Everybody draws the line somewhere. For Ray Donovan - the scruple-free Hollywood "fixer" played by Liev Schreiber in the Showtime series of the same name - that line is killing your no-good criminal dad (Jon Voight).
But hiring a hit-man (James Woods), on the other hand, as happened in last week's episode, is OK.
"It's one of those collisions of character that I really like about the show," Schreiber says with a chuckle in a phone conference promoting the series, which airs in Canada on The Movie Network and Movie Central.
"Off the bat, you might think Ray is a totally homicidal personality who could easily kill his father. But one of the other aspects of his character that I really admire is, he has a tremendous loyalty and depth of feeling around the subject of family.
"And while he may feel that his father's death is absolutely necessary, I don't think he can stomach the blood on his hands."
A true anti-hero, tough-guy Ray leads a compartmentalized life - one minute smoothing over things when a movie star gets caught with a transvestite hooker or a basketball player wakes up next to a dead girl (or getting into sexual misadventures himself). In the next, he's trying to normalize life for his family, clueless wife Abby (Paula Malcomson), teen daughter Bridget (Kerris Dorsey) and son Conor (Devon Bagby).
Interestingly, Ray's testosterone-fueled world was created by a woman, Ann Biderman.
"As a reader (of the script), what I found most interesting was that Ann had taken a kind of noirish anti-hero and sort of put him in a (regular) world. The situation is generally that they exist in these noirish worlds. But these noirish worlds don't really exist for the average male. And to put Ray in Hollywood and give him a family is an interesting exercise in exploring moral identity."
As well as male identity. Schreiber, who's no stranger to tough-guy roles (from Sabretooth in X-Men Origins: Wolverine to alpha-enforcer Ross Rhea in the hockey comedy goon) admits he wondered how a woman plugged into a man's world.
"For the longest time, I thought, 'Isn't it odd that this woman is writing so intimately and, I think, accurately about male sexuality and identity?' And I was talking to a friend about that, and she said, 'Well, of course. Who knows men better than women do and what makes them interesting?'"
As for the depths of Ray's behavior, Schreiber admits that was a challenge in his personal life. "I've never been the type of actor where you had to call me by my character's name on set (because) I'm deep in immersion. But I think Ray is probably one of the first times where after playing him - for five and a half months - I really, really need a break.
"After having read the first script and talking to Ann about it, I said, 'Y'know this is dark stuff, and I'm not sure I want to spend this much time with this character.'
"But my out has always been my two boys, 4 and 6 (with partner Naomi Watts). They really couldn't give a rat's a-- what I'm going through at work.
"And when I get home, they demand my full attention. That always helps pull me out very quickly."