HollywoodChicago.com RSS   Facebook   HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter   Free Giveaway E-mail   

TV Review: Fourth Season Premiere of TNT’s ‘Leverage’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet

CHICAGO – The game is on and the gang is back in TNT Network’s “Leverage,” premiering its fourth season on June 26th. Oscar winner Timothy Hutton is again ready to lead his team of con artists, grifters and hackers to stick it to the man.

HollywoodChicago.com Television Rating: 3.5/5.0
Television Rating: 3.5/5.0

The chemistry of the team is rock solid as the new season unfolds. There is some rollover from season three, as former insurance investigator Nathan Ford (Hutton) continues to mentor his team of outside-the-law experts to bring down corrupt capitalists and other shady criminals. Having slept with team member and con artist Sophie (Gina Bellman), Ford must deal with that conflict of interest and his ongoing struggles with substance abuse.

The fourth season begins with an unusual case, a wealthy derivative analyst is missing on a mountain climbing expedition in Alaska. His wife has contacted Ford and his team to join the base camp there and blend in with the collection of German, Japanese and American businessmen adventurers. The missing man turns out to be a whistle blower, and the American millionaire leading the search for him knows that he had a book that will blow the lid off a potential sale of his bad mortgage loans to the Japanese.

Ice Station 'Leverage': Eliot (Christian Kane), Nathan (Timothy Hutton) and Parker (Beth Riesgraf)
Ice Station ‘Leverage’: Eliot (Christian Kane), Nathan (Timothy Hutton) and Parker (Beth Riesgraf) in ‘Leverage’
Photo credit: TNT

While Ford deals with altitude sickness and his discomfort with Sophie, hacker Alec (Aldis Hodge) pinpoints the location of the whistle blower’s body and the presumed book on his person. The two most athletic of Ford’s team, Eliot (Christian Kane) and Parker (Beth Riesgraf), set off to retrieve the evidence, while Sophie works the room at base camp, using a con to throw off the Japanese acquisition. It is a race against time, the powerful millionaires and the harsh environment of an Alaskan mountain range.

Hutton is the focus on the show, and uses his portrayal as both a mentor and liability to full extent. He and Devereaux have a good will-they-or-won’t-they chemistry and their banter around everything that’s happening bodes well for future adventures. Of the rest of the team Beth Riesgraf is most notable as Parker, with a twitchy impatience for inaction, and a moral core that keeps everyone on the straight and narrow. Also, are Parker and Alec hooking up?

Too much is crammed into the premiere, but the atmosphere of the case has a cinematic air to it, especially for fans of “Ice Station Zebra.” There are blizzards, mysterious caverns and base tents that have more accommodations than most homes. As happens in these character and story driven dramas, too much has to be explained about the case to create a natural turn of events. Conveniently, it is always the team that is one step ahead of virtually everyone, and Leverage also has that easy use of electronics and visual graphics that is getting annoying.

Christian Kane, Gina Bellman, Timothy Hutton, Beth Riesgraf and Aldus Hodge star in TNT's hit series LEVERAGE.
Christian Kane, Gina Bellman, Timothy Hutton, Beth Riesgraf and Aldus Hodge star in TNT’s hit series LEVERAGE.
Photo credit: Eric Heinila/TNT

The episode is entitled “The Long Way Down Job,” both noting the mountain location of the assignment and the pressure on the team from a number of outside forces. Towards the end of the premiere the group goes over the laundry list of possible enemies, most intriguing is the Irish mob. The vulnerability of the Leverage team is their greatest strength, and although because this is teevee they will always prevail, but more interesting would be the long way down.

With the steady performance of Hutton, hidden tics and all, plus the chemistry within the team, this season of Leverage should be a lot of fun. The producers just need to know their limitations and rely on that terrific cast.

NOTE: The third season of “Leverage” has just been released on DVD, with extras that include stories about the producers, writers and a behind-the-scenes take on the series. The cast and production crew provide commentary for each episode and of course there is a Season Three gag reel.

”Leverage” premieres its fourth season on Sunday, June 26th at 9pm EST/8pm CST on TNT. Check local listings for channel location. Featuring Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf and Aldis Hodge

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

By PATRICK McDONALD
Senior Staff Writer
HollywoodChicago.com
pat@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2011 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

Anonymous's picture

comment of review by Patrick McDonald

Your review is spot on Patrick. the season premier was ambitious in that it tried to cramp way too much of a plot into the 42 minutes runtime.
As mentioned in your review the character development is crucial given the acting talent of Hutton and Bellman. the irony of seeing parker and hardison deal with their budding friendship/relationship given their characters as opposed to Nate and Sophie with all the interventions they have had over
Season 1 & 2 under the brilliant writing of John Rogers and Dean Devlin’s direction does threaten to undermine the character development for Nate and Sophie if it is continued to be handled in a less mature/convincing way as it was in the premier showing the avoidance attitude by Nate which is kind of contradictory to the emotional buildup these 2 people had in much intense situation, particularly when he was imprisoned. Let’s just hope that Dean (which has time and again shown his unique eye for beautiful direction) and the writers are cognisant of this and Leverage could be well on its way for a Season 5 and beyond. Not to mention the tremedous improvement in the acting talent of Christian Kane, Aldis Hodge, though I have always concluded that Beth Reisgraf could do with less overacting (no need for facial reaction to express each emotion as an actor); Gina is a good act to follow.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Hot stories on the Web


User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Emmy Awards, Bryan Cranston

    LOS ANGELES – It was one more lap around the victory track for the AMC-TV show ‘Breakling Bad,’ as the gritty drama about a teacher turned meth dealer took home six Primetime Emmy Awards at the 66th ceremony on August 25th. ‘Modern Family’ took home the statue for Outstanding Comedy Series for a a fifth straight year.

  • Knick, The

    CHICAGO – Cinemax’s ominous new series “The Knick” is a hospital drama that’s very much in the voice of its director, Steven Soderbergh. Set in New York City at the turn of the 20th century, the series presents the medical world as it inches closer and closer to modernity, while making contemporary parallels to the desperate hustle by surgery room clients and their doctors alike regarding treatment of the human body. What has changed in the politics of medicine? What hasn’t?

Advertisement


HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
referendum
tracker