By now, you have to have heard about Leverage, the Robin Hood-like show where a former insurance adjustor joins with four career criminals to take money back from the rich, from the criminal, and give it to those who’ve suffered at their hands. What you may not know is that while the show has developed certain patterns over the first four seasons, it has taken a more serious turn in the last two seasons as it explores its five main characters.
To the predictable patterns: each episode is a specific case beginning with an introductory portion where we watch some innocent soul taken for their savings or happiness or freedom. The gang makes a plan, which usually doesn’t work as planned, and finally, thanks to ingenuity or bravery, the five work to save the day.
Those five are the characterizations which match the characters themselves: the alcoholic, grieving insurance adjustor who lost his son and turned to a life of crime (Timothy Hutton), the French actress/art thief who pines for the heart of said adjustor (Gina Bellman), the master computer hacker who longs to be loved (Aldis Hodge), the flighty thief with the messed up childhood (Beth Riesgraf), and the meathead brawler with the heart of gold (Christian Kane). (Seriously, a case could be made for the team being compared to Robin Hood’s Merry Men… or the traveling troupe of The Wizard of Oz.)
There is usually a season-long villain which provides some cohesion to the disparate episodes, as well as the growing love shown between the characters of Hutton and Bellman, and Hodge and Riesgraf. The characters are dealing with their personal pain and trying to sort through the problems which lead them all to the lives they are now living.
Some episodes are better than others. The Agatha Christie send-up, “The Ten Lil Grifters Job,” has some seriously clever parts, and highlights the things I like about the show the best. When it’s not trying to be too sappy or too over-the-top, and instead focusing on the “job” of the week, it can be pretty engaging. I find the episodes with Sterling (a corrupt adjustor) like “The Queen’s Gambit Job” to be reasonably entertaining as well.
I’ve definitely bought into the crew being “good” even if what they do is technically wrong. I guess I’m gray like that. The special features will provide you more “dirt” for your own decision-making, from behind-the-scenes material to various commentary and such. Overall, this is a highly entertaining show, and the price of admission is well worth it.