Leverage (Season 5)


Leverage has always been a bit of a light-hearted caper show. Not that they didn’t go to dark places as Hutton’s character, Nate, battled his personal demons, but it was never a really heavy and bleak atmosphere. In this final season there is a definite shift to an almost comic book veneer of silliness and short-cutted plots. While still entertaining, it felt thinner and less engaging even as it gave various characters their moments in the spotlight in ways they’ve never been allowed to before. Overall, it felt a little like they were flailing to find a spin-off or just to stay afloat.

On the fun side, this season goes all kinds of places the team has never gone before, for better and worse. Characters are getting their own unique shows with unexpected plots. Relationships are allowed to grow. Life outside the team is allowed to intrude in a way that has not been the case since the first season or two. And, at that time, it was mostly around the plot of Nate and his son.

The season and series wraps with a satisfying conclusion, managing to provide a trajectory for everything that had come before. While a little forced, it was mostly in character. From an entertainment perspective, it meets its goals. And the commentaries are great lessons in craft (especially the earlier seasons). The one thing that always worked for the show is that it is clear how much fun all the actors are having and it comes through in the energy and their ability to riff with one another. Overall, I rate the series higher than I did this last season, so don’t let the rating throw you. I’m not sorry to see it end as I think it really had run its natural course, but the show itself is worth finding if you missed it these last 5 years.

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