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Leverage: The 1st Season - TNT television series DVD / drama DVD / action adventure DVD / suspense DVD review
LEVERAGE: THE 1ST SEASON Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 5 stars
Actors: Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, Aldis Hodge
  Label: Paramount
DVD release: 14 July 2009   Runtime: 584 minutes
(4 discs)
Format: AC-3, Box set, Color, Dolby, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Features: Aspect ratio 2.35:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English; Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo - English), Closed captioned, All 13 first-season episodes w/ audio commentary, Deleted scenes, Leverage: Behind the Scenes, Anatomy of a Stunt Fight, The Cameras of Leverage, Leverage Gets Renewed, Beth Riesgraf's Crazy Actress Spoof

Leverage is a great show, combining intelligence, eruditeness, humor and mystery. The protagonists are five in number; their leader, the mastermind, is a flawed but sensitive humanitarian named Nate Ford, played by Academy Award winner Timothy Hutton (loved him in the Nero Wolfe TV series!) An alcoholic with a sad past, he puts together a team of shady characters and teaches them the advantages of working for the deserving underdogs of the world.

The four cohorts consist of a thief (Beth Riesgraf, playing Parker), a grafter (Gina Bellman playing Sophie Devereaux), a hacker (Aldis Hodge playing Alec Hardison), and a hitter (Christian Kane playing Eliot Spencer). Unlike many series where the characters are not fully fleshed or comprehendible, by the end of the first season, you have a good line on each character: Parker, the slightly insane but remarkably talented robber; Sophie, the language-proficient art expert and scam artist; Alec, a self-proclaimed geek and techie with remarkable hacking guru skills; and Eliot, the strong-arm of the outfit with a code of behavior all his own.

Other commentators or reviewers have likened the show to Ocean's Eleven or The A-Team, but the excellent writing, skillful characterizations and pithy dialog make this series stand out on its own. This Season One set includes some great bonus features, including behind the scenes, deleted scenes, how the cameras work on Leverage, and some interesting stunt fight coverage. The 13 episodes are worth watching more than once, and since the second season just started, it isn't too late to watch the episodes in this remarkable four-disc set then climb on board. You won't regret the ride!
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reviewed by Laura Strathman Hulka
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