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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ray Donovan is hardly a positive role model -- and the world he lives in is swimming in sex, drugs, and violence. You'll hear lots of unbleeped language (from "f--k" to "c--ksucker") and see some characters using illegal drugs like cocaine. You'll also see flashes of nudity; hear some frank, sexually charged talk; and see intense violent acts -- from beating someone with a baseball bat to literally blowing someone's brains out. But the visuals aren't overly sexy or bloody, leaving most things to the imagination. Characters also mention a few brand names in casual conversation.
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What's the story?
Armed with a tough-as-nails South Boston upbringing, RAY DONOVAN (Liev Schreiber) gets paid to "fix" problems for Hollywood's elite by whatever means necessary, from professional athletes to action stars and pop singers. But Ray's got legitimate problems of his own when his estranged father, Mickey (Jon Voight), shows up after 20 years in prison and tries to make nice with Ray's brothers (Dash Mihok and Eddie Marsan), and Ray's wife (Paula Malcolmson) and kids (Kerris Dorsey and Devon Bagby).
Is it any good?
Liev Schreiber is an actor who seems to be everywhere, whether in movies, on television, or on Broadway. But in spite of Schreiber's long résumé, Ray Donovan marks his first leading TV role, and he pulls it off with an understated charisma that works well for this ensemble-driven series that's brimming with potential -- and intriguing characters.
True, it's hardly family viewing. (And it's not a show you want your kids quoting.) But Ray Donovan is surprisingly cleaner than it could be for premium cable, with most of the sexual and violent acts taking place off camera. The result is an effectively edgy world that's got true grit, without hitting us over the head with gratuitous sex and violence.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the ethics of Ray Donovan's business and how he measures up as a role model. Do his bad deeds detract from any shred of good intention he might have?
Ray's world is full of sex, drugs, and violence. But how does Ray Donovan communicate that message compared to the way other edgy pay-cable series do -- like Dexter, Boardwalk Empire, or The Sopranos? Is Ray Donovan OK for teens, or should it be off-limits?
Are "fixers" like Ray really out there doing dirty work behind the scenes to help Hollywood's elite stay out of trouble? How much of Ray Donovan do you think is real, and how much do you think is fictional?