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Rake: Series 1

Score: 95%
Rating: 18+
Publisher: Acorn Media
Region: 1
Media: DVD/3
Running Time: 450 Mins.
Genre: Comedy/Drama/TV Series
Audio: English Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH

In a historical context, a rake (short for rakehell, analogous to "hellraiser"), was a man who was habituated to immoral conduct, particularly womanising. Often, a rake was also prodigal, wasting his (usually inherited) fortune on gambling, wine, women and song, and incurring lavish debts in the process. Comparable terms are "libertine" and "debauchee".
-- Wikipedia

This just about sums up Cleaver Greene (Richard Roxburgh, Moulin Rouge!, Van Helsing), delightful rogue about town and half-assed barrister who defends the clients no one else wants. He frequents a brothel called Club Jules and is in love with his favorite prostitute, Missy (Adrienne Pickering), and he is constantly at war (both in court and out) with tax attorney David Potter (Matt Day), whom Cleave can't help but call "Harry Sorry David" Potter, because of his striking likeness to the famous sorcerer. In addition to Greene's long-running tax fraud issues, he is also an avid gambler/loser and owes a pile of money to a dangerous man named Mick Corella and he gets beaten often, due to his inability to pay.

His best friend and fellow lawyer is Barney "Barnyard" Meagher (Russell Dykstra), and Cleave has known Barney and his lovely wife Scarlet (Danielle Cormack, Wentworth), a prosecutor, since their university days. While Greene has a secretary named Nicole (Kate Box), he has no office, instead floating from room to room, based upon which barrister happens to be on vacation or leave. He has a crappy flat, where he heats his food with an iron, but he has a lovely and successful ex-wife named Wendy (Caroline Brazier), who is a shrink that he regularly vents to, and an adorable teen son named Finnegan AKA Fuzz (Keegan Joyce), who is experiencing love for the first time, just not with someone his parents endorse.

...And that's just Cleave's personal stuff (and not even the juicy bits of it, really)! Then, there are the clients, the ones either no one wants to touch with a ten foot pole or those who are assumed indefensible. These types of folks are Cleave's wheelhouse, though. His cases run the gamut from the famous economist accused of being a murderous cannibal (Hugo Weaving, the Matrix series, The Lord of the Rings series); to a cougar who will do whatever and whomever she must to get her daughter out of jail; a famous chef and restaurateur who is accused of bigamy; a once-prominent artist who is now homeless and accused of murdering a young man on the account of a shady witness (Noah Taylor, And Then there Were None, Deep Water, Game of Thrones); a beloved OB/GYN (Sam Neill, Jurassic Park) whose very embarrassing sex act comes to a light when a homemade DVD is found; a radio shock jock named Eddie Langhorn (Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters), who incites a community to a racial riot with her opinions and, yeah, she's also an ex-lover of Cleave's. There's also the time when Cleave had a raging headache and, in simply trying to get some medicine, he gets involved in a pathetic robbery attempt - wrong place, wrong time - earning a crack to the head. He then takes a case to defend a young man accused of assault on the same night, and his witness in the case happens to be Missy, now calling herself Melissa and studying law... and also dating "Harry Sorry David" Potter. During the course of this case, a lot will come to light regarding Missy's background, especially when good friend to all and Attorney General Joe Sandilands (Geoff Merrell) is discovered to have patronized Club Jules and his reputation is destroyed. The final episode has Cleave defending his gambling debtor, Mick Corella, when he is accused of murdering an attendee of his swingers' party.

In addition to the fun and crazy cases that Cleaver Greene takes on, it's interesting to see him navigate (and completely screw up) his life and his relationships. He's a lovable jackass and super fun to watch, but despite his obvious charm, I'm not sure how he gets so many intelligent women to fall for him. He's clearly trouble from the start.

Personally, I can't wait to see where Cleave's adventures take him. He burns the world down around him and then manages to begin to slowly build it back up again in Rake: Series 1, so I can only imagine where his misadventures will take him next. Highly recommended if you like a legal dramady with irreverent, quirky cases.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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