Ray Donovan is a man of many faces. He's a cool, sophisticated Hollywood player but also a ruthless south Boston thug. He's a devoted family man who has trouble resisting come-ons from attractive clients, and a consummate professional who is also easily pushed to violence. His job as a problem fixer for the Hollywood elite has helped lift him out of the working class to within reach of the wealthy and powerful. But no amount of designer suits, sports cars or gold watches can completely mask his shady line of work, or his humble, blue collar roots. With his brothers always calling for help, his criminal father out of prison and causing trouble, and finding it harder and harder to avoid the law, Ray might be unable to shake his past.
Released from prison after a 20-year stint, Ray's neglectful and abusive father Mickey shows up in LA to get what he feels is his rightful due. A murderous low life, Mickey is nevertheless charismatic and charming. Mickey's desire to reunite with his family, and his participation in scams and scores both old and new, threatens to destroy everything Ray has built for himself. But all Mickey really wants is the love of his favorite son Ray, and that's unlikely to ever happen.
Ray's wife Abby enjoys the spoils of Ray's success in LA but maintains a deep sense of commitment to her family. She desperately wants to get out of the Valley and into the neighborhoods, social circles, and schools of the true Hollywood elite, even though this South Boston woman often feels out of her league. Abby is weary of turning a blind eye to Ray's philandering and the unusual demands of his job, and she tries everything she can think of to achieve happiness.
Daryll is Mickey's illegitimate son from an affair. Daryll is still not fully attuned to Mickey's tricks, and his association with his father gets him in trouble.
Bunchy is the most vulnerable of the Donovan brothers. Molested as a child by his local priest, he has battled with psychological and addiction issues his whole adult life. This vulnerability leaves him dangerously susceptible to the charms of those who just want to take advantage of him, particularly his father Mickey.
Ray's brother Terry is a former boxer who has developed Parkinson's disease from too many blows to the head. His condition has left him despondent and shy, and therefore extremely awkward around women. He owns a boxing gym in LA where Ray's father and brothers hang out. As much as Terry tries not to, he can't seem to avoid accepting help from Ray.
Bridget is Ray and Abby's smart and driven oldest child. Completely against her parents' wishes, Bridget falls for the foster child of a famous rap star, causing her to grow up very fast.
Conor is Abby and Ray's younger child, and is showing signs of the Donovan family temper. Mickey immediately developed a soft spot for Conor, and tries to advise his grandson based on his own skewed ways of the world.
Ray's long-time right-hand man and the principle "muscle" of his operation is a tough Israeli who is one of the very few capable of reasoning with Ray. He is fiercely loyal to Ray, even when he doesn't always agree with his tactics.
Lena handles Ray's office and research for his operation. She is a no-nonsense lesbian who is both sexy and tough and is an asset to Ray both in and out of the office.
Ezra is an old friend of Ray's, and a frequent collaborator and client. He is a powerful Hollywood attorney and is devoted to the memory of his beloved wife, but his dark history with Ray and Mickey threatens to disrupt his life and could even send him to prison.
The tempestuous law partner of Ezra Goldman is an annoying screamer. But he's also Ray's boss, and Ray must swallow his displeasure and work with Lee to solve his clients' problems.
Sully Sullivan is a dangerous Boston thug who has been in hiding for twenty years, ever since Mickey fingered him and many members of his family while in prison. To say Sully has a grudge against Mickey is an understatement.
The cocky chief of the Los Angeles FBI, Cochran wants to bring down both Mickey and Ray Donovan. He will prove to be a formidable adversary.
Andrew Finney's attractive, well-put-together daughter has a mind of her own. She has been successful in her own right as a sports agent, but her less than shrewd business tactics get Ray into hot water.
A successful and ruthless billionaire used to getting his own way, Andrew wants Ray to work for him -- and he is unwilling to take no for an answer.
A secretive priest with an agenda, Father Romero is determined to find out the truth about Father O'Connor's disappearance, and he's got his sights set on Ray.
Hector's beautiful but tightly wound half-sister is a hot mess. Strung out on drugs, with a self destructive streak a mile wide and a tragic history of abuse, Marisol has enough information on Hector to bring him down permanently unless she gets what she wants. The trouble is, not even she knows what that is.
Sonia Kovitzky runs one of the finest art galleries in Los Angeles, and she turns to Ray for help with a Russian art deal gone wrong. But Sonia's ties to the Russian underworld are much deeper than Ray ever imagined.
A fabulously wealthy boxing champ with a dark side, Hector, a fellow priest molestation victim, helps Ray on the path to recovery with the assistance of Father Romero. But the problems that Hector comes to Ray for help with prove much bigger and more dangerous.
Samantha Winslow is a legendary media mogul and head of a Hollywood movie studio. When her long-time fixers turn against her, she hires Ray to clean things up, and keep the past in the past.