There’s no series that makes more use of modern L.A.’s sprawling geography than Showtime’s "Ray Donovan," which launched its third season Sunday. The title character’s family home has introduced audiences outside SoCal to the upscale neighborhood of Calabasas, as well as the hipper Trousdale Estates area, where the Donovans nearly moved at the end of last year. Ray (Liev Schreiber), a “fixer” for industry types, also keeps a high-rise pad in Hollywood for those occasions when he’s working late (or cheating on his wife); ruffian patriarch Mickey (Jon Voight) now lives in a somewhat downscale condo in North Hollywood (purchased with money he stole from a legalized marijuana store); and the family’s grimy boxing gym sits not far from downtown Los Angeles.
The best real estate comes courtesy of Ray’s clients, and this season’s newest piece of eye candy is no exception: a palatial estate with pricey views that’s occupied by Andrew Finney (Ian McShane), a movie mogul who needs Ray’s brains and brawn for a number of delicate matters. Shot on location at the Bel-Air home of Mohamed Hadid — the controversial real estate developer and father of hometown supermodel Gigi Hadid — the home personifies wealth and power in that particular L.A. way. “Although it’s a modern build — probably less than 10 years old — it’s got that old, classic style,” says production designer Ray Yamagata. “The goal was to find a house where it would be believable that the home had been in the family for some time. Finney is a modern mogul but in the tradition of people like Samuel Goldwyn or Louis B. Mayer, so his house needs to reflect his personality.”
In addition to exteriors like the impressive circular drive with fountain and infinity pool overlooking the city, the series used many interior areas, including the antiques-filled living room with piano and picture windows, a kitchen the size of a small theater, and an entry hall to rival Buckingham Palace. There’s even an exotic, tiled Turkish bath that “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” fans will recognize as the location of a raucous party from a past season.
The one set that was built is Mr. Finney’s study, a rich, wood-paneled room where he conducts private business matters. “It’s set off the central hallway, so we mimicked that style,” says Yamagata, whose credits include “Californication” and “House of Lies.” “It’s got very classical touches with an older Hollywood Regency style and it’s very masculine. It also has some sinister elements.” Such as? “The glass-topped coffee table with the brass horn base and the moody lighting — things that are sharp and dark.”
Yamagata and set decorator Betty Berberian furnished the room with pieces from all over the L.A. area: the beige couch with nailhead trim can be custom ordered from Lucas Studio/Harbinger on La Cienega Boulevard; the wood trimmed velvet chairs are available at CyGal Art Deco in the Pacific Design Center; and the mushroom-shaped end table lamps and brown leather club chairs came from Charles & Charles on Rodeo Road. Other one-of-a-kind pieces were found at downtown’s Olde Good Things (the torchiere lamps), North Hollywood’s AI Modern shop (that horned coffee table), and even Craigslist (the sconces by the doors). The large wood desk, however, was custom built (“we just couldn’t find anything we really loved for that space,” says Yamagata).
Later in the season, we’ll get to see where Finney’s troublesome offspring live: son Casey (Guy Burnet) in a modern party pad in the Hollywood Hills, and daughter Paige (Katie Holmes) in a tasteful Brentwood house. For real estate addicts, it’s must-see TV.