It’s going to be a blue Christmas for Leverage fans.
TNT announced late Friday that it has officially pulled the plug on the drama after five seasons; its series finale is set to air on Dec. 25.
“Leverage has thrilled audiences with its delightfully intricate plots, its stand up for the little guy attitude and its terrific performances from stars Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf and Aldis Hodge,” a TNT rep said in a statement. “But after five wonderful years, it’s time to say goodbye. Leverage will come to a close on Christmas at 9 pm, with a series finale that stands as one of the show’s best episodes… We want to thank the passionately devoted fans… who have been the driving force behind its success.”
Earlier this month, executive producer Dean Devlin told the show’s fans in an open letter that the Season 5 finale on Dec. 25 was designed to also serve as a “powerful” series finale. “[Fellow EP] John Rogers and I decided to end this season with the episode we had planned to make to end the series, way back when we shot the pilot,” he wrote. As a result, the hour — perhaps inauspiciously titled “The Long Good-bye Job” — is “the series finale we had always envisioned.”
The fifth season of TNT’s cult series “Leverage” is shaping up to be the best one yet. Since the first episode the series continues to gain momentum with audiences — an uncommon feat for most television shows. But Leverage isn’t like most television shows.
This cool, fast-paced, thoroughly witty hour of summer television features Nate Ford (Timothy Hutton) and his team of grifters, thieves and hackers using their wicked skills to help those who have been wronged.
But all of this is about to change.
MTVGeek has exclusively learned that Catherine Dent (The Shield, The Mentalist) is set to guest star in the winter finale of Leverage, playing Agent Ellen Casey, an Interpol agent at a high security government building in downtown Portland. She is the lead investigator in the Leverage squad’s finest and most elaborate job yet. Casey is cunning and quick to key in on the squad’s plans, but is she quick enough?
Fans of the series will be happy to know that Mark Sheppard (Supernatural, Doctor Who) will be returning to plague the squad as James Sterling — their long time nemesis. As Agent Casey’s boss, will his involvement finally spell the end of the Leverage crew?
TNT’s Leverage swings back into action tonight at 8/7c, in a new (yet not new) locale. Coming off the events of Season 4′s finale, Nate’s team bid Beantown adieu and set up shop in Portland – aka the city where the caper drama has filmed all these years. Also new: Hardison and Parker are “out” with their romance, so we thought it a good time to chat up Aldis Hodge about that fun dynamic. Plus: Why Leverage‘s master hacker wants to suit up as a certain Marvel hero.
TVLINE | Season 4 is here, and y’all have moved. Was there both an off- and on-screen reason for it?
We’ve been in Portland shooting for the last four years, because it makes more sense financially for the production. Also, for the scenery, moving the team to Portland works better because now we can use local businesses, we can actually exploit this beautiful town for all it’s worth. We had to hide so much of it when pretending it was Boston. As far as the storyline, [series co-creators] John Rodgers and Chris Downey worked it out nicely – and it has a really good payoff in the season finale, regarding why we’re really in Portland.
TVLINE | But for the short term, the reason is because they’ve “burned” Boston?
It’s definitely burned. It would make sense for a team making that much noise to have to leave some time or another.
TVLINE | One thing you and I have always talked about and danced around for a couple season now is the Hardison/Parker relationship – and now they’re officially dating. How has it been living up to any expectations?
Their relationship is one that’s very unique – we’re not a common couple — so we don’t do regular things, our vacations together are not normal…. But for them it is regular.
TVLINE | Yes, in the season premiere we get a montage of their vacations, and there is a lot of rappelling.
[Laughs] Exactly. That’s exactly what I’m talking about.
TVLINE | Does this reveal allow you and Beth Riesgraf to show new sides of your characters?
We’re able to take the characters to new places, have them answer some questions that have been going around for years, and now they can be more comfortable, intimately. And for Beth and I, we get to figure out new places to go with our own performances with one another. For example, instead of saying, “Hey, Parker” or “Hey, Hardison,” we can say, “Hey, baby” – but we’re trying to figure out, What would these two actually call each other as pet names? [Laughs] Figuring out things like that is always fun.
TVLINE | The synopsis for one of this season’s episodes, “The D.B. Cooper Job,” suggests a 1970s theme.
A li’l bit. A li’l bit. We get to go back in time. That was penned by Chris Downey , who also did the Danny Glover [World War II flashback] episode, so I think he’s found his niche. This time, we get to see Christian [Kane, as Eliot] do his thing back in the ’70s, but you get to have fun with everybody being dressed up in that funky era.
TVLINE | Wait, are we going to see you in elevator shoes, bell-bottoms and a ‘fro?
I don’t know about elevator shoes, but you may get an afro and some chaps.
TVLINE | Speaking of slipping into other roles: I know you’ve expressed interest in the rumored upcoming Marvel/Black Panther movie. Why would it mean so much to you to play that character?
To me, it would be amazing for Marvel to put that out there, because think about how many superhero movies we have but how many of [the heroes], from a cultural standpoint, are black? How many African-American kids, or Latin kids, any kids of any other culture or ethnic group, can look at somebody up there and say, “Wow, I could be that.” We don’t have that very often at all.
TVLINE | Right, there has been, what, Blade?
Blade. Spawn. But those were years ago. In the comic book world there are a few African-American characters, they just need to explore them. Marvel would be a champ for being the first one to pioneer that for this generation. I also think of all the kids in Africa, in South America, in Europe, who could say, “That can be me.” But also, it would just be plain cool, man! I grew up in a Marvel universe, and Black Panther was my connection to make me feel like I could be a superhero. And [this summer's blockbuster] The Avengers falls right into it because The Ultimate Avengers 2 [comic book series] is how Black Panther gets introduced, so it would flow naturally. It’d be a smart time to do it.
TVLINE | Plus you’ve got some skills to bring to the table.
Oh yeah, I’ve been doing martial arts since I was six. It’s my thing, it’s my sport. And I’ve just recently gotten into parkour. I do that stuff because it’s what I love, but if I could being it to the screen, it’d be an amazing opportunity.
The fifth season of TNT’s Leverage will reunite Christian Kane with his former Angel co-star Adam Baldwin, TVGuide.com has learned exclusively.
Baldwin will play the possibly recurring role Col. Michael Vance, an ex-Army Ranger who now runs a government counter-terrorism unit. However, Vance often ruffles the feathers of other intelligence community bureaucrats with his unorthodox method of recruiting small teams of agents — and even civilians — from a wide range of expertise. Sounds like the kind of guy who might call on Nate & Co. for help, right?
Kane, who plays Eliot Spencer on Leverage, recurred as Lindsey McDonald on Angel. Baldwin, a Joss Whedon mainstay, recurred in the fifth season as Wolfram & Hart liaison Marcus Hamilton.
Baldwin is no stranger to other members of the Leverage cast and crew: He had a role in Ordinary People, the film for which Leverage star Timothy Hutton won an Academy Award. Baldwin also has a long-standing working relationship with Leverage executive producer Dean Devlin. Both men appeared in the film My Bodyguard and Baldwin had roles in Independence Day and The Patriot, both of which Devlin produced.
Baldwin, who has also starred on Chuck and Firefly, most recently guest-starred on Castle.
Leverage’s fifth season premieres Sunday, July 15 at 8/7c on TNT. Baldwin’s episode, titled “The Rundown Job,” is scheduled to air in the fall.