I watched the first episode of Ray Donovan without knowing much about the plot or characters. Liev Schrieber is fantastic in the lead role and is reminiscent of Tony Soprano in that he is a dark, violent lead male under constant stress who is protective and nurturing of those he loves, while at the same time projecting an aura of violence and danger to those who would cross him. One scene, where Ray menaces a man who double-crosses him is particularly chilling. The supporting characters are also very solid. Paula Malcomson, (Ray's wife Abby) under-utilized in Deadwood is here allowed to flex her acting muscles in several scenes with Schreiber. Also in the show is the great Jon Voigt, who plays Ray's father. The conflict between them is set up right away in this first episode and one senses an Oedipal confrontation coming somewhere down the line. Most series start out weak and get better as the show grows and develops. This show, however, started out with a bang. If it gets BETTER it will very soon be the best show on television.