Synopsis: The Hitter, the Hacker, the Grifter and the Thief are back, this time with help from a new tech genius and corporate fixer, to take on a new kind of villain. When someone needs help, they provide…Leverage.
Review: After eight years. The Leverage team is back, but with a few changes and a new set of villains who don’t particularly care about their public image. They can always hire a corporate fixer to keep them out of strife. But what happens when one of these corporate fixers grows a conscience. As we see some favorite characters return. We get to see how much they have grown over the last eight years. And the opening story, which is in two parts sows the seeds for the classic team to get back together, but one big change. Nate Ford is dead and Alec Hardison is running Leverage International so is now more of a recurring presence. Which initially felt like a bit of a blow to me as Hardison was always my favorite character. However, Breanna Casey who is Hardison’s little sister makes for an interesting addition. Added to that. The idea of a corporate lawyer looking to redeem his past makes for an interesting new twist.
The opening episode sees Hardison, Parker, and Elliot Spencer paying a visit to a grief-stricken Sophie Devereaux who is still struggling with the death of her husband and former Master Mind Nate Ford. Of course, the team persuades Sophie to return to her former life as a grifter for one last job.
However, when they catch Harry Wilson. A lawyer and corporate fixer trying to steal a painting. Their simple art theft turns into an opportunity to take a millionaire collector who made his money in the drugs trade down. Harry Wilson has all the dirt on him and wants to expose him for the nasty piece of work that he is. But to do that. He needs the help of Sophie and her team.
Over the course of these first eight episodes, we meet a couple of new characters that fill the spaces left by Alec Hardison who has bigger responsibilities running Leverage International and the late Nathon Ford. Harry Wilson the former Fixer makes for an interesting character who starts off as quite naive. On a few occasions his closeness to the jobs that the team takes on and his lack of communication courses issues.
The addition of Breanna Casey as the team’s new hacker breathes new life into the show. As much as I enjoyed Hardison as a character. I found that I didn’t miss him too much as Breana brought a similar kind of energy to the show. Her inexperience of working in a team also makes for some fun moments where she gets coaching from Parker. In fact, I found it rather funny that Parker, who had some pretty major social deficits in the classic run is now mentoring the new kid.
Aldis Hodge does a great job in reprising and giving us a slightly more mature Hardison. In the original run of the series, Hardison was being set up to succeed Nate Ford. And he has done that and a bit more as Leverage is now an international company that takes down any enterprise that isn’t fulfilling its social obligations. Over the course of two episodes, we see a slight change in Hardison’s character. He’s a bit less impetuous. But keeps his sense of fun. It was nice to see Hodge act alongside Christian Kane’s Elliot Spencer. The fun banter between remains.
Beth Riesgraf returns as expert thief Parker. She has mellowed a little and has become more of a team player, which is likely thanks to Hardison and Sophie’s influence. We still get the old Parker here and there. But we also see a more rounded character as we see some of what Parker has learned from Sophie come more into play. In fact one of the episodes sees Parker bringing someone that she knows to the team for help. But best of all is seeing Parker take on the role as a mentor figure for newcomer Breanna.
Gina Bellman makes a solid return as the team’s Grifter Sophie who is in a very different place from where we last saw her. She’s grief-stricken after the death of former team leader Nate Ford and the 8 episodes that have aired are very much about her journey back as it were. A lot of her best scenes are when she is giving a bit of guidance to new guy Harry Wilson who needs to learn some tradecraft.
The New Guys
Noah Wyle brings us a fish out of water with Harry Wilson who is now learning to swim with the big fish. It’s fun watching him develop new skills taught by the others. But also interesting to see how his legal background aids the team. It will be fun seeing how this character develops in future episodes. Right, this minute it still feels like the writers and Noah Wyle are still figuring out the character. But it’s a strong start.
Aleyse Shannon brings brilliant energy to the show as the new hacker Breanna Casey who has a sort of family connection to Hardison. Though it’s not genetic. I loved how the writers introduced Breana in the second episode as she smoothly slotted in. We get some dramatic scenes where Breana is worried that she will not be able to live up to the tasks she is given. Hardison’s shadow is very much a foreboding presence for her as she tries to figure out what she can add to the team.
I loved her scenes with Parker. But the scene she has with Elliot in the penultimate episode sort of lifts Hardison’s shadow a little as she comes into her own. Her best episodes are ‘The Paranormal Hacktivity Job‘ and ‘The Card Game Job‘.
Leverage: Redemption gets off to a solid start. The pop-cultural references to Classic Doctor Who, Star Wars, and of course Star Trek remain. Seeing Parker’s version of the Picard Shirt tug and many other fun bits are what make this show so special.
The new slant of having the team take on more ruthless corporate tycoons who care not for their public image feels very much like the present. The character of Harry Wilson presents all sorts of possibilities for the series. It will be fascinating to see how both he and Breanna develop in the remaining episodes when they get released.
Overall. Great job.
You can watch all 8 of these new episodes of Leverage: Redemption on IMDB TV
- CGI & Stunts9.6
- Incidental Music9.7