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'Ray Donovan'
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Michael Desmond/SHOWTIME6/13

'Ray Donovan'

July 12th, 9 pm, Showtime
Liev Schreiber's L.A.-via-Boston Irish superthug may have started out as a fairly generic cable antihero — but he gets more interesting every season, now that he's less of a family man and more of a freewheeling criminal operator. Ian McShane (Deadwood's Al Swearengen) is the new MVP in the cast, as a louche gangster. ("My father was a criminal, Mr. Donovan. He ensured that I didn't have to be.") And as McShane's daughter: Welcome back to prime time, Katie Holmes!

Jon Voight also returns as Ray's lowlife dad, Mickey, but the story is less dependent on him — his character has run out of steam and his scenes are essentially filler. McShane is now the real heavyweight for Schreiber to tangle with here, and it's pure pleasure to see them interact, especially since his charismatic presence balances out Schreiber's no-facial-expressions-ever approach. "Kafka said that in man's struggle against the world, you bet on the world," McShane muses at one point, with that evil purr in his voice. "But with people like us, you bet on the man. You most definitely bet on the man."

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