Rake (Australian TV series)

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Rake intertitle
Genre Comedy-drama
Created by Peter Duncan
Richard Roxburgh
Charles Waterstreet
Written by Peter Duncan
Andrew Knight
Starring Richard Roxburgh
Matt Day
Adrienne Pickering
Russell Dykstra
Danielle Cormack
Caroline Brazier
Geoff Morrell
Theme music composer Johann Strauss II / David McCormack
Opening theme The Blue Danube
Composer(s) Michael Lira
David Mccormack
Anthony Partos
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 24 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Miranda Dear
Producer(s) Peter Duncan
Richard Roxburgh
Ian Collie
Location(s) Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) Blow by Blow Productions
Essential Media
Distributor ABC Television
Original network ABC1
Picture format 576i (SDTV)
Audio format Stereo
Original release 4 November 2010 (2010-11-04) – present
Related shows Rake (US version)
External links
Production website

Rake is an Australian television series, produced by Essential Media and Entertainment, that first aired on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's ABC1 in 2010 and completed its third season in 2014,[1] and has been renewed for a new season 4 on ABC TV.[2] It stars Richard Roxburgh as rake Cleaver Greene, a brilliant but self-destructive Sydney barrister,[3][4][5] defending a usually guilty client. The show airs in the United States on DirecTV's Audience Network and is available on Netflix in the UK, Canada, the United States, and Australia.

The Fox Network in the US commissioned an American version, starring Greg Kinnear as the lead character, renamed Keegan Deane for American audiences which aired between January and April 2014.[6]


Main cast[edit]

  • Richard Roxburgh as Cleaver Greene, a brilliant but self-destructive criminal defence barrister. The character is loosely based on Sydney's most colourful barrister and author Charles Waterstreet, and was named after Cleaver Bunton.
  • Russell Dykstra as Barney Meagher, Cleaver's instructing solicitor and best friend. After Cleaver sleeps with his wife Scarlet, there is tension between their relationship. In the second season, he begins an affair with Cleaver's secretary, Nicole. At the start of the third season, it is revealed that Barney and Nicole had a child together, and that Barney is receiving treatment for testicular cancer.
  • Danielle Cormack as Scarlet "Red" Engles SC, Barney's wife, a criminal prosecutions barrister. She is Jewish. In the second season, she works part-time for Cal McGregor, the Attorney-General, before returning to the bar as a criminal defence barrister in the third season. In addition to this, during the third season she has a short-lived affair with David Potter, and is promoted to Senior Counsel.
  • Matt Day as David "Harry – Sorry, David" Potter, a tax lawyer suing Cleaver Greene and attempting to get into politics with the help of Attorney General Joe Sandilands. In season 2, Potter is an MP of the Australian Labor Party and is Shadow Attorney General. In the third season, he has become the Leader of the NSW Australian Labor Party, and is having a secret affair with Scarlet.
  • Adrienne Pickering as Melissa "Missy" Partridge, a former prostitute now studying law, caught up between being Potter's girlfriend and helping Greene, a former client for whom she has developed feelings. By the end of the season, she reveals her true identity as Jane Tanner (Turner) to Cleaver and David and travels to several European countries. In season 2, she returns to studying law and writes a book based on her life in prostitution under the name of "J.M. Doolan". In season 3, the book based on her life is made into a film.
  • Caroline Brazier as Wendy Greene, Cleaver's ex-wife, who is a psychologist in a hospital psychiatric ward. At the end of the second season, she starts dating Roger, an osteopath, and at the beginning of the third season she and Roger are engaged.
  • Keegan Joyce as Finnegan "Fuzz" Greene, Cleaver and Wendy's teenage son, who often has sexual relationships with older women. By the end of the second season, he has started dating Tara, an evangelical Christian, and during the third season is planning on doing aid work in the Congo.
  • Geoff Morrell as Joe Sandilands, Attorney General of New South Wales. After reports of himself being a regular customer of the brothel in which Missy worked, he commits suicide, and is replaced by corrupt Liberal politician Cal McGregor.
  • Damien Garvey as Cal McGregor (season 2), the successor of Joe Sandilands as Attorney General of New South Wales. He is corrupt and hates Cleaver because of an affair Cleaver had with Cal's ex-wife and former NSW Premier, Claudia McGregor, played by Toni Collette. Cal is released on parole at the start of the third season, and becomes a current affairs journalist.
  • Robyn Malcolm as Kirsty Corella, wife of imprisoned crime boss Mick Corella, who Cleaver defended. He owes huge gambling debts to Kirsty. During the second season, she briefly dates Cleaver, before falling in love with Col.
  • Steve Le Marquand as Col, Mick and Kirsty's henchman, who eventually enters a relationship with Kirsty, thanks to Cleaver.
  • Rhys Muldoon as Lincoln Lincoln, an incompetent solicitor who occasionally instructs on matters for Cleaver and Scarlet.
  • Kate Box as Nicole, Cleaver's long-suffering secretary who has a drunken one-night stand with Barney, days before her marriage. In the third season, she and Barney have a child out of wedlock.

Guest cast[edit]

Episode Actor, role
1.1 Hugo Weaving as Professor Graham Murray
Sacha Horler as Murray's wife
1.2 Lisa McCune as Lucy Marx
1.3 Lech Mackiewicz as George Dana
Roy Billing as Judge Jordan
1.4 David Field as Denny Lorton
Noah Taylor as Stanley Shrimpton
1.5 Heather Mitchell as Jan Chandler
Sam Neill as Dr Bruce Chandler
1.6 Rachel Griffiths as Eddie Langhorn
Jonathan Biggins as Martin
Barry Crocker as Errol Greene, Cleaver's father
1.7 Victoria Thaine as Fiona McReady
Vanessa Joy Bristow as Kissing Stripper
1.8 Damon Herriman as Detective Maraco
Richard Carter as Mick Corella
Robyn Malcolm as Kirsty Corella
Paul Gleeson as Nigel
Steve Le Marquand as Col
2.1 Toni Collette as Premier Claudia
2.2 Don Hany as Damien Tengrove
Garry McDonald as Lawrence Fenton
Jacinta John as Agatha
Jack Thompson as Justice Beesdon
2.3 Marshall Napier as Prosecution
2.4 Angie Milliken as Therese Faulkner
Martin Henderson as Joshua Floyd
Rhys Muldoon as Lincoln Lincoln
Ben Oxenbould as Alistair Emery
2.5 Mary Coustas as Judge Ben
Chris Haywood as Prosecution
2.6 Jacqueline McKenzie as Alannah Alford
Martin Sacks as Roger Evans
2.7 Bille Brown as Dominic
Sonia Todd as Jane
2.8 Maeve Dermody as Polly Nesbitt
3.1 Dan Wyllie as Malcolm Finnane
Bruce Spence as George Corella
Emil Wolk as Justice Kieran Webster
3.2 John Noble as Clayton Post
Genevieve Lemon as Tikki Wendon
Simon Westaway as Gordon Martin
3.3 Jane Allsop as Felicity Finnane
Aden Young as Joshua (in film)
Elizabeth Debicki as Missy (in film)
Cate Blanchett as Cleaver (in film)
Magda Szubanski as Helen


Season 1 (2010)[edit]

No. in
No. in
Title Director Writer Original air date
1 1 "R v Murray" Peter Duncan Peter Duncan 4 November 2010 (2010-11-04)
Cleaver Greene defends Professor Murray against the charge of murder after Murray is found to be a cannibal.[7]
2 2 "R v Marx" Peter Duncan Peter Duncan 11 November 2010 (2010-11-11)
Cleaver Greene attempts to badly defend Lucy Marx so that she may go to prison for jury tampering after her daughter is found guilty of murder, but things go wrong when he finds that she actually is guilty.[8]
3 3 "R v Dana" Rachel Ward Andrew Knight 18 November 2010 (2010-11-18)
Cleaver Greene defends George Dana after he is found out to have been married to two women at the same time.
4 4 "R v Lorton" Rachel Ward Andrew Knight 25 November 2010 (2010-11-25)
Cleaver Greene defends Denny Lorton against a charge of murder of a 15-year-old boy in a lane, only to later find that he was actually guilty of murder for the sake of art.
5 5 "R v Chandler" Jeffrey Walker Peter Duncan 2 December 2010 (2010-12-02)
Dr. Chandler is accused of having sex with the family dog and Cleaver Greene defends him.
6 6 "R v Langhorn" Jeffrey Walker Andrew Knight 9 December 2010 (2010-12-09)
Cleaver Greene defends Eddie Langhorn for inciting a race riot on her afternoon radio program.
7 7 "R v Tanner" Jessica Hobbs Peter Duncan 16 December 2010 (2010-12-16)
Cleaver is hit over the head during a botched robbery at a pharmacy, along with one of the robbers who is accidentally hit by his accomplice. Missy reveals her true identity to Greene just before the trial where she acts as a witness to save her brother (the accused), and tension increases between all characters after Mr. Sandilands commits suicide.
8 8 "R v Corella" Jessica Hobbs Andrew Knight 23 December 2010 (2010-12-23)
Cleaver Greene defends Mick Corella, a man who he owes much money from his gambling debts to, on the charge of murder of Nigel who was getting involved with his wife Kirsty after he hosted a swingers social party. Mick concocts a story that Nigel fell on his own knife and was a dangerous man after Nigel's body is found under concrete at his construction site with DNA evidence. Missy reveals all the details of her past to David and decides to leave him and Cleaver and go on a vacation. Cleaver finds his assistant has been stealing money from him and fires her, but promptly attempts to re-hire her after she was injured by a falling Gargoyle. Fuzz becomes depressed and anxious after Fiona left him for a younger boy at her new school. David Potter wins his seat in parliament but is consigned to the opposition as the Labor government is not returned, and becomes intent on destroying Greene after he realises that he was one of Missy's clients.

Season 2 (2012)[edit]

No. in
No. in
Title Director Writer Original air date
9 1 "R v Mohammed" Peter Duncan Peter Duncan 6 September 2012 (2012-09-06)
Cleaver Greene defends the wife of a newly-converted Muslim man who blew himself up outside the New South Wales Parliament House, mistaking it for the Federal Parliament, in an attempt to kill the Prime Minister. However, he was the only one killed. The wife is charged with conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism. Meanwhile, Cleaver is caught on camera having an affair with the Premier of New South Wales (Toni Collette), causing her husband, the Attorney-General (Damien Garvey) to do everything in his power to destroy the hapless barrister. Meanwhile, Cleaver's nemesis David Potter has been left in a broken Opposition left with many ministerial positions; the major one being Shadow Attorney-General.
10 2 "R v Fenton" Peter Duncan Andrew Knight 13 September 2012 (2012-09-13)
An ex-English teacher (Garry McDonald), fed up with the lack of communication skills in a modern digital world, manages to sneak into a major political meeting between the British Secret Service and their Australian counterparts. In order to make an example of him, Attorney-General Cal McGregor manages to convince his Federal contacts to try Fenton under the anti-terrorism legislation by a very biased Federal judge. Meanwhile, Cleaver is still considered a persona non grata by Barney after getting in a fight with a drunk clown at a children's birthday party organised by Scarlet. Meanwhile, David Potter launches a defamation suit against Cleaver.
11 3 "R v Wooldridge & Anor" Rowan Woods Peter Duncan 20 September 2012 (2012-09-20)

Missy's novel based on her life as a prostitute has caused a sensation. At her book signing she reveals to David that she's now engaged to the infamous founder of an on-line leaks site.

Meanwhile, Cleaver's roving eye has led him to stray again, this time with Michelle, who tells him she's making a short film for Tropfest. He discovers she's not yet 16, and is horrified, but it's too late. Michelle is soon charged with accidentally killing a fellow actor while filming a scene, and blackmails Cleaver into defending her.
12 4 "R v Floyd" Rowan Woods Andrew Knight 27 September 2012 (2012-09-27)

Missy and Joshua are Australia's most newsworthy couple: she's a bestselling author, and he's facing treason charges.

Meanwhile, Cleaver, having been ditched by Barney, is lamenting the lack of briefs coming his way, especially when Nicole is constantly reminding him about the cases Barney used to bring in.

Cleaver tries to help his son Fuzz, who is still in anguish over his latest failed romantic endeavour, and they both end up in the confessional. But for Cleaver, there's no relief. He's under pressure to meet the emotional and physical needs of his sugar mummy, Kirsty (Robyn Malcolm), and he's being cleverly outplayed in his defamation case. But then Joshua shocks Cleaver and the Sydney bar by inviting Cleaver to represent him in the case of the decade.

Cleaver now has a lucrative brief, secures his own chambers, and is mentioned in America Today as "leading Australian civil rights lawyer". Barney's back on board and things seem poised to go right – moments before something goes terribly, terribly wrong...
13 5 "R v Turner" Jeffrey Walker Peter Duncan 4 October 2012 (2012-10-04)

Missy is on trial for murdering her fiancé, but Cleaver plans to expose the conspiracy to murder Joshua by the security set-up he humiliated. Assisted by a mysterious smoking man, he follows the trail to ASIO, the CIA, and information that may bring down the international banking system and several governments. But he needs to find the evidence.

Kirsty is furious that Cleaver is spending so much time with Missy, but when standover man Col threatens to express that disapproval in the usual manner, Cleaver recognises that Col has a secret.

Delirious with a broken arm, Barney confesses to Scarlet that he's met someone else. Hurt and confused, Scarlet allows an innocent lunch with Harry to progress down a primrose path that, with some help from Cal McGregor, will lead to perdition. Cal asks Scarlet to provide an alibi for his skipped meeting with the Premier. She does, believing it will also cover her indiscretion with David, but Cal has a darker purpose.

Some of Joshua's personal secrets are revealed in court and Missy is horrified, not only by his betrayal, but that there is now a motive for murder. Can Cleaver maintain professional standards long enough to get Missy off?
14 6 "R v Alford" Jeffrey Walker Andrew Knight 11 October 2012 (2012-10-11)

When a piercing scream splits the dawn silence of a leafy, suburban arcadia Cleaver and Barney are soon defending an IT lecturer accused of severing his neighbour's penis with garden shears. Cleaver and Barney wade into the unfamiliar swamp of Rotarians, golf and backyard barbecues to uncover the truth behind the 'bobbitting'.

Barney and Nicole have failed in their attempts to end their affair, despite Nicole's approaching wedding. And even incurious Cleaver works out that the emotional rollercoasters of both Nicole and Barney are moving in sync. Only one thing could worsen their situation... Cleaver deciding to help.

Wendy is falling for Roger, the husband of Fuzz's ex-lover, while Fuzz has a surprise new girlfriend. When Cleaver attempts to cure Missy's depression at a dinner with his family, he ends up being everyone's target.

Scarlet and David are firmly on Cal McGregor's hook, but David's colleagues push him to sacrifice Scarlet to save himself. Poised between political oblivion and the dangled promise of the Opposition leadership, David, typically, prevaricates. Cal will happily fire a bullet at Scarlet in the hope it also takes out David, even better if he can wing Cleaver too. Scarlet realises there is only one lawyer devious and unethical enough to get her out from under the 'sword of Damocles'.
15 7 "Greene v Hole" Kate Dennis Andrew Knight 18 October 2012 (2012-10-18)
Scarlett and David's affair is front page news, and Scarlet faces the disapproval of the private school mothers. Barney and Nicole agree to be 'just friends' but their definitions of friendship differ somewhat. While drunk, Greene visits a gangster friend who owes him a favour, saying he wants Lane Hole (Phil Lloyd) 'sorted out' for swindling his father out of his portfolio of shares. An assassin is hired and kills a neighbour of Hole's by mistake. Greene sobers up too late.
16 8 "Greene" Kate Dennis Peter Duncan 25 October 2012 (2012-10-25)
Cleaver is in prison, charged with the manslaughter of Lane Hole's sweet, elderly neighbour. He is bailed out by Missy, flush with funds since optioning the rights to her story to Hollywood. Greene attempts to get his charge changed to murder of the neighbour, a charge he is sure he can beat but only succeeds in getting it changed to conspiracy to murder Lane Hole. In a number of court appearances, despite the judge being against him, Greene manages to get the Attorney General for abusing his office to attack Greene, and others charged over deliberately lying in court, all sent to jail. But the bungling assassin plea bargains, implicating Greene, and is sentenced to prison. Greene is sentenced to 14 years, of which he must serve at least 8. In a prison cell, he philosophically accepts his lot but the Attorney General and two others he has just had sent to the same prison turn up outside his cell, wanting revenge, and one of them has the cell key. End.

Season 3 (2014)[edit]

No. in
No. in
Title Director Writer Original air date
17 1 Jessica Hobbs Peter Duncan 9 February 2014 (2014-02-09)
Cleaver Greene finds himself languishing in prison, after having served 11 months of his 13 year sentence. Inside he befriends Mal (Dan Wyllie), who has served 17 years for the murder of his abusive father. Inside, he faces up to George Corella (Bruce Spence), the prison boss who is serving 160 years for quadruple murder. Whilst Scarlet prepares his appeal, a corrupt judge gives Cleaver inside information on one of the appeal judges that might sway the appeal in Cleaver's favour. Meanwhile, Col plots to get on George's good side, being the partner of George's ex-fiancee Kirsty.
18 2 Jessica Hobbs Andrew Knight 16 February 2014 (2014-02-16)
Cleaver manages to outsmart the appeal judges with his inside knowledge of a shady business deal. However, his world has fallen apart: Barney is suffering from cancer, Scarlet has taken up his practice, Nicole is living in Cleaver's flat whilst bringing up her and Barney's love child. Scarlet and David Potter are having an affair, Wendy and Roger are selling the house and getting married, whilst Fuzz is abandoning university to do aid work in the Congo. Meanwhile, having been released, Mal auditions for Aussie's Gotta Sing, with tragic consequences.
19 3 Jonathan Teplitzky Peter Duncan 23 February 2014 (2014-02-23)
The film based on the life of Joshua and Missy is released, with a surprising casting choice for Cleaver. Scarlett is appointed as a Senior Counsel, and at the celebration party, with his casino winnings, Cleaver invests into a restaurant. Cleaver also acts as Scarlett's junior counsel for Helen, a doctor's receptionist charged with defrauding Medicare of $400,000 by making her child pretend he has cancer. In the background, Tikki is still pushing for her casino to be built, and both David and (inadvertently) Cleaver make it hard for her.
20 4 Jonathan Teplitzky Andrew Knight 2 March 2014 (2014-03-02)
A murder brings Felicity back into Cleaver's life. He knows he needs Barney, despite everything that's happening in Barney's life; and he can't say goodbye to Wendy or Missy.
21 5 Rowan Woods Andrew Knight 9 March 2014 (2014-03-09)
Cleaver is retained for a low rent tawdry sex offence, but the Royal Commissions that have decimated David's front bench mean that even barrel-bottom Cleaver Greene is getting lots of briefs.
22 6 Rowan Woods Peter Duncan 16 March 2014 (2014-03-16)
Cleaver's attempts at wooing result in his being a person of interest in multiple incidents of suspected domestic abuse. Fuzz has returned with his lover, the wife of the Congolese foreign minister, a Cleaveresque attitude, and, according to the AFP, a large quantity of blood diamonds.
23 7 Kate Dennis Andrew Knight 23 March 2014 (2014-03-23)
Siege veteran Cleaver leads Wendy, Fuzz and Prue out of Roger's hostage crisis, but is accidentally shot in the buttock.
24 8 Kate Dennis Peter Duncan 30 March 2014 (2014-03-30)
Something is seriously awry in Cleaver's world. His practice is booming, Barney is thriving and he is falling in love with Felicity. But does fate have some nasty surprises in store?

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Series Result Ref
2011 Equity Awards Most Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Cast
Won [9]
AWGIE Awards Television – Series Peter Duncan "R v Chandler" Won [10]
2012 AACTA Awards Best Television Drama Series     Nominated [11]
2015 Logie Awards Most Outstanding Drama Series Rake Nominated [12]
Most Outstanding Actor Richard Roxburgh Nominated

DVD Rating[edit]

In Australia, Rake was rated MA 15+, whereas in New Zealand, it was rated R16 for sex scenes, violence, drug use and offensive language for the first two seasons and season three is rated R18 for violence, offensive language, drug use and sex scenes.


  1. ^ Rake season 3, ABC Television
  3. ^ "A Rake's progress" by Graeme Blundell, The Australian (30 October 2010)
  4. ^ "Rake's excess" by Louise Schwartzkoff, The Sydney Morning Herald (1 November 2010)
  5. ^ Rake by David Knox, TV Tonight (1 November 2010)
  6. ^ Ellis, Scott (10 May 2013). "Charm wins over as Rake remake secures slot at Fox". The Age. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  7. ^ Rake: Episode 1: "R v Murray"
  8. ^ Rake: Episode 2: "R v Marx"
  9. ^ "Equity Awards 2011: Winners announced". Equity Foundation. Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). 29 April 2011. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "AWGIE Award Winners 1968–2012" (PDF). Australian Writers' Guild. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  11. ^ "AACTA – Nominees" (PDF). Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA). Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  12. ^ Willis, Charlotte (22 March 2015). "Here's the full List of 2015 Logies nominations". news.com.au. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 

External links[edit]