“Nobody can touch us.”
So said Ray Donovan’s beleaguered but emboldened Abby Donovan (Paula Malcomson) to her equally bedeviled husband (Liev Schreiber) in the critically acclaimed Showtime drama’s Season 4 finale. She had good reason to think so. With her cancer battle and Ray’s deadly dealings with the Russian mafia seemingly behind them, Abby embraced the dicey reality of her man’s “fixer” job, asserted her own power and set her sights on a Hollywood happy outcome for her kin, however the hell it’s going to happen.
But this is clan Donovan, with all its fights and foibles, so fans know well that serenity is fleeting.
“When we start in Season 5, we have Ray and Abby on top of the world. They just beat the odds with the mafia, with cancer, and they’re feeling pretty good — and then that sense of security gets jerked out from under them,” Malcomson teases. “We sort of promised Bonnie and Clyde when we left Season 4 — or maybe Macbeth. So are we going to subvert the audience’s expectations?”
The safe bet is calamity — beginning with the return of Ray’s dad Mickey (Jon Voight) to the Donovan home, delighted by his good fortune and swearing he’s through with his scams for good. “In a moment of weakness, Abby said, ‘Come on, he’s an old man. Let’s bring him home’ — which is sort of her go-to,” Malcomson says. “Her basic nature is one that wants to bring that family together despite everything. And, of course, anywhere Mickey goes, there’s trouble. But he’s back home and he’s writing screenplays [laughs]. We must have really bad memories or something.” And since the Season 5 trailer reveals that Ray’s brother Bunchy (Dash Mihok) and Mickey end up on the wrong end of a beatdown, someone’s bound to regret that.
Then there’s the pair of powerful, seductive women poised to enter Ray’s world. Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon joins the series as Samantha Winslow, an entertainment powerhouse who seeks Ray’s help with her own unwieldy fixers and a mercurial young client (Banshee’s Lili Simmons) threatening to derail a billion-dollar film franchise. Though they’re certain to — as beautiful women are — affect Abby’s union somehow, Malcomson says she has yet to share screen time with the new additions. But with her cancer scare serving both to embolden Abby and force her family to see her with newly appreciative eyes, does Ray’s wandering eye even matter anymore?
Malcomson — who clearly relishes Abby’s long-awaited evolution from long-suffering homemaker — says that, since viewers didn’t actually see Abby’s supposed all-clear conversation with her doctor, the end of that chapter has yet to be written, even as a new one begins. “The writers and I talked about what would be her own agency,” Malcomson says of Mrs. Donovan’s new lease on life in Season 5. “In the first episode, she talks about how she’s always wanted to own a bar. Of course, there’s that irony she grew up in one, but that’s what she knows. So she tells Ray that she’d like to own a bar, and that’s part of the storyline: She’s becoming a woman of means and her own substance and some kind of sovereignty.” But, the actress adds, always with her family front of mind.
“She wants a place where she knows where everyone is,” Malcomson chuckles, “where she can keep an eye on all of them!”
Will Mickey embrace being a father or a felon?
— Ray Donovan (@SHO_RayDonovan) August 4, 2017