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Domenick Lombardozzi as Sean "Mac" McGrath in RAY DONOVAN (Season 6, Episode 07, "The 1-3-2"). - Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: RAYDONOVAN_607_439.R.jpg Domenick Lombardozzi as Sean "Mac" McGrath in RAY DONOVAN (Season 6, Episode 07, "The 1-3-2"). - Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: RAYDONOVAN_607_439.R.jpg

Ray Donovan

Requiem for Mac: How Domenick Lombardozzi won Ray Donovan fans

Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME

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Domenick Lombardozzi’s Mac went full circle on Ray Donovan, illustrating the fragility of the human mind to the ebb and flow of fleeting emotional state.

All it takes is one crummy day or disheartening phone call in Mac’s case for the strongest of exteriors to collapse, their hourglass reversing to empty in seconds. Imagine officer Sean ‘Mac’ McGrath pulling Ray Donovan out of the East River, saving a life against the will of its owner, literally kicking and screaming. In fact, getting rewarded with a few brute punches to the noggin along the way for his troubles… Yet, staying true to the honorable duty he swore to uphold, hand to heart. Staten Island’s finest.

Then envision the same man, broken beyond repair, sitting alone and destitute in his car, emotionally bankrupt. Momentarily contemplating the work required to push his ex-wife’s relationship back uphill to ever see his son again… Before finally letting go of the behemoth stone without opposition. Allowing the increscent moon-sized rock carrying life’s ever increasing troubles to roll backwards, crushing him in the process. Exiting the equation forever with a singular shot heard in the distance outside of a cheapo, rinky-dink motel’s forsaken parking lot.

Domenick Lombardozzi’s dynamite portrayal of Mac on Ray Donovan left a permanent mark on both Ray’s family and the show’s gallery of Sunday spectators. Bridget makes note of it when she tells her emotionally tormented father that she ‘doesn’t want him to end up like his friend in a parking lot.’ Mac’s untimely demise was a warning shot to Ray’s psyche, a foreshadowing of a yet to be written chapter in his life if he doesn’t obtain the necessary help. The side-by-side juxtaposition of Ray’s leap and Mac’s final juncture boldly unavoidable, always able to save everyone but themselves. Mac had told Ray, “We could have been brothers in another life,” in this case Mac representing the older brother from which to take in example from.

Symphonies of Acting Art by Domenick Lombardozzi

Domenick Lombardozzi’s interpretation of Mac, a regular ‘Joe’ on the surface, is anything but. Lombardozzi delievered a dauntingly complex performance of a man with the comforting, secure outwards nature of a bulldog internally dueling with the realities of being an officer. The job that became his identity ultimately consumed him and by extension, his family. Year by year chipping away until the way Ray met him, living by himself eating his son’s birthday cake in a drab room flush of life.

At the same time, Mac’s universal appeal comes from a genuine place of heart. A man’s man enjoying a good game of baseball on the tube with a pal, drinking a pint at his local pub, and owning an undying loyalty to those sacred to him… Even during the turbulent times when they despise everything he represents. The valor of silent masculinity much like Ray.

Opening Sonata: “Walk Away Ray”

A three word phrase that would become the hallmark of Mac’s captivating run on Showtime’s Ray Donovan. The first movement of Mac’s symphony featured this bluntly direct warning to Ray outside in the broad daylight of a police precinct. As is often the case when one tells someone else not to do something, they’re even more aptly motivated to do the opposite. Mac’s overture had no immediate effect on Ray, despite its reliable source.

“Walk Away Ray” would ominously serve as a source of pressure to the viewer, hooking them in through Lombardozzi’s exemplary delivery. Even without audio like the animation above, the story is told in Mac’s eyes without one audible word.

Adagio: “I can’t remember the last time I felt good”

When it comes to the Adagio slow-tempoed descent of the second movement, no scene stands out like Mac’s outward monologue with Bridget as his audience. The portrait of an individual juggling the consequences of past sins with his latest… Being indirectly forced to be an accomplice to the kidnapping of his best friend’s daughter to protect his own family. In this sequence rife with tension and the white noise of a movie from times past, the audience witnesses Mac’s final introspective plunge.

From the constant apologizing to Bridget Donovan for what he’s done, bargaining with her that they’ll take his family too if he doesn’t do what they tell him. “I don’t care what happens to me.” Then arrives the most brutal line, “I can’t remember the last time I felt good,” with the man legitimately trying to remember. Tears welled up in his eyes. Every ounce of the sentence is felt, the sorrow of a real human being who’s lost their way, stuck on a linear path despite their original hopes and dreams.

Scherzo: “You were the only one who ever thought I was worth something.”

The final uplifting moment in Mac’s story is the scherzo, an attempt at redemption for a lifetime of diverting from the person he was on the inside. Mac returns Bridget to Ray knowing it symbolizes the end of a ‘normal’ life, forever a target on his family’s back as leverage against him. Mac earnestly comments that Ray was, ‘The only one who ever believed he was worth something,’ and, ‘We could have been brothers in another life.’ Recalling again the notion of the linear path, pre-determined circumstances out of both Mac and Ray’s control. Mac’s raw honesty akin to the days of one’s youth, before the competition of adulthood demanded a stern mask. One without a public display of weakness at any avenue.

Allegro: Celebrating the life of Sean ‘Mac’ McGrath

Domenick Lombardozzi’s first-class performance as officer Sean ‘Mac’ McGrath was one of the many superb, regal highlights of Ray Donovan’s sixth season. Every audience member was left with the feeling of, ‘Gone too soon,’ upon his departure despite seeing the writing on the wall in that parking lot. The reverie of the esteemed man who rescued Ray Donovan from certain death in the season’s premiere. Forever intertwining Ray’s life with his as brothers, eventually to his detriment. When he pulled Ray out of the East River that day, he never left its depths.

Be sure to watch my interview with Mickey Donovan himself, Jon Voight, at last year’s Tribeca TV Festival!

Nir Regev is the founder of The Natural Aristocrat. You can directly contact him at nir.regev@thenaturalaristocrat.com for coverage consideration, interview opportunties, or general comments.

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Ray Donovan

Smitty’s Inferno: Death by Donovan

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Graham Rogers as Smitty in RAY DONOVAN, "You'll Never Walk Alone". Photo Credit: Karolina Wojtasik/SHOWTIME.
Photo Credit: Karolina Wojtasik/SHOWTIME

Eyes soft & spongy, lips pulled over the face, an airway reduced to that of a straw. Smitty collapses on granite, a mistaken bullet finding the wrong residence. An accidental home invasion with no insurance. The mind races helplessly to reset one hour back but finds time only moving forward. Caught in the 9 circles of Donovan.

This article contains spoilers for Ray Donovan Season 7.

The future is always bright on paper. Smitty’s wife had just held onto his hand again like the day they walked down the aisle at City Hall. Tomorrow was a canvas slathered with the dazzling neon-paint of Los Angeles and fond memories. A reverie soaked in nostalgia of when everyday was made of the sweetest licorice and a relationship bloomed effortlessly. Yet, revisiting the past is rarely the same the second time around.

Smitty will never have the license to steer towards that realization. He’ll never even arrive at his wife’s prescribed cure-all destination. Instead just like his grandfather-in-law before him, Smitty’s brief happiness will be sullied and debased. A future in his grasp, fingertips length, that can never be reached. Look but don’t touch, imagine but don’t clutch. Each Donovan quick fix, every patch on the 50-year old rusty pipe, was always bound to spring another leak… Until the resulting flood sank its teeth into another victim like a Python, head struggling under water. This time, it was Smitty’s turn. Submerged by the family he married into.

(L-R): Josh Hamilton as Kevin Sullivan, Jon Voight as Mickey Donovan and Graham Rogers as Smitty in RAY DONOVAN, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Photo Credit: Karolina Wojtasik/SHOWTIME.

Play the blame game. Blame Declan, Mickey, Daryll, Bridget, Ray, Smitty himself. Everyone shared a part, no one’s truly innocent, no one’s hands are clean… But no finger point will bring Smitty back. No matter where it’s extended. Smitty’s last moments were spent lying in the middle of the road, face up, staring at his real presumed future. Abandoned.

Collateral damage in the crossfire of a war he was drafted into and never signed up for. Blood streaming from his neck with no end in sight. Smitty’s so-called family turn into onlooking voyeurs. All collectively suffering from the Bystander effect. The fresh bouquet of flowers Smitty purchased for Bridget escaping his iron grip. Now, newly loose as spaghetti.

Jon Voight as Mickey Donovan in RAY DONOVAN, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Photo Credit: Karolina Wojtasik/SHOWTIME.

Mickey momentarily picks up the flowers, body fully tensed, tuned into fight or flight mode. The last remnants of Smitty’s hopes and dreams in Mickey’s hands. He chooses flight. Dumping the bouquet on the ground unceremoniously. Escaping Smitty’s misfortune to save himself, like every time before. Fleeing guilt itself. Each petal forsaken to its fate. Deserted on the fields of battle. After ‘Treachery’ comes the 10th circle, Donovan.

Be sure to read Smitty’s big decision on Ray Donovan: Would you do the same? and A father playing favorites leads to Ray Donovan tragedy: Brother vs Brother. Check out more coverage in the Ray Donovan Articles section!

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Ray Donovan

Liev Schreiber gives hope to Ray Donovan fans on Instagram

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Ray Donovan may continue - Photo Credit: Liev Schreiber's Instagram
Photo Credit: Liev Schreiber's Instagram

Liev Schreiber gave Ray Donovan fans hope on Wednesday night, writing on Instagram that “It’s too soon to say how or when, but with a little luck and your ongoing support, there will be more Ray Donovan.”

Ray Donovan’s cancellation may be on ice at Showtime after fan outcry on social media and Change.org Petitions for Season 8. Liev Schreiber took to Instagram to tell fans that “their voices have been heard” and with continued support and luck, Ray Donovan might get the ending fans, cast, and crew all deserve. Instead of the last symbolic image Ray Donovan fans would have now, Ray with a shovel burying someone six feet under (no spoilers!).

Schreiber even subtly referenced fans as the Fixer this time around, commenting “To all the Donofans who got their bats and beat the odds. Thank you” A miraculous resurrection on Showtime would prove the strength viewers wield today with their subscriptions, and really their wallets. There’s endless entertainment content to be had today on countless competitors, so every ounce of fan goodwill counts more than ever.

Of course, Schreiber’s message didn’t necessarily say that should Ray Donovan continue it would 100% be on Showtime. There’s still the chance the series will move to a Netflix or other streaming platform ala Designated Survivor but it seems unlikely on Showtime’s side. It’s the perfect PR storm on behalf of Showtime to bring Ray Donovan back on their network and show their subscribers how important they truly are. You can’t buy that kind of publicity.

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Thank you. @raydonovan @showtime #finishstrong

A post shared by Liev Schreiber (@lievschreiber) on

The first hints that perhaps the Ray Donovan cancellation decision was could be on ice came on February 5th… Showrunner David Hollander did an interview with Vulture’s Brian Tallerico, where Hollander commented, “The sets are still standing. The people are still contracted. The mechanisms are in place.”

Seemed like Hollander was alluding to Ray Donovan not being 100% finito yet. Hollander also cited the expensive cost of shooting in NY as a big factor. Does that mean that if a Season 8 does occur, the series will return to Los Angeles? It did sure seem ominous when Bridget Donovan wanted to move back to LA with Smitty…

Check out more series coverage in the Ray Donovan category section including exclusive interviews with Sandy Martin on Sandy Patrick and Bill Heck on Young Mickey Donovan at The Natural Aristocrat.

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Ray Donovan

Ray Donovan fans start Petitions to bring series back for Season 8

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Ray Donovan - (L-R): Kerris Dorsey as Bridget Donovan and Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan in RAY DONOVAN, "You'll Never Walk Alone". Photo Credit: Karolina Wojtasik/SHOWTIME
Photo Credit: Karolina Wojtasik/SHOWTIME

Ray Donovan fans have opened multiple Petitions on Change.org imploring Showtime or even Netflix to resurrect the series from its still-fresh cancellation for Season 8.

Ray Donovan fans will not let cancellation happen without a fight, they will “not go gentle into that good night.” Paraphrasing poet Dylan Thomas. Five separate petitions have sprung up on Change.org, some demanding Showtime keep the series alive for at least a final eighth season… Others looking ahead to a Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime move. Of course, the chance Showtime would give a cornerstone brand of their network to Netflix (last season or not) or any other competing streaming brand is probably a long shot. * All currently running petition links available later in this article.

Showrunner David Hollander potentially ignited this petitioning spark in a recent interview with Vulture’s Brian Tallerico, where Hollander commented that he “would never say never” about doing the series somewhere else. Adding, “The sets are still standing. The people are still contracted. The mechanisms are in place.” Thus, Ray Donovan fans are trying to make something happen before those sets are torn down and the actors involved move on to other projects. As Jim Carrey once famously said as Lloyd Christmas, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?!”

‘Bring back Ray Donovan’ Petitions:

Showtime, Bring back Ray Donovan for Season 8 – 2,046 signed at time of this article’s publishing
Created by Marana Coluccio, started 4 days ago

Petition for Showtime/Netflix to bring Ray Donovan back for 8th Season!!! – 1,934 signed at time of this article’s publishing
Created by Eric Cox, started 1 week ago

Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu pick up Ray Donovan for final season – 827 signed at time of this article’s publishing
Created by Allison Massimini, started 1 week ago

DO NOT CANCEL RAY DONOVAN – 272 signed at time of this article’s publishing
Created by Jacqueline Herrera, started 1 week ago

Bring Back Ray Donovan For Series Ending Season 8 – 27 signed at time of this article’s publishing
Created by Mark Uliano, started 1 week ago

Exploring factors that may have led to the series’ cancellation:

Be sure to read Stained Lullaby: The end of Ray Donovan, why great shows are canceled for an in-depth analysis of the show’s declining ratings and how key cast members like Paula Malcomson (Abby Donovan) departing may have ultimately contributed to the series’ cancellation.

Another contributing factor? Reportedly, production costs. The same thing that is said to have led to the original demise of HBO’s Deadwood, one of television’s greatest shows. Showrunner David Hollander mentioned in the Vulture interview (Published Feb. 5th) that there were expensive costs for running the series, particularly the move to New York City. “To be fair to our bosses, Ray Donovan, for the Showtime model, was a very expensive show.”

Check out more series coverage in the Ray Donovan category section including exclusive interviews with Sandy Martin on Sandy Patrick and Bill Heck on Young Mickey Donovan at The Natural Aristocrat.

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