Leverage


Leverage Information

Leverage is an American television drama series, which aired on TNT from December 7, 2008 to December 25, 2012. The series was produced by Electric Entertainment, a production company of executive producer and director Dean Devlin. Leverage follows a five-person team: a thief, a grifter, a hacker, and a retrieval specialist, led by former insurance investigator Nathan Ford, who use their skills to fight corporate and governmental injustices inflicted on ordinary citizens.

Season 1 consists of thirteen episodes, which writers John Rogers and Chris Downey and producer Dean Devlin intended to be a complete story should the series not be renewed. Season 2, for which production moved from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon, ran in two parts: a nine-episode summer season that premiered on July 15, 2009, followed by a further six episodes the following winter. Leverage moved to Sunday for Season 3, which began June 20, 2010.

Leverage was renewed for a fourth season on July 30, 2010. It premiered on June 26, 2011, and ran for 18 episodes, ten in the summer and eight in the winter. The continuation of Season 4 began on Sunday November 27, 2011, at 9pm EST on TNT.

On August 12, 2011, Leverage was renewed for a fifth season, to be both filmed and set in Portland, Oregon. Season 5 premiered July 15, 2012.

Leverage was canceled on December 21, 2012 amid falling ratings. The final episode, which was produced as a possible series finale, aired December 25, 2012. On January 9, 2013, Leverage won Favorite Cable TV Drama at the 39th People's Choice Awards.

Series overview

Main article: List of Leverage episodes

Plot

Nathan Ford is a former insurance investigator with an intricate knowledge of scams. He and his team act as modern-day Robin Hoods, staging elaborate cons for clients victimized by an individual or corporation with the wealth and influence to avoid reprisal within the legal system.

The team comes together when Victor Dubenich, a wealthy aerospace executive, persuades Ford to lead a team of talented criminals to steal back aeronautical plans allegedly stolen from him by a competitor. After a successful heist, Dubenich double-crosses them, withdrawing their payment and attempting to blow them up in an abandoned warehouse. In retaliation, the group decides to run a con on Victor, eventually exposing his corruption and implicating him in a bribery attempt, which leads to his being arrested by the FBI. When the con is complete, rather than retire, they decide to keep working for the thrill each gets doing the work they are best at, and the added bonus of how effective they are as part of an elite team. Ford's condition for continuing is that he is allowed to select their jobs, steering them from crimes engaged in for pure profit to jobs undertaken to benefit those with a genuine need who cannot use the legal system or other "legitimate" methods to redress their grievances. Underpinning the main plot are two relationships: Nate and Sophie, whose complicated romantic relationship dates back to his days as an insurance investigator, and Parker and Hardison, whose nascent romance plays out tentatively, as they learn how to build a relationship.

The team sets up headquarters in Los Angeles, operating as Leverage Consulting & Associates, and for a time operate free of scrutiny until the arrival of Nate's former competitor, James Sterling. With Sterling determined to take them down, they pull their most daring heist by stealing a maquette from Nate's former boss, Ian Blackpoole. Nate's revenge comes at a cost, and the team must disband for six months. It re-forms in Boston, Nate's hometown, where they resume their activities, still followed by Sterling. Season two ends with the team still intact but physically separated from Ford, who surrenders to Sterling and the FBI rather than allow the team to be arrested.

As season three begins, Ford is in prison, while the team attempts to find a way to get him out, until fate intervenes in the form of a mysterious Italian woman who aids in Nate's escape. She blackmails the team into taking down infamous and untouchable criminal figure Damien Moreau. By season's end, the team finally brings down Moreau's empire, and he is left imprisoned in San Lorenzo, a fictional European nation he once controlled until the team ousted the puppet regime leader.

Season four opens only days after their return from San Lorenzo, the team discovering that someone has been bugging their headquarters. They assume one of the many influential people they've brought down is now out for payback. Nate discovers that its really the work of a wealthy businessman named Jack Latimer. Latimer has been tracking the team's movements since their formation in Chicago, and has found a way to profit off their good deeds. With every major company they bring down, he invests in their competitors and makes a fortune, having built a multibillion-dollar empire in the short span of their operations; now he offers to give the team intel on the evildoings of other major corporations, if they alert him in advance and give him the chance to profit on each company's downfall. Nate, however, does not trust Latimer and refuses to associate himself and his team with Latimer, and his suspicions prove to be justified when it is revealed that Latimer is secretly working with Victor Dubenich (the team's first victim), who is out to not only rebuild his fortune but also destroy the team.

Season Five (which turned out to be the final season) opens with Nate having the team moved to Portland, Oregon and setting up shop in a microbrewery, but the season premiere ends with the revelation that Nate is working with Hardison on a secret project which is unknown to the others. After a series of extremely intricate jobs, the secret project is revealed and the ultimate score is carried off, despite the re-appearance of perennial nemesis Sterling. However, the season's ending episode, broadcast on Christmas Day 2012, also reveals drastic changes in the lives and dynamics of the team, but assures the audience that the con will go on.

Setup

Most episodes follow a set story structure: After meeting the client, the Leverage team researches the villains to find a weakness to exploit as part of their con. Each con, either as originally planned or as complications develop, typically requires the specialized skills of all the members of the group. Towards the end of each episode, the villains seem to get the upper hand, only to be outwitted by the Leverage team. Because most of the narrative has seemed to follow the Leverage team's point of view, the audience is momentarily uninformed as to exactly how the Leverage team has succeeded in their con. A flashback then reveals how a seeming complication was either anticipated by the Leverage team, or utilized in a clever improvisation. These flashbacks, which feature in every episode, sometimes reveal only in retrospect that an earlier scene was actually a clue to the Leverage team's plan. More often, however, the flashbacks reveal new information the viewer has not been privy to. This formula is followed by every episode in seasons one, two, and three. With the exception of the final season, each season ends with a two-part finale which involves a two-part, multi-stage con designed to bring down a major adversary, such as an international crime financier in season three, with an ending that advances the team's story into the new season.

Cast and characters

Main cast

  • Timothy Hutton as Nathan "Nate" Ford ("The Mastermind" or "The Brains" in the opening credits of later seasons): A former insurance fraud investigator for IYS Insurance operated by Ian Blackpoole and the team's mastermind. The son of South Boston numbers runner Jimmy Ford, Nate originally intended to become a Catholic priest prior to becoming an insurance investigator. While Ford was working for IYS, Blackpoole decided on a policy of denying every medical treatment especially those experimental (Blackpoole claimed the policy was implemented to cut costs, but in fact to turn a bigger profit), his young son Sam became fatally ill and IYS refused to pay for an experimental procedure, resulting in his death. The aftermath led to Nate's divorce from his wife Maggie, his subsequent dismissal from the company and his descent into alcoholism. Ford swore vengeance on Blackpoole and IYS which would come to pass years later. After meeting the team for the first time and running a con against their first mark, instead of disbanding as intended, Nate is asked to continue working with them and is given the privilege of leading the team and selecting what clients the team will help. A skilled planner, Nate draws on his experience as an insurance investigator to anticipate the moves of his team's marks. Nate is at first very affable, but is unwilling to discuss his own problems with friends or others. His tendency to change objectives in the middle of a job, his alcoholism, and his often-tenuous relationship with his team has on occasion put the client and the team at risk. Since moving to Portland, he and Sophie are now an established couple, but he is working on a project with Hardison's help which is being kept secret from the other team members and only revealed to them and the audience in the series finale as "the Holy Grail" of all scores.
  • Gina Bellman as Sophie Devereaux ("The Grifter"): British actress and accomplished grifter with a taste for art theft. Multi-lingual and particularly adept at the use of accents, Sophie is seen to portray many characters in various cons, usually making direct contact with a mark to draw them into the con. Sophie has a collection of aliases, which includes "Sophie Devereaux", but her real name remains unknown. Comically, her attempts to make a career as an actress lead to nothing but failure, as she proves woefully untalented and over-the-top onstage. It is only during a con when she can disappear effortlessly into a character, where ironically she can actually act well if she is pretending to be an actress. She has a long history with Nate, dating back at least ten years to when he pursued her with IYS as an art thief. At some point, they recognized an attraction to one another, leaving Sophie alternately frustrated, angry, and disappointed. They have on occasion tried to further the relationship, but for various reasons one or the other resisted. Nate asks Sophie (using her real first name) to marry him in the series finale, and she accepts.
  • Aldis Hodge as Alec Hardison ("The Hacker"): The team's computer specialist and hacker. He is a self-proclaimed geek and science fiction fan, with an easy going manner and dry, unusual wit. Hardison was raised by a foster parent, an older woman he refers to as "Nana". Hardison can hack into most forms of electronics and is rarely caught. Hardison designed and assembled the computer and television systems in the team's headquarters, and is responsible for the two-way earpieces used by the team on each episode. He is also very attached to his electronics (and in particular his van) and shown to become very depressed when the con takes a turn for the worse and requires they destroy his electronics to make their escape. Hardison and Parker's relationship develops into a romantic one as time goes on but it is fraught with personal (and physical) complications.
  • Christian Kane as Eliot Spencer ("The Hitter"): The team's highly skilled martial artist, weapons expert and self-described "retrieval expert". A former soldier in the United States Army, his role in cons is often to play small roles while protecting the team, often leading him into hand-to-hand combat that draws on his martial arts skills. Eliot once worked for crime financier Damien Moreau, and has a long history as a hired gun and bodyguard, then a retrieval specialist. Eliot has proficiency with firearms, but dislikes guns. While merely presumed as the muscleman, he demonstrates a subtle intelligence in conversation, often taking advantage of the underestimations of others and later in the series performs as a grifter along with Sophie. In contrast to the other characters Eliot prefers to keep his romantic life private, as well as much of his background. In the course of the series, he has displayed an extraordinary talent for cooking, and is now in charge of the kitchen of the microbrewery in Portland where the team has set up headquarters (despite clashes on the subject of food with Hardison).
  • Beth Riesgraf as Parker ("The Thief"): An expert thief, cat-burglar, pickpocket and safe-cracker. The product of an abusive childhood spent in several foster homes, Parker is socially awkward and relates poorly to most people but has come to regard the other members of the team as her family. Sophie (and in Season 5 Elliot) has attempted to improve gaps in her social skills on numerous occasions with limited success. Parker also has affection for Hardison, but finds it hard to convey what she feels when confronted by others. While emotionally impulsive, she can demonstrate great physical self-control in her work using acrobatics, strength and concentration to her advantage. Her obsessive focus on theft is to the point that her safehouse is filled with gear and rappelling equipment to help her in various jobs, and during one con, she was put through a rehab to address it. Parker was trained at a young age by expert thief (and recurring character) Archie Leach, who found her proficient with the physical demands of burglary as well as safe-cracking and lock-picking, skills she uses in many of the cons. In Season 5's "The Broken Wing Job", she proves that she can handle problems on her own while the other team members are away and seems to be, with Nate's guidance, developing her ability as a planner.

Recurring cast

  • Mark A. Sheppard as James Sterling: Originally Nate's colleague and rival at IYS, now an Interpol agent. Sterling learns of Nate's new life and begins to follow him, first thinking that Nate wants his job at IYS and later to bring the team to justice. Nate soon realizes Sterling is on his trail, but foils his efforts to dismantle the team's cons. In time, a theft leads Sterling to work with the team on a con, the outcome of which leads to his being offered a position with Interpol. The two remain friendly adversaries however (with the rest of the team and Tara passionately hating him), and Sterling has on several occasions allowed Nate to continue to remain untouched in exchange for Nate and his group helping him catch bad guys. As of Season 5's "The Frame Up Job", he has become the head of a special Interpol art theft/forgery detail (which he created).
  • Jeri Ryan as Tara Cole: A self-assured grifter sent by Sophie to temporarily replace her while she is in Europe taking some personal time. Easily able to adapt to the team's method, she is nonetheless slow to be accepted by the team. Tara is a profit-seeking con who seeks a cut of most of their jobs, but over time learns to understand their not-for-profit motives.
  • Kari Matchett as Maggie Collins: Nate's ex-wife, an art expert who re-enters his life while working with IYS Chair Ian Blackpoole. Although she is no longer in love with him, Maggie still cares for Nate. However, she cannot live with his drinking, which led her to divorce him. She is unaware of IYS's role in her son's death, but learns the whole story as she's drawn into one of Nate's cons, allowing them to come to terms with his death and begin to rebuild their relationship. She demonstrates a flair for Nate's new work, and ends up helping the team complete a con; later the team comes to her rescue when she is falsely accused of theft. She returns to help the team in the fourth season finale, and by then has developed a friendship with Sophie.
  • Rick Overton and Gerald Downey as FBI Special Agents Taggert and McSweeten: Taggert and McSweeten have (unwittingly) worked with Leverage Consulting & Associates on at least four occasions, believing Hardison and Parker to be fellow FBI agents. Credited with major arrests following four of the team's cons, they have risen through the ranks of the bureau rapidly. McSweeten also has a crush on Parker, which makes Hardison (and Taggert) jealous. In Season 5, McSweeten seeks the team's help with a case that obsesses his father.
  • Robert Blanche as Detective Captain Patrick Bonanno: A Massachusetts State Police detective the team tips off when they want a mark to be arrested. An honest cop, Bonanno is seemingly aware of the team's work, and has their respect, but has never attempted to pursue them. Bonanno is a lieutenant in Season Two, but is promoted to captain as Season Three opens and is a regular at Nate's weekly poker games in Season Four.
  • Goran Visnjic as Damien Moreau: Moreau is an international crime financier and illegal goods trader who has thus far been untouchable by international law enforcement. Moreau hides behind a network of people who do his bidding, while living on an isolated island. The team must use the clues and connections they find during their cases to take down his network and bring him to justice while under the watchful eye of a woman known only as "The Italian". Moreau is eventually jailed in the small, politically unstable country of San Lorenzo.
  • Elisabetta Canalis as The Italian: An unnamed Italian woman who blackmails the team into taking down Moreau within six months. If the team fails, she promises to have Nate imprisoned and the rest of the team killed.
  • Wil Wheaton as Colin "Chaos" Mason: an unscrupulous hacker whose skills rival Hardison's. Chaos and Hardison see each other as nemeses, but Chaos has also attempted to kill Sophie and nearly succeeded. He assists the team (for money) in the fourth season finale.
  • Leon Rippy as Jack Latimer: a multi-billion dollar professional investor who has been tracking the team since their first job. He profits from the team by way of betting against the companies that the Leverage crew takes down, thus getting ahead of the market. He has twice attempted to make a deal with Nate; he lets them know of companies that have covered their tracks so well they don't show on the team's radar, and while they take down said companies he will make certain investments from which he will profit. As of "The Lonely Hearts Job", he appears to be working with someone who wants to make war with the Leverage team. In the fourth season finale, he was last seen falling from a very high cliff into a river with the sound of a gunshot being heard.
  • Saul Rubinek as Victor Dubenich: The mark in the pilot episode, he assembled the team for Nate and then double-crossed them, motivating them to unite to destroy his business and get him jailed. At the end of the fourth season, we learn that he is behind Latimer's involvement with the team as part of his plot (from prison) for revenge. He was also last seen falling from a very high cliff into a river in the fourth season finale with the sound of a gunshot being heard.
  • Tom Skerritt as Jimmy Ford: Nate's father, an Irish-American organized criminal from Boston. Nate, after disrupting one of Jimmy's cons, forced him into retirement in Ireland. He returned at the end of the fourth season and was killed by Latimer and Dubenich.
  • Richard Chamberlain as Archie Leach: An expert thief who was a professional mentor and father figure to Parker, he inadvertently involved the team in a job when Parker came to his aid. He returned to assist the team in the fourth season finale.
  • Clayne Crawford as Quinn, a professional man of violence who is almost as good as Eliot. He opposes the team in the first season finale and then assists them (for money) in the fourth season finale.
  • Adam Baldwin as Colonel Vance, a United States Army officer tasked with counterterror operations, who was formerly Eliot's commanding officer. Between Seasons 4 and 5, he and Eliot infiltrate a foreign missile site as seen in a flashback. Later he works with Eliot, Hardison, and Parker to foil a terror attack on Washington, DC.

Production

Leverage is shot using Red One video cameras. Extensive use of Steadicam helps the audience participate in the scene. All of the dailies are shipped on hard drives to Electric Entertainment in Hollywood, California. Shooting, editing, and all post-production work are done digitally, using no physical film or videotape at any point in the process. Leverage was originally edited in Apple's Final Cut Studio Pro 7, but has used Final Cut Pro X in the most recent seasons.

Shooting is in 4096 x 2304 at 24 frame/s, though resolution is reduced in post production to 1080p.

Thirteen episodes were commissioned for the first season. The show's pilot was filmed on-location in Chicago, with the remainder of the first season set and filmed in Los Angeles. Since the second season, the show has been primarily set in Boston, but filmed in Portland, Oregon where, as of Season 5, the team has moved operations. Executive producer Dean Devlin announced that the fifth season would not only be shot in Portland, but also set there as well.

International broadcasts

The series premiered on December 7, 2008 on TNT in the United States.

In the United Kingdom the series aired on Bravo where it premiered on January 20, 2010; when Bravo closed down, it was picked up by Fox.

The series started broadcasting January 7, 2009 on W Channel in Australia.

In South East Asia & Hong Kong, the series aired on AXN Asia.

In Portugal, the series aired on AXN.

Syndication

ION TV announced that Leverage will become part of their 2012 broadcast in syndication. The series debuted on the network on July 1, 2012. The show is broadcast in evening marathons on Wednesday.

Ratings

In Live + 7 data, Leverage averaged 4.0 million viewers per episode in the first season, 4.5 million viewers per episode in the second season, and 4.5 million viewers per episode in the third season.

First season

The series ranks as ad-supported cable's #1 entertainment program in the Tuesday 10 p.m. (ET/PT) time slot among viewers, households and adults 25"54. The December 7, 2008 premiere was watched by 5.6 million viewers and scored TNT's best original series telecast ever in delivery of adults 18"49 during the regular broadcast season. Through its first nine episodes, Leverage averaged 3.2 million viewers and 1.4 million adults 18"49 in Live + Same Day viewing. The first six episodes scored strong growth when comparing Live to Live + 7 numbers, with total viewership rising 33% to 4.1 million and adults 18"49 rising 42% to 1.9 million.

Second season

Data from TNT indicates that a large percentage of viewers recorded the second season finale of Leverage for later viewing. The Live + 7 viewership of 4.2 million viewers was 70 percent greater than the Live data for the same episode. In addition, for the season, Live +7 viewership was 58 percent greater than Live viewership.

Third season

The premiere of Leverage on June 20, 2010 averaged approximately 3.0 million viewers the two episodes, and maintained a 1.0 rating for Adults 18"49.

Fourth season

The June 26, 2011 premiere episode was viewed by 3.42 million viewers (10% more than the third season premiere) while the January 15, 2012 season finale was viewed by 3.9 million viewers.

Fifth Season

The fifth season premiere episode was viewed by 3.387 million viewers, and achieved a 0.8 Adults 18-49 rating. The fifth season finale, also the series finale, was watched by 3.039 million viewers and achieved a 0.7 rating in Adults 18-49.

DVD releases

CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) released the first three seasons of Leverage on DVD in the United States (Region 1). The fourth season has been released by 20th Century Fox. In Canada, Alliance Home Entertainment released the first three seasons on DVD. In Region 2, Icon Home Entertainment released the first three seasons on DVD in the UK. In Region 4, Visual Entertainment released the first two seasons on DVD in Australia.

Season Episodes Originally aired DVD release date
Season premiere Season finale Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 13
2 15
3 16
4 18
5 15

Tie-in Novels

Shortly after the show's cancellation, tie-in novels were published by Berkley:

  • The Con Job by Matt Forbeck
  • The Zoo Job by Keith R.A. DeCandido
  • The Bestseller Job by Greg Cox



This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Leverage_%28TV_series%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.
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