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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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