RAKE – SEASON 4 Premiere

Spoiler alert: This piece discusses major Rake plot points up until the end of Season 3

Everyone’s favourite (or least favourite) barrister is back in town.

The massive in-joke for both Sydney’s theatre scene and political elite, what we were taught not to be in law school yet still oh so admired by many, Richard Roxburgh’s Cleaver Greene is set for another 8-episode string after a highly successful third season run in 2014. Picking up right where he left off, Cleaver crashes into the home of a former associate in hiding who subsequently goes on the run, setting the seasons’ events in motion.

Kicking off with a fond rejoinder to some of last season’s antics, Scarlet (Danielle Cormack), now State Opposition Leader David Potter (Matt Day) and Cal McGregor (Damien Garvey) are all back, along with Barney (Russell Dykstra) in the opener’s most enjoyable storyline as he literally floats away above the clouds.

Edgar Thompson (John Waters) looks set to be a riveting villain this time around if his first-episode performance is anything to go off, introduced as the series delves deeper into its now increasingly whimsical stylings by having Thompson reunite with his former associate as he literally dangles from a hot air balloon. A far cry from the grittier, slightly more realistic early episodes where Cleaver was still in the grips of then-zealous Prosecutor Potter, floundering as a dad and at the mercy of unapologetic loan sharks, following his affair with the Premier and subsequent hostage drama at his former wife’s wedding, Rake Season 4 appears intent on playing to the show’s more waggish sensibilities.

Thrilling for its candid insight into local affairs and domestic politics, Australians and Sydney-siders in particular get no small joy from seeing some of our dirty laundry, not always touched upon in great detail, rendered so vividly on screen alongside familiar landmarks such as Sydney’s Courthouse Hotel, so well situating Rake in the collective psyche not just as a great show but a worthy hallmark of Australian drama that is distinctly, and uniquely, Australian.

Rake screens on the ABC on Thursday nights at 8:35pm