Tag: timothy hutton

Under The Radar 05: Leverage

When I was a kid all the best TV shows were on the “Big 3” of CBS, NBC and ABC. As I grew up, soon the best shows were on FOX and sometimes even the WB. Today that has all changed as many award winning TV programs can be found on cable and premium channels like HBO and Showtime. In the past few years, TNT has been one of the channels to step up its original programming and one of the products they’ve brought out has been the action/comedy/drama show Leverage. Get ready to get even with a team of thieves who are modern day Robin Hoods.

Starting in 2008, Leverage has become a hit for TNT as it drew nearly 4 million viewers in its’ first season and 4.5 million in its’ second and third seasons. The Pilot episode itself does a great job of setting the mood for the entire series. Timothy Hutton plays Nathan “Nate” Ford, a former insurance investigator who after the death of his son puts together a team to help victims get revenge on those who’ve wronged them. The Leverage team consists of Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman) who is the team grifter, an actress who gains their targets confidence by any means necessary. Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge) is the team Hacker and all around geek, able to get into any computer system and take over and usually the one to make pop culture references. Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane) is the Hitter, who is exactly what it sounds like. Eliot hates guns, but is all for head-butts! The final team member is Parker (Beth Riesgraf) who is the team thief. Parker is an orphan whose step father would take her toys away and lock them up, telling her to either stop “or become a better thief.” So she did.

Whether they’re taking on a corrupt judge, loan sharks, the mob, or a crooked housing developer, Leverage is always packed with action, drama and a surprising amount of comedy. I had caught the show by accident one day and soon was caught up in what I would find out to be season 3 of the show. If you’re like me you may feel awkward about tuning into a show if you haven’t watched from the start, but Leverage is easy to get into no matter where you’re starting off at. Though it does occasionally have story arcs that carry over through the season, the majority of the episodes are self-contained, allowing new viewers to jump in at any point. Still not comfortable jumping in? Season 1 and 2 are currently available on DVD and TNT.com offers episodes for free to view online. Season 3 will be released on DVD on June 7, 2011 and season 4 will premiere on June 26th! Now is the perfect time to get caught up and see why some of the best TV, isn’t on network television anymore!

Providing Leverage: “The Jailhouse Job” & “The Reunion Job”

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.

TNT Tease The Rest Of ‘Leverage’ Season Two

The hit TNT series Leverage resumes its acclaimed second season on January 13th and the network has released some teases of things to come. Below are episode descriptions for the remainder of the season as well as images for the next four episodes. Notably, Mark Sheppard returns as James Sterling as does Kari Matchett as Nate’s ex-wife Maggie Collins. Be sure to tune in to TNT Tuesday, January 13th at 10:00 PM for six straight weeks of brand-new Leverage episodes and remember, things are just getting started as the show will return in the summer for a third season! Leverage is executive-produced by Dean Devlin (Independence Day, TNT’s The Librarian) and creators John Rogers (Transformers) and Chris Downey (The King of Queens). The show is produced for TNT by Devlin’s Electric Entertainment.

“The Runway Job” – Premieres Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 10:00 PM
In order to take down an oppressive sweatshop owner, the LEVERAGE team infiltrates the fashion world.
Directed by Marc Roskin
Written by Albert Kim

“The Bottle Job” – Premieres Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 10:00 PM
The LEVERAGE team runs a high-tech version of a classic con on a predatory loan shark in order to save McRory’s bar.
Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Written by Christine Boylan

“The Zanzibar Marketplace Job” – Premieres Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 10:00 PM
The team is forced to work with their old enemy Sterling in order to free Nate’s ex-wife, Maggie (guest star Kari Matchett) from a Ukrainian jail and clear her name.
Directed by Jeremiah Chechik
Written by Melissa Glenn & Jessica Rieder

“The Future Job” – Premieres Wednesday, Feb. 3, at 10:00 PM
The team goes after a con man masquerading as a psychic medium (guest star Luke Perry) in order to drain the life savings of his bereaved clients.
Directed by Marc Roskin
Written by Amy Berg & Chris Downey

“The Three Strikes Job” – Premieres Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 10:00 PM
While trying to take down a corrupt local mayor exploiting his love of baseball, the LEVERAGE team runs into an unexpected complication.
Directed by Dean Devlin
Written by John Rogers

“The Maltese Falcon Job” – Premieres Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 10:00 PM
Surrounded by FBI, the team decides to hide in plain sight, while continuing to take down the corrupt mayor and his gunrunning partner. Little do they suspect that Nate has a different endgame in mind for them all.
Directed by Dean Devlin
Written by John Rogers

‘Leverage’ Gets Renewed

We just received great news from TNT as word filters out that on of our favorite shows, Leverage, has been picked up for a third season. Check out all the details below!

The Con is On as TNT Orders Third Season of Hit Series LEVERAGE Popular Series, Starring Oscar® Winner Timothy Hutton, Averages 4.1 Million Viewers and Ranks as Ad-Supported Cable’s #1 Wednesday Program among Adults 25-54, Viewers and Households

Television’s hottest team of con artists, grifters, hackers and thieves will be back again as TNT lines up a third season of its fast-paced drama series LEVERAGE, starring Academy Award® winner Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People), Gina Bellman (Coupling), Christian Kane (TNT’s Into the West), Beth Riesgraf (Alvin and the Chipmunks) and Aldis Hodge (Friday Night Lights). The network has ordered 15 episodes of the series, which is currently in its second season, airing Wednesdays at 9 p.m. (ET/PT). The show’s summer finale will air Wednesday, Sept. 9. It will then return to complete the second season in winter, with the third season slated to air in summer 2010.

“Thanks in large part to its engaging cast and clever storytelling, LEVERAGE has proven itself to be one of the most exciting and fun hours on television,” said Michael Wright, executive vice president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). “The producers, cast and crew have been incredible to work with, and we anticipate another wonderful season.”

LEVERAGE is executive-produced by Dean Devlin (Independence Day, TNT’s The Librarian) and creators John Rogers (Transformers) and Chris Downey (The King of Queens). It comes to the network from Devlin’s Electric Entertainment and is one of six high-profile original dramas that have populated TNT’s Monday-Wednesday lineup this summer. The six series, which include The Closer, Raising the Bar, HawthoRNe, Saving Grace and Dark Blue, are part of an aggressive TNT strategy to build a slate of quality original programming in primetime.

LEVERAGE scored big in its first season, ranking as ad-supported cable’s #1 show in its timeslot with an average of 3.9 million viewers. The second season has averaged 4.1 million viewers* and ranks as ad-supported cable’s #1 Wednesday program in delivery of adults 25-54, viewers and households. The show is enjoying solid growth when compared to its first season, with viewers up 5% and households up 7%.

LEVERAGE scores tremendously well with DVR users, garnering an extraordinary 66% growth among adults 25-54 when comparing Live to Live + 7 viewing.

In LEVERAGE, Hutton stars as Nate Ford, a former insurance investigator determined to bring down the kind of corrupt bigwigs whose neglect led to the death of his son. His highly skilled team includes Sophie Devereaux (Bellman), a grifter who uses her acting skills to corner her marks; Eliot Spencer (Kane), a “retrieval specialist” with bone-crunching fighting skills; Alec Hardison (Hodge), a gadget and technology wizard who keeps the team connected and informed; and Parker (Riesgraf), a slightly off-center thief adept at rappelling off buildings or squeezing into tight places.

Review: ‘Lymelife’

Just reading the synopsis, Lymelife sounds like your average art-house theater fare. The film is a look at life in Long Island in the late 1970’s as seen through the eyes of a teenager and, as such is exactly what you should expect to see at your neighborhood independent theater. In this case, however, the writing, directing and most especially the acting result in a movie that is very personal and truly outstanding. The comedy/drama follows two families as they slowly fall apart. Scott Bartlett (Rory Culkin) is our viewpoint character, the shy, nerdy teenaged son of boisterous Mickey (Alec Baldwin) and quiet Brenda (Jill Hennessy). Scott has been schoolmates with Adrianna Bragg (Emma Roberts) his whole life and has probably been in love with her for the same amount of time. Adrianna’s father, Charlie has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease and has grown distant from his wife, Melissa (Cynthia Nixon) who must now make up for Charlie’s being unemployed by going to work with Mickey. Things begin to deteriorate as Melissa starts seeking comfort from Mickey, Scott becomes the only person that Charlie can relate to anymore and Scott’s older brother Jimmy (Kieran Culkan) returns home on leave from the military, exposing and confronting Mickey on his wayward, womanizing behavior. However, all those events are overshadowed by an even more devastating issue: Adrianna seems to be returning Scott’s interest.

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Any film that has both Alec Baldwin and Timothy Hopkins in it is going to have some strong performances and Lymelife does not disappoint. However, while Baldwin and Hopkins deliver outstanding work, the big surprise for me was Rory Culkin. I had previously seen him in Signs and thought he did reasonably well. In the few years between he has really come into his own as an actor and gives an amazing performance here. I’ve missed all the films he’s done between then and now, but feel compelled to see them if only to watch his performance. It was a perfect casting choice to have his real-life brother, Kieran, play Rory’s older brother in the film. They have a sibling chemistry that would not have worked with anyone else and only serves to elevate this film even further into the realm of greatness. Emma Roberts does a great job playing the fickle Adrianna and Jill Hennessy proves once again why she deserves to have a few award statues on her mantle at home. Rounding out this stellar cast is Cynthia Nixon, who seems to effortlessly inhabit any role that’s thrown at her and never seems to give the same performance twice. All in all, these are the perfect actors for these roles and the combined chemistry is amazing and really gives the whole production the right amount of realism.

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Lymelife was written by written by brothers Derick Martini and Steven Martini, with Steven scoring the film and Derick stepping into the Director’s chair for the first time. This is the duo’s most personal film to date as they draw upon aspects of their childhood. Steven’s score, which is performed by his band, accents the visuals perfectly and never overpowers what’s on the screen. There are some supplemental period songs that work to great effect as well. Derick wisely chooses to direct this film in a more or less straightforward manner without getting artsy. He does choose some key moments to depict in dialogue-free closeup that focuses squarely on a character’s reaction to a situation, but with the cast he’s chosen that is the exact right choice in those moments. For someone who grew-up in Northeast during the seventies, I felt a definite sense of deja-vu watching Lymelife and in a very warmly nostalgic sense. The script is sharp and the dialogue natural and poignant. The only true shame here is that the film isn’t getting a wider release, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find a small theater in your area to experience this terrific movie.

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