TV drama 'Ray Donovan' delivers flawed man as Hollywood's 'fixer'

Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:43pm EDT
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By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Broken arms, baseball bat beat-downs, bugged hotel rooms, and a drag queen prostitute blackmailing the star of an upcoming blockbuster action film.

That is a typical week for Ray Donovan, a Hollywood "fixer" and latest anti-hero persona to land on U.S. cable television in Showtime drama "Ray Donovan" that debuts on Sunday after the final season premiere of popular serial killer drama "Dexter."

Like antecedents Tony Soprano from HBO's mob drama, "The Sopranos," and Don Draper from AMC's ad world series, "Mad Men," Ray Donovan, played by Tony-winner Liev Schreiber, is a man of countless dilemmas, ensnared by work and family.

The series follows Ray as he serves as Hollywood's go-to enforcer, helping movie stars, film studios and athletes "fix" their private problems before they turn into public relations disasters.

But a thunderbolt upends Ray's already unpredictable life when Mickey, his mafia father played by Jon Voight, is suddenly released from prison.

"That exploration of men in particular, fathers and sons, is something that was very compelling to me," Schreiber, 45, told Reuters. "The thing I like about Ray is, as horrible as he behaves, he seems to have a very moral epicenter."

"Ray Donovan" creator, Emmy-winning writer Ann Biderman, said that she had always been interested in Hollywood's dark side.

She pointed to past real-life fixers Fred Otash, a private investigator from Hollywood's 1950s golden age, and Howard Strickland, MGM studio's publicity chief in the 1930s, both of whom notoriously shielded high-profile figures from public scandal.   Continued...

Actors Liev Schreiber (L) and Jon Voight of the show "Ray Donovan" listen to a question on stage during the Showtime panel presentation of the 2013 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, California, January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Bret Hartman