Ray Donovan: The Movie went out with a fatal bang.
Friday’s two-hour Showtime sendoff picked up where 2020’s Season 7 finale left off, with Mickey Donovan on the run and his titular son hot on his tail. But unlike the duo’s previous cat-and-mouse shenanigans, this one ended in death — Mickey’s death, to be exact. And in a twist on top of a twist, it was Ray’s daughter, Bridget, who put the family’s disgraced patriarch down for a long overdue dirt nap.
Below, the movie’s co-writers — EP/star Liev Schreiber and EP/director David Hollander — shed light on the decision to whack Jon Voight’s legendary conman. The pair also answer the question almost certainly on the minds of Ray Donovan fans at this moment: Does the movie bring the franchise to a permanent close?
TVLINE | Why’d you kill of Mickey?
LIEV SCHREIBER | David and I both agreed early on that it made sense that somebody had to go in the end. And it felt like having Bridget inherit the [Donovan family’s] mantle of pain [by killing Mickey] was an interesting and logical choice.
DAVID HOLLANDER | In my head, it was the only death that could occur… And it had to be [Bridget that pulled the trigger]. Thematically, we’re pushing all of this sh-t downhill, and who’s watching Ray? And it’s Bridget.
TVLINE | Had you been given a chance to do an eighth season, would Mickey have died at the end of that, too?
HOLLANDER | It may have been more of a disappearance or a mysterious thing. But the story really is about, not just the legacy of violence, but, “Who is the wolf? Who is the person that’s really stirring the pot?” We had to wake Ray up to his part in all of this because, in a way, he’s the bigger antihero of the two. And he is the genesis of a lot of the things we see in the show.
SCHREIBER | It’s the thing about inherited trauma that’s compelling about the show to me. The conscious and unconscious ways in which we promote and reproduce trauma.
TVLINE | Was there any debate over whether to kill him off?
HOLLANDER | Not really. Once we started to write [the movie] it was pretty clear the thrust was going to be [Ray] going after Mickey… It was early on in the process that we went, “OK, Mickey’s on the floor, dead, and Ray’s on the phone with [Dr. Amiot].” What was exciting to us was coming to understand what Ray was doing on the phone, aside from his emotional journey? He’s on the phone to lie about what happened. He’s on the phone to take responsibility for something he didn’t do.
TVLINE | How did Mr. Voight react to the news?
HOLLANDER | [Laughs] He understood. We all knew this was the end. And Jon likes great scenes; he knew he’d get some meat. I think he was [initially] afraid he wasn’t going to be in the movie at all.
TVLINE | Are you looking at the movie as the definitive end of the series?
HOLLANDER | Yes. For sure. This is the conclusion of the story of the series. If something different were to come up, I don’t know what would happen there. But this is the end of the story of the series.
SCHREIBER | This is the end for me. For now. But if somebody creates a new narrative and it makes sense, I don’t see why [it couldn’t continue down the road]. But there’s nothing in the works.
TVLINE | Ray was also in rough shape at the end of the movie. Given what a death-defier he is, I’m guessing he didn’t succumb to that gunshot wound…
SCHREIBER | I like that the movie left things open-ended. The audience is free to [speculate about what might’ve come next]. I don’t want to take that away from them. [What happens] when those ambulance doors close on Ray? Does he live or die? [Does] Bridget [end up] running the family? That’s intentionally up to the audience.
TVLINE | Was the movie essentially 10 episodes condensed down to 100 minutes?
HOLLANDER | At its core, yes. It’s the essence of the [Season 8] story.
TVLINE | What was the hardest thing you had to cut in paring the story down?
HOLLANDER | I think it’s Terry’s storyline I missed the most, because [we had planned] such a dynamic arc for him in Season 8.
TVLINE | What would his storyline have been? The movie didn’t really touch on his maybe-suicide in the Season 7 finale…
HOLLANDER | Terry was going to have some version of an end in Season 8. We wanted him to uncover his mortality; he knew he was going [to die], and he would’ve become super dangerous because of that. So the idea for Season 8 was that he would’ve been reckless.
TVLINE | Ray got a chance to apologize to Mickey for letting him spend half his life in prison. Did that heal Ray to some extent?
HOLLANDER | I think Ray is awake now. He’s conscious. But I’m not sure if he’s ever going to be healed. He for sure [had a breakthrough though]. He saw everything. That final montage was his point of view of seeing everything clearly. That clarity of being pushed up through the water by his father — it’s a rebirth of his consciousness in a lot of ways.