I have been a fan of the Australian version of RAKE for the past two years, so I was excited to hear that they were making an American one. The Australian RAKE stars Richard Roxburgh and the American RAKE stars Greg Kinnear. Even though this is the same character, there were many differences noticed in the two pilots. The story of Cleaver Greene/Keegan Dean is one about a lawyer with a gambling problem, who owes an enormous amount of money to his bookie. He is in love with a prostitute, and his practice is barely getting by. He gets free psychological counseling about love and life from his ex-wife. Besides the problems in his life, Cleaver/Keegan is very knowledgeable about the law. His one mission is to protect the accused from unlawful conviction.
The Australian pilot tells the perfect story of this character. You are able to understand exactly who Cleaver is. Cleaver is similar to Hank Moody from Californication, if Hank was a lawyer instead of a writer. He has swag and charisma, a ladies man who is articulate and makes you forget that he is a bad parent with many faults. Cleaver's humor is unforced and easily noticed. The one thing that is perfect in Cleaver's world is his performance in a court room. He is unmatched, and if he takes a case, he is almost assured to win. The first case was very interesting. There is a cannibal (played by Hugo Weaving from The Matrix) was is on trial for murder after he ate a man. While hearing the case, you wonder how Cleaver is going to get this guy off. Never do you see Cleaver worried about the outcome. He orchestrates a beautiful defense and "Agent Smith" is found innocent. I was hooked!
The American pilot did not meet my expectations. The story of Keegan Deane was not explained with the same detail as Cleaver Green's. You see that he has a serious gambling problem, and that he sleeps with prostitutes, but that is about all I can tell you about him. Keagan's first case was a serial killer who claims innocence. This was an ok case, but it did not spark interest the way that Cleaver's cannibal did. The writing was much better in the Australian RAKE. The acting is lacking as well. Greg Kinnear is a good actor, but he is not right for this role. In my eyes he is too friendly for this part, and can not bring the charm and grit to the part that is needed to tell this story. Cleaver is a highly intelligent character with charm, while Keegan is more silly than anything else. I am hoping that the American version gets better, but right now it's only half the show that the Australian version is.
RAKE (Australia)[button color="red" size="medium" link="http://www.abc.net.au/tv/rake/" target="blank" ]Rake (AUS) Official Site[/button]
RAKE (U.S.A.)[button color="red" size="medium" link="http://www.fox.com/rake/" target="blank" ]Rake (US) Official Site[/button]