“Ray Donovan” has been canceled. The long-running Showtime series starring Liev Schrieber was consistently one of the bright spots in the network’s schedule. However, rather unceremoniously, it was announced that the previous season, the show’s seventh, would be its last. Unfortunately, the network didn’t let anyone know beforehand and “Ray Donovan” frustratingly ended on a bit of a cliffhanger.
And in a new interview with Vulture, showrunner David Hollander explained that no one saw this news coming.
“We’re still scratching our heads,” said Hollander. “We had no indicator that the show was ending. We were behaving creatively as though we were in mid-sentence. And so, there was no sense that this was going to be a completion. This was in no way a series finale.”
The showrunner said that the behind-the-scenes drama that occurred during the merger of CBS and Viacom led to “complicated” matters that had an impact on the decision to cancel the series. But make no mistake, Hollander didn’t end the last season of the show expecting to be canceled. In fact, “Ray Donovan” hasn’t even been on the “bubble,” so to speak.
“Not even remotely,” he said. “Every other year, it was them dragging us out kicking and screaming. We were so used to it being the other way, where we were burned out by a show that was very hard to make and the network would pull us and cajole us and push us. We were used to being a show that was not canceled. We never thought we would be canceled.”
That being said, part of Hollander wishes that the series would have been canceled a year prior because at least then, “Ray Donovan” wouldn’t have ended on a cliffhanger. Instead, the showrunner thinks that ending the series after Season 6 would have been pretty great.
“It totally would have,” he added. “The end of season six was the completion of an idea. And we were pretty burned out. It felt like the end. I think it would have been an extraordinary series finale because it had enough open and enough closed. When I came back for season seven, it was with the idea that you can’t just take the completion of an arc and then complete it again, so the writers’ room began with building two seasons.”
As for where the story would have gone, the showrunner knows the exact story that he would have liked to tellin Season 8, which he was planning to be the series’ real finale.
“The pivot we had been making narratively was to move the backstory into the present and run it concurrently,” Hollander explained. “So there were actually two stories to be told: What happened then, really, and how will that impact what happens now? The next step was what happened with Ray and Mickey in the ‘90s, which would have been the creation of Ray Donovan as a character and as a fixer. That’s why we went into such detail to find the right cast.”
As of now, however, it doesn’t appear that fans will ever get to see that come to fruition. And for a series as popular and acclaimed as “Ray Donovan,” no one ever thought they’d be stuck in this situation.