Spoiler alert for the third season of “Leverage”: Nate Ford will not spend the whole season in prison.
You probably already figured that out already; TV shows tend not to do things like that to their lead characters for extended periods of time. The idea of Nate (Timothy Hutton) running Leverage from his jail cell, where he ended up at the close of Season 2, is kind of an intriguing one, but it would also deprive Hutton of one of the things he likes most about the show: the various personae Nate takes on while working his cons.
“I didn’t really want to be just the guy who sits back in mission control talking to the team and laying out the strategy,” Hutton tells Zap2it. “I wanted to be much more active in the cons, so we started developing that over the first season, and it worked pretty well. That’s really become a fun part of it for me.”
The two-hour season premiere of “Leverage” on TNT Sunday (June 20) will, at least, show you some of Nate’s stint in jail. “The team wants to bush him out because they’ve got a whole backlog of cases … and Nate doesn’t want to leave prison because he’s working on a job on the inside involving corruption,” Hutton says. “He’s going to try to get the team actually to get into the jail instead of them getting him out.”
Needless to say, that doesn’t go over too well with his group of career criminals. When Nate ultimately does get out, though, it could add an extra layer of intrigue to the proceedings, as he’s forced to keep looking over his shoulder: “He definitely has to go underground,” Hutton notes. “In some ways he’s protected, but in other ways he’s a fugitive. I shouldn’t really say more than that.”
He did offer a few other tidbits on what to expect in Season 3, though, including:
Bigger cons. “These are my favorite stories so far,” he says. “We did one about a corrupt music producer in Memphis. We did one where the team invades a high school reunion, all pretending toe part of the class celebrating their 25th reunion and taking someone down along the way. There’s one where we go up against the head of a pharmaceutical company. … We go after a drug cartel. The thing about the third season is the shows and the cons … are much more ambitious, much bigger in scale. They’re not afraid to take on anybody or anything.”
Different teamups. Sometimes all five members of the team will work a case at once, but other times they’ll splinter off to tackle different aspects of a con. “You’ll see a lot of that in the third season,” Hutton says. “You might see Parker [Beth Riesgraf] and Hardison [Aldis Hodge] doing one part of the con, Elliott [Christian Kane] working alone, Sophie [Gina Bellman] and Nate together. Sometimes it’s Parker and Nate and Hardison alone, kind of holding down the fort.”
Family issues. An episode late in the season will have Nate going up against his father, Jimmy, played by Tom Skerritt. “It’s one of my favorite episodes that we’ve done,” Hutton says. “Nate’s father comes out of the shadows … and he’s got a really difficult decision. His father has wronged some people, and he has to decide if he wants the job of taking down his father.”
Here’s a preview of Sunday’s premiere, “The Jailhouse Job.” The client, by the way, is played by Hodge’s brother Edwin.
Are you excited for “Leverage’s” return? What combinations of the team would you like to see?