Os­car win­ner Su­san Saran­don (“Thelma & Louise,” 1991) joins the sea­son 5 cast of “Ray Dono­van,” pre­mier­ing Sun­day.


Who knew rich and glam­orous celebri­ties had so many hush-hush prob­lems? Well, maybe they do in real life and maybe they don’t, but they sure keep “Ray Dono­van’s” epony­mous anti-hero busy. Last sea­son’s fi­nale episode in­cluded some un­com­monly high notes for Hol­ly­wood’s prob­lem solver and his rather dys­func­tional fam­ily, but those sweet mo­ments are f leet­ing. Catch the sea­son 5 pre­miere of “Ray Dono­van,” air­ing Sun­day, Aug. 6, on The Movie Net­work.

Among the fic­tional elite, Ray Dono­van (Liev Schreiber “X-Men Ori­gins: Wolver­ine,” 2009) is the guy you call if you need an un­savoury prob­lem dealt with quickly and qui­etly. A na­tive of South Bos­ton, he pulled him­self up from his blue-col­lar roots to min­gle ex­pertly with the glit­terati as he goes about his shady work mak­ing their prob­lems dis­creetly dis­ap­pear. He’s a firm fam­ily man at heart, though the var­i­ous and sundry mem­bers of the Dono­van clan are con­stantly clash­ing against one an­other.

The new sea­son sees Ray turn­ing his at­ten­tion back to his celebrity fixer firm, af­ter sea­son 4 shifted fo­cus to an on­go­ing crime plot line. A ma­jor client this year is played by a ma­jor tal­ent: look for Os­car win­ner Su­san Saran­don (“Thelma & Louise,” 1991) in a re­cur­ring role in sea­son 5.

Things were look­ing good for the Dono­vans at the end of last sea­son. Ray avoided prison, and we were even granted an un­usu­ally light­hearted scene of him play­ing video games with his kids. His wife, Abby (Paula Mal­com­son, “Dead­wood”), an­nounced that her can­cer is gone, and that she wants the two of them to make a fresh start, while his daugh­ter, Brid­get (Ker­ris Dorsey, “Broth­ers & Sis­ters”), was ac­cepted into NYU.

Don’t as­sume the good times will carry on through­out the new sea­son, though. The cast and showrun­ners aren’t say­ing much about what hap­pens this sea­son, but, as Schreiber told Col­lider, “It’s a very dark year for Ray.” He ex­panded on this in a promo clip:

“Fairly early in the sea­son, some­thing very pro­found and big has changed in Ray’s life — some­thing I think is go­ing to re­ally shock a lot of peo­ple — and the im­pact of that on this fam­ily, and Ray him­self, is pretty heavy.”

Schreiber, a pres­ence both on the stage and screen, has earned a good deal of recog­ni­tion for his role over the past four sea­sons. He’s re­ceived four Golden Globe nods and three Emmy nom­i­na­tions, the most re­cent of which could very well turn into a win in Septem­ber.

It’s not just Schreiber who has seen suc­cess from the show. “Ray Dono­van” opened to record-break­ing num­bers, be­com­ing Show­time’s big­gest pre­miere of all time. It’s won a Crit­ics’ Choice Tele­vi­sion Award, a Golden Globe and an Emmy, among its many nom­i­na­tions, and av­er­aged 1.2 mil­lion view­ers last sea­son.

The well-known cast is one ma­jor draw of the show, with Schreiber be­ing just one of a num­ber of big­name ac­tors. Os­car win­ner Jon Voight (“Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble,” 1996) plays Mickey Dono­van, Ray’s abu­sive father who turns up in the first episode af­ter 20 years in prison. Though mur­der­ous, self­ish and con­temptible, Mickey is also charis­matic and charm­ing, and the char­ac­ter is a real fan favourite.

Ed­die Marsan (“Jonathan Strange & Mr. Nor­rell”) and Dash Mi­hok (“The Day Af­ter To­mor­row,” 2004) play Ray’s two broth­ers, Terry and Bunchy Dono­van, who both have their own per­sonal strug­gles to deal with through­out the se­ries. Pooch Hall (“The Game”) rounds out the fam­ily as Daryll Dono­van, Ray’s half-brother and Mickey’s son from an af­fair, who now works for Ray.

Each sea­son has seen its share of tal­ent among the guest stars and sup­port­ing cast as well. The likes of El­liott Gould (“Ocean’s Eleven,” 2001), Hank Azaria (“The Simp­sons”), Ann-Mar­gret (“Grumpy Old Men,” 1993), Ian McShane (“Dead­wood”) and Lisa Bonet (“The Cosby Show”) have graced the ros­ter of sup­port­ing cast mem­bers, and there are some big names on deck for sea­son 5 as well.

The big­gest of th­ese is surely the ubiq­ui­tous Saran­don. The award­win­ning act­ing pow­er­house has held well over 100 roles be­tween TV and film since launch­ing her ca­reer in the early ‘70s, and the list of ac­co­lades at­tached to her name is dizzy­ing.

She’s sure to be an­other feather in “Ray Dono­van’s” al­ready well-feath­ered cap this sea­son. She joins the cast as mogul Sa­man­tha Winslow, the le­gendary head of a mo­tion pic­ture stu­dio, who em­ploys Ray’s “fix­ing” ser­vices.

Su­san Saran­don and Liev Schreiber as seen in “Ray Dono­van”

Paula Mal­com­son stars in “Ray Dono­van”

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