“RAKE” – STARRING RICHARD ROXBURGH. BRILLIANTLY AUSTRALIAN

Rake is an Australian television program, produced by Essential Media and Entertainment. It first showed on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s ABC1 in 2010. The fourth series started on ABC TV in May 2016. It stars Richard Roxburgh as rake Cleaver Greene, brilliant Sydney barrister typically defending a guilty client.

For Americans, the show is available (all four current seasons) on both Netflix and AcornTV. 

Rake is described as “self-destructive,” but that doesn’t entirely explain it. Rake — Cleaver Greene — takes self-destruction to new levels. He is smart, snarky, witty … and he is a total, social jerk. Everybody loves and hates him at the same time. He is awful so much of the time that not only does he get blamed for what he does, he gets blamed for everything that anyone does.

Richard Roxburgh is the co-creator and star of the show. The character is his, though I don’t think it’s “him” in a real-life way.  Regardless, he’s hands-on in the series.

Roxburgh is no slouch in the directing/writing/producing categories, His character — Cleaver Greene — changes and grows which is a rare feature on any television series. He is, in the beginning, a complete asshole. A gambler. A drug addict. An alcoholic. Beaten up by thugs more or less daily for not paying the vig on his loans. He has no home or office and works out of whoever’s office is currently not in use. What they call in Australia “a floater.”

As the series progresses, he starts to sort out his life. Although everyone continues blaming him for everything, it becomes obvious his “friends and family” are sufficiently screwed up to not need additional help from good old Cleave. Still, it’s convenient to keep blaming him because that’s easier than blaming themselves … and Cleaver is so used to being blamed, he accepts it. Until he doesn’t.

The show has been ending every year for two years, but popular demand keeps it coming back. Netflix and Acorn both have all four years of the show and a fifth is in production.

We’ve never seen a show quite like this. It’s a comedy. It’s a drama. It’s absolutely not an American  series. If it reminds me of any show made in this country, it might be “House of Cards,” but it’s more comedy and less lethal. It reminds me that however bizarre we think our country is, other countries are — in their own way — equally bizarre. Even though they have much better health care.

This may not be the show for everyone. The language is raw, to say the least. There’s a lot of sex and drugs. It is a messy show with messy people whose lives are way over the top.

Just when you think you can’t stand to see Cleaver screw up his life any more, he fixes something. Does something beautiful for a friend. He’s the most selfish guy in the world … except … he isn’t. Not really. Not when all is said and done.

It’s kind of brilliant, actually.

29 thoughts on ““RAKE” – STARRING RICHARD ROXBURGH. BRILLIANTLY AUSTRALIAN

    • We watched a whole pile of them. Like … most of them at this point, I think. English and Australian and Canadian. Just when Garry was getting frustrated, the characters did something different and he likes that Cleaver grew with the show and didn’t stay the same guy throughout. We don’t see that often on American TV. They tend to keep the characters the same way for however many seasons and it starts getting very silly.

      I’ll see if we’ve gotten Dr. Blake. We might have JUST gotten it. It takes a year or two for us to get new shows up here.

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      • Dr. Blake in on Netflix, at least 3 seasons of it. I put it in our watchlist, but it is another cop show. I think we got a bit burned out on cop shows. That is ONE thing the U.S. does very well and very frequently! Between Law & Order and NCIS, CSI (now defunct) and Criminal Minds (also finally finished) and L.A. NCIS and New Orleans NCIS … and then the British cop shows (MidSomer, George Gently) and Canadian cop shows (Murdoch’s Mysteries, et al) … and Sherlock (US) and Sherlock (GB) — and there are so many more … we could — and sometimes have — watched all cop shows all the time. So right now, we are watching many years of Star Trek we missed first round and Veep (American). I think we are temporarily “off” crime and cops for a brief period, at least until we clean our weapons 😀

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      • Cleaver reminds me of many guys I shared liquid lunches with back in my working days. Matter of fact, he is dead on — I’m reminded of many conversations shared as our drinks were filled, refilled and refilled……Ouch, maybe too close to home!

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  1. I watched one of the early ones and it was too messy for me. I might have to go back and take another look. I do think that Australian TV at it’s best is very good and quite different from US and even British shows. It’s good to know they are being seen and appreciated elsewhere.

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    • It got better with each show, but messy it remains. They also speak very frankly about what wrong with their government and legal system … a bit of an eye-opener around here where we figure no one is worse than us. Maybe we are ALL bad in our own, unique ways.

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      • I think we are all bad in our own ways. Rake runs on the government owned station so they are pretty brave, probably the reason it has been threatened with cancellation so often. The current government keeps cutting the ABC’s funding.

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      • I think shows like “Rake” and “Veep” make some folks uneasy because of their honesty, especially about politics, ethics and honesty.. If you’ve worked in that public arena, you know how down and dirty things can get.

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  2. Wait! Did you say sex and drugs? I’m in. Actually, watching actors simulate sex takes me right out of the moment. I always find myself asking “why”? Why is it necessary to have a sex scene or two in a movie or tv series? Just because we can? But this show sounds like something I might enjoy and will go now to put it into my queue! Thanks, Marilyn.

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  3. 🙂 Aus television doesn’t usually do well in the US, being, as you say, very different. And incomprehensible at times I suspect
    Richard Roxburgh is an actor of many talents. Craig McLachlan (Dr Blake) not so much – wouldn’t rush to see that one, but only my opinion.

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    • We watch so much Australian TV, sometimes I think that’s the way people are supposed to talk. I wasn’t rushing to watch Dr. Blake simply because it’s another crime-solving show and there are SO many of them. I’m looking forward to “Rake” season 5. We thought the show was excellent and never disappointing. It also kept surprising us, which is a rare thing on any TV show. Just when we thought “Oh no, not again,” it didn’t happen again. Something else happened. You have some very talented people.

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  4. Richard Roxburgh is a fine actor, but for some reason i never got hooked in the show when it aired here on free-to-air ( i tend not to watch much tv from the net). The show’s character is actually loosely based upon the real life lawyer Charles Waterstreet who co-created the show!

    Yes – there really are people (sort-of) like Rake here! 🙂

    love.

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