THE BLOG
06/25/2013 02:17 pm ET Updated Aug 25, 2013

"Dexter" Ends and "Ray Donovan" Begins

TV Review Jackie K Cooper
"Ray Donovan/Dexter" (SHOWTIME)

On June 30 SHOWTIME has something special planned for its viewers. On this night at 9 "Dexter" returns for its eighth and final season. Immediately following at 10, "Ray Donovan" premieres and kicks off what is hoped to be a long run. Both of these shows provide dramatic entertainment which is bound to be discussed at length around the proverbial "water coolers" the next day.

"Dexter" has been controversial since the day it started its run seven seasons ago. Michael C. Hall, fresh from the hit show "Six Feet Under," hit the ground running in the role of Dexter Morgan, the member of the Miami Police Department who specializes in forensics, particularly blood analysis and blood splatter. On the side Dexter kills people.

That's right Dexter is a serial killer, but he does generally only kill people who deserve to die, in his opinion. His life became even more complicated last year when his sister Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) learned of his extracurricular activities. Her life has now fallen apart and Dexter feels responsible.

This year the makers of the show have brought in Charlotte Rampling to play psychiatrist, Dr. Evelyn Vogel. As the season gets underway we learn that Dexter and Dr. Vogel have a strange connection. Rampling plays this part excellently summoning up all of her mystique and sultry ways.

It will be interesting to see how all of this ends. Meanwhile as we move towards the finale the show continues to provide pulse pounding excitement and Hall continues to show why this has been an award winning role for him.

"Ray Donovan" has Liv Schreiber in the lead role. Schreiber has been in many, many films but he is still not a household name. This show should soon give him that status. Schreiber is matched up with Jon Voight, another excellent actor, who plays Ray's father Mickey Donovan. Mickey is released from prison just as the show starts and heads to the west coast where Ray and his two brothers live. Ray is not happy with this and wants his father to stay away from his family.

Ray's job is to be a "fixer." If you have a star who gets into trouble, call Ray. He is the man who will figure out a solution to any problem. Now if he could only solve his family problems as easily as he does his professional ones.

The show gets off to a slow start mainly because it is too disjointed. There are Ray's problems with Mickey; his problems with his wife Abby (Paula Malcomson); and his problems with studio head Ezra Goldman (Elliott Gould). Plus there are other subplot problems that pop up from time to time and overload the storyline.

Schreiber is very good as Ray but it is going to take some time to get used to him, and for him to flesh out the role. So far he is not warm and fuzzy in any way. Opposite him Malcomson does not seem to be the best fit for the role of his wife. Voight on the other hand is perfectly cast. He oozes sliminess and evil.

"Ray Donovan" arrives and "Dexter" departs. Right now it doesn't seem like an equal trade.

"Dexter" premieres on SHOWTIME June 30 at 9, followed by "Ray Donovan" at 10.

Jackie K Cooper
www.jackiekcooper.com

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