The second episode of the US series Rake drew 5.3 million viewers on the Fox network on Thursday night, a drop of 24% from the premiere.

The legal drama, which stars Greg Kinnear, Bojana Novakovic, Miranda Ottto and John Ortiz, finished second behind CBS’s The Crazy Ones (8.3 million) and Two and a Half Men (8.6 million) and ahead of NBC’s Saturday Night Live clips show (4.7 million).

The Hollywood Reporter described the fall-off in viewers as disappointing, Variety said “Rake looks rocky,” and declared, “There is no way of sugarcoating this — Fox’s Rake is in big trouble.“ Deadline noted the show’s average is the same as Fox’s 2012 drama Mob Doctor, which was cancelled.

Rake had a strong lead-in from American Idol, which had 11.2 million viewers.

Entitled A Close Shave, the episode directed by Scott Winant followed Kinnear’s character Keegan Deane as he defended a group of reformed Amish men who are accused of a hate crime against an Amish elder.

“The episode struggled sorting out if Keegan Deane is supposed to be a cynical louse, if the show wants to be a procedural or quirky drama, and finding enough time for the supporting cast,” said TV critic Christopher Spicer.

“The series would almost be better suited to drop the need for a "case of the week," and give more time with the stories and interactions Keegan has with the other recurring characters.

“There are still many positives that earn this show a few more chances, such as having some brilliant moments of black comedy and Greg Kinnear is absolutely endearing and engaging as the main character.”

Peter Duncan, who co-created the Australian Rake, created the US series which is produced by Essential Media & Entertainment and Fedora Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television.

The show will screen in Australia on the Universal Channel.

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