The first episode follows Cleaver as he negotiates his way through his mangled existence, juggling his career and complicated personal life. Cleaver’s situation becomes even more complex when he has dinner at the house of his best friend and fellow lawyer Barney (Russell Dykstra), where Barney’s wife, Scarlet (Danielle Cormack), tearily confesses to Cleaver that she wants to end her marriage.
Meanwhile, Missy (Adrienne Pickering), the prostitute Cleaver has developed feelings for over the past five years, disappears without so much as a goodbye. Were this not enough, Cleaver also finds himself defending an economist, Graham Murray (Hugo Weaving), who has been charged with murder after he ate a suicide victim.
Despite the potentially grisly or confrontational subject matter of the first episode, Rake is darkly comedic. The cast is strong and the series contains appearances by some of Australia’s best-known actors. Roxburgh is in his element in situations where Cleaver has to show humility or his quick wit, and although the scenes where he acts like a bogan are grating, they are thankfully few and far between. Roxburgh has stated that Rake is part of a push for the return of quality Australian drama, and if the first episode is anything to go by, it looks promising.
Rake airs on ABC1 on Thursday, November 4, at 8:30pm.