Leverage Review

Series - TNT, Sun. Dec. 7, 10 p.m.

Spiritually indebted to "Mission: Impossible" and to a lesser degree "The Sting," Leverage seeks to revive the '70s-style caper, as a crack squad of crooks mounts fabulously elaborate scams -- targeting unfeeling corporations and corrupt tycoons. That gives the series a timely Robin Hood streak, but, aside from an easygoing quality and mild comic flair, there's not much here to steal the hearts of viewers; instead, it's another modest, lightweight addition to TNT's diner-style menu of comfort food for a weary nation.

The ad-free premiere uses that extra time to introduce an unlikely team of criminals with unique specialties, assembled by an airline exec (guest Saul Rubinek). The exec taps Nate Ford (Timothy Hutton) - a former insurance investigator whose son died because his callous employer denied medical claims -- to serve as their leader.

Think of Ford as a modern version of the pulp hero Doc Savage, and the rest of this gang as his Fabulous Four: Sophie (Gina Bellman), an accomplished grifter and aspiring actress who only performs convincingly when she's involved in a scam; Parker (Beth Riesgraf), an acrobatic thief; Alec (Aldis Hodge), a computer-hacking wizard; and Eliot (Christian Kane), a martial-arts badass.

Accustomed to working alone, Ford orchestrates how they can operate together, and their initial collaboration inspires them to reunite for similar endeavors -- providing "leverage" to those in need of help against uncaring conglomerates. Hence the second installment, where they assist a wounded Iraqi war vet done wrong by a shady mogul and crooked politician.

Read the rest of this review: Variety


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