It’s too little too late, but let the record show that tonight’s episode was a step in the right direction. Having Michelle Forbes aboard as special guest star never hurts, but “Jury Tamperer” also did a better job of maintaining a consistent tone than any of the previous five episodes. And the central premise, that of Keegan Deane and the D.A.’s office both trying to throw the same case, was a fun one, even if Rake didn’t end up following it through to its logical conclusion.
Forbes plays the titular jury tamperer, Lucy Marks, whose daughter has been convicted of a murder under dubious circumstances. Lucy literally pumps one of the jurors on the case for information, screwing him while recording his confession on her phone. This isn’t strictly legal, even in the fanciful world of Rake, and Lucy is set to be tried for jury tampering. As it happens, this is all according to plan: She wants to be convicted of going to extraordinary lengths to save her little girl in order to create a national media sensation and subsequent public outcry to free both mother and daughter. And what better attorney for a case she intends to throw than Keegan Deane? He’s more than willing to go along, especially once he gets her in the sack.
At the same time, the D.A.’s office has no intention of winning the case, precisely because of the bad publicity it will cause for both them and the mayor. As a result, the case is assigned to a young, jittery, sweaty prosecutor who shows up to court hungover. Because Rake feels the need to shoehorn a half-dozen subplots into every episode, this wasn’t developed as well as it might have been, but it was fun to see Keegan deliberately alienating the women on the jury (as well as the judge played by Mary Kay Place) in his efforts to lose the case.
The battle of intentional incompetence comes to an end, however, when Ben discovers evidence that Lucy’s daughter really did commit the murder for which she’s been accused. This was kind of disappointing, but probably inevitable. You don’t cast Michelle Forbes for the role of a woman who actually is acting from the purest of intentions, so Keegan makes yet another enemy by causing a mistrial in the case.
The rest of the episode is as scattered as Rake usually is, but at least it’s united by the recurring image of someone walking in on people trying to have sex. Kee walks in on Ben and Scarlet trying to squeeze in a quickie before the kids get home, and Ben returns the favor when Kee is in bed with Lucy. That’s after Finn has already interrupted Kee and Lucy, thinking his dad’s pad was available for a little afternoon delight with his teacher Stacey. Keegan isn’t really upset with his son for fucking his teacher; it’s the fact that Finn is falling in love with her that he can’t abide. Let’s try to imagine how this same scenario would play out on network TV if the roles were reversed and the teacher was a man. I don’t know about you, but I‘m envisioning something a little less lighthearted.
Other developments this week include the mayor discovering his wife’s flirtation with Kee, further fueling his vendetta against our man, and the IRS scoring a victory in court in the form a 70% garnishment of Keegan’s salary. Wherever these storylines are leading, they’ll have to carry on without us as this review represents the end of our weekly Rake coverage. Regardless of whether the show has a future on Fox (which seems unlikely), it’s simply gained no traction here at The A.V. Club. I‘m not sure I’ve ever seen less interest in a show from the readership, and I don’t blame you one bit. Throughout these first six weeks, Rake has struggled to find any kind of creative foothold. Whatever the merits of the original Australian show (and the few comments these reviews have garnered suggest there are such merits), something has been lost in translation. (Yes, I know they speak English in Australia! You know what I mean!) Hey, we gave it a shot, but it’s time to say goodbye.
- I don’t really have any predictions as to where the show is going from here (and I seriously doubt I‘ll be watching), but a scenario where Ben walks in on Keegan and Scarlet making the beast with two backs would not seem outside the realm of possibility.
- I have no other observations except: This show was not very good.