It’s been a long time, Deadwood fans. Almost 10 years, actually, since Ian McShane introduced us to Al Swearengen (or for some, maybe the other way around). Since then, McShane has mostly stuck to movie roles, so it will be an utter delight to see him return to TV to team up with (or square off against) Liev Schrieber in Ray Donovan Season 3, especially since one of his most well-known quotes essentially sums up the show: “Pain or damage don’t end the world, or despair, or fucking beatings. The world ends when you’re dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man — and give some back.”
The English actor will be playing Malcolm Finny, a big-time movie producer and billionaire, who hires Ray to get his family “out of a potentially catastrophic situation.” Further, the two are said to end up forming a very powerful relationship.
Ray Donovan stepped back quite a bit from Ray’s primary role as a “fixer” in its second season, taking away a lot of the perceptive Hollywood humor that went along with it. The show has always had trouble figuring itself out, between the light-hearted, comedic moments that defined its first few episodes, versus the sometimes very dark family drama it became in its second season. Both options could lead to a great series, but the way Ray Donovan has often been split between the two has been an ongoing issue.
Last year, though, series creator Ann Biderman stepped down as showrunner, leaving the production entirely. This changeup will likely have a huge impact on the direction of the show’s third season. The arrival of McShane’s character, however, sounds like it could lead to him being a kind of mentor for Ray, which Ray desperately needs (as Ezra — Elliot Gould — is no longer up to the task, and Mickey — Jon Voight — never was). And, it seems that Ray’s “fixer” persona could also get more emphasis.
McShane will also be joining fellow Deadwood alum Paula Malcolmson, who plays Ray’s wife Abby, but whether the two share any screen time remains to be seen. (And with Justified ending, can we dream that Timothy Olyphant might also appear in the future?)
Ray Donovan will start shooting its third season this month, but won’t likely return to Showtime until late summer or early fall. Stay tuned for most casting updates, and what else might be in store for next season.