Monday, August 24, 2015
'Rake' S2 DVD:Hilarious Aussie Barrister Aptly Defends Guilty in Kangaroo Court
Watching the eight hour-long episodes in the BFS Entertainment DVD release of the 2012 second season of the Australian textbook dramedy series "Rake" shows the evolution of this terrific series (not to be confused with the 2014 U.S. remake) from a fun and lighter one to a show that keeps the humor while adding a higher dose of well-presented drama. Folks who are interested in a primer on this show about a hilariously hedonistic criminal barrister (my people call them attorneys) are welcome to read the Unreal TV review of S1.
The numerous acknowledgements of "Rake" going from merely a highly entertaining program in S1 to one of more substance include several awards for the S2 episodes. Two of these awards are Best Actor wins for Greene portrayor Richard Roxburgh
The titular legal "professional" aptly sums up his practice in an S2 episode in which the latest in a long string of sexual conquests asks him about his success rate in court. He responds on her commenting that his roughly 50-percent success rate is not very impressive that she must consider that virtually every client is guilty.
The classic opening scene in the S2 season premiere has Greene and a married uber-high-level Australian politician, wonderfully portrayed by the terrifically offbeat Toni Collette, engaged in a tryst in a limousine. The fallout from the exposure (no pun intended) of that adulterous activity drives (again, no pun intended) much of the action throughout the season. Much of this relates to the cuckolded husband of the Premier using his own high position in the government to seek revenge against Greene for humiliation that extends well beyond making the entire nation aware of the husband not adequately satisfying his wife to keep her from straying.
This episode also involves the first of many well-done "ripped from the headlines" episodes. This one has Greene defending the Muslim widow of an Anglo man who blows himself up in front of the Parliament building.The issues extend beyond the role of the widow in the bombing to whether her religious belief that requires wearing a veil in the presence of most men trumps the need of the court to see her face during her trial.
This episode further establishes the femme fatale theme that runs throughout the second season. Another client is a teen girl who dupes Greene into defending her against a murder charge, and a woman to whom Greene is deeply indebted uses that obligation as leverage.
Greene further once again finds himself involved with former prostitute Missy with whom his business relationship has become a very caring and loving one. The plethora of S2 plots involving this pair include fallout from a "tell-all" book by Missy, a slander suit by a former partner of that former professional, and one of the aforementioned "ripped from the headlines" storylines.
Missy currently having a romantic relationship with Joshua Floyd, who operates a WikiLeaks style website, leads to Greene defending Floyd against a treason charge based on disclosing classified government information. This, in turn, leads to a murder that has Greene defending the accused. The political intrigue surrounding all this adds nice drama to these episodes.
An episode that nicely captures the lighter and more bizarre nature of S1 episodes finds Greene defending an accused "Bobbitter," i.e. a man who faces charges related to a very personal form of dismemberment. A closed-door discussion regarding the optimal means for referring to the "member" in question is a "must-see" scene.
Meanwhile on the homefront, the teen son of Greene follows the sequel rule of making the second one bigger in his follow up to his S1 affair with a teacher. In true S2 fashion, the S2 relationship is more serious on a few levels and leads to several other developments.
The season finale notably merges the the higher level of humor in S1 with the more serious overtones of S2. It further ties in virtually every aspects of the S2 plots. The case-of-the-week this time finds Greene using his own cartoon-style legal tactics to defend himself against a very serious legal charge.
The not-so-happy ending in the final S2 offering further seems to be a textbook example of an episode that is designed to serve as either a season or series finale. Fortunately for lovers of quality digestible television, "Rake" does come back for a third (and final) season. A review of those episodes should run in this space by the end of August 2015.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Rake" is strongly encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.