Richard Roxburgh stars in the TV series Rake.
Richard Roxburgh stars in the TV series Rake. ABC

Rake's back, but as usual it’s not easy being Cleaver Greene

IT HAS been two years since Cleaver Greene graced our TV screens.

But if there's one thing fans can be sure of, it's that the hard-living, woman-loving criminal lawyer won't return quietly.

Last seen dangling from a hot air balloon drifting across the Sydney skyline, Greene crashes back to Earth - literally and metaphorically - through a harbourside window into the unwelcoming embrace of someone from his past.

"I got lifted up off the ground 30m by a crane; it was kind of fun, like a strange ride, a very expensive fun park ride," star Richard Roxburgh tells APN.

"We knew I was going to have to land somehow, it was just a matter of figuring out how it could happen in a Rake-like way that was additionally problematic.

"I think we ticked that box."

Richard Roxburgh in a scene from season four of Rake.
Richard Roxburgh in a scene from season four of Rake. ABC

The third season was going to be the final one for Rake but Roxburgh, who is also a series producer, and the creative team decided Greene's story wasn't over quite yet.

"We were quite happy with where it was and we thought it would have to be something fabulous to get us back," he says.

"You want to leave it beautiful, but then something fabulous came along. I met up with the writers and threw an idea at them. I gave them the a and the z and then they had to figure out the rest of the alphabet to join up those dots, which was annoying for them but great for me.

"Where it gets to by the end of this season is really fun."

New faces, including Miriam Margolyes, John Waters, Rachael Blake and Justine Clarke, join the returning cast in a "law and disorder" themed fourth season.

"Miriam is a remarkable actress I've admired from afar for so long," he says.

"Spending a couple of weeks filming with her was time very well spent; she is hilarious.

"She plays a fellow lawyer, a very accomplished and quite quietly dangerous one.

She gives the impression of being a dear, old, slightly potty English QC but is in fact an absolute viper."

Cleaver's balloon debacle leaves him battered and bruised, but that's only the beginning of his worries in the new season.

"Cleaver's in a very, very bad situation, arguably the most dangerous situation he's been in, and so it is particularly wonderful to see the machinations that have to be put in place for him to get out of it. There are unlikely people who come to his rescue," Roxburgh says.

"What seems to happen in every season of Rake is he ends up losing all of his personal turf to all of the people who have come and gone in his life... he's surrounded by a coterie of women who variously abhor him, which is a lot of fun."

"The great, big, bubbling, horrible messy pot of Cleaver's life is about to get a whole lot messier and more flavourful."

Season four of Rake premieres tomorrow at 8.30pm on ABC1.

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