What’s Worth Watching: ‘Ray Donovan’ on Showtime for Sunday, September 20


Ray Donovan, “Poker” (Sunday, Sept. 20, 9/8c, Showtime)

Live TV dominates this Sunday’s lineup, with the Emmys and NBC’s top-rated Sunday Night Football leading the pack. I’ll be keeping score with the winners and losers of TV’s most prestigious awards show—go, Jon Hamm!—but there will be at least one hour of the long night when I’ll be sorely tempted to look away. (Thanks, DVRs and On Demand for having my back.) At 9/8c, you could opt for AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead to see how our heroes are coping with their neighborhood’s military occupation by the National Guard in the early days of the zombie apocalypse. My own preference would be to follow the latest developments on Showtime’s always-gripping Ray Donovan, as it nears the end of its third season with Ray (Liev Schreiber) up to his neck in hot water—even in this California drought.

We knew it was trouble when his nemesis from last season, disgraced former fed Ed Cochran (Hank Azaria), turned up a few weeks ago, sniffing around Ray’s backdoor deal to get a piece of the NFL team the shady Finney family purchased. The title of this week’s episode, “Poker,” has nothing to do with the classic card game, but with the cat-and-mouse between Cochran and Ray now that the snoop has discovered (by illegal means) the poker that Andrew Finney (Ian McShane) used to kill his lover/son-in-law, a crime Ray helped cover up. Yes, this is one twisted California family Ray got involved with. If only True Detective had concocted such entertaining characters this season. Now Ray’s being advised to get a criminal lawyer, and how it all shakes out in the following Sunday’s season finale should make for great TV. Maybe even Emmy worthy.