The new season of Rake nearly slipped under the radar – that’s our national broadcaster for you. If it wasn’t for The Project over in commercial tv land featuring the show’s return in one of its stories the other night, I daresay many would have missed this auspicious occasion! Rake returns tonight on the ABC.


I basically binge-watched seasons 1 to 3 over a weekend a few years ago, on the recommendation of a colleague. Then kept up with it last year which was supposed to be the final season. Clearly it wasn’t, and I hope the final season is a long way off. 


It’s my theory one can be guaranteed of two things with the Australian legal fraternity – one, His Honour Michael Kirby is a hero.

The Hon. Michael Kirby

Technically His Honour doesn’t have that title anymore as he’s long retired from the High Court, but to lawyers in Australia the title will belong to him in perpetuity.  I guess that’s another story. The second guarantee is that Australian lawyers in general have a great fondness for the fictional character and anti-hero Cleaver Greene (our Rake).


Cleaver defies the lawyer stereotype, particularly and obviously the barrister stereotype. FF6E4FED-B899-4253-A90F-C99BD88A18E8He’s not rich, although has periods when he’s “flush” depending on whether he gets lucky with briefs.  There’s also amongst us for Cleaver an element of sympathy and “there but for the grace of God go I” sentiment!  Cleaver’s flaws – the drinking, drug use, the association with unsavoury characters, his self-destructive, renegade tendencies – also have him perpetually walking the disbarment line or crashing in typically scruffy fashion from one crisis to the next.  Yet, he’s fiercely bright and clever, funny and has great heart. Plaudits to the unsurpassable Richard Roxburgh in the portrayal. 


The show itself being set in Sydney for its legal scenes brings back memories for me – I love recognising the Courthouse, Martin Place and Taylor Square and the city streets surrounding them. Brings a fond smile to my face every time.  More than that though,  the show could be relied upon to provide a cynical yet darkly humourous and accurate analysis of the dinosaur that is the state political system.


Of course, Cleaver did get disbarred last season, but he’s made the move now to Canberra as a Senator. In view of the shenanigans that go on in our national capital in the “hallowed halls” of our Government, it will be interesting to see how that transition is dealt with by the show’s writers – hopefully Cleaver will get to cross swords with a Fraser Anning or Pauline Hanson character – that I’d love to see! 


Cleaver Greene for Prime Minister? He’d get my vote, flaws and all.



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