Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Producer Mark Gordon had a little surprise for his audience at today’s TCA panel on his new Showtime drama series Ray Donovan. Gordon is executive producer of the series with Ann Biderman and Bryan Zuriff. It stars Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan, a professional fixer. In response to a question directed at the entire panel, Gordon offered that he has had a personal experience with a “fixer” himself.
“I have. I had some information that I needed to discover, all legal I believe, no baseball bats involved,” said Gordon, who appeared on the panel with Biderman, Zuriff and actors Schreiber, Jon Voight, Elliott Gould, Paula Malcomson, Eddie Marsan, Dash Mihok and Pooch Hall. “These are very interesting people.” He said that the typical private detective spends most of his time doing computer research but the fixer is a different kind of animal.
After the session, Gordon declined to give more details but laughingly said his experience “wasn’t like this,” meaning the circumstances of the show. “There is a kind of information that you need sometimes, I was trying to get information about a situation,” he said.
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Gordon’s “fixer” experience was not the inspiration for the show. Speaking about the genesis of the series, which has as 12-episode order, Gordon said Biderman brought the idea to Gordon and Zuriff. Biderman said she had always conceived the idea as a TV series, not a feature film.
“When I brought it to Mark and Bryan, and we brought it to Showtime, we came in with 8 or 9 huge boards, [Showtime entertainment chief David Nevins] said he’d never seen anybody pitch a show like this,” Biderman said. She added she finds TV more exciting than feature films because “The kinds of movies I’m interested in aren’t being made easily. I don’t want to write movies about animals and superheroes. I found myself going up for jobs I didn’t really want.”
Biderman is the creator of the series Southland but said she is no longer involved with the show. “Happily I created a template that is strong enough to keep it going,” she said. “I am fully engaged in this.” Biderman said the show would be serialized. “I never saw this being a procedural. One of the great things about telling a story in this form is you can serialize it, like writing a novel.” She said that she hopes individual episodes will be satisfying “even with dangling threads.”