“Leverage” finishes strong

I wrote back in early January that “Leverage” seemed to be getting better, and then Will Harris had a chance to spend 10 minutes interviewing Christian Kane (who plays Elliot Spencer on the show), just before the two-part season finale aired.

After watching the finale, I think it’s safe to say that the show finished strong. The two-parter focuses on Nathan Ford (Timothy Hutton) and his obsession with taking down the head of the insurance company (that he used to work for) that failed to pay a claim that might have saved his son’s life. We meet Nathan’s ex-wife, Maggie (Kari Matchett), and Nathan’s rival at the insurance company, Sterling (Mark Sheppard), makes for a good foil.

Sure, the gang relies on a house-of-cards type progression to get through most of their jobs, but if you don’t spend too much time thinking about how ridiculous some of these plot points are, the show can be quite enjoyable. (I especially like the budding romance between Parker and Hardison.)

The series definitely has an “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Hustle” (BBC) feel to it, though I think that it would work better as the occasional two-hour movie than it does as a television series. (However, I do applaud TNT for limiting the season to 13 episodes — I would be frightened to see what kind of filler we’d get if it ran 22+ episodes.) TNT already greenlit a second season, so new viewers can dive in without fear that it will be canceled.

  

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10 Minutes and 10 Questions with Christian Kane

Tonight brings the first of the two parts of the first-season finale of TNT’s “Leverage.” We’ve commented on the show in the past here on Premium Hollywood, but after a slight false start in the early days of the series, it’s become an enjoyable blend of action, drama, and comedy that allows the viewer to escape into a world where the little guy actually gets to win once in awhile. We had a chance to talk to Christian Kane, who plays the rough-and-tumble Eliot Spencer on the show, and quizzed him about how the show’s gone for him. (We also snuck in a quick “Angel” question and checked on the status of his music career, too.)

1. If you can approach “Leverage” as a viewer rather than a fan for a second, are you surprised that “Leverage” was able to find an audience? Because a lot of series are in, out, and done in just a couple of episodes, but you guys found an audience quickly.

Yeah, we did, man. Y’know, it’s always surprising to me what works and what doesn’t work. I mean, I can’t believe that some of the stuff that’s on right now is on, and I can’t believe that “Arrested Development” ever went off the air. (Laughs) But it wasn’t surprising to know the track record of the people behind it. I mean, it was Tim (Hutton)’s first series (since “Kidnapped”), and I felt comfortable with that, but also John Rogers is an unbelievable writer, and Dean Devlin has had unbelievable success in the entertainment world, so we came in with a couple of big guns pulled out, unlike maybe some of the other people. So I felt confident in that. And then I started watching, and I got more confident. But then I remembered that, with the economy the way it is and the way the entertainment business is going… (Laughs) …it got a little bit scary for awhile, y’know, because you start thinking of stuff. But then when I went back to the economy stuff, and I went, “Y’know what? In this day and age, when The Man is sticking it to everybody, I think people are really going to want to sit back on the couch and really be part of the team and watch some people go out and stick it back to The Man.”

2. The “Ocean’s Eleven” comparisons that were being thrown around in the beginning were obviously really, really apt. Do you think the series has found its own identity yet, or is it still finding it?

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