Leverage: The Final Season (DVD)

“Two good old boys, behind the wheel, chasing down bad guys in Lucille.”

Fresh off their 2013 win at the Peoples’ Choice Awards for Favorite Cable TV Drama, the gang is back for this, their fifth and final season. In what’s becoming an increasingly rare occurrence, the show is able to have a proper send-off complete with series finale. And these final fifteen episodes simply drive home what fans have known since day one: Leverage is a cool, fun, engaging, funny and occasionally even touching show.

Nathan “Nate” Ford (Timothy Hutton, Secret Window) is the mastermind. Sophie Deveraux (Gina Bellman, Coupling) is the grifter. Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane, Angel) is the muscle. Parker (Beth Riesgraf, Alvin and the Chipmunks) is the thief. Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge, Red Sands) is the hacker. Together they are Leverage Inc, a group of (former) bad guys who employ their particular skill sets to help those whom the law has forgotten about or who simply cannot receive help anywhere else. People turn to these guys because there’s nowhere else to go.

In terms of surprises, Leverage: The Final Season may offer few, but I appreciate the show’s doggedness in presenting fifteen more examples of what makes this show a favorite. Another show may have gone off the rails in its final season, sort of a devil-may-care attitude; after all, if you know this is the end of the line, why not have a little fun?

But that’s exactly why these final fifteen episodes of Leverage work and work well — because that’s been the show’s attitude since the pilot. This is not only a fun show to watch it’s the kind of show where the chemistry and camaraderie between the cast and crew obviously shines through. You can tell Leverage is a fun show to make, and that only ups the watch-ability factor.

This final season sees us delving into the backstories of the characters a little bit more. We get a couple of Eliot-centered episodes, one featuring the wonderful Adam Baldwin (Firefly) and one in which we learn a bit more about Eliot’s culinary background. Parker struggles to find a passion of her own outside of thieving, and she learns to appreciate what the rest of the team do. Hardison worries about the future, and since he’s in a new relationship with Parker he begins to understand his future decisions will need to be filtered through that relationship. Sophie invests in a theater group and her students help the gang out a few times over the season. And in perhaps the most sobering look into a backstory we return to the subject of Nate’s son and it brings us full circle, back to season one.

I mentioned Adam Baldwin, yet he isn’t the only one to make an appearance. This final season boasts many guest stars including Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride), Treat Williams (Eve of Destruction), and perennial favorite Mark A. Sheppard (Battlestar Galactica).

Yes the show stretches credibility at times, but it’s not a how-to show, after all. A little suspension of disbelief is rewarded with genuinely fun capers. And while the episodes are admittedly stand-alone in terms of plots and storylines they are united by a growing bond between the characters. It’s easy to recommend Leverage: The Final Season.

There’s little to complain about in terms of technical specs, either. The video transfer is a standard 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and tends to run a bit flat in terms of palette saturation. This is only apparent during explosions, however, as the rest of the time nothing dims or pops enough to draw attention. The audio track is Dolby Digital 5.1 which is good considering how much music plays a part in the show. Leverage has always used quirky, upbeat mixes to highlight important moments or montages and the 5.1 track offers the depth the sound needs to breathe in the space.

Special features include a gag reel and deleted scenes. However there is something the set presents which puts it over the top. Few shows are willing to put in the time and effort to commit a commentary track to each and every episode of the season. But that’s exactly what we get with Leverage: The Final Season. Knowing who exactly presents factoids about the episodes may or may not influence your purchasing decision. In case it does I’ve listed the episodes below along with who’s talking.

Disc One
* “The (Very) Big Bird Job”
John Rogers (Creator) and Chris Downey (Creator)

* “The Blue Line Job”
John Rogers, Chris Downey and Marc Roskin (Director)

* “The First Contact Job”
John Rogers, Chris Downey, Aaron Denius Garcia (Writer) and Aldis Hodge (* “Alec Hardison” )

* “The French Connection Job”
John Rogers, Chris Downey, Tawnia McKiernan (Director) and Aldis Hodge

Disc Two
* “The Gimme a K Street Job”
John Rogers, Chris Downey and Jeremy Bernstein (Writer)

* “The D.B. Cooper Job”
John Rogers, Chris Downey and Marc Roskin

* “The Real Fake Car Job”
John Rogers, Chris Downey, John Harrison (Director) and Aldis Hodge

* “The Broken Wing Job”
John Rogers, Chris Downey and John Harrison

Disc Three
* “The Rundown Job”
Dean Devlin (Director), John Rogers, Chris Downey, Christian Kane (“Eliot Spencer”) and Aldis Hodge

* “The Frame-Up Job”
John Rogers, Chris Downey, Geoffrey Thorne (Writer), Jeremy Bernstein (Writer) and Marc Roskin

* “The Low Low Price Job”
John Rogers, Chris Downey, Aldis Hodge and Tawnia McKiernan

* “The White Rabbit Job”
John Rogers, Chris Downey, P.J. Pesce (Director) and Geoffrey Thorne

Disc Four
* “The Corkscrew Job”
John Rogers, Chris Downey, Jenn Kao (Writer) and Marc Roskin

* “The Toy Job”
John Rogers, Chris Downey and P.J. Pesce

* “The Long Good-bye Job”
Dean Devlin, John Rogers, Chris Downey, Christian Kane and Aldis Hodge

I’ve always enjoyed Leverage. The premise of a bunch of reformed bad guys who turn Robin Hood could have gone a much darker path. But this is a fun show about engaging characters coming together to form a new kind of family. The plans are interesting and the execution is always guaranteed to put a smile on your face, if not cause you to break into laughter. The team is led by the charismatic Timothy Hutton who is surrounded by a group of actors who up their game this season to truly bring a sense of cohesion and family to the team. These final fifteen episodes will leave you wishing for more.


Not guilty.

Here are the top ten things we know: 1) She lives in Ohio 2) She is MWOC unless you count her two dogs 3) Believes Avatar was NOT the greatest movie ever made 4) Operates on a primarily nocturnal basis 5) Wants to write the screenplay for the movie adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle 6) Watches a variety of shows on television including, but not limited to: Castle, @midnight, Face Off, Sherlock and Whose Line is it Anyway? 7) Does not believe anyone will actually read this besides the editor (hello, Editor!) 8) Has attended more than one N*SYNC concert in her lifetime but only one NKOTB concert 9) Was in a car crash that would have killed her had she not been wearing her seat belt 10) Is in the process of catching up on Supernatural (incidentally would possibly leave her husband for either of the Winchester Brothers depending on the episode in question) and the bonus! 11) Enjoys reading, writing, laying on the beach (long walks tire her out) and assorted snack foods like frozen M&M's.
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