Wednesday, June 13, 2012

“Leverage” Season Overview, Episode Synopses, Cast & Production Bios

  TNT Press Release

TNT’s Action-Packed Hit Leverage Returns Sunday, July 15,
With New Headquarters and the Most Thrilling Twists and Turns Yet

Television’s most adventurous gang of thieves, grifters and con artists shake things up this summer with new headquarters and some of their toughest cases yet. TNT’s hit series Leverage returns for its fifth season, which is set to launch Sunday, July 15, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT). The show will move to its regular Sunday 9 p.m. (ET/PT) timeslot beginning August 26. Academy Award winner Timothy Hutton stars in this clever and compelling drama, along with Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf and Aldis Hodge.

Leverage focuses on a team led by former insurance investigator turned thief, Nate Ford (Hutton). His cohorts include Sophie Devereaux (Bellman), a brilliant grifter; Eliot Spencer (Kane), a retrieval specialist; Alec Hardison (Hodge), a gadget and technology wizard; and Parker (Riesgraf), a slightly off-center thief adept at rappelling off buildings. Together, they try to level the playing field for people whose lives have been destroyed by the rich and powerful.

The fifth season of Leverage opens to the promise of new adventure and uncharted territory in “The Very Big Bird Job”. Without even having time to settle into their new Portland, Ore., base of operations, the team is immediately swept into the path of a conniving shipping executive (guest star Carey Elwes) whose cheap techniques result in a tragic plane crash. Determined to put him behind bars before another merger is completed, the Leverage team formulates their most daring con ever involving theft of the actual Spruce Goose.

This season on Leverage, the team will be forced to face changing personal dynamics as the relationship between Parker and Hardison heats up, and Nate continues to struggle with inner demons. Among their upcoming jobs, they will target a wealthy scientist who stole his former research partner’s discovery and ruined his reputation; an ex-hockey-player-turned-team-owner (guest star Treat Williams) who trades his love of the game for his love of money at the expense of his players’ health; a corrupt restaurateur who destroys lives in his pursuit of fame and money; and a corrupt businessman whose stock scams and money-laundering have him living a life of secrecy (guest star Matthew Lillard). In addition, the team will once again face their nemesis, insurance-investigator-turned-InterPOL-agent Jim Sterling (guest star Mark Sheppard).

Since premiering in 2008, Leverage has become a solid hit, averaging 4 million viewers in its fourth season. Leverage is executive-produced by Dean Devlin (Independence Day, TNT’s The Librarian movie series) and creators John Rogers (Transformers) and Chris Downey (The King of Queens). The series is produced for TNT by Devlin’s Electric Entertainment.

About Electric Entertainment
Electric Entertainment is a full service film, television, and new media production company and studio headed by veteran producer Dean Devlin along with Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan. Electric is currently in production on the fifth season of TNT’s action-packed drama “Leverage.”

Electric’s other television credits include TNT’s "The Librarian" starring Noah Wyle which was the highest rated movie on cable that year (2004), its sequel, “The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines” and the third installment of the franchise, “The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice.” Along with Bryan Singer’s Bad Hat Harry production company, Electric produced SyFy Channel’s “The Triangle,” which won an Emmy for its Visual Effects, and was the highest-rated miniseries on the cable channel since “Steven Spielberg Presents TAKEN” (2002).

About TNT
TNT, one of cable’s top-rated networks, is television’s destination for drama. Seen in 99 million households, TNT is home to such original drama series as The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles, Falling Skies, Franklin & Bash, Leverage, Southland and the upcoming Major Crimes, Dallas, Perception and Monday Mornings. The network also features dramatic unscripted originals like this summer's The Great Escape and the upcoming Boston Blue (w.t.) and 72 Hours (w.t.). In addition, TNT is the cable home to popular dramas like The Mentalist, Bones, Supernatural, Las Vegas, Law & Order and Castle, which starts this year; primetime specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards; blockbuster movies; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR, the NBA and the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

Episode Synopses

Season Premiere: "The (Very) Big Bird Job" – Sunday, July 15, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT)
When a shipping CEO’s cost-cutting measures result in a plane crash, the Leverage team cons him into buying the largest plane ever built – the Spruce Goose – in order to expose him before a merger is completed that would put more lives at risk.

Directed by John Rogers
Written by John Rogers
Created by John Rogers & Chris Downey

"The Blue Line Job" – Sunday, July 22, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT)
While trying to save a stubborn hockey enforcer from sustaining permanent injury in the playoffs, the Leverage crew discovers that someone has nefarious designs on the team.

Directed by Marc Roskin
Written by M. Scott Veach & Paul Guyot
Created by John Rogers & Chris Downey

"The First Contact Job" – Sunday, August 5, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT)
The Leverage team takes down a wealthy scientist who stole his former research partner's discovery and ruined his reputation. Their tactic is to convince him he’s made first contact with aliens.

Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Written by Aaron Denius Garcia
Created by John Rogers & Chris Downey

"The French Connection Job" – Sunday, August 12, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT)
The Leverage team goes inside the world of culinary schools and celebrity chefs to bring down a corrupt restaurateur who destroys lives in his pursuit of fame and money.

Directed by Tawnia McTiernan
Written by Paul Guyot
Created by John Rogers & Chris Downey

"The Gimme a K Street Job" – Sunday, August 19, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT)
To take down a competitive cheerleading company that profits by putting teenage girls at risk, the team must tackle its most corrupt foe yet: Congress.

Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Written by Jeremy Bernstein
Created by John Rogers & Chris Downey

"The D.B. Cooper Job" – Sunday, August 26, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
A dying FBI Agent's greatest failure – allowing skyjacker D.B. Cooper to escape justice –becomes Nate's obsession as he looks back to the '70s to solve one of America's great mysteries.

Directed by Marc Roskin
Written by Chris Downey
Created by John Rogers & Chris Downey

"The Real Fake Car Job" – Sunday, September 2, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
The Leverage team fakes the discovery of a legendary antique car in order to convince a Wall Street fraud to break the immunity deal that protects him from prosecution.

Directed by John Harrison
Written by Josh Schaer
Created by John Rogers & Chris Downey

"The White Rabbit Job" – Sunday, September 9, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
In order to prevent a businessman from destroying his company and the town it supports, the Leverage team must run the hardest con in grifter history: the White Rabbit.

Directed by P.J. Pesce
Written by Geoffrey Thorne
Created by John Rogers & Chris Downey

“The Frame-Up Job” – Sunday, September 16, 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
When Sophie is implicated in the theft of a valuable painting, Nate must use all his skills as an investigator to find the real culprit and clear her name.

Directed by Marc Roskin
Written by Geoffrey Thorne & Jeremy Bernstein
Created by John Rogers & Chris Downey

“The Rundown Job” – Sunday, September 16, 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Eliot, Hardison and Parker join Colonel Vance in a race to stop a terrorist from launching a biological attack on Washington, D.C.

Directed by Dean Devlin
Written by Chris Downey & Josh Schaer
Created by John Rogers & Chris Downey

Character Descriptions

Nathan Ford (Timothy Hutton) – Nate Ford is a former insurance investigator who has found a new purpose in life by helping the downtrodden get even against corrupt bigwigs. Because of his previous job, Nate is well-versed in the techniques thieves and grifters use, and he puts those skills to use through the complex schemes he and his team employ. He is talented at playing characters and inserting himself into any situation, but he is constantly challenged by his history of alcoholism.

Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman) – Onstage, Sophie is the worst actress imaginable. But when she’s in the middle of a con and playing a character opposite real people, she can give a performance that pulls the wool over just about anyone’s eyes. Sophie is beautiful and sophisticated, and she has more than just a passing fancy for Nate. The team relies on her skills, such as her ability to speak six languages and fake 12 more. But they are also cautious about trusting her too much.

Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane) – There seems to be little Eliot can’t do when it comes to bringing down the bad guys. He can level the most muscular henchman in the blink of an eye and recognize the make and model of a gun simply by the sound it makes. He has a bevy of martial arts skills at his command, as well as extensive, first-hand experience with some of the underworld’s most notorious figures. But he’s not all brawn. He has a softer side that he rarely exposes. He’s also a whiz in the kitchen, able to whip up a white truffle risotto that is to die for.

Parker (Beth Riesgraf) – A shadowy past as an orphan and a fear of horses hasn’t stood in the way of this diminutive thief. She’s bright and sharp, but she’s also a little off-center, seeing the world from a sometimes warped point of view. Parker can fit into a small space, climb a wall or rappel off a roof without any fear. She’s also amazingly skilled disappearing at a moment’s notice. This season, Parker and Hardison take their relationship to the next level, revealing a softer side of both characters.

Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge) – If there is a computer to be decoded, a bug to be planted, a car to be traced or an identity to be created, Hardison is the man. Like Parker, he ended up in the foster system as a child but was adopted by a wonderful woman that he refers to as his "grandmother," whom he frequently quotes. Hardison is not as experienced as the rest of the team in role-playing, but when he gets in front of a computer keyboard, the man’s a miracle worker.

Cast Biographies

Timothy Hutton
Nate Ford

After winning an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association award for his performance in Robert Redford’s Ordinary People, Timothy Hutton went on to star in numerous films, including Taps, Daniel, The Falcon & the Snowman, Made in Heaven, Q&A, The General’s Daughter, French Kiss, Beautiful Girls, Sunshine State, Kinsey, Secret Window, The Good Shepherd and Lymelife. He received a second Golden Globe nomination for his work in Taps.

In addition to his work on LEVERAGE, Hutton recently co-starred in John Krasinski’s directorial debut, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men; Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Rider; Jonathan Liebesman’s The Killing Room, opposite Chloe Sevigny; Cheryl Hines’ Serious Moonlight, with Meg Ryan and Kristen Bell; and Broken Hill, directed by Dagen Merrill.

As a member of New York’s Circle Repertory Co., Hutton originated the lead role in the Broadway Production of Craig Lucas’ Prelude to a Kiss and starred in Babylon Gardens. He also appeared in the Los Angeles stage production of The Oldest Living Graduate, a role he later reprised for a live broadcast on NBC. Hutton directed Nicole Burdette’s Busted for the New York-based theater company Naked Angels.

On television, Hutton starred in A Long Way Home, for which he received another Golden Globe nomination; produced and starred in Showtime’s Mr. & Mrs. Loving; played the title role in the acclaimed Aldrich Ames: Traitor Within; co-starred in the docudrama WW3; and was the executive producer, director, music supervisor and star of A&Es critically acclaimed series of movies based on Rex Stout’s famed detective novels, Nero Wolfe.

Working behind the camera, Hutton has directed a number of music videos, including “Drive” by the Cars, “Not Enough Love” by Don Henley and the Neil Young Concert Film “Freedom.” He also directed an episode of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories titled “Grandpa’s Ghost,” which was adapted from a story he wrote. His feature film directorial debut, Digging to China, starring Kevin Bacon, Mary Stuart Masterson and Evan Rachel Wood, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to standing ovations.

Gina Bellman
Sophie Devereaux

Gina Bellman is familiar to television audiences around the world for her unforgettable performance as Jane in the hit British series Coupling. She also played the female lead in such British television productions as Jekyll, Napoleon, Nearly Famous and Ted and Ralph, as well as contributing to the CGI Sketch Show.

Bellman first caught the British public’s attention when she was cast as the title role in Dennis Potter’s groundbreaking and controversial miniseries Blackeyes. She went on to collaborate with Potter again in the film Secret Friends, opposite Alan Bates.

Bellman is an accomplished stage actress, regularly performing at the Royal National Theatre and in London’s West End. Most recently, Mike Leigh directed her in his play Two Thousand Years. Her other theatrical credits include Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick, which won the Olivier Award for Best Comedy; Insignificance, in which she played Marilyn Monroe; and the West End production of Speed the Plow. She also portrayed Ophelia in Sir Peter Hall’s production of Hamlet.

Bellman’s film performances include such movies as Leon the Pig Farmer, Paranoid, Six Days to Live, Sitting Ducks, and Silent Trigger. In the United States, she has appeared in independent films, Zerophilia and Permanent Vacation.

Born and raised in New Zealand, Bellman got her start in the business appearing at the age of 15 in The Crucible at the Royal National Theatre. Outside of acting, she is a published comment and travel writer and contributor to the Observer.

Christian Kane
Eliot Spencer

Coming from Norman, Okla., to California to pursue a career in the entertainment business, Christian Kane landed a job as an assistant at an entertainment company by telling them he would deliver scripts if they would just submit him for projects too. He quickly went from employee to client when he landed his first big job acting and singing as the lead in the television series Fame L.A. The show, based on the hit movie and television series, originally cast him as a comedian. After hearing him sing, the producers rewrote the role for him to be a singer.

The role that first gave Kane worldwide exposure was as Lindsey McDonald on the series Angel, alongside his good friend David Boreanaz. His other TV credits include TNT’s Crossfire Trail and Into the West, starring roles in The Crooked E and the Jerry Bruckheimer series Close to Home and an appearance on Dawson’s Creek.

Kane’s feature film credits include EdTV, The Broken Hearts Club and Love Song. His more recent appearances include Taxi, opposite Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon, and the Peter Berg-directed Friday Night Lights. He was also seen in the film Just Married. Kane’s other films include Life or Something Like It, Secondhand Lions, Keep Your Distance, Her Minor Thing and Summer Catch. Gaming fans can catch him in 24: The Game, where he plays the #1 villain.

Kane is a legitimate double threat, with a fully realized career as a singer and songwriter in addition to his acting roles. Signed to a publishing deal with EMI Music Publishing and a record deal with Bigger Picture Records, Christian’s debut solo CD, The House Rules, was released in early December 2010. Legendary Producer Bob Ezrin (Pick Floyd, Peter Gabriel, KISS) and Jimmie Lee Sloas (Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood) worked with him to craft the CD.

Beth Riesgraf

Actress Beth Riesgraf is best known for her role as Parker, a daredevil-do-gooder-slash-criminal on the hit TNT show Leverage which will return this summer for a fifth season. The action drama follows a five-person team of thieves, con artists and technology experts who use their skills to right corporate and governmental injustices inflicted upon everyday citizens. The show premiered in December 2008 and delivered TNT’s best ratings for the 18-49 demography for an original series aired during a regular broadcast season.

Riesgraf began her acting career by taking guest-starring roles on numerous shows such as Without a Trace, NCIS, How I Met Your Mother, and My Name Is Earl. On the big screen, Riesgraf starred opposite Giovanni Ribisi in the silent independent film The White Door. She also appeared in the film Alvin and the Chipmunks and the independent feature, Nobody.

In addition to acting, Riesgraf is a professional photographer and filmmaker. In 2003, Riesgraf received critical acclaim for her short America Motel with Jason Lee and photographer Alex Prager, based on a two-week road trip across America. In November 2011, Riesgraf was selected to write, direct and produce an Alice in Wonderland-themed short entitled A Standard Story. The film was created for Swedish apparel giant We are the Superlative Conspiracy (WeSC) to help promote their new line of wallets, passport holders and luggage tags being made exclusively for The Standard Hotel. WeSC named her a “WeActivist” in 2004 for her natural talent for photography and the arts. Her photos and short films have been exhibited in London, New York and Los Angeles and published in numerous publications including Athem, Nylon, Mean, Angeleno, GQ, Jane and Men's Journal. A Standard Story went on to receive wonderful critical acclaim and praise, subsequently winning Best of Show and two awards of excellence in Creativity/Originality and Actress in the Best Shorts Competition 2012.

When she isn’t leaping through windows or repelling down buildings in Portland with the Leverage crew, Riesgraf can be found in Los Angeles spending time with her son. In her free time, Riesgraf enjoys cooking, baking and the outdoors.

Aldis Hodge
Alec Hardison

Aldis Hodge started his acting career at the age of 3, when he went on a print job with his brother and was chosen for an ad in Essence magazine. At the age of 9, Hodge was cast in the Tony-winning revival of Showboat on Broadway. During that period, he also appeared in several movies, including Die Hard with a Vengeance and Bed of Roses.

Hodge headed to Los Angeles to continue his acting career and quickly landed several recurring television roles, including the role of Voodoo on Friday Night Lights. He has appeared in such shows as Castle, Supernatural, Girlfriends, American Dreams and City of Angels. Other TV appearances include Bones, CSI, ER, Cold Case, Charmed, Boston Public and most recently The Forgotten and Private Practice.

Hodge’s movie credits include the independent The Stone House, Edmond, the Coen brothers’ remake of The Lady Killers and Big Momma’s House.

In addition to acting, Hodge writes scripts for film and television. He also designs watches and is actively pursuing his own watch company.

Production Biographies

Dean Devlin
Executive Producer

An acclaimed writer/producer of blockbuster films and highly rated television projects, Dean Devlin serves as chairman and CEO of Electric Entertainment, the full-service film, television and new media production company and studio he founded in May 2001, which also houses Electric Post, the state of the art digital effects and post production facility.

Over the last twenty years, Devlin has co-written and produced some of the most successful feature films of all time. He co-wrote and produced Stargate, Godzilla and Independence Day (which grossed over $800 million worldwide). More recently, under the Electric banner, Devlin produced the World War I action/adventure Flyboys, Eight Legged Freaks, Cellular and the critically acclaimed documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? Just prior to forming Electric Entertainment, Devlin produced the Mel Gibson period drama, The Patriot, which was nominated for three Academy Awards.

In television, Devlin Executive Produces “Leverage,” the action-packed TNT series starring Oscar®-winner Timothy Hutton, which is currently in it’s fifth season. Devlin also Executive Produced “The Librarian: Quest for the Spear,” starring Noah Wyle (“ER”), which was the highest-rated movie on cable of 2004; its sequel, “The Librarian: Return to King Solomon¹s Mines;” and the third installment of the franchise, “The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice,” which all aired on TNT. With Bryan Singer he executive produced the Emmy-winning Sci Fi Channel project “The Triangle,” the channel’s highest-rated miniseries since “Steven Spielberg Presents Taken.” Devlin made his directorial debut on the pilot for “Leverage,” which premiered on December 7, 2008 to critical acclaim and record-breaking numbers. He also directs several episodes throughout each season of the series.

Recognized as a leader in digital entertainment, Devlin created the first movie marketing website in 1994 for the theatrical release of Stargate; commissioned the development of a multi-player Independence Day online game, which was packaged with the 1996 film on DVD; and developed the first webshow in 1997, in partnership with Intel, for the Fox television series “The Visitor.”

John Rogers
Executive Producer, Show Runner and Creator

Beginning on Cosby as a writer, story editor and producer, John Rogers has built more than a decade-long career in television. He created and wrote episodes of the award-winning animated series Jackie Chan Adventures, lent his pen to NBC Universal’s Eureka and served as a writer and an executive producer of the science-fiction pilot Global Frequency and the crime-drama telefilm Red Skies.

For the big screen, Rogers’ writing credits include the western American Outlaws, starring Colin Farrell, Ali Larter and Gabriel Macht; the science-fiction thriller The Core, with Aaron Eckhart and Hilary Swank; and, most recently, the blockbuster DreamWorks hit Transformers, starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox and Josh Duhamel, under director Michael Bay.

Rogers began his entertainment career doing stand-up comedy in 1988. He earned a physics degree in 1990, began writing for television in 1995 and started writing comics in 2005. As a co-writer, he led the re-launch of Blue Beetle for DC Comics and contributed to anthologies for BOOM! Studios.

Chris Downey
Executive Producer and Creator

Before coming to LEVERAGE, Chris Downey served for six seasons as an executive producer on CBS’s The King of Queens. His other TV credits include What About Joan; Oh, Grow Up; Lateline; and Cosby. His feature script, My Beautiful Coma, is being developed by Mandalay Vision.

Prior to his television career, Downey was a defense attorney in New York, specializing in white-collar crime. He has also been a reporter for Knight-Ridder newspapers and The Associated Press.

Downey lives in Santa Monica, Calif., with his wife, Lisa, a violinist, and their two children, Nicholas and Isabella.

#                       #                          #

Check out my blog home page for the latest information at I Like To Watch TV

No comments: