FOX, Thursdays 9/8 Central
Jan 23, 2014
Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Greg Kinnear plays Keegan Deane in Rake, a remake of the critically acclaimed Australian program. An addict first and defense attorney second, Deane is intent on self-destruction. In the pilot, gambling debts are behind his actions. For almost the entire episode he is pulling a cooler with a giant tuna worth $15,000 in lieu of payment as he tries to find a sushi restaurant willing to pay that much. He is compelled to push his serial killer client into a guilty plea, which he manages to turn around, making the police force and mayor look bad in the process.
Deane has no home, instead sleeping in the home of his friends from law school—where the wife, Scarlett (Necar Zadegan) is the assistant district attorney and often in the opposition to Deane in court. After his car is towed he borrows her car and with it her carpool responsibilities. He is pulled over for a busted taillight in the middle of a rousing rendition of the Bangles' "Walk Like An Egyptian," and the kids are taken to Children's Services since they don't belong to him. In between, he has an interlude with his prostitute mistress (Bojana Novakovic), a free therapy session with his ex-wife (Miranda Otto), a driving lesson with his son (Ian Colletti), and borderline harassing interactions with his assistant (Tara Summers). Throughout all of this Deane's face is mashed up with spots of dried blood and bruises from a gambling-related altercation at the start of the episode.
Rake has enough varied story elements to not fall into the procedural courtroom drama. Kinnear is a natural in the starring role, effortlessly making the shambles of his character's life seem not only plausible, but also sympathetic. His casual attitude towards his overlapping problems—no home, no car, massive debt—is balanced by his determination and shrewdness in making sure his clients are thoroughly represented; even if his outward appearance shows otherwise. The supporting cast, particularly Zadegan, play the straight "men" to the incorrigible disaster Kinnear is, enabling him to continue in his train wreck of a life. Watching someone who is this much of a mess can be wearing on the viewer, but Kinnear redeems his character's fiasco-littered existence with good comic timing and irresistible charm. (www.fox.com/rake)
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 5/10