As excited as you may be to have the Leverage crew reunited for a fresh batch of masterful cons, know that the cast of IMDb TV‘s Leverage: Redemption was even more thrilled to get the proverbial band back together.
“I knew it was going to be fun, and I knew that we had that great chemistry that everybody connected with…,” Gina Bellman, who plays “grifter” Sophie Devereaux, shares with TVLine. “But you never really know, after all this time, how much your rhythms might have changed. But it was like we slotted right into each other, and it was fun to connect in that way again.”
“We were a little bit worried,” echoes Christian Kane, who plays “hitter” Eliot Spencer. In the eight-plus years since the original TNT series ended, “We’d all gone off and done some other stuff, playing with different flavors and different temperatures in the way we were acting, so to come back was like, ‘How’s this going to work?’ But I’m telling you, man, five minutes into it we all just high-fived each other and never looked back. It really felt like a true family coming back together.”
Even new addition Noah Wyle — who joins the ensemble as Harry Wilson, a high-powered lawyer whose redemption plays into the IMDb TV revival’s title — had to take notice of the excitement.
“The first time we heard the material out loud at the table read-through,” and even through the “artifice” of Zoom windows, “the chemistry was palpable,” the Librarians and Falling Skies alum reports. “Everybody’s hair was standing on end, just hearing everybody’s voices. It was amazing to be a part of.”
This new iteration of the caper drama (IMDb TV releases the first eight of 16 episodes on Friday, July 9) picks up one year after team “mastermind” Nate Ford has passed away, due to causes that are perhaps best left for Sophie to explain in the premiere.
With one of Harry Wilson’s super-shady clients (played by Reed Diamond) publicly engaging in some deplorable behavior and without consequence, Eliot, thief Parker (Beth Riesgraf) and hacker Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge) come knocking on Sophie’s door, looking to do their usual Robin Hood thing.
“You get the feeling that Sophie had been very happy, but [a year after Nate’s death] she’s looking for direction,” says Bellman. “So when the team gets back together, she embraces being a part of something that’s meaningful.”
Parker, meanwhile, is unarguably the most excited about reuniting the OG crew, after essentially franchising Leverage into a dozen teams worldwide. “I mean, Parker is the queen of mischief, so she is the one to tease Sophie, like, ‘Come on, let’s go do this!'” says Riesgraf. “She wants to get her hands dirty, and she wants everybody else involved in it, too.”
Though Aldis Hodge’s busy schedule, coupled with already confining COVID filming conditions, means that Hardison doesn’t appear in every episode, things between the hacker and the thief are “stronger than ever,” Riesgraf attests.
“Hardison’s the person that Parker has learned to love and trust more than anyone in her whole life, and had we taken that away, she wouldn’t be Parker. So though we had to ‘finesse’ the schedule, I think we did a really good job of showing, “They’re here, and they’re taken care of,'” she reports. “There’s a beautiful ease that they now have, and they’ve earned that.”
Helping fill the void during Hardison’s absences are his younger foster sister, Breanna (played by Charmed‘s Aleyse Shannon), who is a savvy hacker/”maker” in her own right. “You first meet her when she is somewhere she is not supposed to be, and they don’t know what to do with her,” Shannon teases. “She then sticks around for a bit and learns a lot of new things.”
Though Nate himself is no longer around to call the shots (Leverage vet Timothy Hutton was accused of, but has “unequivocally” denied, raping a 14-year-old girl back in 1983), his presence, by his absence, is very much felt.
“We cant talk about Tim, but Nate is still very much a part of the show. You can’t take his energy away from this team,” Wyle observes. Sophie et al “feel the loss of his character, and they feel that they have to redefine their relationships in his absence, So, from my perspective, he is a presence.”