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RAY DONOVAN

(Showtime, Sunday, June 30, at 10 p.m.) 6/16/2013 8:00 PM Eastern

Showtime looks to continue its run of successful drama series with Ray Donovan.

Set in Los Angeles, the series stars Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan, a Hollywood “fixer” to celebrities and star athletes. Viewers get a taste of how Ray operates early in the pilot episode, when he’s called upon by a star athlete who wakes up in bed next to a woman who died of a drug overdose.

Ray, along with his team of fixers, handles the situation adroitly. Not all his cases can be solved as easily; a run-in with a former female client takes the otherwise even-keeled Ray out of his element.

Ray also struggles with his home life. Though he’s fiercely protective of his wife and young daughter and son, he nevertheless butts heads often with Abby (Paula Malcomson), his strongwilled and demanding spouse, over their future.

Complicating matters further are his dealings with his two troubled brothers, drug addict Bunchy (Dash Mihok) and Parkinson’s disease-afflicted Terry (Eddie Marsan). Among the revelations the brothers have for Ray is that they have an African- American half-brother Daryll (Pooch Hall). They’ve hidden his presence from Ray for for more than two decades.

Things go from bad to worse when Mickey (Jon Voight), the Donovans’ criminal father, re-enters their lives after a 20-year jail stint. There is bad blood and animosity between Mickey and Ray over issues that assuredly will be fleshed out in later episodes. Ray warns Mickey not to go near his family, but it’s clear that Mickey is bent on getting close to and potentially under the skin of Ray and will do whatever is necessary to achieve his goals.

Also enlivening the cast are Elliott Gould as Ezra Goldman, Ray’s mentor; Goldman’s law partner, Lee Drexler (Peter Jacobson), who tries to order Ray around; and Ray’s co-workers, most notably Avi (Steven Bauer), an Israeli hard man.

Much like Showtime’s Emmy-nominated Homeland, viewers will have to hang in over the course of the series to allow the characters and the storylines to develop and flourish, but judging from early episodes, Ray Donovan looks like a winner.

September