| LOS ANGELES, June 28
LOS ANGELES, June 28 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
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
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
"I'm interested in crime," said Biderman, 61, also the
creator of cable TV police drama "Southland." "These figures
have been around since the beginning, where there is a lot of
money and the stakes are very high."
But Ray, who can get his A-list clients out of the worst
circumstances, has little recourse for his insidious father who
is looking to reconnect with his family in Los Angeles.
'DEEP UNDERSTANDING OF MASCULINITY'
The series is a tangle of plots and personal moral codes in
which characters try to make things right in the wrong ways.
"I think that (morality) drives Ray and he's got a distorted
but intact sense of what is just and what is right," Schreiber
said. "He's trying to understand how to coexist with that in a
society that doesn't necessarily value it, and still make a
living and be a good father to his children."
The pilot episode begins with Ray receiving a panicked call:
the male star of an upcoming action film was caught with a
transvestite prostitute and a pro football player woke up in a
hotel room with a woman dead from a drug overdose.
It is a easy switch for Ray, putting the actor in place of
the athlete - after all, as one of Ray's clients says, it is
easier for an action movie star to rebound from a trip to rehab
than getting pushed out of the closet.
The series also takes a dip into deep end of the male psyche
as Ray's brother, Terry, struggles to get by as a boxing
instructor with Parkinson's disease and his other brother,
Bunchy, uses booze to cope with childhood sexual abuse by a
"I think Ann has a really deep understanding of masculinity
and the facade of machismo," Schreiber said.
"It's almost like the models most men are working off of are
antiquated in terms of how to behave and what to expect from
relationships and how to interact socially with women,"
"It may be Ann's point that at some level all men are
difficult," the actor explained. "So many people ask how a woman
could have such deep insight into male behavior - they're sort
of the experts, aren't they?"
Showtime is owned by CBS Corp.