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Dean Devlin talks 'modern day Robin Hoods' of 'Leverage: Redemption' as franchise hits 100th episode
"I hope if you've watched Leverage in the past, that you tune in for this one. It's really special."
A decade ago, Nathan Ford assembled a team of thieves and hustlers to strike back against the 1 percent in TNT's Leverage. Like The A-Team, Ford and his ragtag associates were the only people to turn to when no one else could help. The show — which premiered three years before the "Occupy Wall Street" movement — ran for a total of 77 episodes across five seasons between 2008 and 2012. You can't keep justice down for long, though, because Amazon Freevee brought back the property last year via Leverage: Redemption.
"Our show is really about a group of high-tech thieves and con men who act like a modern day Robin Hoods. [They] swoop in to try and level the playing field for the average person against corporate malfeasance or terrible, rich and powerful people," co-showrunner and executive producer Dean Devlin (he also executive produced the original series) tells SYFY WIRE.
Now in the middle of its second season, Redemption features the return of several OG cast members like Beth Riesgraf (Parker), Gina Bellman (Sophie Devereaux), Christian Kane (Eliot Spencer), and Aldis Hodge (Alec Hardison). Aleyse Shannon and Noah Wyle also co-star.
"It was such a gift to get to go back," Devlin, who's also the mastermind behind upcoming SYFY series The Ark, admits. "But you never know if you're gonna do it right or screw it up. Are the fans going to accept it or are they going to feel like you messed it up? Because trust me, I've done both [laughs]. Luckily, this one really seemed to hit the sweet spot, the fans just went crazy over it. We were fortunate to get most of the old cast back and add some new cast members who just fit in absolutely perfectly. We found a tone and we found a story that really made it fresh and new and yet, respected the canon and history of what was built before it."
In the 10 years since Leverage first left the air, the concept of "crime doesn't pay" has pretty much lost all meaning. Financial corruption grows by the day, right in front of our faces (for an example, look no further than the recent implosion of FTX), and it seems like the parties behind these economic misdeeds will never answer for their crimes.
"When we did the original Leverage, all our heroes had to do was collect the evidence and hand them to the authorities and the bad guys would pay a price," Devlin says. "But in the subsequent years, we've discovered that laws have changed to protect criminals [and] that criminality has moved into the justice system. The rich and powerful are richer, and they're more powerful, and corporate malfeasance has become more accepted and normalized. So for our heroes to be successful, we have to use very different techniques than we did in the old show. And the way in which we bring people down has to be very different. So it's been a challenge for writing it. But it's also made it much more satisfying and much more surprising."
The seventh episode of Season 2 (premiering tomorrow) represents the hundredth episode between the two shows. "It does a real deep dive into the Elliot character played by Christian Kane," teases Devlin, who directed and co-wrote the episode. "We reveal a huge part of his backstory that has never been told before on the show and something fans have been asking for since day one. So, I’m really excited about that episode dropping and I hope if you've watched Leverage in the past, that you tune in for this one. It's really special."
Co-showrunner Kate Rorick (The Librarians), Marc Roskin (Geostorm), and Rachel Olschan-Wilson (Eight Legged Freaks) serve as executive producers with Devlin. John Rogers (Young Justice) and Chris Downey (Station 19) are consulting producers.
The complete first season of Leverage: Redemption is now streaming on Amazon Freevee alongside Episodes 1-6 of Season 2. Episode 7 premieres tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 14.
When asked about the potential for a third season, Devlin says: "Well, if you get all your fans listening to come watch, hopefully, that will encourage Freevee to order another season. We're ready to make ‘em. I'll make them as many seasons as they ask for!"
Want to check out more of Devlin's filmography in the meantime? All three Librarians movies are now streaming on Peacock. His upcoming SYFY series — The Ark — premieres in February.