I caught up on all four seasons of this show this year, part of my renewed dedication to being a television blogger. I've taken in Liev Schreiber's masterful performance over four years and forty-eight hours of television and found it both exciting and meditative. Showtime offers up some prestige television and Ray Donovan is at the top of this network. The show follows Ray as he fixes problems for Los Angeles rich and famous.
The show picks up after an action-packed season finale of the third season with a shootout where Ray and his father Mickey Donovan (Jon Voight) took down the Armenian mob with the help of Ray's right-hand man Avi (Steven Bauer). Abby Donovan (Paula Malcomson) discovers that she has breast cancer and debates whether to seek treatment as she is upset with her husband and his promiscuous ways.
Ray has to seek treatment himself for his alcohol addiction where he is introduced to the boxer Hector Campos (Ismael Cruz Cordova). Hector is seeking a title so begins to train at Ray's gym under the training of Ray's brother Terry (Eddie Marsan) who has Parkinson disease. Hector also has an incestuous relationship with his sister Marisol (Lisa Bonet). Ray's other brother Bunchy (Dash Mihok) has married the wrestler Teresa (Alyssa Diaz) but after her pregnancy, she suffers from postpartum depression. There are so many other great characters but another exceptional one is Lena (Katherine Moennig) who had a falling out with Ray but is back in the fold this season. Also, Ray's half-brother Daryll (Pooch Hall) is really funny as the comedic relief and I'm glad I've been seeing him in commercials recently.
The major struggles come from the Russain mob stepping in to make Ray pay for the executions of the Armenian mob, Mickey tries to rob a casino, and Hector tries to win a championship despite getting into all sorts of trouble. Ray is the calming balm to all these plotlines as he smoothly moves from one issue to the next while trying to pull his family back together. His son Conor (Devon Bagby) wants to grow up and be a gangster like his father but Ray has other ideas and shows him that it is not easy. His daughter Bridget (Kerris Dorsey) ran away after having a relationship with an older man that Ray did not approve of so Ray works to bring her back to the family.
This season gives Ray another extraordinary and exciting challenge but the show felt like it peaked in season 2 and 3. It is hard to match the villainous charisma of Ian McShane though Raymond J. Barry certainly tries. The conclusion ties up all the various storylines much like every season, but this year takes a bit more brute force and has some satisfying vengeance. Ray ends this season on top of everything making wonder where the writers will take the show next.