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September 30, 2014

Leverage: The Home Coming Job

by Jason Hughes, posted Dec 10th 2008 1:35PM
Leverage -
(S01E02)
"The world doesn't work this way." --Dr. Laroque
"Then change the world." --Nathan Ford

Oh, I really do like this show. It looks like the fine folks behind Leverage are going to use this platform to "expose" the kinds of corporate corruption that we all know are there but may just not be able to prove. As established over the past several years, a lot of these bastards at the top of the corporate world are just as bad, if not worse, than the common street criminal. In fact, I'm going to go with worse. Tonight's target: Castleman, a company that provides a private "army" to the U.S. Government. You know, Blackwater.

In keeping with the Robin Hood concept, the idea behind this heist is to ensure that PFC Dwight Caplan can get the rehab he needs to get out and start working. The kid's not looking for a handout, just a fare shake in life. And since it was Castleman, and not insurgent fire, who took that away from him, he's looking for justice. Which is what Leverage is all about.

I loved the cover corporation, complete with a painting of Nathan's ancestor and founder of the company in 1913. Hardison is on his way to becoming my favorite character. I love that the "computer geek" is absolutely brilliant at what he does, but in no way personifies the stereotypes of a typical computer geek. Still, couldn't his wall of screens have been seamless? Those black bars get in the way of everything and I know we have the technology to have a seamless integration of multiple screens. I'm disappointed Hardison!

Wait, Eliot Spencer may be my favorite character. He's a very particular character. From identifying firearms used based on the sounds of their gunfire to a branch of the military based on a knife fighting style, Spencer is one knowledgeable and resourceful guy. I'd like to say that the girls are my favorite characters too, but I'm not as excited about what they bring to the table yet.

Don't get me wrong, I totally did how crazy Parker is and loved when she shoved Hardison off the roof to test her new pulley system, but even so she's not as much fun to watch as Spencer and Hardison. The same goes for Sophie. In fact, in her case I'm not seeing why she's so much more effective acting like someone she's not when we've seen other people on the team doing it as well. I do enjoy her forays into attempted "real" acting, though. God, she's terrible.

Two episodes in, and everything I loved about the series from the pilot is still here. The method used to set up both Dufort and Congressman Jenkins to take the fall for the container of money was brilliant. The false back to the truck seemed almost too simple when Hardison was tearing it down, but it was effective. I'm not sure how Dr. Laroque and her staff are going to move two giant pallets of money out of the back of a truck to use for the hospital without drawing a lot of attention on a busy street, but I guess that's their problem, and a problem I'm sure they're only too happy to have.

I noticed online that even the cast and creators were saying this was a melding of sorts of The A-Team and Mission: Impossible, which is exactly what I was thinking as I was watching it. There was always an element of comedy and fun on The A-Team and Leverage is finding the same balance. Already, the camaraderie between this disparate group of criminals is starting to develop. There are so many great lines of banter packed in each episode we could fill an entire article just running through them.

Instead, I'll just encourage you to watch the show. Both the pilot and this one are on again this Saturday starting at noon (Eastern). This is one of those shows that can appeal to everyone. Action, humor, snappy dialogue, humanitarian, topical, and getting to see the little guy come out on top every week. What's not to love?

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chuck

I get it. To succeed on American TV you have to be politically-correct. You have to steal from bad guys, you have to be honest etc. I so much enjoyed the first episode and this one surprised me - in a bad way. It sucked. Come on, people! The ending was just SHITTY. The dialog was crap. I love most actors (even Parker is okay), but the writing! Oh, crap.

I liked Smith (especially Simon Baker as a thug with unprovoked agression urges) and Heist so much more. But both were canceled for being not PC-enough, obviously. I just hope this show finds its writers.

December 14 2008 at 7:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Phil

I've seen the first two of these shows. Yes entertaining and good fantasy. If I want the news I'll watch the news. If I want justice then I'll work for that. I don't have huge expectations that this show is going to do much more than entertain and that's just fine with me. Maybe just maybe this show won't get touchy-feely and be more like the old Mission Impossible series with a bit of comedy thrown in which is standard fare these days. I don't care about people's personal problems, issues or axes to grind.

December 11 2008 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brainfish

"I noticed online that even the cast and creators were saying this was a melding of sorts of The A-Team and Mission: Impossible"

Nah it's an almost total copy of the UK show Hustle. Which is not a bad thing as I do like this show. I also liked Heist which this show also reminds me of

December 11 2008 at 10:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
brent

He was a Corporal, not PFC...

-PV2 Schmidt lol

December 10 2008 at 10:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Willmore2000

That's part of the problem for me with Leverage, it takes itself a bit too seriously. If it wanted to be less serious, it shouldn't deal with Blackwater/VA hospitals/corrupt congressmen, instead I'm sure there are 50 topics out there that can be funny to work with. Instead, it wants social commentary and quirky comedy in the same show. I don't know who can write something like that and not sound fake doing it.

Like I said, I enjoy the show for the fluff that it is, it's just a bit jarring at times.
As for the advertisements, they are just very noticeable. Tesla was more or less natural, except for the whole "Who says you can't be socially responsible and have fun too." soliloquy. If he had said "oh yeah, I got an electric," got into his car and drove off, that would be fine. But he had the speech and then the giant TESLA logo on the back of the car. Same for DirecTV, he didn't just say "And I got 50 sports channels for NFL, NBA and baseball ... and some hockey for our furry canadian friend." No, he said "And I got the DirecTV Total Sports package." that's a damn advertising slogan, in the middle of a TV show.

Power to the producers for finding alternative revenue streams, but come on, the writers couldn't find a better way of fitting it in, without "Total Sports package" part in there?

December 10 2008 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
yatesy

this show is ok, i think once the writers get on a roll, it'll be even better, but i really think the flimflam angle is covered so much better in hustle on amc.

December 10 2008 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to yatesy's comment
Willmore2000

Bingo, Hustle reinvented the con-game genre. And even though those characters were stereotypes as well, they were well-written, well-acted stereotypes.

December 10 2008 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eugene

The characters HAVE to be stereotypes, I'm pretty sure it's a requirement of the genre.

The fun of this genre is in the team work and in the job and the in the ability of the actor playing the mark to really sell it.

December 10 2008 at 3:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Willmore2000

This is an odd show for me.

1. I like the show.
2. I hate most everything in it.

The characters seem either miscast or poorly written, they play as stereotypes of stereotypes.

An alcoholic vigilante white knight goody-two-shoes with a loss in his life.

A super-smart geek who can hack into the CIA, NSA and anything else, but decides to turn to a life of crime.

A spunky, quirky thief who acts like an immature 12-year-old, who (correct me if I'm wrong) killed her parents because they didn't let her steal a teddy bear.

A con-artists who can't act and is the leader's love interest.

A super-tough guy who hates guns and is a martial arts genius.

This sort of shallow character drives me crazy, but I like the show despite of it.

The plot was OK, but some of the dialogue was just plain ear-scratchingly bad. And some scenes just made no sense. So a bunch of people who you suspect are con artists show up with a couple million dollars cash, you first say "Is it stolen." They say "not any more." And that's it, you believe them? And how exactly is this doctor supposed to spend that much cash without arousing suspicion? You show up at the bank with a truck-full of 20s, you'll be answering questions from the FBI.

And the blatant ads inside the show just kill me. From DirecTV to Tesla Motors, which weren't just off-handedly shown on the show, they were part of the dialogue and the plot.

But I enjoy the show, it's the sort of fluff that provides for easy watching. Though I do hope the show gets better with time. Maybe switch out some of the characters. The show could also learn a thing or two from Hustle, that show did cons better than just about anyone, and the characters actually made sense.

December 10 2008 at 2:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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