Filed in Article Leverage

TNT’s 2-Hour Leverage Block Wraps with Orchestra-Timed Heist *spoilers*

Published: June 27, 2010

The latest client to approach the Leverage team brings a whole country of political intrigue with her. Her concern is well-founded, because the man in line to buy the next election in this small African country is the current president’s brother — only without the scruples of his statesman sibling. He’s a diamond smuggler with blood on his hands. He’s also in tight with the CIA because he provides names of potential Al-Qaeda terrorists.

To defund the man’s campaign plans, Nate (Timothy Hutton) plans to steal his prized possession — an original Stradivarius violin. But the vault, according to Parker (Beth Riesgraf), is impenetrable unless the sonic detectors are turned off, which they only are whenever a particularly loud concert is played in the hall upstairs. So, as Nate would say, “Let’s steal us an orchestra.”

Plotwise, this one seems a straight-out heist, but as always there are unexpected wrinkles in the way. This time, the focus is on hacker Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge), who has dreams of running his own crew someday, only to be dismayed when Nate tells him he doesn’t have what it takes. But that’s not Alec’s most pressing matter: he’s grifting the mark (Giancarlo Esposito) pretending to be a violin prodigy from the home country, which thrusts him into the spotlight when he’s got 24 hours to prepare to play the closing solo of “Scheherazade.”

Elisabetta Canalis also makes an appearance this episode as the mysterious Italian who has blackmailed the Leverage crew into working a larger con for her over the course of this third season. And Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha takes on a role as a bodyguard, which makes for some fun fight scenes between himself and Leverage‘s hunky heartthrob hitter, Elliot (Christian Kane), a fight also uniquely timed to the music playing above.

In the grand scheme of the Leverage series, “The Sheherazade Job” has more than its share of disappointments, but to list them here would spoil far too much of the plot, and particularly would give away the big reveal. However, it’s a small failure of the writing, and certainly nothing that gets in the way of this ensemble cast doing what they do best — conning the audience into believing that the impossible can be done with just a little planning and a well-trained crew.

Leverage, “The Scheherazade Job” premieres Sunday, June 27, at 10pm (ET/PT), wrapping up a two-hour block that begins with “The Inside Job.”

Source: The Trades

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Two Cents and Five Questions for Aldis Hodge

You’ve probably seen him on a dozen different TV shows without knowing it – from Supernatural to Friday Night Lights – but Aldis Hodge has made his mark as wisecracking hacker Alec Hardison on TNT’s bustout hit Leverage.

Beginning its third season June 20, Leverage has already spawned its own convention and has even been the answer to a question on Jeopardy!. Hodge was kind enough to sit down with me exclusively on Friday to talk about what a ride it’s been and where he might be headed in Season 3.

TheTwoCents: This is what could be called your “breakout” role – describe what that’s been like for you.
Aldis Hodge: The show’s been great. I love my job, love what I do. It’s just a great opportunity to learn and to plan for what’s coming next. There are a lot of great people to learn from – Dean Devlin, John Rogers.

TTC: Talk about having to work with those mouthfuls of technical dialogue.
AH: It forces me to enunciate and speak clearly. John Rogers is a physicist so ninety-five percent of what I say, he can actually do. None of that bores me. I just try to make it as exciting to the audience as I can. Because the spy stuff – that really is interesting. It’s just getting it out tere.

TTC: What’s been your biggest challenge with this role so far? Is there anything you’d like to tackle that you haven’t yet?
AH: My biggest challenge was playing the violin. They wanted to write [that into an episode]. They didn’t tell me how difficut the piece was that I had to play. I’m still a novice with my instrument and the piece was pretty difficult. I practiced a lot. I think you might see that on our premiere night or our second episode.

TTC: In Season 3, are we going to see more of Hardison stepping out of the traditional hacker role like he did briefly in Season 2 (with “The Ice Man Job” and “The Lost Heir Job”)?
AH: Possibly. Hardison is on a bit of a different mission now. In the first season he was like why is he doing this job. [Now] he’d like to maybe run his own crew, so he’s taking his job a bit more seriously. He’s paying more attention to what everyone else does.

TTC: What’s ahead for the Hardison/Parker and Hardison and Eliot dynamics in Season 3?
AH: We have one great episode where Hardison and Parker go back and forth on their feelings. He’s been there with the puppy dog eyes trying to kick in her door and find out what she’s about, and she won’t let him. But there starts to be some understanding, and that maybe there’s something there for her, too.

[With Hardison and Eliot] I’ll just say there’s an episode where Christian and I are forced to be together the entire time. I was excited when I read it. I went to him and said, “I have some ideas,” and he was all “Let’s roll with it.” The audience knows they’re going to see us coming at each other and arguing and fun times. We enjoy doing it because we know what the audience likes.

TTC: Talk about the fans and the show’s explosion of popularity.
AH: We were all very surprised at that. We had a great time. We just had our first convention, which is something more for sci-fi shows, and we’re a spy show. We had the opportunity to meet our fans. We have a lot of people who support us, shooting in Portland, which is amazing. With a TV show it’s kind of a crapshoot, you hope that it works or you go on to the next one. But we have a lot of people who support us.

TTC: If you could play any other role on the show, which one would it be?
AH: I don’t know. I dig Hardison. He can break into people’s bank accounts and steal all the money he wants. Maybe Parker. Since she gets to do all the acrobatics and stuff.

TTC: So no more hanging you off anything in Season 3?
AH: You never know.

Leverage begins its third season Sunday, June 20 on TNT. The second-season DVDs are available now at all major retailers. Go pick them up – you won’t be disappointed. And a special thanks to Aldis for taking the time to chat with me about one of cable’s hottest series!

Brittany Frederick – Staff Writer
brittanyfrederick@thetwocentscorp.com

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