“Corporations… They have all the money. They have all the power, and they use it to make people like you go away. Right now you’re suffering under an enormous weight. We provide the Leverage.”
The series centers on Nathan Ford (Hutton), an ex-insurance investigator. His life was turned around when the very insurance company he recovered millions for turned down his child for treatment to keep her alive. He quits his lucrative job and forms a team to help people who are backed against the wall by large corporations. Cases include: a soldier looking to get medical care, a family ripped off by a mob boss, a company that has allowed dangerous chemicals to harm children, and a real estate mogul trying to take a church away from its congregation.
“Because they’re citizens. Because they’re honest, middle-class citizens. These are the people who don’t want to cause any trouble; they can’t afford a lawyer, so some judge sends them away, well, yes sir. They were taught to trust the courts. They believe in the system.”
The stories are kind of a cross between the Oceans films and Mission Impossible. They get their mission and use an elaborate series of cons and covert operations to bring down their target. It also brings back the old days of The Rockford Files, when “Jimmy Meeker” would drag out his ten-gallon hat and 20-gallon charm and take the bad guys for all they’ve got. The show is even referenced in this season. At times the team utilizes high tech equipment, while at others it’s as simple as telling a few well-placed lies. In every case, the team works more for the satisfaction of helping out the little guy. It’s Robin Hood and his Merry Men.
At the end of each episode you get to see the big how-did-they-do-it reveals in flashback. I would rather see it while it was going on. At least it would be nice to be given enough information to figure it out. Unfortunately, sometimes the reveal is totally out of nowhere. Usually the team ends up missing out on the original plans and relies heavily on plan B.
Other than Nathan Ford, the band is made up of some pretty solid and colorful characters:
Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane): He’s the retrieval specialist and a bit of a wise guy. He’s played by former Angel star Christian Kane and is somewhat of a Brad Pitt look-alike to further connect the show to the Oceans films.
Parker (Beth Riesgraf): Security Circumventer. She’s the one who gets all that exploitable information on the big bad company.
Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman): She’s a not-so-gifted aspiring actress. She might be horrible on film, but when she gets into a character for a con, she’s dead on.
Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge): He specializes in internet fraud and computer hacks.
There is a slight change this season. There is a storyline where the team has been blackmailed by an Italian intelligence agent who wants them to bring down a huge dangerous criminal. That story runs through the entire season with the finale paying off that story.
Each episode of Leverage is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This is a nice transfer that seems to work almost all the way around. Colors are near perfect reference, particularly flesh tones. Black levels are nicely rendered, adding a depth of detail to the darker scenes. Daylight is a bit uneven, at times leaning toward too bright and washing out the contrast and color. This doesn’t happen all the time, but quite a few exterior shots display this unfortunate blemish on an otherwise excellent picture.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is everything it is intended to be. There isn’t much in the way of ambient sounds outside of some musical cues. This is a very dialog-strong series, so you should expect most of the sound to be in front. Dialog is clear and placed correctly. What else do you really need here?
Gag Reel: (5:37)
On Set: (2:22) Two of the show’s new writers offer a rather light and amusing look at the show.
What Does A Producer Do?: (2:34) Ever ask yourself that question? I get that question from folks all of the time. Meet a few producers who describe their jobs.
Inside The Leverage Writer’s Room: (2:31) A look at the script development process on the show.
Behind The Scenes: (7:40) A look at the action episode that sets up the finale.
Deleted Scenes on select episodes.
We missed out on Season 2. Paramount didn’t send us a review copy. That’s a shame, but it at least showed me that you can pick up on this show after missing a season’s worth of episodes. However, the first episode and season setup is linked to the last job of the previous season. It appears it was an audition for a job that will dominate the regular jobs through-out season three. But other than that, “We in business”.