Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Leverage – The 3rd Season

Season Three starts in high gear and never really slows down. We begin with the team breaking Nate (Timothy Hutton) out of jail and being given an offer by a mysterious stranger (Elisabetta Canalis) who will guarantee his continued freedom (and their lives) if the team agrees to take down untouchable criminal figure Damien Moreau (Goran Visnjic).

Although the Moreau storyline is integral to the overall story arc of the season, that doesn't mean we don't get plenty of episodes of the team doing what they do best. Over the 16 episodes Hardison (Aldis Hodge) plays a Stradivarius to take down the unscrupulous brother (Giancarlo Esposito) of a world leader, Pakrer's (Beth Riesgraf) past is revealed as we meet the thief (Richard Chamberlain) who trained her, Elliot (Christian Kane) gets a chance to play an up and coming country singer, Nate helps the team take down his father (Tom Skerritt), and they even take time to save Christmas from Wil Wheaton.

There are also episodes that take place during a high school reunion, revolve around car thieves, and include plots by a nasty IRS collection scam run by Clancy Brown, an evil scientist (Lisa Brenner) willing to destroy the world's food supply for corporate profit, a corrupt Attorney General (Annie Fitzgerald) and mine owner (Bruce Davison) pocketing government money earmarked for mine safety, and hockey player turned dirty financier (Spencer Garrett) and federal witness who is given one hell of a morning wake up call by the Leverage team.

It's a solid season all-around, but the best episode of this collection is "The Rashomon Job" which focuses on a botched theft which all the members of the team were separately involved in five years ago. Each character presents their version of the story only to be overshadowed by the next series of recollections.

The four-disc collection includes all 16 episodes, a behind-the-scenes featurette of first-half of the season finale "The Big Bang Job," featurettes on the writers and producers of the show, a gag reel, and deleted scenes for selected episodes.

Also included is commentary for every single episode by the episode's writer and director (including series creator Dean Devlin, writer/director John Rogers, director Jonathan Frakes, writer Michael Colton, writer Chris Downey, writer John Aboud, writer Geoffrey Thorne, writer Melissa Glenn, writer Jessica Rieder, director Marc Roskin, writers Scott Veach, writer Rebecca Kirsch, director John Harrison, director Marc Roskin, director Arvin Brown, writer Christine Boylan), as well as cast members Hodge, Riesgraf, Kane for select episodes.

You can't ask for much more than that. I'll also give credit to TNT for releasing the Third Season on DVD weeks before the next season is set to premiere giving fans a chance to catch up on these episodes. Sometimes bad guys (grifters, con artist, hackers, hitters, and thieves) really do make the best good guys.

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