When Ray Donovan season 5 premiered on Showtime Sunday night, it didn’t take long for a key story to be revealed: Paula Malcomson’s Abby is gone. The character died of cancer in the midst of the time jump, and that leaves Ray reeling more than ever in the present while he tries to deal with some of his jobs.. He’s in mourning, and he’s lost that anchor. He may not have appreciated her enough through her life, but with her gone, that may start to change as the story needle moves in a few interesting directions. We’ll explore more of her past with Ray, and some of what the two collectively went through. That is why the August 13 episode “Las Vegas” will bring you back to a time when the two were together and celebrating their anniversary … with a little vintage Ray Donovan chaos thrown in, given that this is the way of this world.
So why make this choice to kill the character off? Speaking per Entertainment Weekly, showrunner David Hollander insists that this move had little to do with anything other than a desire to try and drive the story forward in some interesting ways:
“It was a narrative decision. It was about finding the best story to tell to get deeper into the character of Ray. And I thought it would give the show a chance to explore how important she is in a way that we’ve never been able to do.”
Hollander also added that the plan at the moment for Malcomson is to still feature her in many different ways throughout the season; it’s possible that her role will lessen significantly in the event that the show gets renewed, but that is something to worry about down the road. There’s still so much to get through this season first, as Ray clashes with movie studio head Sam Winslow (Susan Sarandon) and tries to do some of his trademark fixing while being a little more untethered. Through some of his day-to-day actions, odds are that you’ll start to understand even more how much the character meant to him.
There are two things that Ray Donovan and the writers are doing when it comes to this situation that is so smart: They are having a character die in a way that is more human and less about guns, bombs, or anything else crazy. Also, they are showing a realistic side of the grieving process, one where it hits you in waves and you don’t see everything play out at once. Turning this into a season-long arc gives both Malcomson and Liv Schreiber some of the best material possible to work with as we collectively say farewell to this character.
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Then be sure to head over to the link here! We’ll have some other insight on the show, including some ratings updates, in the near future. (Photo: Showtime.)