Ray Donovan Season 4: Can we all Just Take a Moment & Give Hank Azaria a Round of Applause? [Review]

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From Showtime and creator Ann Biderman comes an original series about the dark side of Hollywood: Ray Donovan. Starring Liev Schreiber, Jon Voight, Eddie Marsan, Dash Mihok, v, Pooch Hall, Kerris Dorsey, Devon Bagby, Steven Bauer, Hank Azaria, Ismael Cruz Cordova and Katherine Moennig the show will return for it’s fifth season in summer 2017.

Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan and Leland Orser as Father Romero in RAY DONOVAN (Season 4, Episode 01). - Photo:  Michael Desmond/SHOWTIME - Photo ID:  RayDonovan_401_4133.R

Ray Donovan, a professional “fixer” for the rich and famous in LA, can make anyone’s problems disappear except those created by his own family.


Ever since it’s debut season, Ray Donovan has been creeping slowly away from the Hollywood fixer aspect of the series, to the darker family drama and firmly embedding itself in organised crime escapades. Season 4 was a strange beast, because it went as grim as it possibly could and also as happy and uplifting as the show has ever been. Ray is closer than ever with his wife, his kids, his brothers and even his father. Hell – when Ray and Mickey went on a road trip to do a job together I was ecstatic. I love the chemistry these two have and even though Ray still has this anger towards his dad, you start to see him letting the man back into the fold. That seemed to be the theme this year, as Ray is embracing his family more than ever as opposed to pushing them away from him and his business. For the first time ever, he even lets his wife know what he’s doing. No secrets anymore, Ray is finally being honest for the first time and it was nice to see him go that route this year.

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As we kick off season 4, we are introduced right away to a new character in Hector Campos, a pro boxer played wonderfully by Ismael Cruz Cordova, who winds up helping Ray recover from the disastrous events of the season three finale. The two both have experiences dealing with bad priests and the bond they have throughout season 4 is fascinating, especially when Ray winds up dealing with Hector and his sister’s dark and tumultuous relationship. Cordova was a much needed addition to the show and the dynamic he brought to the tight-nit cast was a powerful one and really brought more attention to the boxing aspects of the series.

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Hell – one of the main locations is Terry’s Gym, so why don’t we use it more? They did and it was awesome. Speaking of Terry, Eddie Marsan once again knocks it out of the park. He’s not in trouble with the law this year, but his character’s physical condition is rapidly deteriorating and although it’s depressing to see him get so weak, he plays Terry with such power and presence that you can’t help but chew up every scene he’s a part of. The new mentorship subplot this season is quite intriguing and I’m looking forward to expanding upon that in season 5.

Jon Voight as Mickey Donovan and J Larose as Ed in RAY DONOVAN (Season 4, Episode 03). - Photo:  Michael Desmond/SHOWTIME - Photo ID:  RayDonovan_403_1313.R

While Liev Schreiber and Paula Malcomson’s onscreen relationship as Ray and Abby grew stronger than ever this season, Dash Mihok (Bunchy) and Alyssa Diaz (Teresa) went through a ton of turmoil. There’s a new baby in the mix, the two are married but things take some pretty dark and unexpected turns this season. I’m not sure I understood the direction that the writers took this couple… I just want Bunchy to be happy – can they give the dude a break for once? Seriously. I would be OK if they just gave the man a season of happiness. Jon Voight’s portrayal of Mickey was an all-time high this year. His time working at the Casino earlier in the season was damn near comedic gold. The stunt he tries to pull while ripping off the owner played by Buffalo Bill himself Ted Levine, was hysterical. Night vision goggles, a meth-head who cuts the power, it’s like I was watching an episode written by Danny McBride and Jody Hill.

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Can we all just take a moment and give Hank Azaria a round of applause. Yes he’s back. Did you really think they’d get rid of him? Hell no. He’s recording a covers album, he manages to get Ray to sing Karaoke at one point and he’s just so damn funny that the Emmy he won a week ago isn’t even enough – I wish we had him for longer stints on this show. He’s that good. Ray Donovan as a series really shines when it injects that black comedy into the mix, because without it the show can come off as a little too depressing. There’s people getting shot in the face this season, baseball bats connecting with skulls and more. The most shocking aspect considering all of the violence is how the season finale wraps up. I didn’t see that result coming but I’m happy it played out as it did. Ray Donovan season five will apparently be revisiting the Hollywood aspect more than ever so I’m curious to see how it plays out considering the season four finale almost came off like a series closer.

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