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Series: Ray Donovan

Ray Donovan is an American television crime drama series created by Ann Biderman for Showtime. The twelve-episode first season aired its premiere episode on June 30, 2013. The pilot episode broke records of viewership, becoming the biggest premiere of all time on Showtime.

The show takes place in Los Angeles, where Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber), who is originally from South Boston, is a "fixer" for Goldman & Drexler, a powerful law firm that represents the rich and famous. However, he experiences his own problems when his father, Mickey Donovan (Jon Voight), is unexpectedly released from prison and FBI agents try to find him in order to bring down Ray and his associates.


Tropes:

  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Van Miller starts talking too much after a few beers. Also Bunchy gets Lethally Stupid when drunk. He burns his house down and shoots Father Danny.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Van Miller seems to have OCD or some variation of thereof considering his odd mannerisms, cleanliness obession and tendency to arrange everything in perfect order, but the show never confirms or denies this.
  • Anti-Hero/Anti-Villain: Depending on your interpretation of his actions, but the point is Ray is a very morally ambiguous person.
  • The Atoner: Ezra Goldman really comes off as this in his conversations with Ray.
  • Badass: Ray himself, Sully, also Avi, Ray's right-hand-man.
  • Bad Boss: Sully treats his men like shit.
  • Beard of Evil: Sully sports a very thin goatee.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Avi at his happiest is basically this.
  • Boom, Headshot: Van Miller's death. Later on, Sully.
  • Character Development: Practically everyone by the end of the first season: Mickey realizes his mistakes as a father and tries to make ammends, Bunchy stops swallowing in self-pity and starts trying to live his own life, Abby realizes she's been selfish on some matters with Ray, and so forth.
  • Chef of Iron: Turns out Avi is a excellent cook.
  • Cool Old Guy: Mickey definitely comes across as this, as his charisma and charm make him very likable, but it makes it easy to forget how dangerous and ruthless he can be.
  • Deal with the Devil: Sully and Ray's deal. It is also struck in a church.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Despite Van Miller being a fairly credible threat, he is uncerimoniously shot in the head by Mickey before the first season even ends.
  • Dirty Old Man: Mickey. And how.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Sully's girlfriend makes a call without his permission. Sully's reaction is brutally strangling her with a dog's leash.
    • Whether or not this is a case of this or a brutal prevention of Have You Told Anyone Else? is a matter of debate, as she had been very irritating throughout the ride and he did nothing about it, but took this extreme measure when she said something that could’ve been extremely harmful to him.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Ray takes care of two A-list celebrities' problems (one with a dead woman and the other with a gay sex tape) within minutes.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Sully and Avi both dedicate a fair amount of their time to taking care of their elderly mothers. Meanwhile, one the biggest sources of the hatred Ray has for his father stems from Mickey spending time with his mistress while Ray's mom was dying of cancer.
  • Expository Hair Style Change: Bunchy gets a new, groomed look after father Danny is killed.
  • Famous Last Words: "Who holds the stick now?" are Van Miller's.
  • Faux Affably Evil: To others, Mickey comes off as being a fun and laughable grandfather who is trying to spend time with grandkids after serving in prison for twenty years. Ray personally believes this is all just a mask to the real Mickey. It is only until the end of the season through the aforementioned character development that he starts to see the error of his old ways.
    • A clearer example is Sully, who talks and acts like a overall affable (if grumpy and snarky) old man, but is actually a ruthless murderer. His brutal murder of his girlfriend for something that seems relatively minor in hindsight attests this.
  • The Fixer: Ray's job.
  • Freudian Trio: The three main Donovan kids, with Ray as the stone-cold, logical brother, Bunchy as a broken, but eager and passionate brother and Terry striking a happy medium.
  • Genius Bruiser: Ray is a frighteningly strong man, but also happens to be the best fixer of L.A.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Anything will send Sully in blind murderous rage.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: Van Miller does this unwittingly to himself, by telling Mickey that he's the only one who knows about the Donovan Case. He gets killed for it.
  • Hero Antagonist: Van Miller is just a cop doing his job to pursue justice. He's at worst a Inspector Javert.
  • The Lancer: Avi is this for Ray.
  • Man Child: Bunchy isn't capable of taking care of himself, which is exemplified when he uses his + million dollar settlement from the Catholic Church to buy a dilapidated house, which he then decides he doesn't want to live in anymore.
  • Pedophile Priest: Bunchy, Ray's brother, was abused by one, and Terry was almost abused but he broken the priest's fingers. So was Ray.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Sully(and his mother) are racist against black people; they're more disgusted with Mickey for cheating on his wife with a black woman than for the infidelity itself.
  • The Quiet One: Ray doesn't talk much. This is already lampshaded in the first episode.
  • Reality Ensues: Van Miller shares with Mickey the secret that no one else other than him knows about Ray's misdeeds. Less than thirty seconds later he is promptly shot in the head by Mickey.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: A metaphorical version. Sully was isolated in Boston on the run from the feds, unable to go anywhere else or do anything, but Ray makes the foolish mistake of freeing him and giving Sully means to roam free across America without having to worry about the feds.. Ezra even lampshades.
    Ezra: We've released a monster!
  • Silver Fox: Women seem to like Mickey.
  • The Stoic: Ray doesn't change his expression much.
  • Southies: Ray, his wife, and his family are all from South Boston.
  • Those Two Guys: Avi and Lena have this relationship.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: This happens several times, most notably when Ezra Goldman hallucinates that Micky is a Golem, and another time when the FBI agent was laced with LSD and was seeing a monkey.
  • Token Good Teammate: Well, not exactly good nor exactly evil, but out of Ray's associates, Avi seems to be the most rational, friendly and supportive of them all, going as far as to give Lena's genuinely helpful love advice.
    • Meanwhile, out of the Donovan family, Terry has the strongest moral compass and most concrete sense of right and wrong.
  • Two First Names: It is revealed in a conversation between Ray and Abby that her maiden name is Kelly.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Mickey and Ray are pretty much polar opposites. Despite this, Mickey claims that they're Not So Different when it comes to what really matters.
  • Wham Episode:
    • For its first season, it had a couple of ones.
      • "Fite Night" has Mickey saving his own ass in-order to stay alive by telling the truth to Sully, who ends up killing Sean Walker over a matter of events that happened to twenty years prior.
      • "Bucky Fuckin' Dent" has the reveal that Ray was abused and molested by the Pedophile Priest.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Avi is played by a Cuban-American and does not sound remotely Israeli.
  • Wild Card: Patrick "Sully" Sullivan, who ends up not killing Mickey as he was contracted to and killed Sean Walker, the actor who had killed one of Sully's past flames and blamed it on Mickey.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: While he can't help but laugh at the absurdity of it, Ray is clearly not pleased when Mickey tells him that he's his favorite son.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Ray is faithful to his wife but spills up when he sleeps with client of his, a woman he was protecting from a stalker.
    • Francis, the nurse Terry becomes involved with, is married to a man she doesn't love. She's waiting until after her son moves out of the house to leave her husband, but this still causes Terry moral distress.
    • Mickey slept around on his wife; he claims that while he did care for her, his mistress was his soulmate.

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