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The Donovan Family

    Ray 

Raymond "Ray" Donovan

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/donovan_raymond_4224.jpg
Played By: Liev Schreiber

Ray Donovan is a man of many faces. He's a cool, sophisticated Hollywood player but also a ruthless south Boston thug. He's a devoted family man who has trouble resisting come-ons from attractive clients, and a consummate professional who is also easily pushed to violence. His job as a problem fixer for the Hollywood elite has helped lift him out of the working class to within reach of the wealthy and powerful. But no amount of designer suits, sports cars or gold watches can completely mask his shady line of work, or his humble, blue collar roots. With his brothers always calling for help, his criminal father out of prison and causing trouble, and the FBI watching him like a hawk, Ray might be unable to shake his past.


  • Anti-Hero: He'll do anything — anything — to make a living and to protect his family. Even if he's secretly screwing over other family members in the process.
  • Badass Baritone: He has a very deep voice.
  • Batter Up!: In "Breakfast of Champions", he uses his trope successfully.
  • Berserk Button: Threatening Ray's family ensures he'll drop his stoic facade and become feral.
  • Control Freak: Lampshaded by Kate. Ray is deeply unnerved when he cannot keep things under control.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Bunchy wasn't Father O'Connor's only victim.
  • Death Glare: Due to Liev Schreiber's intimidating gaze, Ray is very good at giving out these.
  • The Dreaded: Whenever we see Ray taking on new clients, his reputation often precedes him.
  • The Fixer: It's his profession, fixing problems for the rich and/or famous.
  • Not So Stoic: His mask cracks on several occasions — usually when he has a moment to himself.
  • Permastubble: He always sports an unshaven look that's just shy of a beard.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Ray is often clad in a dark suit.
  • The Spock: Of the Donovan brothers Ray is the coldest and most logic-driven.
  • Use Your Head: In episode 7 of season 1 he temporarily gets the upper hand in a bar fight when he rams his forehead into Tiny's nose. Even after the fight, the Tiny's complaining, rubbing it, and trying to keep himself orientated. Ray puts some ice on his head afterwards.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Considering some of his actions, this trope has been a recurring theme for him.
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    Mickey 

Mickey Donovan

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/donovan_michael_862.jpg
Played By: Jon Voight

Released from prison after a 20-year stint, Ray's neglectful and abusive father Mickey arrived in LA to get what he felt is his rightful due. As an ill-tempered ex-con, Mickey is nevertheless charismatic and charming. Mickey's desire to reunite with his family, and his participation in scams and scores both old and new, threatens to destroy everything Ray has built for himself.


  • Aesop Amnesia: Beyond understatement.
  • Archnemesis Dad: To Ray in particular.
  • Badass Grandpa: Twenty years in prison haven't dulled his edge a bit.
  • Boom, Headshot!: He does this quite a bit killing a priest, Van Miller and Sully this way.
  • Cool Old Guy: On the surface, before you actually do get to know him.
  • The Corrupter: Ever since he came to LA, Bunchy is drinking again and has Daryll break into Sean Walker's house. In the second season, he inadvertently turns Terry into a criminal.
  • Dirty Old Man: Even for an example, the first episode has him staring blatantly at a breast-feeding young woman who he then winks at. She is, of course, disgusted.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He really does care about his family — he's just utterly incompetent at showing it in more appropriate (or at least less morally questionable) ways.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Mickey comes across as a Cool Old Guy due to his easy charm and quick wit, but the truth is that he's a highly dangerous man who is unpredictable at best.
  • Has a Type: Black women! He has a collection of ebony porn and has cheated on his wife with one.
  • Parental Neglect: The root of most of Ray's seething bitterness toward him. He stood Ray up at a baseball game, leaving Bunchy helpless against an abusive priest, and went so far as to accuse Ray of lying about being abused himself and even beating him up after he heard of it. Ray also accuses him of being with Claudette instead of taking care of his dying wife.
  • Papa Wolf: Despite Ray's justified resentment towards him, Mickey refused both times to squeal on him to the authorities.
  • The Scapegoat: He is blamed by Ray for the death of Bridget.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: He got Sean Walker high, resulting in him accidentally killing Colleen Dawson, Ray's old girlfriend.
    • He didn't try to stop the fight Terry was being pulverized in that later resulted in him getting Parkinson's Disease.

    Abby 

Abby Donovan

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/donovan_abby_1462.jpg
Played By: Paula Malcomson

Ray's wife Abby enjoys the spoils of Ray's success in LA but maintains a deep sense of commitment to her family. She desperately wants to get out of the Valley and into the neighborhoods, social circles, and schools of the true Hollywood elite, even though this South Boston woman often feels out of her league. Abby has grown weary of turning a blind eye to Ray's philandering and the unusual demands of his job, and has forced him to seek counseling with her.


  • Fiery Redhead: She's a redhead, and she's can be very expressive and emotional in contrast to her more stoical husband.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Assumed Ray was exaggerating about Mickey's capacity to irreparably screw up his family.
  • Hot-Blooded: Abby is, by nature, a rather aggressive person who takes things to heart.
  • Mama Bear: She's very protective of her children and wants the best for them.
  • TheTopicOfCancer]: As of season 4, has breast cancer.
  • Two First Names: Abby's maiden name is Kelly.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: She invited Mickey to LA, kicking off an entire chain of increasingly unstable events.

    Bridget 

Bridget Donovan

Played By: Kerris Dorsey

Bridget is Ray and Abby's smart and driven oldest child. Completely against her parents' wishes, Bridget fell for the foster child of a famous rap star, causing her to grow up very fast.


  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: From time to time.
  • Conflict Ball: On occasion. When her mom confronts her about getting her naval pierced without telling her, Bridget shouts at how Abby is trying to control her. Abby's annoyed because she never even forbade Bridget from getting the piercing, and would have happily gone with her to have it done, Bridget just wanted to turn it into an argument.
  • Dead Guy Junior: She's named after Ray's deceased sister.
  • Fiery Redhead: Like mother, like daughter. She grows more defiant towards her parents as the series progresses.
  • In-Series Nickname: Marvin calls her "Shawty".

    Conor 

Conor Donovan

Played By: Devon Bagby

Conor is Abby and Ray's younger child, and he has begun to show signs of the Donovan family temper. Mickey immediately developed a soft spot for Conor, and tries to advise his grandson based on his own skewed ways of the world.

    Terry 

Terrence "Terry" Donovan

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/donovan_terrence_7180.jpg
Played By: Eddie Marsan

Ray's brother Terry is a former boxer who has developed Parkinson's disease from too many blows to the head. His condition has left him despondent and shy, and therefore extremely awkward around women. He owns a boxing gym in LA where Ray's father and brothers hang out.


  • Attempted Rape: Bunchy mentions that the Priest who touched him went after Terry. Terry broke his hand before he could do anything.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Terry's boxing career came to an end after a few too many blows to the head, resulting in his developing Parkinson's disease.
  • Disabled Means Helpless: Gotten this treatment in "Girl with Guitar" after the Catholic Church rejects him application to be a priest.
  • Handicapped Badass: Terry was a boxer until he developed Parkinson's from injuries. He can't fight formally anymore but he's still a skilled fighter and can fight when he needs to .
  • Hypocrite: In season 2, He was livid at Ray for using his boxing gym as a front while a couple episodes later, he joins Mickey's bank heist..
  • The Kirk: Of the Donovan brothers, Terry balances out emotion and logic.
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    Bunchy 

Brendan "Bunchy" Donovan

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/donovan_brendan_3952.jpg
Played By: Dash Mihok

Bunchy is the most vulnerable of the Donovan brothers. Molested as a child by his local priest, he has battled with psychological and addiction issues his whole adult life. This vulnerability leaves him dangerously susceptible to Mickey's charms.


  • Adult Fear: Considering he was sexually abused as a kid, he fears he might do the same to another.
  • The Alcoholic: He's on and off the wagon a number of times.
  • Berserk Button: He has two in "All Must Be Loved", where he punches Terry for calling Teresa a "mexican" and the other involving singlehandeldly saving Micky and Daryll from the Armenians with a piece of iron.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: See the trope above.
  • Manchild: He's a 40-year old man but is self-pitying and very immature, to the point where he can barely take care of himself and needs a father figure in his life to guide him.
  • The McCoy: Of the three Donovan brothers, Bunch is the most passionate and emotion-driven.

    Daryll 

Daryll Donovan

Played By: Pooch Hall

Daryll is Mickey's illegitimate son from an affair. Daryll is still not fully attuned to Mickey's tricks, and his association with his father continually gets him in trouble.


  • Alliterative Name: Daryll Donovan.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Has this moment with Mickey, still mad at him after Mickey bet against him in the bout he lost to Miguel ‘La Fuerza’ Montago in Mexico.
    Daryll: Like, why do you got to be so fucked up, Mick? Why do you got to be such an asshole?...
  • Genius Bruiser: In some sorts.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: According to Mickey, his life (before he was even born) was threatened by many people of South Boston because the former impregnated his mother. Justifiably displayed in Season 1 as Ray didn't like him at first but since mellowed.
  • Happily Adopted: Subverted considering the type of man he has for a stepfather.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Black Irish".

Ray's People

    Lena 

Lena

Lena handles Ray's office and research for his operation. She is a no-nonsense lesbian who is both sexy and tough. She is an asset to Ray both in and out of the office.


  • Deadpan Snarker: Lena's got a dry wit, with barbs for anyone stretching her patience to the limit.
  • Undying Loyalty: Even faced with the possibility of Ray getting imprisoned, she refuses to accept Ray's severance.

    Avi 

Avi

Played By: Steven Bauer

Ray's right-hand man and the principle "muscle" of his operation is a tough Israeli who is one of the very few capable of reasoning with Ray. He handles surveillance and clean up for Ray, and is fiercely loyal to his boss, to the point of taking the occasional bullet in the line of duty.


  • Badass Israeli: He's ex-Israeli Mossad.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Loves his mother, and is generally much kinder to people than Ray.
  • Chef of Iron: He's quite a good chef, in episode 11 of Season 1, when protecting Ray's family, he puts together a pretty decent meal.
  • Combat Medic: He mentions that he was a medic when he was in the army when Sully shoots him in the season 1 finale Avi's easily able to diagnose and report the damage.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: After finding out about Daryll and Mickey's activities, he approaches Daryll, beats him to a pulp outside Terry's gym and staples a CCTV camera picture of his illegal activities to Daryll's chest as a warning.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Everybody who knows Avi makes a point of asking about his mother.
  • Hidden Depths: Conor comments that he's surprisingly good at video games. Avi says chalks it up to his good hand-eye coordination.
  • I Work Alone: Downplayed. During his days in the Army Avi played this straight, telling Conor he worked better on his own and he preferred it, earning him the nickname of "Lone Wolf." In the present Ray usually has him operate independently, but Avi get's along easily enough with everyone and can work with others if needed.
  • The Lancer: Avi works the closest to Ray both in the field and in his personal life. If Ray needs back up or someone to keep his family safe he goes to Avi. Avi is also something of a calming influence whenever Ray's personal issues rile up, often steering Ray along a more focused less dangerous path.
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    Ezra 

Ezra Goldman

Played By: Elliott Gould

Ezra is an old friend of Ray's, and a frequent collaborator and client. He is a powerful Hollywood attorney and is trying to build a new hospital wing in his dearly departed wife's name. But his dark history with Ray and Mickey threatens to disrupt his life and could even send him to prison.


  • The Atoner: He has a lot of regrets, his affair, covering up Colleen's murder and sending Mickey away, and his life of crime. While he tries to make amends, he does slip here and there when he puts covering up his crimes ahead of redemption.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: He's fond of invoking Jewish religious concepts to explain his motives to Ray — even when they don't always make sense.
  • Dead to Begin With: Season 3 sadly begins with his death.
  • Dumbass No More: Downplayed, but after getting his brain tumor treated, he's more focused, and less prone to odd behavior.

    Lee 

Lee Drexler

Played By: Peter Jacobson

  • Large Ham: He's a lot more outspoken than his partner Ezra.

Clients

    Stu 

Stu Feldman

Played By: Josh Pais

  • Bullying a Dragon: When he finds out Ashley and Ray's affair he chooses to insult Ray, his wife and his daughter. Ray shoves his hand in a pocket on a Pool Table, and breaks his wrist.
  • Butt-Monkey: Despite all his clout, he's beaten up on a regular basis.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Downplayed. While Stu is a Jerkass some of his offenses come from being just awkward and odd. When apologizing to Abbey about making a scene, his awkwardness makes it seem a tad less genuine.
  • Jerkass: Straight up, Stu's an asshole. He's condescending, backhanded, rude and petty both to Ray, his family and even Ashley.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Leaves his wife for Ashley.

    Tommy 

Tommy Wheeler

Played By: Austin Nichols
  • Anything That Moves: He's very promiscuous, and his escapades keep leading him into scandal.
  • Blackmail: He's frequently caught in compromising positions that threaten his career. That's why he has Ray.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Connor. When Connor calls him up at work to show the class he knows someone famous, Tommy happily obliges, saying hi to everyone and offering to take Connor to one of his movie screenings.
  • Nice Guy: He may be a hedonistic addict, and he also get's irritated easily during withdrawal, but Tommy's a fairly okay guy. He's polite to Ray, and very grateful for his services, it helps that many of Tommy's problems are from his lifestyle or people trying to take advantage of him, he doesn't ask Ray to stalk or kill anyone. He's also very affectionate with Conor, even personally taking him to the kids Choice Awards when Ray sobers him up.

    Sean 

Sean Walker

Played By:Johnathon Schaech
  • The Atoner: For the crime he, Ray, and Ezra are all trying to hide. He admits killing Colleen has torn him up inside, and framing Mickey was wrong. He even goes so far as to get Mickey back into the movie business as an apology.
  • Mood-Swinger: He can go from calm and collected to hyperactively shouting. Sometimes he get's far too invested in the fictional scenarios he creates and acts them out.
  • My Greatest Failure: In his backstory he deeply regrets shooting Colleen while high, and he still feels guilty about Mickey taking the Fall.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: When Mickey shows up to put pressure on him and Ray doesn't stop him, Sean fires Ray and says he'll deal with it himself. Ray wants him that reality isn't like his action movies and he can't handle Mickey. This is subverted when Sean just talks to Mickey, collaborates with him, and helps him get back into the movies. In spite of Mickey bugging the conversation for Van Miller, he seems to honestly accept Sean's hand in forgiveness, and wants to help him make a movie about Mickey's own life. Sean's death is actually Ray's fault as his plan to get Sully to come and kill Mickey goes off the rails and gets Sean killed.

    Deonte 

Deonte Brown

Played By:Mo McRae
  • Mr. Fanservice: Deonte's appearances mostly have him naked or at least shirtless, showing off his physique.
  • Your Cheating Heart: The main reason he needs Ray is to cover up his affairs, and make sure people aren't taking his semen to make children to get a cut of his profits.

    Re-Kon 
Played By:Kwame Patterson
  • Jive Turkey: He's a rapper, and frequently speaks "street."
  • Nice Guy: Like Tommy he's grateful for Ray's services, and what he requests tends not to be on the extreme end of the illegal stuff people ask Ray to do. While he adopted Marvin in order to make bank off his talents, he tries his best to care for him. He's very supportive and encouraging for Marvin's music, and let's the kid go at his own pace.
  • Parental Substitute: He becomes the parental figure to Marvin.
  • Parents as People: By his own admission, parenting is a new thing. He tries to get Marvin on the straight and narrow, but he tends to act more as a friend than a parent.

    Cookie 

Cookie Brown

Played By: Omar J. Dorsey
  • Big Bad: Along with Cochran in season 2. However, he's much more of an immediate threat because unlike Cochran, he doesn't rely on others to do his dirty work.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How he kills Marvin and Re-Kon.
    • On the receiving end from Ray Donovan.
  • The Dreaded
  • He Knows Too Much: He shoots Recon to death, then shoots Marvin because he's a witness. Bridget narrowly averts this just because Cookie doesn’t notice she’s also in the car (although he finds out later when he sees the cell phone footage of Bridget leaving the scene, forcing Ray to finally do away with him.)
  • Only Known by Their Nickname
  • Pet the Dog: He tries comforting Bridget after Marvin's death. Although the audience knows full well it's all an act, it's still a nice attempt on his part.
  • Scary Black Man

Sully's Gang

    Sully 

Patrick "Sully" Sullivan

Played By: James Woods

  • Armed Legs: In "Same Exactly", Sully attacks Tiny with his shoe. He does apologize for it later.
  • Bad Boss: Sully's an asshole. When Tiny gets something wrong, he beats him with a shoe and though he tells Tiny that he'll take him with him, Tiny feels Sully'll probably kill him.
  • Bait the Dog: Sully's initially presented as an affable if rude and grumpy old man, similar to Mickey. His role in Episode 9 is to annoy Avi with his terrible bladder control, needing to pull the car over to take a piss at the side of the road every so often all to Avi's chagrin. He speaks fondly of his mother, having a Not So Different moment with Avi along the way. Then he violently strangles his girlfriend to death in the motel they're staying at after he finds out she told her parents where they were going. Avi's considerably more unnerved when he finds out.
  • Big Bad: By Season 1's end, he stands above all the other antagonists, as the heroes must react to stop his crimes.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Sully loves his mom and all her unpleasantness. When Avi's transporting him, they have a friendly chat about their responsibilities to their moms.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Just like Mickey — only much more unhinged.
  • It's Personal: Twofold. At first, he wants Mickey dead because he ratted out Sully's family and made him a fugitive. However the real reason he's there to kill Mickey is because of the crime Mickey went to prison for, killing Colleen, the woman Sully loved. When Mickey reveals this isn't the case, Sully goes after Sean and Ray.
  • Jerkass: Violent, foul-mouthed, and racist are just some of the words that come to mind when describing Sully.
  • Mugging the Monster: In episode 12 of season 1, Sully tries to buy an ID off a homeless man, and the man tries to take his money and shoes at knifepoint. Sully looks annoyed before overpowering him and stabbing him to death in a bathroom stall. Afterwards he complains about the blood on his sneakers and not being able to get an ID.

    Tiny 

Kenneth "Tiny" Benson

Played By: Craig Ricci Shaynak
  • Bald of Evil: He has no hair on his head.
  • Big Eater: Lena tracks him down in season 1 by running his appearance by all the all you can eat buffets in the area, and finding that he frequents one and waits to be the first in line for when the buffet opens.
  • The Dragon: He's Sully's nephew and main enforcer.
  • Fat Bastard: He's quite Overweight and allies with Sully
  • Innocent Bystander: After being fatally shot by Frank, Tiny falls down the stairs and onto an example of this trope, crushing his leg and probably the rest of his body. Obviously on a Leave No Witnesses mentality, Frank kills the bystander.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Season 1 Finale, Frank let's him go after they kill Sully.

    Eddie 

Eddie

Played By: Robert G. Brewer
  • Badass Grandpa: He may be older and weaker than his cohorts, but when they lay the smack down on Ray, Eddie smashes a pool cue on his back.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: He first appears as a seemingly innocuous taxi-cab driver picking up Mickey from prison, but he's actually one of Sully's gangsters.
  • Evil Old Folks: He's another one of Sully's Gangsters, and seemingly the oldest.
  • Look Both Ways: He's hit by a car when running from Ray and Avi.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Eddie survives the car, and is taken to the hospital, but he just drops from the plot afterwards.

FBI

    Van Miller 

Van Miller

Played By: Frank Whaley
  • Ambiguous Disorder: He has an obsession with order, cleanliness, and keeping things organized, but the show does not divulge if he has any disorder.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: With Mickey. While Van Miller's the one calling the shots, Mickey's keeping the action moving along.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Ray has to deal with both Van Miller and Sully, dragging up trouble for him. Mickey as well, seeing as he kills Van Miller and establishes himself as his own threat.
  • Closet Geek: Downplayed. He doesn't speak his hobbies to anyone, but he does have a number of mint in box Star Wars figures proudly displayed on his shelf.
  • Hates Being Touched: He shouts at Terry to not touch him when Terry threatens to throw him out of his gym.
  • Hero Antagonist: For Season 1. He's a clean FBI agent trying to do his job, and arrest the heroes who're dangerous criminals.
  • No Social Skills: He's got poor people skills, mostly keeping to himself and getting annoyed whenever he's approached.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: In contrast to Sully and Mickey, Van Miller never get's physical, preferring to manipulate from behind the scenes
  • Properly Paranoid: He's very closed down, and suspects Frank as well as his coworkers. Seeing as Frank's on the take, and Ray's far reaching network, this makes Van harder to touch. It also ends up as his downfall with Have You Told Anyone Else? coming into play, as he's the only one with the information.

    Frank 

Frank Barnes

Played By: Michael Mc Grady

  • Anti-Villain: He's easily manipulated by Ray through a combination of Blackmail and Bribes, but Frank tries his hardest to keep a moral compass.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Shot in the back of the head by Daryll in Season 5 as he's trying to arrest Mickey.
  • Butt-Monkey: He get's zero respect and is frequently abused by Ray and others.
  • Dirty Cop: He's Ray's leak in the FBI.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Subverted. While Season 1 ends with Ray allowing Frank to take the credit for killing Sully. In the first episode of season 2, Cochran sees right through it easily and calls Frank a moron.
  • I Have Your Wife: A Variation. Lena poses as a photographer, and takes a picture of Frank's second wife and daughter, allowing Ray to threaten Frank with the knowledge that he has both of them.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Ray blackmails him by threatening to tell his wife about the second family he has.

    Cochran 

Ed Cochran

Played By: Hank Azaria

  • Bad Boss: He's in an open marriage with his wife that allows him to sleep with his AIC's wife. In general, he treats the AIC like crap.
  • Big Bad: In season 2, he competes for this role with Cookie Brown.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: He presents himself out to be this by stating how he was able to get the drop on Sully, who was hiding in Los Angeles for six months.
  • Hero Antagonist: He's FBI and seems to be good at his job, but he's also completely ruthless and a Bad Boss.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: He has Tiny, along with an innocent bystander, killed by Frank because Tiny knows what really happened at the docks, where Sully (his uncle) was killed.
  • Oh, Crap!: In the season 2 finale, when he finds out Ray uploaded the video of his and his wife's orgy with the Volchecks, thus ruining his chances of being confirmed as FBI director.
  • Put on a Bus: He's Reassigned to Antarctica (or rather, North Dakota) after season 2, but...

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