica, Sons of Anarchy, and ER. She has also appeared in films like The Green Mile, and The Hunger Games film series as Mrs. Everdeen.
Steven Bauer – Avi Rudin
A fixer like Ray Donovan needs a trusted right-hand man who helps him get things done on the show, that man is Avi Rudin, a former soldier, and spy. He is played by Steven Bauer who has had other film and TV show experiences as an action character in projects like The Beast of War, Scarface, The Versace Murder, Special Ops, Shadows in Paradise, amongst many others. He was on the show from season one to five.
Jon Voight – Mickey Donovan
Jon Voight is perhaps the most accomplished actor on the show. From Golden Globes to Emmys to the Academy Awards, his career is laden with recognition of his performances over decades of his life as a film actor. It is this experience and prestige that he has brought onto the role as Mickey Donovan, father of Ray Donovan and the cause of one of the major conflicts on the show. His performance has earned him several award nominations for the role including an Emmy and Critics Choice nomination. He won his Golden Globe nomination as best supporting actor.
Other notable cast members include Kerris Dorsey who plays Bridget Donovan, one of Ray Donovan’s children. Deven Bagby plays the role of Conor Donovan, his son, Denise Crosby plays Deb Goldman, Peter Jacobson plays Lee Drexler, Elliot Gould plays Ezra Goldman and many others.
TV Shows, especially successful ones like this often see special guest appearances by big names in the industry and Ray Donovan does not disappoint with bigwigs like Wendell Pierce, Ian McShane and Katie Holmes marking their names on the show.
The show airs every Sunday at 9pm on Showtime.