Leverage (TV series)

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Leverage
Leverage logo.svg
Leverage logo
Genre
Created by
Starring
Composer(s)Joseph LoDuca
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes77 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)Paul Bernard
Editor(s)
  • Sonny Baskin
  • David Siegel
  • Brian Gonosey
Location(s)
Chicago (pilot)
CinematographyDavid Connell
Camera setupGary Camp
Running timeOne hour (with commercials)
Production company(s)
DistributorTNT
Broadcast
Original channelTNT
Picture format
Original runDecember 7, 2008 (2008-12-07) – December 25, 2012 (2012-12-25)[1]
External links
Website
Production website
 
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Leverage
Leverage logo.svg
Leverage logo
Genre
Created by
Starring
Composer(s)Joseph LoDuca
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes77 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)Paul Bernard
Editor(s)
  • Sonny Baskin
  • David Siegel
  • Brian Gonosey
Location(s)
Chicago (pilot)
CinematographyDavid Connell
Camera setupGary Camp
Running timeOne hour (with commercials)
Production company(s)
DistributorTNT
Broadcast
Original channelTNT
Picture format
Original runDecember 7, 2008 (2008-12-07) – December 25, 2012 (2012-12-25)[1]
External links
Website
Production website

Leverage is an American television drama series, which aired on TNT from December 7, 2008 to December 25, 2012.[2] The series was produced by Electric Entertainment, a production company of executive producer and director Dean Devlin. Leverage follows a five-person team: a thief, a grifter, a hacker, and a retrieval specialist, led by former insurance investigator Nathan Ford, who use their skills to fight corporate and governmental injustices inflicted on ordinary citizens.

Season 1 consists of thirteen episodes, which writers John Rogers and Chris Downey and producer Dean Devlin intended to be a complete story should the series not be renewed. Season 2, for which production moved from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon,[3] ran in two parts: a nine-episode summer season that premiered on July 15, 2009, followed by a further six episodes the following winter. Leverage moved to Sunday for Season 3, which began on June 20, 2010.[4]

Leverage was renewed for a fourth season on July 30, 2010.[5] It premiered on June 26, 2011,[6] and ran for 18 episodes, ten in the summer and eight in the winter. The continuation of Season 4 began on Sunday, November 27, 2011, at 9pm EST on TNT.[7]

On August 12, 2011, Leverage was renewed for a fifth season,[8] to be both filmed and set in Portland, Oregon.[9] Season 5 premiered July 15, 2012.[10]

Leverage was canceled on December 21, 2012 amid falling ratings.[11] The final episode, which was produced as a possible series finale, aired on December 25, 2012.[12] On January 9, 2013, Leverage won Favorite Cable TV Drama at the 39th People's Choice Awards.[13]

Series overview[edit]

Plot[edit]

Nathan "Nate" Ford is a former insurance investigator and the leader of a team staging elaborate cons for clients victimized by those holding wealth and influence to avoid legal reprisal.

The team comes together when Victor Dubenich, a wealthy aerospace executive, persuades Ford to lead a team of talented criminals to steal aeronautical plans allegedly stolen from him by a competitor. After a successful heist, Dubenich withholds their payment and attempts to have them killed; whereupon they implicate him in a bribery attempt, which leads to his arrest by the FBI. Thereafter they practice similar deceptions to avenge civilians who cannot use the legal system to redress their grievances. Subplots include relationships between Nate and grifter 'Sophie Devereaux'; between computer hacker ' Alec Hardison' and "hitter" 'Eliot Spencer'; and between Hardison and sneak-thief 'Parker'. The team operate free of scrutiny as 'Leverage Consulting & Associates', until Nate's former colleague, James Sterling, attempts their capture, whereupon they steal a collection of valuable art from Nate's former boss, Ian Blackpoole (returning it in return for Blackpoole's being kicked out of his own company), and disband for six months. In Boston, Nate's hometown, they resume their activities, still followed by Sterling, until Nate surrenders to the latter in exchange for the others' freedom, finally admitting to Sterling and himself that he is a thief. As season three begins, Ford is in prison, while the team attempts to free him, until a mysterious Italian woman blackmails the team into bankrupting the untouchable criminal 'Damien Moreau'. At the season's end, Moreau is imprisoned in San Lorenzo, a fictional European nation formerly under his control.

Season four opens days after their return from San Lorenzo, the team discovering that someone has been bugging their headquarters; later identified as the wealthy businessman 'Jack Latimer', who has been profiting by their victories and now offers information on the evildoings of other major corporations, in exchange for profit on each company's downfall. Nate refuses this offer, and his suspicions are justified when it is revealed that Latimer is working with Victor Dubenich (the team's first victim) against the team.

Season Five opens with Nate having the team moved to Portland, Oregon and setting up shop in a microbrewery, but the season premiere ends with the revelation that Nate is working with Hardison on a secret project unknown to the others. After a series of extremely intricate confidence tricks, the secret project is revealed and carried off, despite the recurrent Sterling. The season's final episode, broadcast on Christmas Day 2012, also reveals drastic changes in the lives and dynamics of the team, but assures the audience of their continuity.

Setup[edit]

Most episodes follow a set story structure: After meeting the client, the Leverage team researches the villains to find a weakness to exploit. Each con, either as originally planned or as complications develop, typically requires the specialized skills of all the members of the group. Towards the end of each episode, the villains seem to get the upper hand, only to be outwitted by the Leverage team. Because most of the narrative has seemed to follow the Leverage team's point of view, the audience is momentarily uninformed as to exactly how the Leverage team has succeeded in their con. A flashback then reveals how a seeming complication was either anticipated by the Leverage team, or utilized in a clever improvisation. These flashbacks, which are featured in every episode, sometimes reveal only in retrospect that an earlier scene was actually a clue to the Leverage team's plan. More often, the flashbacks reveal new information the viewer has not been privy to. This formula is followed by every episode in seasons one, two, and three. With the exception of the final season, each season ends with a two-part finale which involves a two-part, multi-stage con designed to bring down a major adversary, such as an international crime financier in season three, with an ending that advances the team's story into the new season.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast[edit]

Recurring cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Executive producer and director Dean Devlin pitched Leverage to TNT in mid-2007. The show was greenlit in October and the pilot was shot in July of 2008. Devlin said of the show's creation: "I just wanted to do the type of show that I grew up with and loved. I missed Mission: Impossible and The Rockford Files. Television today tends to be more dry, dark and edgy. I’m not saying it’s bad, but it’s not the type of show I was interested in. So when TNT said they wanted to get a TV show out of me, I said I wanted to do a throwback type of show. I wanted to have fun. I don’t want to live in a dark world."[15]

Thirteen episodes were commissioned for the first season.[16] The show's pilot was filmed on-location in Chicago, with the remainder of the first season set and filmed in Los Angeles. For the second through fourth seasons, the show was primarily set in Boston, but filmed in Portland, Oregon. Executive producer Dean Devlin announced that the fifth season would not only be shot in Portland, but set there as well.[17]

Leverage was shot using Red One video cameras. Extensive use of Steadicam helped the audience participate in the scene.[clarification needed] All of the dailies were shipped on hard drives to Electric Entertainment in Hollywood, California.[18] Shooting, editing, and all post-production work were done digitally, using no physical film or videotape at any point in the process. Leverage was originally edited in Apple's Final Cut Studio Pro 7, but has used Final Cut Pro X in the later seasons.[18][19] Shooting was in 4096 x 2304 at 24 frame/s, though resolution was reduced in post production to 1080p.

Broadcast[edit]

The series premiered on December 7, 2008 on TNT in the United States. In the United Kingdom the series aired on Bravo where it premiered on January 20, 2010; when Bravo closed down, it was picked up by Fox.[20][21] The series started broadcasting January 7, 2009 on W Channel in Australia.[citation needed]

Syndication[edit]

ION TV announced that Leverage will become part of their 2012 broadcast in syndication. The series debuted on the network on July 1, 2012.[22] The show is broadcast in marathons on Sundays and thursdays.[23]

Ratings[edit]

In Live + 7 data, Leverage averaged 4.0 million viewers per episode in the first season, 4.5 million viewers per episode in the second season,[24] and 4.5 million viewers per episode in the third season.[25]

First season[edit]

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 December 7, 2008 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 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.

Second season[edit]

Data from TNT indicates that a large percentage of viewers recorded the second season finale of Leverage for later viewing. The Live + 7 viewership of 4.2 million viewers was 70 percent greater than the Live data for the same episode. In addition, for the season, Live +7 viewership was 58 percent greater than Live viewership.[24]

Third season[edit]

The premiere of Leverage on June 20, 2010 averaged approximately 3.0 million viewers the two episodes, and maintained a 1.0 rating for Adults 18–49.[26]

Fourth season[edit]

The June 26, 2011 premiere episode was viewed by 3.42 million viewers (10% more than the third season premiere)[27] while the January 15, 2012 season finale was viewed by 3.9 million viewers.[28]

Fifth season[edit]

The fifth season premiere episode was viewed by 3.39 million viewers, and achieved a 0.8 Adults 18-49 rating.[29] The fifth season finale, also the series finale, was watched by 3.04 million viewers and achieved a 0.7 rating in Adults 18-49.[30]

Reception[edit]

Critical reaction to Leverage has been generally positive, with review aggregation website Metacritic reporting "generally favorable reviews" by critics and "universal acclaim" by users.[31] Reviewing the shows's first two episodes, Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly wrote that Leverage is "shrewdly conceived, and it moves along like a son of a gun." He felt that the "backup crew ... wisecrack without much charm," but also that "Hutton's top-grade work and the twisty plots" made up for this. Tucker concluded that the show was "better than the last two Ocean's Eleven movies."[32] Robert Bianco of USA Today felt that Leverage "seems to owe more to other movies and shows than it does to real life," pointing specifically to The Sting and Mission: Impossible as obvious sources of inspiration, but concluded: "at least it's paying its debt in an entertaining fashion." Bianco felt that "Leverage does get overly busy at times (simpler camera work would help)," but also that Hutton "supplies the charisma the show needs to succeed and the weight to keep it grounded."[33]

Reviewing the show's first season for the DVD review website DVD Talk, David Cornelius wrote: "The cast is terrific, bringing out the comedy without reaching for camp, while the scripts, if not exactly airtight, offer enough breezy fun. It's a bit slight, but it's also solid entertainment."[34] Reviewing the second season for the same website, John Sinnott wrote: "Though this season is a bit of a let down after the first one, Leverage is still a very good show. This character driven program has some truly enjoyable characters and some great stories."[35] Reviewing the third season, Sinnott wrote: "This third year's worth of episodes is a step up from season two, even if a couple of the shows are hit-and-miss. Happily, there are far more hits than misses."[36] Reviewing the fourth season, Sinnott wrote: "A step up in quality from season three, the fourth season of Leverage is fun, energetic, and immensely entertaining. The first couple of episodes are a bit bland, but after those the show picks up the pace and fires on all cylinders."[37]

Reviewing the Season 5 premiere, David Hinckley of the New York Daily News felt that it was "business as usual" for the show, but still "cool, fast-paced and thoroughly pleasant."[38]

On a scale of 1 to 100, DVD review website DVD Verdict rated the five seasons of the show 98, 88, 84, 82, and 90, respectively.[39][40][41][42][43]

DVD releases[edit]

CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) released the first three seasons of Leverage on DVD in the United States (Region 1). The fourth and fifth seasons were released by 20th Century Fox. In Canada, Alliance Home Entertainment released the first three seasons on DVD.

In Region 2, Icon Home Entertainment released the first three seasons on DVD in the UK. Season 4 was released on November 18, 2013.[44]

In Region 4, Visual Entertainment released all five seasons on DVD in Australia.

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedDVD release date
Season premiereSeason finaleRegion 1Region 2Region 4
113December 7, 2008 (2008-12-07)February 24, 2009 (2009-02-24)July 14, 2009 (2009-07-14)[45]September 6, 2010 (2010-09-06)August 10, 2009 (2009-08-10)[46]
215July 15, 2009 (2009-07-15)February 17, 2010 (2010-02-17)May 25, 2010 (2010-05-25)[47]January 31, 2011 (2011-01-31)March 7, 2011 (2011-03-07)[48]
316June 20, 2010 (2010-06-20)December 19, 2010 (2010-12-19)June 7, 2011 (2011-06-07)[49]May 28, 2012 (2012-05-28)[50]December 9, 2011 (2011-12-09)[51]
418June 26, 2011 (2011-06-26)January 15, 2012 (2012-01-15)July 17, 2012 (2012-07-17)[52]November 18, 2013 (2013-11-18)[53]June 18, 2012 (2012-06-18)
515July 15, 2012 (2012-07-15)December 25, 2012 (2012-12-25)September 17, 2013[54]August 15, 2014[55]March 26, 2013[56]

Related books[edit]

Tie-in novels[edit]

Shortly after the show's cancellation, tie-in novels were published by Berkley:

Roleplaying game[edit]

Margaret Weis Productions released a roleplaying game based on the show and using the Cortex Plus system in 2010, with pdf supplements coming out in 2012 and 2013.[57] In the game, whether or not they play the actual characters on the show the players are expected to take on one of the five roles within the Leverage team; Grifter, Hitter, Hacker, Mastermind, or Thief - and every character has a second role they can perform well and two they can't at all. In order to run cons as in the show, the player playing the Mastermind is given partially complete information with which to run the con, a twist is introduced midway (as in a three act structure), and the players are given Plot Points which they can use to establish flashback scenes. The Leverage Roleplaying Game was nominated for an Origins award.[58]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "TNT’s "Leverage" coming to an end". TNT Newsroom. 2012-12-21. Retrieved 2012-12-29. 
  2. ^ Dempsey, John (March 13, 2007). "TNT, Devlin team for 'Leverage'". Variety. Retrieved July 1, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Cable TV show 'Leverage' to film its second season in Portland". OregonLive.com. 2010-01-13. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  4. ^ "Breaking News - Exclusive: TNT Books "Memphis Beat" for June 22; "Leverage" Heads to Sundays". TheFutonCritic.com. 2010-04-03. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  5. ^ TNT Orders New Seasons of Three Hit Series: The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles and Leverage
  6. ^ Homepage
  7. ^ "TNT - Leverage: Home". Tnt.tv. Retrieved 2012-12-29. 
  8. ^ TNT Adds More Leverage as Hit Caper Series Enjoys Best Season Yet
  9. ^ "Portland gets another TV close-up: 'Leverage' season 5 to be set here". OregonLive.com. 2011-12-13. Retrieved 2011-12-13. 
  10. ^ "Leverage: Guest Star News". TNT Newsroom. 2012-03-13. Retrieved 2012-12-29. 
  11. ^ Seidman, Robert (December 21, 2012). "'Leverage' Canceled by TNT After 5th Season". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  12. ^ Kondology, Amanda (December 6, 2012). "‘Leverage’ EP Says Season 5 Finale Works as Series Finale If the Show is Not Renewed". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  13. ^ http://www.peopleschoice.com/pca/awards/nominees/
  14. ^ "The Bottle Job". Leverage. Season 2. Episode 11. January 13, 2010 (2010-01-13). TNT.
  15. ^ INTERVIEW: Dean Devlin and Aldis Hodge Talk Leverage, being A Geek and more with Michelle! - EclipseMagazine
  16. ^ "TNT Orders 13 Episodes of Leverage". ComingSoon.net. February 13, 2008. Retrieved July 1, 2008. 
  17. ^ Kristi Turnquist (2011-12-13). "Portland as TV star: 'Leverage' not just filming, but setting, season 5 in the Rose City". The Oregonian. "Dean Devlin, who's based in Los Angeles, announced the show's venue change in a video played Monday night at the annual meeting of the Governor's Office of Film and Television." 
  18. ^ a b "Final Cut Pro X - In Action - Electric Entertainment". Apple. 2012-07-15. Retrieved 2012-12-29. 
  19. ^ "Leverage: All Digital". 2009-10-16.  Flash video mini-documentary on the Leverage all-digital production work flow.
  20. ^ "Leverage". Bravo.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  21. ^ "Leverage - Fox". Fox. 2013-01-12. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  22. ^ Rose, Lacey. "Leverage". iontv. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  23. ^ Schedule. ION Television. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  24. ^ a b TNT (9 March 2010). "Ratings Notes for TNT, TBS, Adult Swim, truTV and Cartoon Network". Press release. TV by the Numbers. 
  25. ^ TNT (5 January 2011). "Ratings Notes for TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network;". Press release. TV by the Numbers. 
  26. ^ "Sunday Cable Ratings: Leverage, True Blood, Army Wives...". 22 June 2010. 
  27. ^ [1] (June 27, 2011) Falling Skies Falls 25% with Adults 15-49 + Leverage Premiere Numbers. Accessed 2012-02-20.
  28. ^ [2] (January 31, 2012) Ratings Notes for TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim: NBA, Big Bang Theory, Southland, Storage Hunters, Conan & More. Accessed 2012-02-20.
  29. ^ Kondology, Amanda (July 17, 2012). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'True Blood' Beats 'Breaking Bad' Premiere, + 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians', 'Very Funny News', 'Real Housewives of New Jersey', 'Falling Skies' & More". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved December 28, 2012. 
  30. ^ Bibel, Sara (December 27, 2012). "Tuesday Cable Ratings: NBA Basketball Wins Night, 'Doctor Who', 'Rizzoli & Isles', 'Leverage' & More". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved December 28, 2012. 
  31. ^ Critic Reviews for Leverage Season 1 - Metacritic
  32. ^ Leverage Review | TV Reviews and News | EW.com
  33. ^ Merry band of scammers pries loose action, fun in 'Leverage' - USATODAY.com
  34. ^ Leverage: The First Season : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video
  35. ^ Leverage: The Complete Second Season : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video
  36. ^ Leverage: Third Season : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video
  37. ^ Leverage: Season Four : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video
  38. ^ TNT’s ‘Leverage,’ starring Timothy Hutton, is flying high in its fifth season - NY Daily News
  39. ^ DVD Verdict Review - Leverage: The First Season
  40. ^ DVD Verdict Review - Leverage: The Second Season
  41. ^ DVD Verdict Review - Leverage: The Third Season
  42. ^ DVD Verdict Review - Leverage: The Fourth Season
  43. ^ DVD Verdict Review - Leverage: The Final Season
  44. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Leverage-Complete-Season-4-DVD/dp/B00ENZUUGW
  45. ^ "Leverage: The First Season". Amazon.com. Retrieved January 15, 2010. 
  46. ^ "Buy Leverage - Season 1 (4 Disc Set) @ EzyDVD". EzyDVD Pty Ltd. Retrieved July 16, 2011. 
  47. ^ Cortez, Carl (February 23, 2010). "Season Two 'Leverage' Hits DVD on May 25 With Loads of Special Features". iFMagazine. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
  48. ^ "Buy Leverage - Season 2 (4 Disc Set) @ EzyDVD". EzyDVD Pty Ltd. Retrieved July 16, 2011. 
  49. ^ Lambert, David (March 21, 2011). "Leverage - Paramount's Press Release Announces 'The 3rd Season' on DVD". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved July 16, 2011. 
  50. ^ "Leverage: The Complete Third Season". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  51. ^ "Leverage - Season 3 | DVD, DVD Genres, Drama/Romance : JB HI-FI". Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  52. ^ "'The 4th Season' Official Press Release from Fox". 
  53. ^ "Leverage Season 4[DVD]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  54. ^ "'5th Season' Press Release Confirms Date, Extras; Reveals Packaging". 
  55. ^ "Leverage - Staffel V [4 DVDs]". 
  56. ^ http://www.jbhifionline.com.au/dvd/dvd-genres/tv/leverage-season-5/680641
  57. ^ Maraget Weis Productions' Leverage Roleplaying Game
  58. ^ The 38th Origins Awards nominees and winners

External links[edit]