Bougie TV Watch - Leverage

Five things you need to know about Leverage (TNT, Wednesday night 9/8c)

1. It’s a smart premise. A cross between To Catch a Thief and Ocean’s Eleven, Leverage is a Robin Hoodesque show about a former insurance investigator Nathan Ford (played brilliantly by Timothy Hutton) and a band of thieves that have decided to steal from the “big guy” and give back to the “little guys” who have been wronged.

2. It’s well written. The dialogue is sharp, the plots move forward and you cannot predict how they are going to get to the ending. Each character is fleshed out with an intriguing back story. On a quick catch-up, Nate Ford’s son died due to the blatant corporate greed of his own insurance company. While descending into an alcohol-hazed depression, he gets roped into helping others who have been wronged in similar fashions. At the end of the first season, the five loners have learned how to work as a team and to rely on each person's unique skills. After the heist to exact revenge on Nate’s former company goes south, their headquarters are destroyed. In the season finale, the team is vindicated and they decide to go their separate ways.

3. It has cool gadgets. A lot of the cons/heists are setup with the latest and greatest in techno toys. Somehow, they make believable the hacking of an airplane computer from 3000 miles away to avoid crashing into the Florida Keys.

4. It’s well cast. Beyond Timothy Hutton, the Leverage team includes Sophie Deveareaux (Gina Bellman), a grifter who uses her acting skills to corner her marks; Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane), a "retrieval specialist" with UFC-type fighting skills; Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge), a gadget and technology wizard who keeps the team connected and informed; and Parker (Beth Riesgraft), a quirky but talented thief adept at rappelling off buildings, cracking safes and appearing out of nowhere.

5. Aldis Hodge. Yeah, yeah – he was mentioned above but truthfully, he’s the reason I started watching the show in the first place. Tall, chocolate, smart and trendy, he has a chameleon ability allowing him to seamlessly roll from playing an FBI Agent to a DJ to a Jamaican hustler. The washboard abs don't hurt either.

Keep in mind, I’m a huge believer that 92% of what is on TV right now is shameful. I am not a fan of reality shows. I think dialogue should be witty and crisp. I think characters should have more brains and fewer outfits. I don’t think I should be able to guess the next line or the ending of the show within the first ten minutes. I would like to feel emotions other than horror, shame and disgust watching a show. A plot should both engage me while motivating me to want to watch the next episode. Knowing the dearth of quality African-American shows out there, all I require is one major cast member to be of color, intelligently portrayed and integral to the plot. Ideally, the characters should be people I would want to hang out with and the locations should be places I wouldn’t mind visiting. Leverage meets all of my criteria.

Check it out and tell me what you think. Is there a TV show you love?