“LEVERAGE: THE THIRD SEASON”
DVD widescreen, 2010, not rated
Best extra: Individual, full-length, audio commentaries on each episode
AFTER A WINTER of so-so TV, it’s great to get back to rockin’ summer series like “Leverage.” The fourth season opens June 26 on TNT, so there’s time to catch up with these good guy con artists on the newly released Season 3 package (16 episodes on four discs).
Oscar winner Timothy Hutton, as former insurance investigator Nathan Ford, spells it out for us at the beginning of each episode: “The rich and powerful, they take what they want. We steal it back for you. Sometimes bad guys make the best good guys. We provide… ‘leverage.’”
Nate leads a crack team of specialists – hacker Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge), thief Parker (Beth Riesgaf), muscle Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane) and grifter Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman) – in duping dictators, corrupt executives, greedy debt collectors, racketeers, and hedge fund managers who prey on the innocent. Season Three starts with a bang as the team rescue their boss from prison. Nate took the fall for his people at the end of Season Two for pardons for his team. The team, however, have found that doing good and helping others is more fulfilling than going back to their wicked old ways.
Adventures keep on rolling aided by guest stars such as Richard Chamberlain who plays Parker’s mentor Archie Leach, a take off on Cary Grant and his character from “To Catch a Thief” (1955). Tom Skerritt turns up as Jimmy Ford, Nate’s dad, a really, really bad guy; Bruce Davison runs a West Virginia coal mine/death trap; Wil Wheaton blackens Santa’s name in the annual Christmas episode, and Goran Visnjic takes a multi-arch turn as the season’s villain. Dialogue is razor sharp and the stunts are as good as anything found in a Jason Statham (“Transporter”) flick.
But characterization is always key, especially as Nate deals with the fact that he is no longer a good guy pretending to be bad. He is now one of the criminals. Meanwhile, his chemistry with grand grifter Sophie continues to sizzle.
Commentaries for each episode feature a changing mix of writers, directors and actors. Despite their obvious good time, viewers can pick up a few film making facts and lots of anecdotal material. In “The Jailhouse Job,” we learn that co-star Edwin Hodge is brother to series regular Aldis, and that the two have been acting together since they were kids in “The Muppet Show.” Select episodes also feature deleted scenes and bloopers.
Featurettes include “On Set with Colton and Aboud: The New Writers of Leverage,” “What Does a Producer Do?,” and “Inside the Leverage Writers’ Room,” that are so short, they’re over In a Hardison-flash.
If adventure, smarts, and action raise your flag, don’t miss “Leverage.”
— Mike Reynolds
Source: Hampton Roads