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Leverage is a U.S. television drama series on TNT that premiered in December, 2008. The series is produced by director/executive producer Dean Devlin's production company Electric Television. Leverage follows a five-person team of thieves, computer experts and con artists, headed up by former insurance investigator Nate Ford, who use their skills to right corporate and governmental injustices inflicted on common citizens. The team was formed in Chicago before moving to Los Angeles headquarters in Season One. Although disbanded at the end of the season, the team members gathered. then reformed in Boston after persuading Ford to lead them again, and have set up a new base in Ford's loft apartment.
The first season of Leverage consisted of 13 episodes, which writers John Rogers and Chris Downey, and producer Dean Devlin intended to be a complete story, should the series not be renewed. On February 2, 2009, TNT announced that it had renewed the show for a second, fifteen-episode season. The second season moved production from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon, and premiered on July 15, 2009. The second season will run in two parts: a seven-episode summer season followed by a further eight episodes in the winter. No airdates for the winter half-season have been announced.
Former insurance investigator Nate Ford and his band of cohorts act as modern-day Robin Hoods, pulling elaborate scams targeted against the greedy and the corrupt.
 Cast and characters
 Main cast
- Timothy Hutton as Nathan "Nate" Ford, a former insurance fraud investigator for IYS Insurance and the team's mastermind. Raised in South Boston, Nate originally intended to become a priest, spending a short period in seminary prior to becoming an insurance investigator. While working for IYS, Nate's young son became seriously ill, and IYS refused to pay for the experimental treatment he needed, resulting in his death. The aftermath leads to Nate's drinking, divorce, and subsequent dismissal from the company. A skilled planner, Nate draws on his experience as an insurance investigator to anticipate the moves of his team's marks. Initially operating behind the scenes, he soon becomes an active member of the team's cons, drawing the attention of his old rival, James Sterling. Throughout the first season, his drinking remains problematic, even after he goes through detox during a con in a rehab center. When Sophie sees the opportunity for Nate to take revenge on IYS and its chair, Ian Blackpoole, Nate plans a two-part con that allows him to gain the revenge he sought, to get Sterling off his back and make peace with Maggie. But his revenge comes at a price when he discovers Sophie's real agenda, leading him to break up the team at the end of the first season. After six months, the team has other ideas and finds him in Boston, where he is reluctantly drawn back into leading them again. By the beginning of season two, Nate has kicked his drinking habit, but lives in a condo located over a bar, a situation Eliot describes as "very Catholic."
- Gina Bellman as Sophie Devereaux, a British actress and accomplished grifter with a taste for art theft. When the series begins, she is attempting to go straight as a legitimate actress, but jumps at the chance to team up with Nate. In one of the show's running jokes, Sophie is seen to be a completely talentless actress onstage, but as a grifter, she effortlessly plays a series of roles ranging from a businesswoman to an art expert designed to draw the team's target into the con. Nate has proclaimed her to be "the greatest actress you'll ever see…when she's breaking the law." Particularly adept at the use of accents, Sophie is seen to portray such characters as a German athlete, a Southern horse broker and a Hollywood producer for various cons. Sophie has a long history with Nate, dating back at least seven years, to when he pursued her as an art thief. At some point, they have become attracted to one another, but have never acted on it, leaving Sophie alternately frustrated, angry and disappointed. Nate's drinking is also a source of conflict between them throughout the first season. After the team disbands, Sophie is instrumental in bringing them all to Boston, leading to their reforming. As the second season opens, Sophie has a new off-camera boyfriend.
- Christian Kane as Eliot Spencer, a highly skilled martial artist, weapons expert and retrieval expert who serves as the Leverage team's "hitter." He grew up around horses in Kentucky. He is both proficient with and very knowledgeable about guns, despite his distaste for them—he will immediately eject the magazine and empty the chamber after grabbing a gun from someone. In "The Homecoming Job," Eliot was able to identify a gun by the sound of the gunshot, as well as identifying a man as ex-military simply by a short glimpse of his knife-fighting style. Eliot can work fast, as shown in the pilot when he single-handedly defeated a group of guards before Hardison's bag hit the ground. He also has profound skill as a culinary chef. Eliot appears to hold a special hatred for child abusers, indicating he may have come from a broken home.
- Beth Riesgraf as Parker—her last name, since her character profile states she lacks a first name—a thief, cat-burglar, and explosives expert from Camden, Illinois and later Kansas City. A risk-taker, she is involved more for the thrill than monetary rewards. In "The Homecoming Job," she explains "I don't like things. I like money." Later in the episode she is seen hugging a large amount of cash. She has a fear of horses, caused by seeing a children's party entertainer in a horse costume beat a clown to death. The pilot shows her abusive father telling her to do as she is told or become a better thief. She chooses the latter option, and is seen exiting her house moments before it explodes. Although she acts very calm and cool, she has a soft spot for children and Hardison. In "The Stork Job", she reveals that after she blew up her home she was regularly passed around from foster home to foster home, making her very cold to people who mistreat orphans—as she demonstrated when she stabbed one target with a fork. While she is an expert thief, Parker has a decided lack of social skills, as noted by Hardison: "For jumping off a roof she's all right, but she is terrified when it comes to speaking to people." This is evidenced throughout the series by her vacant stare, speaking what's on her mind, and unusual reactions to certain issues: where Sophie stated for her to think of a sad time, giving her father's death as an example, she instead laughs. A running gag with her theft skills is her ability to disappear and appear in a room without anyone noticing until she reveals herself, causing Eliot to ask Nate how she does that—only for Nate to answer "I've given up asking a long time ago".
- Aldis Hodge as Alec Hardison, a computer/Internet specialist and hacker. He is a genius, self-proclaimed geek, and science fiction fan. (In "The Nigerian Job," he tried the Jedi Mind Trick on hotel security guards who discovered his party with three women in Princess Leia metal bikinis claiming "This is not the room you're looking for" while using the Jedi hand motion, and later took offense at Eliot claiming to dress up like a Klingon. In "The Bank Shot Job" he comments about torrenting episodes of Doctor Who, and later in "The Mile High Job," three of the IDs he created for Nate are named after actors who played The Doctor while one of Sophie's is named after Sarah Jane Smith.) He can hack into most—if not all—forms of electronics and rarely is caught. Like Parker—who he seems to have a crush on—he was raised by a foster parent, an older woman he refers to as "his nana". His foster mother was a Jehovah's Witness who took him along on door-to-door caucusing, giving him exceptional conversation skills which he uses when posing as a trial lawyer in "The Juror #6 Job." In the second season he buys the building Nate's condo is in and redesigns it as their new headquarters. Hardison and Parker have shared several moments of sexual tension and attraction (for example, after the team's six month separation, he admits that he searched for her.) and while his feelings towards her are relatively clear, Parker's odd nature makes it difficult to tell if she reciprocates or is even aware of his feelings.
 Recurring cast
- Mark A. Sheppard as James Sterling, Nate's rival in the insurance business. Always second-best to Nate and with no love lost, Sterling learns of Nate's new life and begins to follow him, determined to discover what he's up to. Nate soon realizes Sterling is on his trail, but foils his efforts to dismantle the team's first con. Sterling warns Nate they'll meet again and renews their rivalry when Nate and the team attempt to bring down Nate's former boss, Ian Blackpoole. At first, Sterling seems to have defeated Nate and scattered the team, but they soon regroup, and this time, it's Sterling who's defeated.
- Kari Matchett as Maggie Collins, Nate's ex-wife. Although no longer in love with him, Maggie still cares for Nate, but cannot live with his drinking, which led her to divorce him. Maggie is an art expert who re-enters Nate's life when he attempts to steal a maquette of the David from Ian Blackpoole. She is unaware of IYS's role in her son's death, but learns the whole story as she's drawn into Nate's con, allowing them to come to terms with his death and begin to rebuild their relationship. She demonstrates a flair for Nate's new work, and ends up helping the team complete their con, and Nate to gain his revenge.
 Notable guest stars
- Saul Rubinek as Victor Dubenich, the Chicago businessman who puts the team together and brings Nate in to lead it.
- David S. Lee as Serbian arms dealer Nicolas Obrovic in "The Stork Job."
- Dan Lauria, as Nicky Moscone, the father of the bride, in "The Wedding Job."
- Jeremy Roenick, forward for the San Jose Sharks of the NHL, as a security guard in "The Mile High Job."
- Sara Rue as a reluctant accountant turned victim in "The Mile High Job."
- Danny Strong as the smart son of an unscrupulous contractor in "The Snow Job."
- Brent Spiner, Armin Shimerman and Lauren Holly as William Quint, the doctor testifying for the corporation, and Toby Earnshaw respectively in "The Juror #6 Job."
- D.B. Sweeney as Father Paul in "The Miracle Job."
- Erick Avari as Doctor Lloyd, the museum curator, in "The Second David Job."
Thirteen episodes were commissioned for the first season. The series began airing on December 7, 2008.
In the pilot, Victor Dubenich persuades Ford, a retired insurance investigator with intricate knowledge of scams, to lead a team of talented criminals to steal back aeronautical plans allegedly stolen from him by a competitor. After a successful heist, Dubenich double-crosses them, withdrawing their payment and attempting to blow them up in an abandoned warehouse. In retaliation, the group decides to run a con on Victor, eventually exposing his corruption and implicating him in a bribery attempt, and having him arrested by the FBI. At the end of the episode it is revealed that by short-selling stock in the target company each team member made over $32 million; however rather than retire, they decide to keep working for the thrill each gets doing the work they are best at, and the added bonus that they enjoy the improved performance they get by combining their efforts with those of a team of individuals who also excel at what they do. Ford's condition for continuing is that he is allowed to select their jobs, steering them from crimes engaged in for pure profit to jobs undertaken to benefit those with a genuine need who cannot use the legal system or other 'legitimate' methods to redress their grievances—typically, as most later episodes play out, some person or persons victimized by a wealthy individual or corporation capable of bribing politicians and other important persons, hiring the best lawyers and generally manipulating the legal system. (As everyone is now independently rich, and the only real reason to continue taking on jobs is the thrill, not money, they are all more or less agreeable to this.) The episode ends with a couple mourning the death of their 17 year old daughter, who died in a similar fashion to Ford's son. Ford says "We provide... Leverage."
In the first regular episode, The Homecoming Job, the team (now operating as Leverage Consulting & Associates) runs a scam on the head of a military contracting firm responsible for critically injuring their client, a US Army reservist. Ford's old insurance company is mentioned in this episode. They learn that the company has stolen taxpayer money from the government, and Nathan insists they arrange to return it to the government (although they do keep a portion for the hospital treating the injured veteran.) During this episode, the team members realize they enjoy their work not just for the thrill of excelling at their criminal craft, but because they are actually doing good things and helping people who deserve to be helped.
The series ranks as ad-supported cable’s #1 entertainment program in the Tuesday 10 p.m. (ET/PT) time slot among viewers, households and adults 25-54. The Dec. 7 premiere was watched by 5.6 million viewers and scored TNT’s best original series telecast ever in delivery of adults 18-49 during the regular broadcast season. Through its first nine episodes, Leverage has averaged 3.2 million viewers and 1.4 million adults 18-49 in Live + Same Day viewing. The first six episodes scored strong growth when comparing Live to Live + 7 numbers, with total viewership rising 33% to 4.1 million and adults 18-49 rising 42% to 1.9 million.
 DVD release
On July 14, 2009, Paramount Home Entertainment & CBS DVD released the First Season of Leverage on DVD in Region 1 (US only).
|The 1st Season
||July 14, 2009
Leverage is shot using a pair of Red One video cameras in 4096 x 2304 at 24 fps, though resolution is reduced in post production to 1080p. Extensive use of Steadicam helps the audience participate in the scene.
 International broadcasters
||March 19, 2009
||April 2, 2009
| South Africa
||April 2, 2009
||April 16, 2009
||April 17, 2009
||YES stars Action
||April 18, 2009
||May 18, 2009
||May 18, 2009
||May 18, 2009
||May 18, 2009
||May 18, 2009
||May 18, 2009
||May 27, 2009
||June 6, 2009
||June 9, 2009
 External links