Most of the original crew is back, with one notable exception (Timothy Hutton’s Mastermind, Nate Ford, died a year prior) and two fantastic additions. Joining grifter Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman), thief Parker (Beth Riesgraf), hitter Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane), and hacker Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge) are corporate-lawyer-turned-fixer Harry Wilson (Noah Wyle) and maker Breanna Casey (Aleyse Shannon) to take down some more bad guys. And after eight episodes (the second half drops in the fall), the new crew has shown that they’re just as successful as the original was in the 2008-2012 TNT drama.
We don’t know much about what to expect in the next eight episodes, but Bellman tells TV Insider, “I think that everybody will be excited about where everybody’s journey” and executive producer Dean Devlin promises a “fulfilling” end to the season.
Read on for more from Bellman, Riesgraf, Kane, Wyle, and Shannon about what we’ve seen so far and could still be to come in Leverage: Redemption.
The Original Crew’s Cons
While the focus is primarily on the present (and future), Kane likes that they don’t forget about the old cons. “That’s what’s always so fun because the memories also come back for us,” he says. “So you see the memories coming back for us on screen and that’s what’s been a joy about this season.”
While Shannon wasn’t part of the original series, she enjoys that aspect, too, just like her character. (When Breanna joins the crew, she talks about the stories her foster brother Hardison used to tell her.) “Little did I know that as we were shooting, I was going to learn about how each of those moments was made,” she shares. “So I’m sitting in such a cool seat where you’ll see the callback on a screen, but I got to hear from them like, ‘Oh yeah, three, four years ago, this is how we did this. This is how we made this happen.’ It was hysterical. And I’m getting all these cool insider stories that I should write down somewhere and hand over one day. It’s been fantastic.”
The Crew’s Leader
When the original Leverage ended, Parker was taking over as the crew’s leader as she, Eliot, and Hardison continued their work. But as is acknowledged in Redemption, she takes a step back and lets Sophie step into a leadership role.
“There is a comfort that Parker has when she’s in control as we’ve learned about her through the years, but there’s also something really nice for her to be a part of the team and crew and let go of some of that responsibility,” Riesgraf explains. “I think it’s been building that she wants to go literally jump off buildings and get her hands back into some safes. So I think she’s really craved that action and being a part of her team in a different way.” (Parker laments how long it’s been since she’s been in a strange vent in the revival’s premiere.)
It’s not just all for Parker, though. She saw that the grifter needed to be in charge, too. (Sophie gets back into the conning game a year after losing Nate.) “She sees what it gives Sophie to have this level of responsibility and be a part of something again,” Riesgraf continues.
After all, Kane points out, the Redemption part of the revival applies not just to Harry but to Sophie as well. “She’s not doing well and to save her life, we need to bring her back in. I don’t think that Parker really relinquishes the command post. I think she just has Sophie stand by her side,” he says. “And that’s very important in saving Sophie Deveraux.”
From Corporate Lawyer to Fixer
After realizing he’s been on the wrong side for his entire career, Harry’s attempt to make that right leads him right into the crew’s path — and ultimately to become part of it. In fact, by the end of these first eight episodes, he’s seemed to adapted quite well to his new life. For Wyle, that makes sense, given his journey.
“When Dean and I talked about this character, initially it was on the table that we start him off with the gun in his mouth. That was how serious we wanted the stakes to be for where he was at this crisis crossroads, that he couldn’t continue anymore being the same person that he was,” he says. “When you’re willing to throw off every definition about yourself because you no longer wanted to be defined by anything you’ve been up until now, it’s a really liberating place to be and it allows you this sort of freedom to explore personality, behavior, relationships. In a way, it’s almost like he’s on this gap year from himself where he gets to be a different person or figure out who he could have been if he hadn’t gone down the road that he did go down.”
Bellman especially enjoyed getting to play Sophie pushing Harry out of his comfort zone, as all the characters are doing. “They’re pushing his buttons and challenging him,” she says. “There’s a wonderful scene that I really enjoyed playing with [Noah] where Breanna’s stolen all your belongings and they’re all packed away in boxes.”
Trying New Things
While Breanna may not be entirely new to the world of conning — she’s run into some trouble with the law before joining the crew — she is still learning. Riesgraf has enjoyed watching her figure everything out and Shannon has enjoyed playing that.
“It’s really fun when you see all of us have to do roles within roles. It’s a lot of fun to watch the squirming and the discomfort,” Riesgraf explains. “Aleyse, as an actor, an artist is flawless, and she’s amazingly authentic in every way, but as Breanna, finding these ways and maybe having all this freedom, it’s been really exciting watching that.”
And as Breanna becomes more and more comfortable taking on new roles and learning new tricks (hopefully without more numbing cream as Parker tests her pickpocketing skills?), you will continue to learn more about her. “There’s a point that we got to while we were shooting where I was trying things that everybody was doing,” Shannon shares. “I was trying a little bit of Parker stuff and a little bit of Eliot stuff. As she tries new things, you’re going to learn a lot about her.”
Getting in on the
It wouldn’t be a Leverage series without Eliot getting quite a bit of hitting in, and in the revival, Kane got to use some of his training from Secondhand Lions. “I went through some extensive sword training for months with [sword master] Anthony De Longis, who I believe is the best guy in the business and he actually played the Butcher of Kiev in the first series,” he recalls.
After putting that to use on Angel (where he played lawyer Lindsey McDonald), he (finally) got to bring it to Eliot. “It was a lot of fun bringing up that old muscle memory and getting to do that,” he says.
Riesgraf enjoys the moments that Parker “gets to be super physical,” she says, and Kane notes that you can see that “Parker has learned to fight a little bit. … There’s a really great scene where Eliot throws somebody into her because he knows she’s going to take care of it now. And that’s a whole new dynamic that we didn’t have before. And that was a lot of fun to play because Eliot has trained her and now trusts her with throwing hands.”
Will Breanna be next to get in on the fighting? She tries to help Eliot out in a fight in the revival (“The Tower Job”). “I’m not sure they trusted me to really hold down a fight on my own. But I think Breanna is definitely auditioning for the spot hopefully sometime in the future,” Shannon says. “But yeah, no, I don’t think she could hold it down and throw hands, as Christian said, into actually getting somebody to stop. She might run away first.”
Leverage: Redemption, Part 1, Streaming Now, IMDb TV (Part 2, Fall 2021)
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