Emmy episode analysis: Liev Schreiber (‘Ray Donovan’) dreams of death and destruction in ‘Rattus Rattus’

Liev Schreiber is back again in the Emmy race as Best Drama Actor for “Ray Donovan.” It’s his third consecutive bid for playing a Hollywood fixer in the Showtime series. He previously contend as Best Movie/Mini Actor for “RKO 281” in 2000, and is also nominated twice this year as Best Narrator for “UConn: The March to Madness” and “Muhammad Ali: Only One.” Schreiber has submitted the fourth season finale “Rattus Rattus” for Emmy consideration.

In the episode, an opening dream sequence signals death and destruction for Ray’s family. Meanwhile, in the real world, the FBI now has all his secret celebrity and fixer files. Ray must decide whether to avoid prison and trouble by helping them out with the Russians.

Can Schreiber win his first career Emmy for this episode? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:

PROS:

Schreiber doesn’t have to compete against last year’s winner, Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”), since he failed to receive a nomination this season. That leaves the door open for a new victor, be it unrewarded previous nominees Schreiber, Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”) or Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”), previous winners Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”), Anthony Hopkins (“Westworld”) or Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”), or first-time nominee Milo Ventimiglia (“This Is Us”).

With six career nominations — including three in this year alone — Schreiber is certainly overdue for a win. He’s also an actor’s actor, with decades worth of work and a SAG trophy on his shelf for “Spotlight” (Best Ensemble in 2015). Having worked with everyone in Hollywood, there are probably more than a few TV academy members who’d like to see him holding a trophy of some kind.

Schreiber showcases a great amount of range and empathy in this well-received episode, which served as the Season 4 finale.

SEE 2017 Emmy nominations list: All the nominees

CONS:

“Ray Donovan” had a big breakthrough at the Emmy’s last season, with five total nominations and a victory for Hank Azaria as Best Drama Guest Actor. This year, the series is down to just two bids (Schreiber and Azaria), signaling a wane in popularity.

If Emmy voters want to reward Schreiber, they have two opportunities over in the Best Narrator category. Might that prevent them from recognizing him here as Best Drama Actor?

Be sure to make your Emmy predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our Emmy odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on September 17. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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