Premiering in 2008, Leverage struck a great chord in viewers suffering from the onset of the recession. It centered around Nate Ford (Timothy Hutton), an insurance fraud investigator who lost everything when his son died. He and a gang of crooks were hired to pull a robbery, only to be double-crossed.
Nate convinced the team to band together for payback and then formed a unit to pull con games on the rich and powerful. With hacker Hardison (Aldis Hodge), hitter Eliot (Christian Kane), con artist Sophie (Gina Bellman), and thief Parker (Beth Riesgraf), Nate’s team took down the rich and powerful corrupt businesspeople with fantastic con games.
After ending its run in 2012, the series was revived by IMDB TV (now Freevee) in 2022. The new concept was that while Nate had passed away, Leverage teams around the world were targeting the powerful and corrupt. However, they had problems as the new breed of crooks were using the system better. Noah Wyle joined as Harry Wilson, a former corporate lawyer aiding the team.
The new series has much the same flavor in how the series works with the clever con games against deserving scumbags. But it also has some flaws that Stone can hopefully fix.
Leverage got away from its roots
While Redemption still has the fun of Leverage, something seems to have been lost, and not just Hutton. The show has had some shots of the rich and powerful, but the new series seems a bit more preachy on matters from misuse of the environment to social standards and how they’re used.
Worse is that the team, usually so capable, is often written as weaker to justify having to challenge themselves to make a con work. While that can point to how they needed Nate, it’s also a comedown for them. Sophie spent too long doubting her own skills when confronted by her criminal past, even as an episode on Eliot’s past was good character work on him. Hardison being away so much due to Hodge’s movie career didn’t help as new hacker Breanna isn’t as fun.
The show still had its good charms and fun watching the cons unfold, yet it lacked the old magic that made it work . That’s why Stone’s return is a good thing, as the series was always great when he was in charge of the writing.
Stone can put the focus back on the clever scams and plans of the gang. Yes, they have their problems with last-minute changes and surprises, but they are still smart and experienced crooks to roll with it. He can also tone down a bit of the preachiness and keep the show on what it’s supposed to be: the team standing up for the little guy in some fun takedowns.
Leverage: Redemption is still a good show and a worthy sequel to the original. But the return of Stone can make Season 3 even better by returning the show to its great roots and a reminder of how this show was always a gem for a crime dramedy.
Leverage: Redemption seasons 1-2 streaming on Prime Video.