New 'Ray Donovan' Boss on Katie Holmes and a Season 3 Time Jump

"Ray has embraced his self-righteousness," new showrunner David Hollander tells THR.
Showtime

It's going to be a lonely year for Ray Donovan. When viewers last left Ray (Liev Schreiber) in the season two finale of Showtime's Ray Donovan, the L.A. fixer had been betrayed by nearly everyone in his life. Ezra (Elliott Gould) and Avi (Steven Bauer) had conspired to "save" their friend by taking out someone he deemed untouchable, Abby (Paula Malcomson) put her trust in another man and Mickey (Jon Voight) nearly blew up Ray's son. 

When the action picks back up in Sunday's "The Kalamazoo," Ray is out on his own, having isolated himself from everyone in his life. To preview the action, The Hollywood Reporter caught up with incoming showrunner David Hollander to talk a more "self-righteous" Ray, the addition of Katie Holmes to the cast and a season three time jump. 

What has the transition to showrunner been like? 

Ann Biderman was more than a big part of the show, she created it and she curated it. She set the tone for this world so a lot of my job has been to find and continue the story. To try and maintain what Ray Donovan as a show is and also look for new areas that we haven’t explored yet. It’s been fun but not without its challenges because Ann really is a very impactful and talented person.

How does the L.A. backdrop factor into season three?

We have this unusual ability to be contemporary in this city, so we wanted to look at what the city feels like today; we talked a lot about what felt like the big current swing. We kept talking about two elements: professional football and the drought. We came to think about how professional football was the new water in a way. And that led to some other stories.

What went into the decision to jump forward in time when we return?

We could have stepped right back into the story where it left off, however, we did that last season. The stories from season two had run their course. As storytellers there’s a story that you have to tell, which is plot, and then I wanted to measure the emotional story. So to do that we had to jump in time. We weren’t starting a story about what happens now that Ray has called the police on Ezra, or what's going to happen to Terry (Eddie Marsan) at trial, or will Mickey spend all of his money at once. They were excellent devices and we could have picked up there but that was in a way preordained. We knew where they were going, so why not go deeper into them to see where the fresh tracks were.

What kind of mind-set is Ray in now?

Ray has embraced his self-righteousness. He’s not going to forgive people for their actions they took. It’s just a little bit hypocritical, but it is Ray. He won’t forgive Ezra and Avi for killing Kate (Vinessa Shaw). He won’t forgive Abby for her affair. He won’t forgive himself for the abuse that he tolerated or the way he’s hidden it. And he’s all very isolating.

How does Paige Finney (Katie Holmes) fit into this world? 

She’s really built to reflect; she has her own aspirations and she’s in a very complicated relationship with her father (Ian McShane) in a very complicated family. Part of Ray’s new job this season is to manage that family. To manage not just the family’s needs for him in the business, but the family. So between tasks he finds himself being asked to deal with and watch and protect McShane's character from what Paige might be up to.  

Does Ray's own family suffer as a result?

There’s a subtextual element where he may be a little more attentive to the family of the job than he is his own family. This year Ray is also concerned about how he impacts his family. He sees himself as dangerous to a certain degree and he’s cutting a wider berth to his family. His family misunderstands that, but I'm not sure Ray entirely understands it himself, either.

Abby went through some dark times last season. Is there redemption for her in season three?

We thought a lot about her this year and have given Abby a deeper mining of her background. We are putting her in a place where we can explore what makes her tick a little more and get a little more empathy in the understanding of her, for sure. Not so much as a correction to last year, it’s more that we thought it was time to meet Abby, or give her a biography and a way of dealing with her family. She grows up a bit this year and she changes her approach to Ray a bit.

What sort of shenanigans will Mickey get up to?

He moves to Hollywood with Daryll (Pooch Hall) and he’s been sitting on his hands for a little bit of time. … But he’s done sitting on his hands and looking to create a new way of making money and impacting the system. And he’s going to bring Daryll into that — it will have its highs and lows, for sure.

Ray Donovan returns Sunday, July 12 at 9 p.m. on Showtime. Are you excited about the addition of Katie Holmes? Think there's hope for Abby and Ray yet? Sound off in the comments below. 

Twitter: @amber_dowling

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