If the works of Dennis Lehane have taught us anything it’s that Bostonian Irish Catholics spent their childhoods being punched in the face, shouted at by drunk parents and sexually abused by priests and Ray Donovan confirms this. Ray (Liev Schreiber) is a Hollywood fixer from on South Boston. Quarterback with a dead hooker in a hotel room? Ray’s on it. Male movie star arrested picking up a transvestite? Let Ray take care of it. He’s got criminal skills and the air of a man you just don’t eff with. So what’s the problem?
It’s his family of course. Apart from the sister who committed suicide and the black half-brother he’s just met there’s brother Bunchy (Dash Mihok), a basket case having been abused by a priest as a kid, brother Terry (Eddie Marsan) a Freddie Roach style boxing trainer with Parkinson’s and worst of all criminal piece of shit father Mickey (Jon Voight) who has just got out of jail early to manipulate his way back into the family through Ray’s wife Abby (Paula Malcomson). Hey Ray, you’re a fixer. Fix that, you schlub.
If the works of Dennis Lehane have taught us anything it’s that Bostonian Irish Catholics spent their childhoods being punched in the face, shouted at by drunk parents and sexually abused by priests and Ray Donovan confirms this.
I don’t know about this one. Schreiber’s a powerful presence and Voight impressively repulsive (plays a revolting negligent father like he’s been auditioning his entire life for the role) but there’s a real ham-fist embedded in in a lot of its work. The psychological excavation of the child abuse and teen suicide is brutally crude – 80s metal video style flashbacks and exposition dumps abound. It broke Showtime records for a debut with 1.35 million viewers. They better hope they don’t get pissed off with the one-dimensional Irish-American characters and begin a mass exodus. Because that will sting Ray.
The verdict: Boston illegal.
Marks out of 10: 6.5