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Featured TV on DVD Review: Leverage: Season Five

September 15th, 2013

Leverage: Season Five - Buy from Amazon

Leverage's ended its run after five years, so it is a bittersweet time for fans. Sure, they get to complete their DVD collection of the show, but they also know there will be no more episodes in the future. Did the show at least go out on a high note? Do we get a satisfactory ending? Or does it just sort of fade away?

Before we get to the show, I'm going to describe a little technical glitch. When I first hit play all, the only audio I got was the theme music you hear in the menu. I returned to the main menu to see if I could adjust the audio, but there were no choices. I did turn on the captions, just in case I couldn't get the audio to work. However, after doing that, the audio worked fine. I turned off the captions, and it still worked fine. It was a little strange.

The Show

As usual, we start with a quick recap of the show. Timothy Hutton stars as Nate Ford, a former insurance investigator whose son died because the insurance company refused to cover the treatment he needed. As a result, he decided to use his talents to go after the corrupt and powerful. The first episode has him teamed up with a group of other, less moral criminals. Sophie Devereaux is a master con artist / failed actress. Elliott Spencer is the muscle / weapons expert, who is also an expert in a number of rather eclectic areas. Parker is the cat burglar / crazy person. Finally there's Alec Hardison is head of tech for the group. Parker and Alec are also an item now, which is interesting, as they are the least socially skilled members of the group. Their first mission together turned out to be a con and they helped the bad guys, who then tried to kill them, so they teamed up again to right that wrong, and have been working together ever since.

At the end of Season Four, they finally got their revenge against the guy who set them up originally, but in the process, they drew a lot of heat on themselves and all they had built up before was burned. Now they have to start from scratch. They start in Portland, which makes sense, because that's where the show is filmed. Their new cover is a microbrewery / restaurants, which annoys Elliott no end, because coming up with a pub menu is extremely difficult, because pairing food with beer is a nightmare. This begins with The (Very) Big Bird Job, in which the CEO of an airline company caused the crash of their plane after cutting maintenance and the widow and daughter of the pilot sued. The company won in court, but someone at the company is still very interested in them. On the other hand, the CEO, Scott Roemer , is more interested in the Spruce Goose, which is in a museum in Portland. His obsession with the Spruce Goose is the team's way to get to him. The Blue Line Job focuses on a minor-league hockey team owned by Pete Rising, who is forcing his goon, Craig Marko, to fight every game, in order to sell tickets. However, Craig's son, Danny, thinks his father is in serious danger of permanent brain injury, perhaps even death. Jonathan Frakes directs The First Contact Job, which makes a whole lot of sense when you see the con. An engineer, James Kanack, steals the work from one of his employees and not only fires him, but also makes it seem like he's mentally unstable so he can't get work. He wants Nate to prove it was his work in the first place. It seems like a simple job, but Kanack was very good at covering his tracks. However, he is also obsessed with alien life, so the team fakes an alien transmission to con him. (Now you see why Jonathan Frakes was the perfect director for this episode.) The French Connection Job involves a culinary school that helped troubled youth learn the culinary arts as a way to get off the streets. It's run by a friend of Elliott, Toby Heath, who taught him how to cook. Now the new owner of the school, David Lampard is using the school as a loan shark and perhaps even using it to import drugs. What else could cost $12,000 a kilo?

Disc two starts with The Gimme a K Street Job begins at a cheerleading competition where one of the coaches complains about the safety standards right before one of her cheerleaders is seriously injured. So she goes to Nate to get help. The quickest way to do that is to make cheerleading a sport, but it's up to Congress to do that. Conning Congress might be too big of a task, even for them. After all, no one is more used to under-handed tricks than congress. FBI Agent McSweeten returns in The D.B. Cooper Job. McSweeten's dad is a former FBI who worked the D.B. Cooper case, but who is now dying. McSweeten's come to Parker for help, because he still thinks Parker is a FBI agent, which was a cover of hers from a much earlier episode. It's a good episode and there are numerous flashbacks to the 1970s with the regular cast playing the people involved in the D.B. Cooper case. The Real Fake Car Job focuses on Gabe Erickson, a white collar criminal who scammed $130 million in stocks, but avoided jail, because he was also dealing with the Mob, and sold out the Mob for a life in Witness Protection. The team figure out he has stashed away $50 million for when he gets out of Witness Protection. They also figure out he's really into vintage cars and that will be their hook. The Broken Wing Job starts with the team in Tokyo, well, most of the team. Parker is forced to stay home, because she sprained her knee, a.k.a. She has a torn ACL. While stuck at home, Parker begins to watch the bar's security while chatting with Amy, one of the waitresses. There are a lot of regulars at the bar, but two of them, V and K, attract Parker's attention, because she thinks they are planning a heist. Can she stop them without the rest of the team?

The Rundown Job begins at a pig farm before switching to a government hearing where Colonel Michael Vance is being grilled for his unusual approach to anti-terrorism. Meanwhile, Parker, Elliott, and Alec are also in D.C. on an unrelated case. Elliot gets a call from an old associate who wants him to do a job. Elliot of course refuses, but he can't just go home. He has to figure out what this job is and stop it. The Frame-Up Job focuses on Nate and Sophie, who stayed behind in Portland while the others were in D.C. She plays a movie marathon for Nate, while she sneaks off to an art auction. Nate figures out where she's going and meets her there. The art auction also include the first public showing of a Mettier painting, Ma Mystere. However, when the painting is revealed, it's missing. Nate tries to get Sophie out right away, because if anyone who knew her past saw her, she would be arrested immediately... someone like Jim Sterling. It's always a great episode when he shows up. In The Low Low Price Job, a big box store is moving to a small town and the owner of a local grocery store is worried it will destroy the town. It's not just honest competition, the store bribes local officials for tax breaks, and to shut down the competition. The White Rabbit Job has a CEO slowly killing his company and the plant manager can't figure out why. He used to be a great boss, but something changed. He wants the team to return him to the way he was. That's a little beyond their ability, but they will try.

The final disc begins with The Corkscrew Job. A man dies while working in on a vineyard. The company offers the man's daughter a $1 million settlement, if she signs a non-disclosure agreement. Clearly they have something to hide. In The Toy Job, Eldon Marris, the head of the risk management department of Poggio Toys, goes to Nate and tells him Poggio's latest toy is dangerous, but the CEO, Trent Hazlit, is releasing it anyway. At first the team thinks it is a simple job. They just need steal the safety report and release it to the public. Unfortunately, the CEO was careful and the safety report is bogus, so they will have to come up with another way to take him down. The series finale is The Long Good-bye Job. An old friend of Nate's, Dr. Giallo, his former pediatrician, comes to him and asks him to get some medicine, "Orphaned Medicine" as it is called. "Orphaned Medicine" is medicine developed but not released because it won't be profitable enough. She has a patient that needs this medicine, but it is stored in the same building as the FBI, CIA, and INTERPOL cloud server, making it the most secure building in all of Portland.

Of the 15 episodes on season five of Leverage, only one of them, The White Rabbit Job, is less than great. There are also two or three that are merely great. The rest are excellent or better. The series finale was simply amazing. I'm sad that the show is ending, but at least it went out on a high note.

The Extras

Extras begin with audio commentary tracks on every single episode. Extras on the first disc include deleted scenes for two episodes. There are no extras on Disc two, outside of the audio commentary tracks. Disc three has deleted scenes for two more episodes. The final disc has eight minutes of outtakes. On the one hand, audio commentary tracks on all episodes is amazing. On the other hand, it would have been nice to have a retrospective with the cast and creators as a send off on the final season.

The Verdict

Leverage: Season Five is arguably the best season of the show's run. Add in the numerous extras and this DVD is easily a contender for Pick of the Week.

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Filed under: Video Review, Timothy Hutton, Adam Baldwin, Cary Elwes, Jonathan Frakes, Gregg Henry, Christian Kane, Matthew Lillard, Steve Valentine, Treat Williams, Neil Hopkins, Gerald Downey, Aldis Hodge, Gina Bellman, Beth Riesgraf, Aarti Mann, Mark Sheppard