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    Oct 2001
    Fredericksburg, VA

    DVD REVIEW: Leverage The Third Season

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    Another year of television has gone by, and that means it’s time for a new season of Leverage to come home on DVD! The TNT original series (created by Dean Devlin) only gets better with time, and you can get your copy of the 3rd Season on June 7th, only a few weeks before the fourth season premiere.

    By now you should be well acquainted with the Leverage crew. The team includes leader/face man/recovering alcoholic Nate Ford (Academy Award winner Timothy Hutton), professional grifter Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman), tough guy Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane), technology expert Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge), and acrobatic thief Parker (Beth Riesgraf). Leaving behind their lives of crime (or in Nate’s case crime prevention), they have instead pledged to help people in ways that normal channels cannot. Often this includes elaborate deceptions, sting operations, and more underhanded techniques like forgery and outright theft. In the end though, the innocent and wronged always get their due and the perpetrators of the crimes are left red handed as the authorities arrive.

    Leverage The Third Season comes packaged in a standard sized DVD case within an outer cardboard sleeve. The cover of both the case and sleeve shows off the team, with Nate in the center and the rest of the team members behind him under the show’s logo. The back of the package has a rundown of the show along with a second set of pictures of the main team and a list of the special features. Inside the case are breakdowns of the four discs’ contents, with 16 episodes, audio commentaries, and lots of special features including deleted scenes, featurettes, a gag reel, and more.

    Season Two of Leverage ended with quite a cliffhanger. With the FBI on one side, an arms dealer on the other, and Interpol watching closely, it was up to a wounded Nate to turn himself in so that his team could go free. The Third season starts big right out of the gate with “The Jailhouse Job” in which the team must free Nate from a supermax prison, all while helping out an inmate. As they do so the heroes are introduced to a mysterious Italian woman who tasks them with taking down an international crime lord... or be killed. This forms the basis of the Season Three story arc, in which even the most mundane jobs have some connection to the big boss. On the way, Nate and his merry band go up against everyone from bad guys like software executives, militias, African dictators, and mall Santas to personal foes like Parker’s master thief mentor, Nate’s father Jimmy Ford, and of course Moreau himself. Their adventures take them into all sorts of interesting and dangerous locations too, like a high school reunion, ultra-tech skyscraper, coal mine, and a live violin performance by Hardison!

    Leverage The Third Season had a lot of really strong episodes, with plenty of action to go along with interesting character development (equally doled out between the protagonists). “The Rashomon Job” was really interesting, with each team member reminiscing about a night when they each tried to steal the same item. “The Ho Ho Ho Job” brought Eliot face to face with evil Santas, and featured recurring stars Wil Wheaton as “Chaos” and guest Dave Foley. Any time TV characters have to go to a high school reunion you know it’s going to be good, as it was in “Reunion Job” with Kari Wuhrer. Leverage gets a great many cool guest stars, and this season included veterans like Michael O’Keefe, John Schneider, Clancy Brown, Bill Engvall, Tom Skerritt, Bruce Davison, John Billingsley, James Frain, and more. Especially noteworthy were Elisabetta Canalis as the beautiful and secretive “Italian” and Goran Visnjic as the ruthless Moreau.

    In its third season Leverage really hit a new stride with compelling character stories and exciting action. There’s no show on TV right now that’s quite like it, and it’s just as good on DVD as it was during the original run, so whether or not you watched it live you need to get your hands on this. Hardcore fans of Leverage will really get a kick out of the set’s special features, especially all of the behind the scenes material and deleted scenes. The commentaries are always good and informative, and as usual the gag reel is hilarious. Get your copy when it hits stores and online retailers on June 7th!

    Review by Scott Rubin

    Review Sample Courtesy of Paramount

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