When Leverage debuted a couple of years ago it had a fairly novel concept: get a bunch of crooks, team them up with a fallen insurance adjustor and let them be Robin Hood types who strike back for those who’ve been robbed and otherwise screwed over by those who have gotten away with it. As Nate (Timothy Hutton) says, they provide leverage for those who need it.
Hutton stars as Nathan Ford, an insurance adjustor who has been wronged. When his child dies because of malfeasance by an insurance company, he takes it upon himself to wreck vengeance upon those who have wronged him in the name of justice. A “Robin Hood” of sorts, he’s in charge of a team of crooks he busted and has a drinking problem that surfaces from time to time.
Eliot (Christian Kane) is the muscle, a master of hand to hand combat. He’s originally from the South and eschews firearms.
Sophie (Gina Bellman) is the con artist of the group, the one who makes the introductions and is usually the face of the operation. There’s a running gag in the show where her ventures into professional acting are laughably bad and her acting during a con is masterful.
Parker (Beth Riesgraf) is the burglar of the group, a cat burglar of the highest order in love with money. She’s also a bit of an adrenaline junkie.
Hardison (Aldis Hodge) is the computer specialist and the team’s resident techie. He’s also into some very nerdy hobbies like “World of Warcraft.”
The show has a fairly standard formula it follows fairly religiously. After the introduction of the case, the team is hired and they scheme to right some wrongs. When all seems to be lost a Deus Ex Machina moment happens and they manage to pull victory from the jaws of defeat.
Four seasons in the show has found a comfortable groove. This is a show that hit its ceiling a while back and doesn’t have that final gear to go from interesting show to brilliant show; it’s engaging and intriguing but there’s not a whole lot to distinguish one episode from another. The victims may change and the schemes vary but there are not a lot of differences between each episode in terms of plot and story. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, as you can step in to most episodes regardless of season and get into it, but there isn’t a whole lot of long term story-telling going on. We know at the end that Nate and his crew have already figured out how to defeat everyone, despite how great the odds are against them, and it becomes a bit of a fail safe for the show.
They can paint themselves into a corner every time and we know that somehow they’ve already got the victory; part of the fun comes in how they pull out the victory each week despite the odds being against them.
There’s Audio Commentary on each episode as well as a brief behind the scenes feature, a handful of deleted scenes two other featurettes and a Gag Reel.
Leverage doesn’t give you anything beyond its basic formula and that’s not a bad thing.
Paramount Home Entertainment presents Leverage (The 4th Season). Created by John Rogers and Chris Downey. Starring Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, Aldis Hodge. Running time: 792 minutes. Not Rated. Released: July 17, 2012. Available at Amazon.