Aldis Hodge: Leverage's Return Includes a Riff on The Office and One 'Very Sexy' Episode

TNT’s Leverage resumes its fourth season this Sunday at 9/8c, rejoining what has in recent months become a ferociously competitive night of TV. Luckily, the caper drama has some of its most clever (and noisiest) episodes in the pipeline. Among them, there’s a riff on The Office (where Nate’s team infiltrates a workplace that is the subject of a documentary), “girls night out” and “boys night out” episodes that fit together like a puzzle, and a season finale that promises to trot out “a foe from the past.” TVLine invited Aldis Hodge, who plays Hardison aka “The Hacker,” to tease the fun times ahead.

TVLINE | I’ve skimmed the loglines for the eight upcoming  episodes, and they sound like some of the most fun stuff y’all have done.
This whole season, actually, has been pretty fun. We had a lot of great stuff in the first half, and it only grows from there.

TVLINE | This week’s episode involves Hardison’s infiltration of a university’s Skull & Bones-like secret society. And a couple weeks after that is a riff on The Office?
Yeah, for those who enjoy The Office and understand we’re kind of paying homage to that show, “The Office Job” will be quite nostalgic and fun. It’s a little outside of our style, but we had a good time.

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TVLINE | I think the coolest-sounding episodes are “The Girls Night Out Job” (airing Dec. 11) and “the Boys Night Out Job” (Dec. 18), which, if combined, form one big story that interlocks.
It’s basically one two-hour episode. They’re airing the “Girls Night Out” episode first, and the next week they’re going to air both the “Girls Night Out” and “Boys Night Out” episodes. It’ll be fun because people can go back and pick out the time and place where certain things [simultaneously] happened.

TVLINE | For example, there are cute moments where we see Parker and Hardison, like, texting each other, but each episode only shows one half of the conversation.
And you don’t really get the full picture until you see both episodes fully. It’s nice how they did that because it’s a risk – how will the audience accept it? The same goes for “The Office Job.” But what I love about our producers and writers is they allow themselves to play with the structure of our show. There are a few things that don’t make sense in the “Girls Night Out” episode until you watch “Boys Night Out,” but once you get that, there’ll be such a big payoff.

TVLINE | Even part, they sound like fun episodes because of the circumstances that split the women away from the men.
It’s actually two very different stories – we just happened to find a way to intertwine them. The girls’ night is very sexy. You’ve got a little tango going on and a few other things I can’t give away — plus you’ve got hot girls running around! The boys’ night out is more a guy’s show – robbing and hitting, being boys to the fullest. I think we all degenerated 10 years doing it. [Laughs]

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TVLINE | What returning faces can you talk about?
Well, Jeri Ryan (Body of Proof) is back as Tara for the “Girls Night Out” episode, and like I said, it is one sexy episode. Fellas, if you like legs, you’re going to like this one — that’s all I’m gonna say. And Drew Powell is back for the “Boys Night Out” episode, and he is a funny guy. He was in our first season, when we did “The 12-Step Job,” and he just knocked it out of the park.

TVLINE | And Latimer (played by Leon Rippy) is back for at least one episode.
Yes, Latimer is back, but I will not tell you which episode he is back in. But I will tell you this: This season we brought back a lot of old favorites, and for people who are true fans who have been watching us since Day 1, we have a big surprise in the season finale. I don’t think the cat’s out of the bag on that one, but we’ve got some love coming to the fans.

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TVLINE | Before we go, tell me about the film you’re shooting right now, The East.
It was written by Brit Marling, who cleaned up at Sundance when she premiered her two films, The Sound of My Voice and Another Earth. She and her director Zal Batmanglij came together again for this project, and wWe have a really solid cast: Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgård from True Blood, Shiloh Fernandez (Jericho), Toby Kebbell, who’s a great British actor people may know from Prince of Persia…. We also have some newcomers including this Australian girl Danielle Macdonald — a bright spirit who is on her game — and Hillary Baack, who is Deaf and is so powerful and intense. I can see her becoming another Marlee Matlin.

TVLINE | What is the film about and how do you fit in?
It’s about an anarchist group that opposes big corporations that hurt people, and we take on a company that distributes a drug that actually hurts its clients while they make billions of dollars. I play a member of the group, an ex-military guy, which is close to home for me because both of my parents are former Marines. My brother and I were actually born on base camps, so I can understand my character a bit more than I might otherwise have.

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