Ray Donovan

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Ray Donovan TV Poster Image
Parents recommend
Edgy drama's sex, drugs, violence stop short of gratuitous.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The overall takeaway is grim and morally messy. Skirting the law is part of doing business, and even the concept of family is flawed.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While he's a better role model than most of the other people he hangs out with, Ray is an iffy antihero armed with a complicated moral code, hurting some people in an effort to help others and not always staying true to those he loves.


Most violence isn't bloody -- or even fully shown onscreen. But it's intense (breaking a rival's hand, beating a stalker with a baseball bat, shooting a priest in the head, etc.).


Sexually charged scenes can include nudity (bare breasts, etc.) and frank talk ("I want to put your c--k in my mouth"), but it isn't gratuitous. Most sexual acts are suggested rather than shown.


Frequent use of unbleeped words like "f--k," "s--t," "c--ksucker," "d--k," "asshole," etc.


A few brand names, like iPad and TMZ, are mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking and recreational drug use; some characters are shown snorting cocaine, etc., while others die of overdoses.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byALtheman October 29, 2020


This show is really not that inapropriate
Adult Written byJoey P. October 28, 2020
Kid, 12 years old November 25, 2020

NOT for Kids

Not for Kids. TV-MA Drama is Not for Kids.

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?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

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