So… Is It Good?

A blog featuring the various writings of E. H. Lau.

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Why Leverage Has… Leverage Over Most Other Heist Fiction

Posted by cyberpfalcon on March 21, 2012

I love Leverage.

In case you’ve never heard of it, Leverage is a TV series about a team of con artists who have decided to become modern day Robin Hoods. They help their clients get… leverage. The clients that the Leverage team gets are usually the victims of some big, rich, and powerful person; some big, rich, and powerful person who has somehow scammed innocent people out of huge amounts of assets (whether illegally or using legal loopholes). The Leverage team then runs a con on their mark (the big, rich and powerful person) in order to return to the victims their rightful property.

Now it may sound like a stereotypical heist show where the only twist is that they’re only stealing from those who deserve it and are actually helping out others, but I’m of the opinion that it is that twist that gives Leverage its leverage over all the other heist shows.

Well, that and the lovable main cast, the awesome recurring characters (STERLING!), the tight writing, the great direction, the music, the tone, the style, the camera work, the editing, and THE LOVE that the creators and writers of this show seem to have for it.
But really, a ton of heist related fiction can claim that too. Like the Ocean’s series or Inception (it’s a heist film, people, the twist this time is that they’re putting something in, which, like Leverage, is part of why the film is awesome).

So, back to the point that the edge that Leverage has over a lot of other heist fiction is that it is about a team of modern day Robin Hoods.
As anyone can tell you, TV shows have episodes, and Leverage is a mostly episodic type of TV show, as in most episodes are standalone stories (yes, there are story arcs, but most episodes have a plotline that starts and resolves in that episode). Since Leverage is a mostly episodic type of TV show, it has to have a generally similar premise for each episode. Now, I’m not saying that all episodes have to be of the same type, but generally, without a massive retooling, episodic TV shows mostly contain episodes that are similar in premise. For example, most episodes of Star Trek is about visiting strange new worlds, or how most episodes of House have House’s team treating a patient. So similarly, Leverage mostly consists of the Leverage team running a con on a mark to help their wronged clients.
So what’s so great about the twist? The Robin Hood twist of Leverage gives Leverage the ability to tell stories that most other types of heist fiction can’t. It allows the show to show the characters doing other things other than stealing money or diamonds or some valuable thing. For example, in “The Miracle Job”, the team runs a con to save a church from getting shut down by some company that wants to tear it down after the company hired some goons to attack the priest of the church. My favourite example of this advantage that Leverage has is “The Long Way Down Job”, where the team has to find a missing mountain climber in order to take down a corrupt businessman.
The Robin Hood twist allows Leverage to step away from the usual banks and vaults that we usually see in heist fiction and into other realms.

And that’s why I love Leverage. Go watch it.

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