Leverage: The Fifth Season DVD Review
For those of who don't know, "Leverage" starred Timothy Hutton as Nathan "Nate" Ford a former insurance investigator and the leader of a team staging elaborate cons for clients victimized by those holding wealth and influence to avoid legal reprisal. The team comes together when Victor Dubenich, a wealthy aerospace executive, persuades Ford to lead a team of talented criminals to steal aeronautical plans allegedly stolen from him by a competitor. After a successful heist, Dubenich withholds their payment and attempt their deaths; whereupon they implicate him in a bribery attempt, which leads to his arrest by the FBI.
Most episodes follow a set story structure. After meeting the client, the Leverage team researches the villains to find a weakness to exploit. Each con, either as originally planned or as complications develop, typically requires the specialized skills of all the members of the group. Towards the end of each episode, the villains seem to get the upper hand, only to be outwitted by the Leverage team. Because most of the narrative has seemed to follow the Leverage team's point of view, the audience is momentarily uninformed as to exactly how the Leverage team has succeeded in their con. A flashback then reveals how a seeming complication was either anticipated by the Leverage team, or utilized in a clever improvisation. These flashbacks, which feature in every episode, sometimes reveal only in retrospect that an earlier scene was actually a clue to the Leverage team's plan. More often, however, the flashbacks reveal new information the viewer has not been privy to. This formula is followed by every episode in seasons one, two, and three. With the exception of the final season, each season ends with a two-part finale which involves a two-part, multi-stage con designed to bring down a major adversary, such as an international crime financier in season three, with an ending that advances the team's story into the new season.
Season 5 features some interesting episodes and follows an enclosed storyline that ends with something of a resolution for all parties involved. Season Five opens with Nate having the team moved to Portland, Oregon and setting up shop in a microbrewery. Stand out episodes include "The Gimme a K Street Job" in which a cheerleader is injured through corporate negligence, Parker takes over the role of the cheerleading squad's disgraced coach while the other members of the Leverage team attempt to get safety legislation passed in Congress; "The Night Night Job" after finishing a job in Washington with Parker and Hardison, Eliot gets a call from an old employer that leads him to deduce that a terror attack is imminent. Only the three of them, with the help of an old Army colleague of Eliot's, can stop it; and the final episode "The Long Goodbye Job" where the team embarks on their riskiest con yet when Nate takes a case linked to his son's death. Ellen Casey (Catherine Dent) questions Nate as he retells the job that supposedly got his entire team killed. The job was to steal "the Black Book," a record of all illegal transactions made by bankers and wealthy people that led to the financial crisis of 2007-2008. However, it is revealed that the job was successful, the team is very much alive and Sterling (Mark Sheppard), who had been assigned to look into the break-in, allows Nate to walk away from possible imprisonment. Nate retires to marry Sophie and the team plans to start "Leverage International" with their newly-obtained information. The series ends with a scene reminiscent to the closing scene of the pilot, with the team (now consisting of only Parker, Eliot, and Hardison) taking on a new case, but with Parker in place of Nate.
The season 5 DVD set includes commentaries on every episode by John Rogers and Chris Downey, joined by directors Mark Roskin, Tawnia McKiernan, John Harrison, Dean Devlin, and P.J. Pesce, writers Aaron Denius Garcia, Jeremy Bernstein, Geoffrey Thorne, and Jenn Kao, and series stars Aldis Hodge and Christian Kane.
There are also deleted scenes for "The First Contact Job," "The French Connection Job," "The Low Low Price Job," and "The White Rabbit Job," with the highlight being Sophie offering fashion advice to people in the dressing rooms in "The Low Low Price Job." Finally, there's the gag reel, the extra to watch if you're looking for laughs, and it ends on a bittersweet note with Timothy Hutton's "Let's go steal a season 6!"
At least now you can complete your DVD collection, and for fans, it's worth picking up this set. There may not be as many extras as on other TV show sets out there, but it's something fans are going to love.
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