Fortunately for “Ray Donovan,” there’s a lot in the title character’s life that still needs fixing.
After the moody drama set a series-premiere ratings record for Showtime last summer, there was little doubt the show would get a Season 2. The sophomore round begins Sunday (July 13), with Boston-bred, Los Angeles-based law-firm “fixer” Ray (played by Liev Schreiber, who also directs an episode this time) dealing with fallout from a murder he was party to … as was his estranged father Mickey (Jon Voight, winner of a Golden Globe Award for the portrayal, and now an Emmy nominee for it).
“Ray can’t hate Mickey that much without, at some level, being desperate for some kind of connection,” Schreiber tells Zap2it, “but that doesn’t necessarily play out how you might expect it to.”
As an FBI bureau chief (new cast member Hank Azaria) bears down, Ray has other complications to handle in Season 2. His wife Abby (Paula Malcomson) feels neglected and used; his children (Kerris Dorsey, Devon Bagby) both get into trouble; a reporter (guest star Vinessa Shaw) shows up; and Ray sways a parole officer (guest star Wendell Pierce) into overseeing the unpredictable Mickey.
“It’s hard enough to do one very dense season,” creator and executive producer Ann Biderman maintains of not mapping out Year 2 of “Ray Donovan” before its time came. “There’s an old axiom that you burn through as much story as you can and you’ll always come up with more; you’ll figure it out. And that feels true.”
Ann-Margret also joins “Ray Donovan” as a once-top actress, with Elliott Gould back as Ray’s boss. The variety of actors Schreiber is working with, including longtime friend and inspiration Voight, remains among the series’ most exciting elements for him.
“I anticipated that it would be hard work,” he reflects, “and that to be away from my family (including significant other Naomi Watts), and to play a character this dark for that long would be tough. That’s pretty much outweighed, though, by all the amazing things this has afforded me.”