Leverage is back for a third season this week and for the premiere TNT is airing two episodes back to back. Returning for the new new season are Timothy Hutton as Nate Ford, Gina Bellman as Sophie Devereaux, Christian Kane as Eliot Spencer, Beth Riesgraf as Parker and Aldis Hodge as Alec Hardison. The series is once again being shot in Portland, OR (standing in for Boston) and will run for sixteen episodes.
“The Jailhouse Job” – Sunday, June 20, at 9:00PM
Written by John Rogers, Directed by Dean Devlin
In order to save the life of an innocent inmate, Nate must bring down the corrupt warden of the Super-Max prison where he’s currently incarcerated and escape… whether he wants to or not. Elisabetta Canalis and Edwin Hodge guest-star.
“The Jailhouse Job” picks up in the aftermath of the second season finale. Nate is in a privately run prison after surrendering himself so that his friends could go free. The gun shot wound that hampered him in the closing minutes of the finale has healed nicely, so no worries there. The rest of the team (Sophie, Eliot, Parker and Hardison) are all ready to break Nate out, although everyone isn’t certain he should be freed after not keeping them in the loop with his plan. Ultimately, Nate refuses to be broken out as, surprise, he has found them a client within the jailhouse. Lurking in the shadows is a mysterious Italian woman who decides to make life a lot more complicated, if not interesting, for our merry band of con artists.
This first season three episode is as sharp, witty and brilliantly paced as any episode of Leverage previously. The actors have their characters nailed down so perfectly and the banter shoots back and forth with rapid-fire giddiness. There are some great touches for long-time fans (specifically concerning Sophie’s real name) and clever use of a proposed con at the beginning in order to inform first-time viewers exactly what this show is all about. In the first season Nate was the one holding the group together and in the second season everyone else tried to hold Nate together. It would appear that they are all on equal footing this season, thanks to our mystery Italian lady friend, so it will be interesting to see where that goes. Sophie confronts Nate about his drinking at the end of the episode and I think that sort of tells us that Nate has accepted the others as equals and says a lot about the respect he now has for them. Oh, and for those of you still mourning the loss of Hardison’s beloved van, Lucille, take heart; there’s a new girl in town. All in all, a fine return for a series that has always stood out as a quality show.
“The Reunion Job” – Sunday, June 20, at 10:00PM
Written by Michael Colton & John Aboud, Directed by Jonathan Frakes
To uncover a password, the team infiltrates the high school reunion of an amoral software magnate who’s the IT department for the Axis of Evil.
“The Reunion Job” is a great trip down memory lane for those of us that came of age in the 1980s. As the episode description implies, the crew basically steals a High School reunion in order to steal a password from someone playing fast and loose with some very evil men. This episode is chock full of great scenes and character moments. We see two significant flashbacks involving a quick look at what two of our heroes were up to in the 80s and there is a dance at the end that will make long-time fans pretty happy, but it’s the not the dance you think (as in, not the one pictured below). Also, there is a very unexpected wrinkle in an otherwise perfect plan, but thinking on their toes is one of this group’s strengths. Mainly because I’m a computer nerd (geek alert for the low tech on display), but mostly because I went to High School in the mid-80s, I think I like this episode just a bit more than the premiere.
Leverage is back and better than ever. Great scripts, awesome direction and impeccable acting are the hallmarks for the first two episodes of season three. Getting even has never looked so good or been as much fun.