The Leverage crew has reunited on IMDb TV, minus their longtime mastermind. What did the premiere reveal about what each team member has been up to? And how was “the very brilliant, very angry” Nate Ford written out?
The first of Leverage: Redemption‘s opening eight episodes (another eight arrive in the fall) picked up on the anniversary of Nate’s death, which his widow Sophie was dreading. She tried to fend off meeting up with the old gang at Nate’s grave, but proceeded. Afterward, at Sophie’s home, they toasted Nate — as Eliot for one put it, “He was self-righteous, arrogant, and I swear to God he made it up half the time, but I’ll miss the Hell out of him” — before catching up on each other’s lives.
Parker oversees Leverage International, a franchising of their Robin Hood efforts that now has 12 teams worldwide; that said, she misses being hands-on, crawling through “hot, strange vents.” Hardison, who is still with/shares a home with Parker, is using his particular set of skills to run the software used for hunting down war crimes, and he also works with refugee groups. Eliot founded a chain of food trucks that employs military vets. And Sophie has been up to “this and that,” she allows.
Looking to lift spirits, Parker & Co. coax Sophie into stealing a painting from a nearby museum, where they first catch sight of Fletcher Maxwell (played by Reed Diamond), an opioid titan and collector/patron of the arts. He is in the midst of bloviating about the museum’s rebuffing of his scandal-sullied name when the team also spies his lawyer, Harry Wilson (Noah Wyle). Sophie soon gleans that Harry also is casing the exhibit/plotting to steal one of his boss’ donated Rembrandts, but lets him make a simple mistake before they spirit the stranger off to safety.
Regrouping away from the museum, Harry — deemed “you shady” by Hardison — explains to the team how he had labored to negotiate settlements for Maxwell, from those whose lives had been crippled by opioid addictions. Yet when it came time to sign the deals, Maxwell coldly changed his mind. (“Millions [to litigate] I have; time they don’t.”) Spurred by the ensuing death of one family’s troubled son, Harry set out to “take something” from his boss, to in some small way help those he had preyed on.
Sophie & Co. surmise that Maxwell is hot to make a “hero-level donation” to restore his name’s lustre, which would best be accomplished with a lost, stolen masterpiece, so they set up a con in which Eliot poses as a Boston gangster’s kin who came into possession of a famously purloined Rembrandt. The ruse soon goes sideways — though not before Eliot more than holds his own in a masterful fight against a circle of goons — but in the end, the team frames Maxwell for insurance fraud while also draining most of his hidden bank accounts. Alas, Maxwell disappears with one surviving cash stash intact, meaning this particular con must go on, into Episode 2.
Along the way, prompted by Harry, Sophie alludes to the nature of Nate’s year-ago passing, saying that after dealing with the loss of his very young son (to cancer) and succumbing to alcoholism — all established during the original TNT series — Nate arrived at a certain peace, including as her husband, but “the damage was already done. His heart burned too hot for too long.” But “at least he burned,” she notes.
At episode’s end, Harry is nudged to keep fighting at least this one fight with Maxwell, because his coveted redemption won’t come from just one bit of good-doing. “You’ve been on the wrong side for a long time,” Hardison points out. “You can’t do just one thing” to make all of that right. Instead, “You’ve got to do the work” from here on.
And with that, Harry in essence joins the Leverage team, which in Episode 2 would also take in Hardison’s younger foster sister, Breanna — just as Hardison needed to break away to tend to far weightier matters (Aldis Hodge had limited availability).
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