Ray Donovan just got a phone call and now he’s making a u-turn. You do not want Ray Donovan to make a u-turn. Oh man, look what you’ve done now. Shit will be dealt. With a steely eye, Southie accented protagonist like Ray Donovan, it almost fills the hole left behind by The Sopranos.
Plus, no one leaves a room like Liev Schreiber. In the middle of a point? Ray leaves the room. Disagree? Ray leaves the room. Pull a gun? Ray takes the gun from you, hits you in the face with and leaves the room. He also hangs up on just about every person he’s on the phone with.
The dream cast of Schreiber (The Sum of All Fears, X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Elliot Gould (MASH, Ocean’s 11-13), Jon Voight (Midnight Cowboy, Deliverance), Paula Malcomson (Deadwood, The Hunger Games), Eddie Marsan (God’s Pocket, Sherlock Holmes), Katherine Moennig (The L Word, Everybody’s Fine), Steven Bauer (Scarface, Primal Fear), Dash Mihok (Silver Linings Playbook, Thin Red Line), Brooke Smith (Grey’s Anatomy, Silence of the Lambs), William Stanford Davis (Primary Colors, Self Medicated), Sheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha, Instant Mom) and Pooch Hall (The Game) are all a wonder to watch.
Frank Whaley as Agent Van, totally tripping balls after Avi slips him some LSD.
Plus a host of some of the best actors in the business. Frank Whaley as an action figure-collecting, modern day J. Edgar Hoover, Hank Azaria as a smart talking FBI boss and a delightful return to the small screen by Austin Nichols who starred in what I call a first draft of a show – John From Cincinnati – by David Milch.
James Woods being James Woods. Rosanna Arquette as a spirit porpoise. Sherilyn Fenn pops up as well. It’s just a casting wet dream.
Oh, and guys! In season 2, Ann-Margret shows up. Fucking Ann-Margret! And looking amazing, BTW, at 70-shut-the-fuck-up-3. We should all be so lucky. And if you click on her name, you will find out how amazing and 1987 her website is.
The always bomb diggity Wendell Pierce (Treme, The Wire) shows up as a parole officer.
There are treats with every single episode of Ann Biderman’s Showtime series and several episodes in Season 2 are directed by Schreiber himself.
Schreiber and his square chin are excellently balanced out by my super favorite Paula Malcomson. You’ll remember her as the foul-mouthed, new frontier hooker on Deadwood, Trixie. She stood her ground with Ian McShane as Al Swearengen and she completely holds her own in every scene with Schreiber.
I loved Malomson from the first frame and love her even more now as the transplanted Southie mother of two and up for it wife of Ray Donovan.
The series doesn’t suffer from plodding storylines and each character is interesting in their own right. I think I nod off a little with the kid’s storylines but not for long.
So if you’re not watching Ray Donovan and want something substantial yet entertaining as all get out, make that u-turn and go to Showtime. Or download it illegally. Ray Donovan totally would.