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Featured TV on DVD Review: Leverage: Season Four

July 15th, 2012

Leverage: Season Four - Buy from Amazon

Outside of the pilot, I've loved just about every Leverage episode. Additionally, the DVD releases have been crammed with extras. Can the show maintain its high quality level during its fourth season? And are there as many high quality extras on the DVD?

The Show

A quick recap of the show. Nate Ford is a former insurance investigator who now uses his talents, and those of his team, to help the powerless fight back. Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman) is a con artist, Elliott Spencer is the muscle, Parker (Beth Riesgraf) is the cat burglar, while Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge) is the tech guru. In season three, they were forced to go after Damien Moreau, after being blackmailed by a mysterious woman. However, we learn that there was a connection between Moreau and one of the members of the team, which complicates things. The team comes out in the end, but several things change, including Sophie and Nate hooking up, as well as Parker and Hardison hooking up.

At the end of season three, the team was supposed to lay low till the heat died down, but Nate got a time sensitive mission. It goes well and Parker and Hardison even agree that being a couple could work. The entire team is back to being one big happy family, until Hardison finds a bug in Nate's apartment. It's a high tech one, one that impresses Hardison. Clearly someone big is gunning for them. We learn bits and pieces of this throughout the season, but that's a bit of a spoiler.

Early on they get a case to bust a corrupt contractor whose shoddy work led to the death of several people. Nate and his crew decide to crash his Murder Mystery Party to find the evidence they need. However, when he winds up being the victim of a murder plot, they have to figure out who did it, or Nate will go down for the crime. In The 15 Minutes Job, they go after a man who specializes in destroying careers by faking bad publicity, by generating some good publicity and shining the spotlight on him. Their plan is to get him used to the spotlight, then use his own tactics against him, but he might have real skeletons in his closet. Danny Glover has a guest appearance in The Van Gogh Job as a man whose life is in danger after rumors surface that he knows where a missing Van Gogh is. This episode also features the cast playing different characters in the flashbacks. This is a technique used in the past, but it is well done as always.

The Hot Potato Job has the team trying to recover a potato. It's a genetically modified potato and one that could be worth millions upon millions. It's not the most usual target. This episode also features a guest appearance by Mitch Pileggi. The Carnival Job begins with a boss stealing a radical new design for a revolutionary chip, but he didn't steal it for his company, but to sell on the black market. As the team works to steal back the chip, the daughter of the thief is kidnapped. Now they have a new mission. Anne-Marie Johnson is running a scam ripping off people who use her funeral home. When the team goes to bust them, they learn the scam is more in-depth than that, and a lot more dangerous. In The Boiler Room Job, the team goes up against a con artist, and not just any con artist, but one with a very famous pedigree. Nate realizes that conning him will be nearly impossible, but robbing him will be a whole lot easier. The Cross My Heart Job starts with the team returning from a mission, when Nate sees a woman perform a naked drop, but he sees she's not doing this because she wants to. When he confronts her, he learns a transplant heart meant for a 15-year old boy has been stolen. A kid dying in a hospital bed gets to him.

Jim Sterling (Mark Sheppard) returns in The Queen's Gambit Job. He asks Nate to go to Dubai to steal a counterweight used in the production of weapons grade uranium. As always, when Jim Sterling is involved, the job is more complicated, and you can never tell which side he's on, other than his own. In The Experimental Job, a college undergrad is using homeless vets in an experiment, which ends up killing one. This certainly motivates the team, but the undergrad in question is being protected by someone powerful. The team tries to expose an embezzler in The Office Job, which is a pretty simple task. However the job is complicated by the arrival of Gunter Hanzig, a crazy German documentarian. (Think Werner Herzog.) Next up is a two-part episode, The Girls' Night Out Job and The Boys' Night Out Job. In the first part, we see the Girls, Parker, Sophie, and a returning Tara Cole help Peggy (Lisa Schurga) a woman they met in the past. Her blind date turns out to be a wanted thief. In the second part, the guys' poker game is interrupted by Jack Hurley (Drew Powell), who is someone the group brought down in season one. He's back, but to thank Nate. However, he's unknowingly become a drug mule, and now the people he's working with are after him. The Mexicans, who sent him, want to kill him to cover their trail and the Irish want to steal the drugs and kill him to send a message.

The final disc begins with The Lonely Hearts Job. David Ogden Stiers asking Nate to find his kidnapped wife, who, officially has just disappeared. The guys think she is a con artist, and they have some compelling evidence. However, upon further investigation, they find a ring of con artists led by Emma Caulfield. Hardison takes the lead in The Gold Job, which had a brother and sister, Todd Stashwick and Sasha Barrese, running a scam through a Cash 4 Gold business. Tom Skerritt returns as Nate's father in The Radio Job. He gets over his head and Nate and the team have to rescue him. The rest of the details are on the spoiler side and the same is true for the season finale, The Last Dam Job. I can say the list of guest stars is very long: Richard Chamberlain, Saul Rubinek, Kari Matchett, Wil Wheaton, and more.

I don't think season four of Leverage is quite as good as season three. It is close, but a couple of episodes felt a little stale, like we've seen these stories before. It is still an excellent series and easily worth checking out, but there are some signs that it won't be able to last for too many more seasons.

The Extras

Extras begin with audio commentary tracks on every single episode. Extras on the first disc include a short behind-the-scenes featurette on The Long Way Down Job, the season premiere, while there are also a few deleted scenes from that episode as well. There is also a short featurette on the writers' room. Disc two only has a minute of deleted scenes. Disc three has a 6-minute making of / parody of The Office Job. There are also deleted scenes for three episodes. On the final disc, there is a deleted scene for the season finale and six minutes of outtakes.

The Verdict

Leverage: Season Four is an excellent show and the four-disc set is loaded with extras. It is easily worth picking up and a clear contender for Pick of the Week.

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