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John Voight and Liev Schreiber do the father-and-son tango. Photo by Suzanne Tenner (Showtime).

Ray Donovan

Season 1 is available on demand until December 31, 2013, at The Movie Network On Demand and online at RogersAnyplaceTV.com

Ray Donovan stars the theatre-trained Liev Schreiber as a compassionate yet heavy-fisted Los Angeles fixer. Wake up next to a corpse? Stalked by your biggest fan? Blackmailed by a prostitute? Run somebody over in your Ferrari? Ray’s your man.

He walks softly and carries a very big stick. When he waves it, one way or another, all your problems disappear. And if that’s all the show was about – Ray Donavan hiding Hollywood’s dirty laundry – it would still be an entertaining, Sopranos-meets-Entourage riff. But there’s more than just a scandal-of-the-week detective-style drama at work here.

There’s an Elmore Leonard-ness to the whole thing. Firstly, Ray is from Bahston. When he moved to the Left Coast, he brought more baggage than Lufthansa. He’s got a sniping wife (Deadwood’s Paula Malcomson), who’s in denial about what her husband does to pay for their lavish lifestyle; two teenage kids he rarely sees (very Sopranos); and a couple of brothers – Bunchy (Dash Mihok), a drug addict who was molested by the parish priest as a child, and Terry (Eddie Marsan), an ex-boxer who took too many punches and now has Parkinson’s disease. Ray used to have a sister but she committed suicide, and his mentor (Elliott Gould) is having a mental breakdown.

And then there’s Mickey (Jon Voight). While Schreiber gives good brood, and is magnetic in the titular role of the knight in tarnished armour, it’s Voight – yes, Angelina Jolie’s father – who steals the show as Ray’s crazy dad, Mickey. Ray helped send Mickey to prison, but now he’s been sprung – five years early – and wants back into the family’s good graces.

Voight is equal parts terrifying and amusing, whether he’s joking about dark subjects, doing drugs or using the library computer for something other than requesting a novel. As if that’s not enough, there’s also a slow-building mystery involving a skeevy FBI agent (Frank Whaley) and the Donovans’ connection to a big-time mob boss (James Woods).

Ray Donovan has already been renewed for a second season.

• Broadcaster: The Movie Network

• Season 1 broadcast premiere: June 30, 2013

• On demand until: December 31, 2013

• On demand at: The Movie Network On Demand and RogersAnyplaceTV.com

• Number of Season 1 episodes: 12

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