Perhaps I am working under a mistaken assumption but… don’t we all love the good guys in stories? To see their missions go out in an awesome blaze of splendor, nothing can take the fun away, because it’s cool, right!? Is there any better way for a movie to end or more gratifying? I didn’t think so. What do you do though with heroes who have built a reputation on thieving? Why, you reform them, of course! That’s the working premise for TNT’s summer hit Leverage, a show that hinges on the bad guys doing the right thing. good guys of leverage
The series brings together an “elite” band of thieves and becomes a kind of modern day Robin Hood-like story. But it doesn’t stop with just that. It doesn’t assume that just because these characters are put into situations were good deeds are right in front of them they won’t be tempted to return to what they know; thieving, conning and hacking. It explores their conscious in the most interesting ways, to watch them walk the good path vs. the bad. In this scenario, everyday Americans seek out team leverage in order to acquire their assistance in handling the injustices inflicted on them by the rich and powerful.
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The unusual band of thieves is headed up by Nathan Ford, an ex-insurance investigator who is familiar with each of his cohorts in his past line of work. Nate is the “hero” influence of the bunch, he’s the one who, according to Sophie, sees them all “ruined” for their trade. In a certain sense, Nate is also the guy with the most flaws but he becomes the person they all turn to to help them do good; something that gives the crew a sense of pleasure… of patriotism… of satisfaction. Leverage comes together under suspicious circumstances but now the five-person crew thinks of each other as family. There is Hardison (hacker), Eliot (hitter), Sophie (grifter) and Parker (thief).
Each of these characters, somehow have something we can relate to, even when their lives revolve around criminal mischief. Above all, they are flawed, imperfect even in a show coming out of Hollywood and airing on a popular cable station. Even for normal people, it is a struggle to constantly be always “with it,” to go against the grain and stand out as being different. The fact that writers take that concept and throw all sorts of disputes in their paths makes for interesting television. Many of the topics that Leverage challenges itself with is… just… human nature – imperfections and all, the good and bad.
The first season of Leverage had a lot of things to improve on, and it does so in its sophomore set. The cons are bigger, the characters more engaging and everything is just… cooler! Writers test the characters in a number of ways to better convince us just how noble they’re becoming. In one episode the gang works against a ruthless businessman who is callous enough to bring down an entire passenger plane just to be rid of two “inconveniences.” True, four of the five team members are on that plane, but they unanimously decide to save the passengers from a fiery death at the risk of their own lives. Later in the show, we begin to learn more of Eliot’s character and discover that his soft spots. Just more confirmation that these reformed thieves truly believe in what Nate is trying to lead them towards. good guys of leverage
I’ve found that I really enjoy this working theory. In my television experience, it is something new. Whatever I watch, it’s rare that I want to see a villain redeemed, that I think he even is redeemable. When I find something that to root for the “bad guy” to end up good, it becomes a fun change. In this scenario, the bad guys are really the good ones and the outwardly do-gooders are… well… just wicked. What… fun!
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You can see Leverage, season one digitally on Amazon Video