The L.A. fixer series is back on July 12, and you don’t want to miss what might be its strongest season yet. As my video review above says, a lot of the new strength of Ray Donovans third season comes from the additions that bulk up the core cast – especially Katie Holmes. An unlikely pairing, the Dawson’s Creek alum and leading man Liev Schreiber are a great match and inject new life into the already pretty healthy Showtime drama.

Of course, Holmes isn’t the only new cast member this year. Also among the newbies is Ian McShane as Malcolm Finney, a billionaire producer who procures the well-connected fixer’s services. That dynamic sparks all the more with the parallel relationship between Donovan and Finney’s ambitious daughter Paige, played by Holmes.

After a lot of bloodshed at the ratings-record-breaking end of Season 2, Schreiber’s character starts out Season 3 adrift and struggling with a major loss, estranged colleagues and a shattered family. As always, the Tony-winning actor captures the contradictions and conflicts in Donovan — an onscreen situation never made easy by the Hollywood messes he finds himself cleaning up and the messes of his own family. There’s his always-scheming father Mickey, played by Jon Voight, who won a Golden Globe for the role. There is also brother Terry (Eddie Marsan), now in jail for a heist gone way wrong. Doing a great job over on BBC America’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Marsan provides new heart to the show and a serious uppercut in the yard.

Third seasons are hard for almost all series, but check out my review of Ray Donovan and see why this show succeeds where many stumble. Tell us what you think, too – the first episode of RD S3 has been online since last week, so take a look.