Before there was Money Heist (aka La Casa de Papel), there was TNT’s Leverage that aired for five seasons between 2008 and 2012.
With a central theme of vigilantism and revenge against the upper echelons of society, Leverage followed the thieving adventures of a five-man team as they executed elaborate cons to steal from the rich and powerful who have committed injustices against the ordinary people. Kind of like Money Heist, right?
Well, unlike the Spanish international hit that features one con over multiple seasons, Leverage episodes each had its own story structure in which there was a new villain, so to speak, to take down each time.
The show was titled after the company the main characters operated under, “Leverage Consulting & Associates” – a company of just five employees: Nate the mastermind, Sophie the grifter, Alec the hacker, Parker the thief, and Eliot the “retrieval specialist”.
The show garnered positive reception and reviews, and even spawned a South Korean adaptation (albeit just for one season), tie-in novels, and an award-winning roleplaying game! Sadly, the TV ratings just didn’t reflect this popularity as the series went on and it was canceled after just five seasons.
Announcing the Leverage reboot!
At the start of 2019, the Amazon-owned online database IMDb launched its own streaming service for the United States. Originally named Freedive, it was later rebranded as IMDb TV in mid-2019 and currently has licensing deals with Warner Bros., Sony Pictures Entertainment, MGM, and most recently, Disney!
On top of that, the streaming service has finally decided to dip its toes into creating and producing originals, starting with our very own Leverage!
In April 2020, IMDb announced the return of the hit crime drama in the form of a reimagining – with both old characters and some new ones thrown into the mix. The decision to reboot the series came after the original franchise racked up the views on the IMDb TV platform when it launched in July 2019.
Riding on this popularity, the platform and the show’s creators are hoping to keep the momentum going with the revival, especially as the platform’s very first original production.
Where to watch Leverage:
What’s the reboot about?
As we mentioned previously, the Leverage reboot – composed of an initial 13 episodes – will be a reimagining of the 2008 parent series.
The Verge reports this little tidbit from Dean Devlin, an executive producer for the show: “Our new series with Amazon Studios and IMDb TV is a re-imagining of the original premise. While Leverage centered on a crusade to avenge the death of a child, this series is propelled forward as a redemption story of misdeeds that need amends.”
The idea of “amending misdeeds” sounds right along the line of the parent series’ premise, but it’s still unsure if this new show will serve as a sequel with references to previous storylines (like the marriage between Nate and Sophie, and the new leadership under Parker), or if it will go off on a completely new tangent. Considering the reappearance of old characters, however, it could be a little bit of both!
Who else is behind the reboot?
Dean Devlin, the executive producer, and director of the original series is back for the revival, at the helm and spearheading production from his company Electric Entertainment. Alongside him are John Rogers and Chris Downey, creators of the original, serving as consulting producers and Marc Roskin, Rachel Olschan-Wilson, and Kate Rorick as additional executive producers. Rorick has previously worked with Devlin and Rogers on another well-known franchise: The Librarians.
It’s not just the creative minds behind the scenes that are returning, either. Many of our on-screen favorites from the original will be reprising their roles.
Read on to find out who’s coming back, and who the new face will be!
Who was in the original – and who’s coming back?
Gina Bellman (Henry IX, Jekyll) played Sophie Devereaux, a British grifter with a talent for linguistics and accents. The team’s “hitter” aka. the martial artist, weapons expert, and retrieval specialist was Eliot Spencer, who was played by Christian Kane (The Librarians, Angel).
Aldis Hodge (City on a Hill, Straight Outta Compton) played Alec Hardison, the team’s hacker and computer specialist with a strong attachment to his electronic inventions. Hardison was engaged in a romance with the team’s thief and expert safe-cracker Parker, who was portrayed by Beth Riesgraf (Complications, 68 Whiskey). Though dealing with issues stemming from a troubled childhood, Parker was eventually able to prove her skills as a leader and was left in charge following the Mastermind Nate s assumed departure from the team in the series finale.
Nate was played by Timothy Hutton (Almost Family, American Crime), and he’s the only member of the original team who’s not coming back for the reboot!
That’s right – Bellman, Kane, Hodge, and Riesgraf will all be reprising their original roles. However, Hodge will take a step back into a recurring role as his current show, City on a Hill, may be on the same filming schedule as Leverage.
Rounding out the new team will be Hardison’s little sister Breanna Casey, played by Aleyse Shannon (Charmed), who will be taking over the team’s resident hacker role from her big brother.
As well as Noah Wyle – also reuniting with Devlin and co. from The Librarians franchise! Deadline reported a one-year deal for Wyle on the show, but it’s yet unclear what role he’ll be playing on the team. Is Parker still in charge, or will Wyle’s character be assuming that role instead? We’ll have to wait to find out for sure!
What’s the progress on production?
Filming was originally slated to start in late June to July this year in New Orleans, Louisiana, but as with other productions this year, had to keep pushing its schedule back depending on prevailing COVID circumstances.
Finally, in the first week of August and after a few days of virus testing, the stars sat down for table reading – complete with social distancing and wearing both masks and face shields.
They’re now about a month into filming, and the cast and creators have been sharing their progress on their respective social media accounts. As for when the Leverage revival will air, well there’s no word yet but stay tuned for any more updates!