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‘Ray Donovan’ Showrunner David Hollander Q&A on Season 5 Finale

Episode 512

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from tonight’s episode of Ray Donovan, “Time Takes a Cigarette.” Read at your own risk.

Ernest Macias writes: Goodbye Hollywood! Ray Donovan‘s famous fixer of the stars is leaving behind the city of Angels and is taking his very useful set of skills to New York City.

Fans watched as Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber) spiraled out of control this season. After losing Abby (Paula Malcomson), the love of his life, to cancer and finding himself unwillingly in the spotlight, his family and business started to crumble. And so, as season 5 came to an end, we found the Donovans as vulnerable and fractured as ever.

They’ve also turned on Mickey (Jon Voight) and are ready to lock him up. After all, it’s what he deserves, at least according to Ray. It seems like every single Donovan — from Bunchy (Dashik Mihok) to Daryll (Pooch Hall) and even Connor (Devon Bagby), who is now ready to serve his country — has found closure, at least for the moment. As for Bridget (Kerris Dorsey), things are looking grim. In an effort to help his daughter, Ray, per usual, makes things happen, and with the help of his special friend, the powerful Sam (Susan Sarandon), he saves a life and obviously takes one as well because that’s how it works in the Ray Donovan world.

[READ MORE of our Ray Donovan coverage here]

It’s been a season filled with pain and self-exploration for Ray and that’s just how he ends it. In one of his now common hallucinations, he follows Abby to the top of a building somewhere in New York. And, in a truly pure and unusual moment for the Boston thug, Ray allows himself to let go.


EW spoke with the Showtime hit’s executive producer/showrunner David Hollander about the season finale, Ray’s struggle, and, of course, the big move to New York City in season 6.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was your goal going into this season?
DAVID HOLLANDER: In the most basic terms the goal is to try and tell a good story well and so we always start the year hoping we can find ways to get deeper into the character of Ray Donovan and explore elements of the world that we’re writing about. It’s a little more; write emotion and truth and comedy and complexity as we can. It’s really that simple.

Abby is dead, but she was a constant presence throughout the season. That obviously affected everyone, but would you agree that it completely changed Ray and his story through the season?
Absolutely, I mean there’s a lot of change in Ray this season and a lot of looking at what might happen if Ray was faced with a situation that was truly unfixable and what that would to his psychology and his sort of pathology because he so badly needs to be in control. The bigger issues of what that does to a person, the relationship to themselves, the relationship to God, and the relationship to their place in the world were deeply impacted by Abby’s passing.

[Read the full story here, at]

Ray and his anger management therapist (C. Thomas Hall) had an especially tense last meeting where Ray was pushed to face his traumas. Can you talk about making that last meeting happen?
The character of the therapist was frustrated with Ray and Ray had all the telling signs of someone that had abuse and rage issues and drug and alcohol issues. This guy had the choice to either just let Ray go or tell him what he really thought about him, in hopes of helping Ray. So it gave us a great opportunity to speak directly to Ray like no one really has before and to see what that did that to Ray, whether he would take it in, whether he would absorb it, whether he would seal, or whether he would do his usual thing, which is bury it. I think in the case of this story this year, not only did he try to bury it but it got the best of him.

Going forward is Ray going to change by having someone talk to him so directly?
Absolutely. It has to. I mean we’re going to try give Ray the opportunity to learn as much as he can about himself without making the story simply about that. I think every time we open a little door to Ray, into his own consciousness, I think it’s interesting to watch him struggle with it … (read more)


Production on season 6 of the Showtime hit, Ray Donovan, is set to begin in early 2018.

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