ENTERTAINMENT

John Ortiz On New Court Dramedy 'Rake': We Want People To Love These Guys

  • John Ortiz as Ben Leon in "Rake."

    John Ortiz as Ben Leon in "Rake."  (David Johnson/FOX)

  • Ian Colletti, Miranda Otto, Tara Summers, Greg Kinnear, David Harbour, Bojana Novakovic, John Ortiz and Necar Zadegan.

    Ian Colletti, Miranda Otto, Tara Summers, Greg Kinnear, David Harbour, Bojana Novakovic, John Ortiz and Necar Zadegan.  (Warwick Saint/FOX)

Criminal defense lawyer Keegan Deane cannot catch a break. His ex-wife calls him “unreliable,” in the courtroom he is called “an outrage,” the IRS is out to get him and this is all in one day. He is not having a good time right now, but that is the fun of it.

This is the premise of the new FOX’s comedic drama "Rake," which is based on the Australian hit show of the same name. Keegan is played by actor Greg Kinnear, who is making his broadcast television series debut.

Along for the ride – on the show – is Keegan’s best friend from law school, Ben Leon, played by veteran actor John Ortiz. And the two lawyers could not be any more different.

“(Ben) is a married father of three, who on the surface seems to be put together,” Ortiz, who is of Puerto Rican ancestry, recently told Fox News Latino. “He is the polar opposite of Keegan.”

But although Ben’s life is seemingly perfect, not everything is quite in place.

“What is perfect? Right?” Ortiz said. “Nothing is what it appears to be.”

The 45-year-old New York native said that, like in life, every character in the show gets curve balls that challenge them on a daily basis, but none as much as Keegan, who seems to always have something going on.

And most of the time it’s not good.

Ortiz said it will be fun – and somewhat sad as well – to watch him get out of the challenge.

“You get kind of surprised (on the show),” he added. “There (are) a lot of twists and turns.”

Giving some additional tension to Keegan’s already crazy life is Ben’s wife Scarlet, played by Necar Zagegan. She is an Assistant District Attorney and butts heads with Keegan in court regularly.

“They are great,” Ortiz said of the cast, which also includes Miranda Otto, Bojana Navokovic, Tara Summers, David Harbour and Ian Colletti. “Greg is the leader. He’s awesome.”

He continued: “What’s really cool about the show is that we’ve got some great, great actors… (and) the characters have some meat.”

Ortiz, who is known for playing many different types of characters both on screen and on stage ("American Gangster," "Silver Linings Playbook," "Fast & Furious 5 & 6") said it’s been really fun playing a lawyer whose life is not as perfect as it seems.

He added that he feels the show is unique in that it combines drama and comedy effortlessly.

“It’s not a straight drama and it's not a 30-minute sitcom,” Ortiz said. “Sometimes we will do things that will be heavy. It’s that fine line that we’re trying to walk.”

“You will have situations that are pretty extreme, and that’s a lot of fun playing,” he continued. “We want people to fall in love with these characters that we are trying to make real.”

"Rake" premieres Jan. 23 at 9 p.m. EST on FOX.

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Lucia I. Suarez Sang is a Reporter for FoxNews.com.

Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang

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