Season One, Episode One, R vs. Murray
Original Air Date: November 4, 2010
Cleaver Greene is upset when his favorite call girl, Missy, inexplicably leaves the brothel where she works without telling him. His best friend's wife drops a bombshell on him that she wants to leave her husband. He has tax problems that are constantly dogging him. To top it all off, he takes a new case, one that everyone (well, everyone except Cleve) finds strange and rather disgusting: defending a key government economic advisor Professor Graham Murray who just so happened to eat someone over the course of three days after finding him on the Internet.
Rake is a new comedy/drama on the Australian ABC1. The first season of the series will be delivered in eight, one-hour episodes. It follows the escapades of Cleaver Greene (Richard Roxburgh). Greene is an attorney who doesn't exactly live the typical attorney lifestyle. He has a passion for beautiful women, drinking, wild behavior and generally living life to the fullest. His ex-wife, Wendy (Caroline Brazier) is a psychiatrist who Cleave often goes to when he's having problems to get a "freebie analysis". Cleave and Wendy have a teenage son, Fuzz (Keegan Joyce), who, in many ways, appears to be following in his fathers footsteps. Cleave has a favorite call girl that he likes to patronize, Missy (Adrienne Pickering). She isn't only his favorite method of distraction but is also a friend and confidant. David Potter (Matt Day), who Cleave has a penchant for calling "Harry" (which David doesn't like), is going after Cleave for tax problems that he keeps ducking.
The story begins with Cleave begin driven into a desolate area at night by Col (Steve Le Marquand), the muscle of his bookie, Mick. Cleave had saved Col's brothers from something in the past and the fact that Col now has to rough Cleave up a bit isn't something he's looking forward to but does anyway because he can't be seen to be weak. Plus, the clock is ticking on Cleve. He's got 14 days to set things straight.
The battered Cleave goes to the one person he can trust and that will take care of him: his friend and favorite call girl, Missy. She cleans him up and the two spend the evening talking and playing backgammon until the signal comes that it's time for him to leave. As he is leaving the
Cleave goes home, which is apparently a small, cluttered room over a greasy spoon. After being awakened by the cook (who hit the ceiling with a broom), Cleave goes down to the eatery, in his bathrobe nonetheless, to watch news reports dealing with the arrest of Professor Murray.
Joe is outraged because cannibalism apparently isn't against the law in the state but the public outrage over Professor Murray's crime must be dealt with. He wants Murray to get on trial and some serious charges against him. It's an election year and they can't look soft on him!
Cleave arrives at Welbourne Chambers with a bag of laundry slung over his shoulder. His secretary Nicole (Kate Box) informs him they will soon be homeless again as the former occupant of his office is returning early because his wife broke her leg. His next problem comes at 10 that morning when he has to face David Potter in court because of files being sought by the taxation office that were apparently "lost". Cleave convinces the judge (John Gregg) to give him more time as the files were lost by movers who "rushed through what should have been a painstaking task" and, thanks to a torrential storm raging over the suburbs of Sydney that day, he was a victim of the weather. The files were destroyed along with cherished personal items.
Cleave, Barney (Russell Dykstra) and Don Osbourne (Donald McDonald), go to speak with Professor Graham Murray (Hugo Weaving) who stresses the fact that he didn't kill Sebastian Carey (the man he ate!). Sebastian (Matthew Moore) committed suicide and Murray simply ate him over the course of three weeks. He is concerned that his wife might be "a little upset" and wants Cleave to get a message to her that they can get through everything that is happening as "every marriage has its ups and downs". They watch a video made by Sebastian where he states he is committing suicide and that he wishes his remains be consumed by Professor Murray and takes the sleeping pills on camera. Murray can be seen in the background "preparing the area" where he dismembers Carey.
Cleave feels that Murray must be defended against the murder charge even though it's pretty clear he is going to be spending the rest of his life in an asylum. Cleave and Barney talk with Murray's wife, Annie (Sacha Horler) who is distraught over her husbands actions. She even tells them that Murray convinced her to eat a portion of Sebastian telling her the meat was "chicken". She was surprised to learn of her husbands cannibalism as he had been a vegetarian since he was 23 bringing about one of Cleave's many awesome lines from this episode "From veggo to cannibal without so much as even a chop in between".
That night, while doing a little research for the case, Cleave logs onto "Rare Flesh", which is apparently a site where budding cannibals meet and discuss their favorite past time. "Member 187" even asks him in a chat room "You hungry?" Cleave heads to the brothel, er, Club announcing himself as "Eager Beaver Cleaver" only to learn that Missy is no longer working there. Her number has also been disconnected. Saddened, Cleave the next day heads to the home of his ex-wife, Wendy to talk over Missy's disappearance with her. He's got a guy that works for a credit agency that he got off a couple of stalking charges a while ago checking into Missy's records. Their son, Fuzz, arrives and, when he and his father are alone, Fuzz asks him to cover for him with his mother Friday night. He doesn't tell his father why he doesn't want his mother knowing where he is. After being reminded what happened when his mother found Fuzz smoking, Cleave goes along and provides his son with an alibi.
At Barney's birthday dinner that night, Cleave drops another great line on everyone "It's official, we do taste just like chicken" when the others at the party ask if Murray's wife really said she'd eaten Sebastian thinking it was chicken. Everyone cannot understand why Cleave is doing all he can to prove Murray didn't commit the murder. Cleave doesn't really care about Murray's future, he surprises them all by admitting he is doing it because he cares about the law. He cares about the law, it's justice he doesn't give a toss about. After dinner, Barney's wife Scarlett (Danielle Cormack) confides in him that she is thinking of leaving Barney.
The next day, Cleave sees Missy across a crowded courtyard. The two have a sit down and she tells him she is going to law school. He feels they had more than just a business relationship even though she claims that is all it ever was. She leaves after stating that she trusts she can rely on his discretion should they ever bump into one another again in the future. He takes off after her wanting an explanation but she doesn't want to give one.
Missy goes to her law class and, low and behold, who is the lecturer, Cleaver Greene. The class has been discussing the Trade Practices Act. "Ah, misleading and deceptive conduct, I know it only too well." He starts into his 'lecture' and Missy gets up to leave. He quickly changes course and heads into discussing Ravel and even goes so far as to start humming Bolero. As Missy runs out the door, Professor Morrison enters the room.
Barney and Cleave speak with Professor Aden Sinclair (Nicholas Hope), a friend of Murray's. Sinclair claims he never saw any indication that Murray was a cannibal but, as he says, nothing has been normal since 'the crisis began'. Sinclair goes on to tell them he is married and his wife is an invalid. He admits that moments before the Lehman collapse was announced, he and Annie Murray consummated their "emotional affair".
After a game of doubles tennis with Don Osbourne, Barney and another man, Don dies of a heart attack. Barney and Cleave go to Murray and tell him it was the late Mr. Osbourne's opinion he should plead guilty to murder. Murray is convinced that he will be found innocent at trial and he will be able to go home to Annie.
The prosecutor at Murray's trial (John Gaden) makes his opening argument that Murray preyed on a mentally ill person to induce his death. Cleave stands and reminds the jury the only charge they have to consider is that of murder. Dr. Lucy Hartcher (Jeanette Cronin) testifies that it is possible Sebastian Carey had a fetish of self-degradation causing him to want to "turn (himself) into anothers excrement" and that he could have been susceptible to anothers power of suggestion. Murray is angry over Hartcher's testimony feeling she ran right over Cleave. He wants to know why Annie and Aden aren't at the trial but Cleave doesn't know. Barney and Cleave talk to Annie Murray about Professor Sinclair and she's not happy he told them about their affair. She worries it is only a matter of time before he feels the need to "confess" to someone else and, heaven forbid, it is the press because it will never end then. They tell her Graham needs her to be there in court.
The next day, Graham Murray testifies on his behalf. He had never met Sebastian before that night and they didn't discuss the "GFC" (global financial crisis) and Cleave points out that Murray failed to predict it. He stresses that Murray cannot be the genius the prosecution has him pegged as if he failed to predict the GFC. Annie enters the courtroom while Graham is testifying and his demeanour changes completely. He admits that Annie didn't know anything about his dealings with Sebastian Carey. He bursts out crying saying "I'm not a killer! I'm an economist". The jury finds Murray not guilty of Carey's murder.
Missy shows up at Cleave's tiny home that night. She feels she does owe him an explanation and tells him about her childhood with her diplomat father. She fell apart when her parents were killed in a car crash before she turned 18. She has a chance to start again and she wants to try. She asks him to explain some law-related Latin to her and they formally introduce themselves to each other.
I think it is safe to say that I liked Rake from the get-go. Cleaver Greene is the most unorthodox lawyer on the planet and I think he gets into more trouble than he gets his clients out of. He's an interesting character that I can't help but like despite all of his many, many flaws. And does he ever have a lot of flaws! The show, and especially, Cleaver Greene, is unique, funny and completely irreverent. It's nothing like your typical legal dramas where you have a case that is neat and clean and ironed out in an hour by your stereotypical lawyers. There is nothing stereotypical about Rake.
There's a ton of humor in this episode and none of it seems to be forced just to get a laugh. The supporting characters were all good. I really like Missy and the way her character interacts with Cleave. It will be interesting to see how their friendship develops over the course of the next seven episodes. Since we've started off with Cleave defending a cannibal, I can't wait to see what other kinds of colorful characters he will defend in future episodes. Can you even top a cannibal? I'm not sure that's possible, but, if anyone can do it, Cleave Greene certainly can!
Rake airs each Thursday at 8:30 p.m. (AUS time) on ABC1.
For more information:
Official ABC1 Site: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/rake/
The Internet Movie Database: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1587000/
TV Rage: http://tvrage.com/shows/id-26845