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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Leverage returns to finish second season

     TNT's hit drama Leverage returns tonight to air the final six episodes of their second season.  When the show first premiered, I likened it to a small screen version of Ocean's Eleven.  Each week a team of ex-crooks pulls off a con against someone that has done wrong and gives it back to the little guy.  High tech Robin Hoods, if you will.  It is one of the most interesting procedurals on television, but because each episode went pretty much the same, per the definition of 'procedural', I gave up watching it midway through season one.

     Recently, Turner sent me a screen of the summer finale from September and the first two episodes of the six about to air.  As it had been awhile since I watched the show, I popped them into the player.  It was as entertaining as I remembered.  Apparently, the first season was sort of like a stand alone miniseries, with an ending, but the team reformed for season two.  However, by the end of the summer episodes, one member of the team, Sophie (Gina Bellman, Coupling), has left.  She is still part of the main cast, and does appear in the premiere, but she is currently being temporarily replaced by her friend Tara, (Jeri Ryan, Star Trek: Voyager, Shark) who was in the summer finale.  Ryan is fantastic, already finding her groove with the rest of the team.  The one problem facing the series, besides coming up with new con ideas each week, is that Ryan is actually quite a bit better than Bellman, and it will be a disappointment when the former concludes her guest run and the latter returns to the show in her previous capacity.

     The rest of the main cast members are fantastic.  Timothy Hutton leads the group as Nate.  He is brilliant at slipping into different characters, and whoever did the original casting did right by the show by putting Hutton in the head seat.  Equally entertaining is Christian Kane (Angel, Close to Home) as Eliot, the muscle of the group.  Nerdy Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge, Friday Night Lights) and the beautiful, but emotionally stunted Parker (Beth Riesgraf) round out the team.  The end of the season will bring several new escapades, as the group takes on the fashion world, a medium, an Irish loan shark, and in the two part finale, a mayor obsessed with baseball.  Upcoming guest stars, besides Ryan, include Luke Perry and the return of the underrated Mark Sheppard's Sterling, who will help Nate try to get his ex-wife out of a Ukranian prison.

     If you are a fan of procedurals, and haven't discovered the show, it is worth checking out.  Leverage will air the next six Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. on TNT, and a third season, consisting of fifteen episodes, has been ordered.

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