By Tom Gliatto
January 27, 2014 12:00 PM


FOX, Jan. 23, 9 p.m. ET/PT |


Rake feels closer to a USA show than something on FOX: a slight, unhurried legal series that depends almost entirely on the raffish, cynical charms of Greg Kinnear. Still, as programming strategy, this may not be a bad idea. If Kevin Bacon’s The Following stresses you out, then here is Kinnear as Keegan Deane. A smart but self-defeating Los Angeles attorney with gambling debts, a sort-of relationship with a prostitute and no home to call his own, he isn’t living too far outside the shadowy zone of Showtime’s Ray Donovan. Except that Kinnear is an actor who gives off a kind of perpetual sunniness, only slightly dimmed by smog. He knows how to deliver a put-down without having to press down too hard, and he can play smarmy without sacrificing some essential decency or even innocence: He has the wide, sincere eyes of one of Dr. Seuss’s Whos, unable to imagine that a Grinch might actually steal Christmas. The first few episodes of Rake are, if anything, even fluffier than White Collar—one case involves Amish beard shaving. All the better for Kinnear to gently cut through the whimsy with his sharp delivery. He’s buttressed by several strong actresses: Mirando Otto (The Starter Wife) as his ex-wife (and sometime therapist) and Necar Zadegan (24) as a married assistant DA who may have a thing for this rake.