As a lawyer, Cleaver Greene prefers to defend those who are utterly hopeless and probably guilty; his clients include murderers, bigamists, and even cannibals. In his personal life, he dodges debt collectors and the Tax Office, while pining after a former prostitute (Adrienne Pickering, The Reef) and flirting with his best friend’s wife (Danielle Cormack, Wentworth). Despite his roguish ways, Cleaver’s wit and charm have won him many cases and loyal friends over the years.
Guest stars in this “smart, cheeky, and funny legal series” (Newcastle Herald, Australia) include Oscar® nominee Rachel Griffiths (Brothers & Sisters), Hugo Weaving (The Lord of the Rings films), Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), and Noah Taylor (Game of Thrones).
What We Thought:
I remember the short-lived American remake of Rake starring Greg Kinnear, but never actually watched it. I had never seen this original show before the DVDs came my way either. Asst. Editor Rocky Maxwell was a fan and told me it was worth watching.
I can see why he recommended it, it’s totally my style. I love classic, flawed anti-heroes and Cleaver Greene is as flawed as they come. Greene cares about the law, doesn’t care about justice in the slightest. He has a favorite prostitute, likes to drink and has been known to sleep with a client or two. All while sharing his thoughts with his therapist who happens to be his ex-wife.
If the first episode doesn’t hook you, the show isn’t for you. Greene defends a professor from a murder charge who also happens to have eaten his victim. The professor’s last name is Murray which made me laugh because that’s my last name and he’s played by the fantastic Hugo Weaving. Of course there’s more to the story, but I won’t spoil anything. If you don’t like the first episode, its style and sense of humor, I wouldn’t continue with it.
The show is dark and the characters aren’t necessarily ones you can root for if you don’t like miserable type people. Think of it as a cross between Shameless and Better Call Saul. I think that’s the difference between the American remake and this version. The Australian show has nudity, sex, violence, etc. The remake was on basic cable and couldn’t quite capture that vibe. Had the American version been on Showtime or even AMC like the shows mentioned, it might have worked better.
There are 8 episodes in Series 1 which include stories about Greene “defending” a mother who wants to get convicted and be in jail with her daughter to prove the system is wrong. Cleaver happens to start sleeping with her of course. He defends a famous chef while dealing with the fall out of sleeping with his friend’s wife. He defends a homeless man who’s accused of murdering a teenager and who was once a famous artist. He defends a doctor friend. He defends a radio personality who he once dated. The AG is hit with a scandal and Cleaver has to help a mobster on murder charges.
I really liked Rake Series 1 and hope the other seasons find their way to me. I binged a couple of episodes within an hour of receiving the DVD set because Rocky recommended the show. I recommend it as well and I think you’ll want to see future episodes as well.
Cast & Crew:
- Richard Roxburgh
- Matt Day
- Adrienne Pickering
- Russell Dykstra
Recommended If You Like:
- Rake (the remake)
- Better Call Saul