Showtime’s new series Ray Donovan stars Liev Schrieber as a Hollywood “fixer,” a steely man who handles difficult situations for L.A.’s most powerful people.
In the first episode Ray takes care of a basketball player who wakes up next to a dead girl, a movie star who wants to avoid being caught with a pre-op transsexual, and an epileptic addicted starlet’s stalker. Who is this character based on? Are there still “fixers” in L.A.?
Ray himself says he’s never encountered a real Hollywood fixer like the one he plays, but he’s well aware of the history and myth of the job. “I know that they’ve been around as long as Hollywood has been around,” he said during a radio interview. “In the Forties and Fifties these guys were a lot more prevalent… But still there are jobs that need to get done that lawyers can’t handle, and they go to people like Ray.”
One of the modern Hollywood fixers is Anthony Pellicano, a private eye who is currently serving 15-year sentence in a Texas federal prison for over 70 counts including racketeering, conspiracy, wire fraud and wiretapping. His clients included Steven Spielberg, Michael Jackson, Kevin Costner and Chris Rock, but they claimed the had no idea what Pellicano was up to.
That’s some pretty crazy stuff, but Ray Donovan’s creator Ann Biderman says Donovan is based on Pellicano’s old school predecessors. “I’ve always been interested in that world that has existed around fixers,” she’s said. “Eddie Mannix, Fred Otash … These figures have been around since the beginning.”
Eddie Mannix was a film executive in the 20s-40s and an unofficial part of his job was to “fix” the problems and hide the secrets of MGM Studio’s top stars. Some of the details of Mannix’s job was detailed in The Fixers, a 2004 book by E.J. Fleming. He allegedly worked with a corrupt network of journalists, cops, and lawyers to cover up some major things, including several alleged murders.
Fred Otash was a 1950s private eye who also allegedly was in the wire tapping game. He reportedly listened in to Marilyn Monroe having sex with John F. Kennedy and Rock Hudson telling his wife he was gay. L.A. Confidential writer James Ellroy is developing an FX series based on Otash called Shakedown.
Ray Donovan has already been renewed for another season. The current season airs Sundays at 10 EST.