Ray Donovan Review
We love Ray Donovan the same way we loved Tony Soprano. He gets the job done and at the end of the day, as bloody and philandering and as it may be, he returns home to be the rock of his family. Only instead of working for the mob, Ray Donovan works for attorneys.
Ray (played by Liev Schreiber) does the dirty work beyond the sensibilities of two nebbish partners, Ezra Goodman (played by Elliott Gould) and Lee Drexler (played by Peter Jacobson) dispatch him as “fixer” while staying behind at their lavish office or by the pool. While Ray makes his living by excising a price for his fixing, the money is nothing close to that made off of his deeds by the partners while shrouding themselves in ignorance.
It is a less-than-flattering portrayal of lawyers. So why did we wait with baited breath for Showtime’s June 26th premier of “Ray Donovan’s” Season 4? Ray’s dedication to client problem solving and the swiftness with which he generally accomplishes the task would give him an off-the-charts rating in client-deliverables. Strip away nasty tidbits like concealing evidence, beating people and starting fires and Ray Donovan could be a high-achieving attorney solving problems for his clients on the job and for his family off the clock.
Ray is the breadwinner of the extended Donovan family. His wife, Abby Donovan (played by Paula Malcomson) has stayed closer to their South Boston roots and is conflicted about up-scaling in upper-middle class, suburban Los Angeles. She and Ray argue over the role of Ray’s convict father Mickey Donovan (played by Jon Voight) in the upbringing of their two children, Bridget and Conor (Kerris Dorsey and Devon Bagby). Meanwhile, Ray serves as the protective older brother of Bunchy, Terry and Daryll (played by Pooch Hall, Dash Mihok and Eddie Marsan).
When stripped of the particulars, the outline of Ray’s regular day on the job reads like a rotation between prototype clients: He toggles between the coveted regular, the hard-to-turn-away pro bono, and the ever-more-difficult client who promises a big payday but delivers only misery. The attorneys of the show seem to have no actual abilities and serve instead as ultra-villains contrasted against whom Ray seems a seeker of justice.
Ray elicits the same empathy the late James Gandolfini evoked as Tony Soprano in “The Sopranos” as he shared in therapy sessions his struggles with work-life balance. Like Tony, Ray rides the line between protector and perpetrator and struggles with the consequences of crossing the line. His misdeeds make his own life increasingly complex and Season 4 opens with the mysterious hint that “no secret stays buried forever.” With so many secrets accrued, it is hard to tell which one will come out but Season 4 is sure to continue the exploration of how and whether a person who solves problems for a living is equipped to solve his own.