Ray Donovan is a SHOWTIME series that began back in 2013 and had seven seasons. That’s a long ride for one series.
4 out of 10 stars. Seasons 1 and 2 were watchable. Seasons 3 and 4 were not. After that we gave up watching. That seems to be the consensus among other viewers as well.
The backstory behind Ray Donovan and his family is that he was an Irish catholic who grew up in Boston. His father was a thief and a con man who left the family to take up with a black prostitute, which was ironic since he was racist, and eventually went to prison for robbing a mobster then trying to kill him. He’s been an FBI snitch against the Sullivan family for the past 10 years. Ray’s mother died of cancer, leaving the three sons to cope on their own. Most of the responsibility for the family fell on 10 year old Ray who is pretty tough and yet still a very loving man. He’s respectful of women and he drops everything to help family and friends. His brothers are very different. Teri’s a fighter, a boxer by trade who’s been hit in the head one too many times and now has Parkinson’s. Brendan aka Bunchy is a whiner who can’t seem to do anything right and drags Ray into one scrape after another. Neither Teri or Bunchy have wives or families. They probably never will. Bunchy is hung up on being molested by a Catholic priest when he was a child and seems unable to move forward with his life. When he gets a $1.6 million payout he blows it on a house that he then sets fire to. When Teri finally gets a girl he dumps her to pull a heist with his dad. So Ray is the only stable person in the family.
Ray is married to a girl from back home, Abby. They have a bratty daughter Bridget and a sweet son named Conor. Ray and Abby cheat on each other, so their home is not really a happy one and that inevitably affects the kids, especially when Abby brings home her cop boyfriend. Since much of what Ray does is illegal, that’s like betrayal squared.
Ray’s job is to fix things for famous and rich people in Hollywood. Whatever your problem, he will fix it. Lena and Avi are his employees and without them he wouldn’t be able to do half the things he does. He can’t be three places at one time. His ability to fix things is something to behold. It’s entertaining and charismatic. He tries very hard not to hurt people and not to ruin lives. In fact in one episode a transvestite named Chloe is blackmailing his client, a famous actor, for a million dollars. He finds out that Chloe wants a sex change operation so he figures out how much that will cost and gives her that much from his own money after disabling her blackmailing operation. That’s nice and that niceness endears him to the viewers and keeps them watching. But that disappears when he starts cheating on his wife with a young starlet who’s been stalking him.
In the first season Ray’s dad Mickey gets out of prison and Ray plots to have him killed (with good reason). Mickey is plotting to get Ray arrested by the FBI along with several other people on his hate list. And at the very end of the season Ray tells Abby he was molested by the priest who molested Bunchy. The reason he hates his father so much is because Ray left Bunchy alone at home to go to Fenway Park with his dad who promised to meet him there with tickets for the game. Hours later, Mickey never showed and Ray went home to discover the same priest who had been molesting him, molesting his younger brother Bunchy. He was ten years old at the time and that forever imprinted on him–his inability to protect his brother and his father’s betrayal.
In the second season Abby betrays Ray by telling her therapist all about his rape by the priest, a secret so important to him that he’s kept it for 30+ years. That’s a big betrayal. So he no longer feels the same way about his wife. We also discover that he told his dad Mickey about the priest raping him after the first time it happened. Mickey beat Ray, called him a liar, and told him to never say anything like that again. Mickey enabled that priest to rape two of his boys. So it’s understandable that Ray doesn’t want Mickey getting close to his family or his brothers and yet in the first season that’s exactly what they do. That Abby has let Mickey into their children’s lives against Ray’s wishes is another betrayal. Eventually Ray leaves Abby and stays in his downtown apartment. So she begins dating a cop.
The first two seasons are watchable although there’s a ridiculous amount of fellatio. It’s clear that writer Ann Biderman is hung up on oral sex. There’s so much of it we started fast forwarding through parts of the series. It’s also a big reason why we just stopped watching. There was no plot at all and just a lot of oral sex by the time the series reaches season 3.
4 out of 10 stars. If you want to watch, stick to season 1 and 2. By season 3 the series is going downhill fast.