“Terrific” and twisty scams are in great supply when TNT’s ‘Leverage’ resumes its second season Wednesday at 10/9c. Series star Timothy Hutton gave Fancast a preview of what’s to come – including the possibility that glam grifter Jeri Ryan will “steal” Nate from the AWOL Sophie.
Is ‘Leverage‘ as fun to work on as it is to watch?
We have a blast making this show. The fun comes from the stories, because it’s a great caper show about modern day Robin Hoods. A lot of it also has to do with how the show was cast. The chemistry just happened by chance. These five people came together, and we all genuinely like each other and found a way immediately to riff off one another. That shows when viewers watch it.
In one of the six new episodes, Nate & Co. “pull a high-tech version of a classic con.” What’s the con at hand?
The “classic con” is dangling a very attractive woman to distract the loan shark, so that he’s slightly off his game. That way we can catch him when he’s got his guard down. I have to tell you, all six of the shows that are coming on are just terrific.
What’s the most far out persona Nate adopts in these six?
In “The Runway Job” (airing January 13), the team infiltrates a fashion show, and as part of the con Nate has to be a designer. We went for a strange hybrid of Karl Lagerfeld and… oh, I don’t know who else. It’s certainly a bizarre persona. Nate really throws himself into these cons – and sometimes even goes a little too far.
Do you ever balk at the crazy hair or outfits….?
[Laughs] No, no. Not at all. I’m all in. Let’s do it. The more outrageous the con and the roles we have to play, the more fun it is.
How would you compare Jeri Ryan’s Tara to Gina Bellman’s Sophie?
They’re kind of cut from the same cloth – they’re both very, very well-schooled grifters. Sophie’s whole thing is she really believes that her job as a con artist is a side hobby, because her passion in life is to be a world-class actress. Jeri’s character has embraced the role of grifter much more. She’s a tough and has no delusions of grandeur.
Are they going to play any sparks between Nate and Tara?
I don’t want to give anything away, because that is certainly something people will be wondering about. I will say that wherever there are sparks to be had in the next six shows, they will come from very unexpected places.
Is Gina raring to come back from maternity leave and get back in the game full-time?
Gina is so excited to get back, yeah.
Tell me about the episode where Nate’s wife lands in prison.
Nate gets a call that Maggie (played by Kari Matchett) has wound up in a prison in the Ukraine, and the only person that has information about it and can get her out is Nate’s old pal, Sterling (Mark Sheppard). Nate is forced to work with Sterling side-by-side on a con, and you then see that Sterling is setting Nate up. Maggie is very definitely in jeopardy.
You’ve always struck me as a smart, discerning fellow. What sort of TV do you like?
Sports and sports and more sports. Baseball, basketball, football…. As far as shows, I just got caught up on ‘The Wire,’ which was amazing; ‘Lost’ pulled me in for a while there; ‘Mad Men’; and ‘Whale Wars’ on Animal Planet is just good, fun TV.