The Australian show “Rake first showed on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s ABC1 in 2010. The fourth series started on ABC TV in May 2016. Richard Roxburgh stars in it as a “rake” — Cleaver Greene, a 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 quite explain it. Rake — Cleaver Greene — takes self-destruction to new levels. He is smart, snarky, witty … and 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 very 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  (so they say) 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. It reminds me that however bizarre we think our country is, other countries are — in their own way — equally bizarre, though they have better health care.

This may not be the show for everyone. The language is raw and there’s a lot of sex and drugs. It is a messy show with messy people whose lives are 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.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

29 thoughts on ““RAKE” – A WITTY, SNARKY SERIES”

    1. I know what you mean. But in this show, he gets better. Things go wrong. He improves and while other things go wrong, he becomes better with each season. That’s so rare on TV. He doesn’t do the same stupid things repeatedly. He’s smart. He learns.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. I’m still working my way throught it. I didn’t watch it when it started because I really don’t enjoy shows with a lot of bad language and sex. However, I decided to give it a try and liked it despite that. He’s a likeable character because despite his faults Cleaver Green does care about his friends and family and you can see that he’s trying to do better. Australians do quirky humour and characters very well I think. A lot of our best TV drama has been screened first on the ABC but their funding gets cut so often that it is always on the cards that shows will be cancelled because of budget cuts which is very frustrating for both viewers and the people who make the programs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have the same problems here. If the cast asks for too much money or the setting is costing too much, they just pull the plug which is infuriating. But such it TV.

      I like the way Cleaver gets better. He stops gambling, gives up drugs and booze and screwing everyone … and he is a better attorney, too. The ability to grow and change is incredibly rare in TV series and the lack of that feature has driven my crazy over the years. Garry wasn’t sure he would like this one, but after a while, he got seriously hooked.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. He reminded me of too many drinking pals. Lawyers who were always running their cases by me. drink after drink. Wondered about the clients.


  2. You’re quite right – it is not ‘him’… it is much more his co-creator, the Aussie lawyer, Charles Waterstreet!

    Everyone deserves a shot at redemption… maybe more than one? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

          1. We better get a comfy seat over by the window and settle in – we could be here for a time!

            I’ll bring the bottle and a couple of good glasses. 🙂


    1. I think it’s available via Netflix in Canada now that it’s not running a new series. When a new series runs, it’s usually not available until the series ends. So you should be able to get the first four years.


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