Hey, remember Leverage? Yeah, it’s fun. The ensemble heist show on TNT begins its second season this evening, and you should check it out. Come on, there’s nothing else on.
So Leverage really grew on me last season. Timothy Hutton is a whole lot of actor for basic cable, and he plays a dissolute, depressed man very well. He’s surrounded by a pretty amusing ensemble, which got even stronger as the season went on, even though the episodes were aired out of the order in which they were written and shot, so some references were choppy and nonsensical (same thing is happening over on Royal Pains; Mark Feuerstein went on a date with the hospital administrator lady in the second episode, and then in the third introduced himself to her as if they’d only met once), but hopefully that won’t happen this time around.
The problem character for me, at the beginning, was bendy thief Parker, played by Beth Riesgraf. They gave her some sort of troubled childhood involving explosives and orphanages, and at the beginning I found her performance shallow and unimpressive. But she got a lot better as the season went on. And the unheralded genius in all this is Aldis Hodge, who plays the team’s computer guru, Hardison. Hodge played the Hurricane Katrina transplant quarterback Ray “Voodoo” Tatum on the first season of Friday Night Lights, and he spent that entire stint glowering menacingly at Matt Saracen. Which he was good at. Here, he’s sprightly and funny and deftly deadpan. He’s a much hipper version of Marshall from Alias, with the ability to go in the field when needed. Basically, he’s my favorite character going into the new season.
When we left our ingenious team at the end of season 1, they had conned Ford’s former employers, the villainous insurance company IYS, and then the five went their separate ways. So this season has to start with some sort of putting the crew back together motif. Then, I’m not sure where they’ll go. But it’ll be quippy. And fun.
Also, if you’re bored this week, make sure to catch the rerun of No Reservations, the season premiere with Tony in Chile. It’s awesome. It’ll make you ravenous.
ETA: If you’re the type who likes a little behind the scenes with your quips and heists, check out creator John Rogers’s blog, Kung Fu Monkey.