TV Review: Leverage Season 2 Premiere

The boys (and girls) are back, as Season 2 of TNT’s original series Leverage kicks off next week, July 15. The Season 2 premiere picks up with former insurance investigator turned Robin Hood criminal mastermind Nathan Ford (Timothy Hutton) and his merry band of (somewhat) reformed criminal posse having separated at the end of last season’s clash with Jim Sterling, Nathan’s fellow co-worker and someone equally as brilliant as he is. Sterling is nowhere to be seen in “The Beantown Bailout Job”, but it’s probably a given that the show isn’t going to keep a worthy nemesis like that away for too long. At least, not if they’re smart.

Of course, there wouldn’t be much of a show if Nathan stayed retired, and in short order his attempts at going legit and getting back into the insurance investigation game is ruined by a need for … booze. As you’ll recall, ol Nathan was fighting the bottle (and losing) pretty regularly in the first season, but as we catch up with him in the second season, he seems to have licked the demon. Or at least, until he bails on the job interview to hunt down a bar. Fortunately for Nathan, before he can reach his destination he’s nearly run over by a runaway car that crashes. Nathan saves the occupants, a young girl and her father, and that’s when the trouble starts.

The father, you see, is a banker that has uncovered some shenanigans going on at his bank, one that is imperiled and about to go under, with the Government riding in to bail it out. There’s something fishy about that bailout, but before he can go to the police, someone has cut the banker’s car breaks, nearly killing him and his daughter. Enter Nathan Ford, who is reluctant at first to help, but it doesn’t take long before the girl’s sorrows convince him to lend a hand. Plus, the old gang wants back in, having grown restless since their parting. Doing good, it seems, has gotten under their skin, and they’re itching for more.

Leverage Season 2 returns all the players from the original, and even adds a spiffy new opening credit sequence that helpfully informs new viewers on the roles of the different players: Timothy Hutton as Nathan Ford, the mastermind; Christian Kane as Eliot Spencer, the hitter; Aldis Hodge as Alec Hardison, the hacker; Gina Bellman as Sophie Devereaux, the grifter; and Beth Riesgraf as Parker, the thief. Basically, Nathan comes up with the plans, Hardison hacks the security, Parker steals what’s needed, Sophie ropes in the target, and Eliot punches people when punching needs to be done.

The first episode of Season 2, “The Beantown Bailout Job”, is your usual Leverage episode – it’s nothing special, but then again, this has never really been a show about the Villain of the Week. It’s always been about the characters, and how they relate to one another. We learn that the months away from each other — they are soon reunited at one of Sophie’s plays, where she is predictably bad (the show’s running joke is that Sophie is a brilliant con artist, but a terrible actress) — have affected them in different ways. Nathan is determined to leave his Robin Hood days behind him and go straight; Sophie, who has been holding a torch for Nathan since their first run-in as cop-and-robber, has something she really wants to tell him; Hardison and Parker’s “non-relationship” continues to get more complicated despite their time apart; and Eliot, well, Eliot has been punching people in foreign countries, though has been quite unhappy about doing so. Whereas Nathan had to convince them to do the right thing in Season 1, it’s the thieves’ turn to convince the good guy of the group to get back into the good guy business, which makes for some nice comedic scenes early in the premiere.

Overall, if you were a fan of Leverage Season 1, “The Beantown Bailout Job”, directed by co-producer Dean Devlin and written by the show’s co-creator/producer John Rogers, picks up without missing a beat. The actors are old hats in their respective roles by now, and the interaction between the characters (and the comedic timing between the actors) is fun to watch. And hey, who doesn’t think the neverending round of Government bailouts are a big scam? In the Season 2 premiere episode, the only people that seem to be benefiting from the bailout schemes are the crooks, while the guys that see something wrong with them are getting run over.

Season 2 of TNT’s Leverage premieres July 15 at 9/8 central.

Dean Devlin (director) / John Rogers (screenplay) / Dean Devlin, Chris Downey, John Rogers (producers)
CAST: Timothy Hutton … Nathan Ford
Christian Kane … Eliot Spencer
Aldis Hodge … Alec Hardison
Gina Bellman … Sophie Devereaux
Beth Riesgraf … Parker

Buy Leverage on DVD