Leverage: John Schneider's Gone Bad, Christian Kane's Gone Country
· Christian Kane
· Timothy Hutton
· Gina Bellman
· Beth Riesgraf
· Aldis Hodge
· John Schneider
Television Review: Leverage, "The Studio Job"
by R.J. Carter
Published: July 16, 2010
This third season of Leverage has really been rewarding viewers with episodes that give a singular focus on different characters. Recently we've had episodes centered on Parker (Beth Riesgraf) and Hardison (Aldis Hodge). With "The Studio Job," the writers give us something a little bit different -- it's a focus on Eliot, but even moreso it's a spotlight on the actor behind the character: Christian Kane. You've seen him hit -- now hear him play guitar and sing a country music tune that ought to be turning up on radios across the country.
And to top things off, "Thinking of You" is also co-written by Kane -- is there nothing "The Hair" cannot do?
Pickin' and Not Grinnin'. Eliot (Christian Kane) performs on stage.
Photo by Erik Heinila
The con this go-round is against a crooked country music record executive, played by Smallville's John Schneider. He's a failed performer and a song stealer, with a penchant for physical enforcement to keep his contracted musicians in line. To work the mark, the Leverage team plans to pull the two-man Violin con -- with Eliot being the violin in question. But things backfire when the group -- and the world at large -- discover that Eliot can actually sing! Suddenly he has a fan base, and that's only the beginning of the complications that mount for the team hitter.
Just because Kane's getting the spotlight doesn't mean that the rest of the team is furniture. Reisgraf particularly chews up some scenes when Parker portrays an eccentric Icelandic pop star; seeing her out-Björk Björk is a laugh riot, and costume designer Nadine Haders either had to really love or really hate the challenge these scenes presented. Team lead Nathan Ford (Timothy Hutton) also gets to drive home the whole "We're riffing on The A-Team" thing when he literally utters a classic line often said by George Peppard's Hannibal Smith. As usual, Sophie (Gina Bellman) is essential to selling the con, but I'd really like to see something more done with her to stretch her character a bit. And seeing Hardison try to fumble his way through "countrified" vernacular provides more than a few chuckles.
Leverage is starting to compete with the classic Batman series when it comes to villainous guest-stars, having recently showcased Richard Chamberlain, and bringing Clancy Brown into the mix next week (more on that, right here, later). What surprises will the rest of the season bring, and are things on track for a fourth season of this high-spirited caper series? Stay tuned!
Leverage, "The Studio Job," airs Sunday, July 18 at 9pm|8pm CT on TNT.