Television Review: Leverage, "The Juror #6 Job"
· Official Leverage Website
· IMDb: Leverage
(L-R): Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Timothy Hutton, Aldis Hodge, Beth Riesgraf
image copyright 2008, Turner Broadcasting System
by R.J. Carter
Published: February 3, 2009
"The Juror #6" job is a step away from the usual Leverage adventure, taking a lighter approach with a look at some of the repercussions of operating the way the group does.
The lone-named Parker (Beth Riesgraf), like all members of the Leverage team, lives under a number of aliases, one of which is Alice White. And on this particular morning, Alice White has been selected for jury duty. She's ready to get out of it, but Leverage front-man, Nathan Ford (Timothy Hutton) thinks that jury duty is just the thing Parker needs for a lesson in cultivating trusts, getting along with others, and functioning as part of a team.
What Ford didn't expect was for Parker to come back from the first day of the trial with a case for Leverage. The plaintiff is a widow whose husband died of a heart-attack after taking a supplement designed to help him stay alert. Further setting off Parker's alarms, she notices hidden cameras in the courtroom and a micro-transmitter in the ear of the defense attorney.
Although disbelieving at first, Ford comes around to realizing that Parker is correct, and that there is indeed an anti-Leverage organization playing "Runaway Jury" with the case. Operated by a CEO/heiress (played by Lauren Holly) who is looking to protect her investment in buying out the herbal supplement company, this team of professionals knows everything about everyone in the courtroom -- except juror #6, Alice White. They have a plan for every contingency, including paying off the plaintiffs lawyer not to show up -- which creates an opening for Leverage's smooth-talking Hardison (Aldis Hodge) to step in as a replacement attorney and attempt to stall things, while Sophie (Gina Bellman) makes an effort to get the owner of the to-be-purchased supplement company (played by Brent Spiner, reuniting with former Star Trek: The Next Generation alum Jonathan Frakes, who directs this episode) to offer an out-of-court settlement behind his puppetmaster's back.
This episode is simply a lot of fun. Watching Parker attempt to win friends and influence people -- even with master grifter Sophie tutoring her in the art -- is an exercise in uncomfortable comedy as she continually says inappropriate things at inappropriate times. (Meanwhile, Sophie gives an impressive display of her own ability at reading people.) And when all the best laid plans of Leverage don't achieve quite the desired result, they have one last best hope: Hardison simply has to win the trial!
While it's not the usual breaking-and-entering caper that Leverage excels at, there are still several enjoyable instances of the team putting their abilities to do questionable things to good use. And the idea of running up against an organization rivaling their own is rife with potential for future episodes should the writers choose to mine it.
Leverage, "The Juror #6 Job" premieres February 3, 2009 on TNT, 10/9c.