RAKE goes into courtroom procedural overdrive this week when Cleaver Greene agrees to represent no less than four men at four separate hearings in one day.
Sydney is in a legal frenzy: there are five royal commissions and seven ICAC hearings taking place at the same time. Every other lawyer in town is tied up, so when a few high-profile jobs arise, the defendants turn, somewhat reluctantly, to Cleaver. It’s a massive haul for Greene, who has been snuffling around for scraps ever since his release from prison. The majority of this episode sees Cleaver and Barney careen from one hearing to the next, literally knocking people over as they pass. Think of it as Law and Order meets The Goodies.
The four cases, in order of ‘horrifying’, to ‘standard procedure’:
Cleaver is asked to defend an old friend, Father Bobby (Paul Sonkila), who will appear at the Royal Commission into institutional child sex abuse under the allegation of having covered up abuses by some of his fellow priests; a trading young gun named James Horner (Tom Hobbs) is called to the Orphanos Royal Commission to defend himself against allegedly creating a $120 million dollar slush fund using large-scale trades executed on his password-protected account (We smell a rat!). Speaking of embezzlement, Clayton Post (John Noble), one of the few surviving members of David Potter’s dwindling cabinet, (all the rest are either in gaol or wrapped up in commission hell), gets done for unlawfully spending thousands of tax-payer dollars, most notably on a ‘chiropractor’ named Pussy Patton. And last but not least, after all that high-brow commission work, Cleaver evens the scales with the case of a Mr Newtown, who is accused of an indecent act of self-love, the ‘outcome’ of which he posted to his ex-wife.
It’s a lot to keep track of.
Needless to say, this episode is pretty much all business. There’s no Wendy or Fuzz, no Felicity to flirt with and not much time spent with Barney’s illness. But we are beginning to see what all the foundation work of the opening four episodes has been leading us towards. Most of it seems to revolve around the increasingly appalling Tikki Wendon (Geneviève Lemon), her stepson, Paul, (Ian Meadows) and the unpleasant gambling development that she is attempting to inflict upon the Sydney harbour foreshore. Meanwhile, Cleaver’s ‘blob at the end of the bed’ is taking up more and more of his attention (and screentime), which is creepy and a bit bizarre. But it’s setting us up for some juicy chunk of self-realisation somewhere down the track.
The show is boosted by some strong cameos: Max Cullen is funny as the ‘human wind sock’, Judge Coote, and Ben Winspear– who we don’t see enough of on Aussie TV– is suitably intimidating as banking honcho Sebastian Strong.
In all, this is a fast-moving, energetic episode of RAKE that leaves the right amount of loose strings required for some good office email banter before next Sunday’s show.
Review Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Rake screens Sunday nights at 8.30pm on ABC1 and is also available on iView.