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LEVERAGE (TV series, 2008 -- )

Created by: Chris Downey, John Rogers

Starring: Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, Aldis Hodge...

Run time: one-hour TV series on TNT cable channel. Check local listings for day/time and "encore" or repeat schedule.

Seasons 1 & 2 are available on DVD.

Genre: Crime/Drama/Thriller/Mystery

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

This is a new show to me. Although it first began showing episodes in 2008, I just discovered it two weeks ago when the new 2010 summer season began. Of course, I also just recently "discovered" "Bones" and "Criminal Minds." I tend to read more than watch TV...

LEVERAGE follows the exploits of a crew of high-tech crooks who attempt to steal from wealthy criminals and corrupt businessmen. Sort of modern day Robin Hoods, if you will.

Nathan Ford (Timothy Hutton) is the crew boss. Sophie Deveraux (Gina Bellman) is the "grifter" (and my favorite!). Parker (Beth Riesgraf) is a young thief, with incredible dexterity but a bit impulsive. Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge) is the crew's hi-tech go-to guy, while Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane) is the muscle. (And he's got some pretty nice moves!)

Initially, I thought I would hate the show given that Timothy Hutton, the crew leader, is not one of my favorite actors, but I love Gina Bellman (Coupling)! So I took a chance on watching the show and wasn't completely disappointed.

The action level is high. The dialogue is well written. And even I have to admit, the casting works beautifully. Timothy Hutton isn't nearly as annoying as he usually is.

I can't help making the connection with the old "Mission Impossible" TV series, but overall, LEVERAGE seems fun. I jumped into the middle of things. I hadn't seen any of the earlier episodes but enough information was passed along that I didn't feel confused about the characters or feel like I didn't know what was going on. If you haven't seen the show, give it a try.

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