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Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Leverage" review: Breezy, diverting summer entertainment


Not all TV shows have to be innovative. They don't all have to be deep or insightful or turn your world upside down. Sometimes, they can just be fun, distracting comfort food. "Leverage," TNT's breezy caper dramedy starring Timothy Hutton, is a perfect summer snack.
It returns for its new season Sunday at 9 p.m., and it picks up pretty much where it left off -- with Nate (Hutton) in prison, having sacrificed himself to protect his band of do-gooding thieves. They seem somewhat less than grateful, but want to break him out of jail anyway. But Nate has other plans, which involve helping a fellow inmate who was unfairly incarcerated.
The whole thing is bright and swift, with typically snappy performances by the actors. Hutton, as always, effortlessly communicates world-weary crankiness and decency, but the real kick here are the supporting actors. Aldis Hodge continues to be a hoot as the fast-talking, quick-thinking hacker Alec Hardison. And Beth Riesgraf grows on me a little more each season as quirky thief Parker. Rounding out the cast are Christian Kane as the team's muscle and Gina Bellman, returning from a season long maternity leave to reprise her role as Sophie.
So far, I'm less than impressed by the show's new character, a slinky villainess played by Elisabetta Canalis, also known as George Clooney's lady friend. However, the show's quick pace and engaging core cast are enough to suck me in week after week.

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