Total catnip. The show returned to classic form with very few hiccups. Old characters got cycled out in believable ways and were replaced by new characters who had a lot to contribute. Overall I loved this!
If you haven’t watched the original Leverage you’re really missing out! The premise is simple: a group of world-class criminals work together to use their skills to take down evil billionaires and others who live above the law. It’s cartoonish, reductive, silly and OH MY GOD SO MUCH FUN!
But this review is about the revival,
@Leverage: Redemption Season 1
TV Show (2021)
, which concluded with its second half in November of 2021. Taking place a few years after the original Leverage crew has split up we learn that Nate, the former head of the gang, has died. Sophie is grieving him. The team isn’t as close as it used to be, but Elliot, Hardison and Parker have been setting up Leverage Franchises all over the world.
Against this backdrop a grieving, reluctant Sophie returns to lead the team. Joining our cast are Breanna, a younger relative of Hardison and a determined hacker; and Harry Wilson, an evil corporate lawyer who is trying to turn over a new leaf.
What I love about this show is that it’s not afraid to punch up as high as it can. Targets include ripped-from-the-headlines stories like real-estate-developers-cum-politicians-who-are-secretly-in-bed-with-russian-money-launderers-cause-trouble or billionaire-with-fake-claims-of-battery-efficiency-scamming-public-with-environmental-fraud. It’s like watching Donald Trump or Elon Musk, wearing a legally-mandated mustache,get their comeuppance. It’s as much fun as you’d imagine!
One thing this season does that’s really interesting is the introduction of a young black woman, Breanna, juxtaposed with an older white man, Harry. Harry is constantly dazzling people with his sharp lawyer skills, but he’s got to learn how to see like a person without privilege and Breanna is always there to guide him, sometimes sharply, into a broader perspective. It felt like a conversation over the course of the season across class, race and gender lines, and it culminates in some pretty taut writing where everything hinges on whether or not you can really trust the white guy to be an ally when it matters. This is a show that understands that doing the right thing for the wrong reasons can be disastrous, and goes to lengths to challenge its characters’ motivations.
It’s also got a great sense of humor. You’re not ready for the episode where Levar Burton guest stars as a humble librarian with an explosive past.
Leverage is popcorn fun, but under the surface is an astute observation of human nature and the state of the world today. It confirms all of my biases delightfully, serving up evil oil executives and morally bankrupt pharmaceutical companies and all the other bugbears of progressive political frustration. This show masquerades as popcorn but it’s got some serious depth and I’m glad it exists — I’m looking forward to the next season.
Note: the Amazon referral link above will take you to episode 1 of the original Leverage, since it’s technically all the same show.
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