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Arts and Entertainment

TV Junkie: The Pitch - Producer Dean Devlin for 'Leverage'

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The "Leverage" season finale is at 10pm tonight on TNT

The "Leverage" season finale is at 10pm tonight on TNT
[We have started this supplemental column called "The Pitch" where we ask someone who is involved with the creation, production, promotion of a show the top 3 reasons why it deserves attention from the LAist audience and they "pitch" the show.]This week we have producer extraordinaire, Dean Devlin, pitching TNT's "Leverage". The season finale of "Leverage" is tonight at 10:00pm. Dean Devlin is known for such blockbuster hits as Stargate, Independence Day, The Patriot, as well as the incredible documentary Who Killed The Electric Car?

LAist: Give us your top 3 reasons for watching "Leverage" in real time on TNT, Wednesday nights at 10:00pm.

Dean Devlin: My number one reason to pitch you for watching it live and not on DVR is because ther are so many twists on our show. This is a show that has not one but two cons on every and there are several character twists per episode. And as I watch the show along with Twitter I see West Coast fans saying "stop giving away plot points!"

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LAist: You're up against other shows that involve crime ("NCIS", etc.) but this show is about a gang, run by Timothy Hutton's character, that operates outside the law.

Dean Devlin: There's a lot of good programming on television right now and we have a lot of competition but I think we offer something unique. On the one hand we have this element of wish fulfillment: If you're a person like me who watched things like Enron go down and you thought to yourself "Gee, I'd really like to punch those guys in the neck" well, our show gives you the chance to do that and I think we're the one show that goes after those corporate fat cats that took advantage of us over and over again. So there's this wish fulfillment part.

But also I think we've really assembled a fantastic group of actors who have created a fantastic group of characters that are really unusual in this type of show. They very often go right against the stereotype and their performances have deepened these characters so they aren't just exposition tools for difficult plots. But actually our plots are altered by the foibles and Achilles heels of our characters. It's a show that's light, that's fun that doesn't talk down to our audience.

LAist: You mentioned flaws in your characters. Timothy Hutton's character has plenty of issues but is the glue that holds things together. So another part of the pitch is that there is more than just the con being explored?

Dean Devlin: One of the things historically when you look at shows that are about heists or don shows, is that because the plots are so complicated there is very little room for character. One of the things we're most proud of is that we have this really great writing team that really made the characters first, that drive these plots. Even those these plots are as complicated as any con show but they found ways to interweave the emotional story lines of what they're trying to accomplish with the characters who are involved with pulling off the heists. We're trying to balance a show about following these five people with some very complicated plot lines.

LAist: So you have an exploration of these characters that is more in depth than we would see in a procedural show that is about cons, or deconstructing a crime, etc.

Dean Devlin: We try to anchor the show in real emotions and real stories but with that anchor then we try to stretch how far we can go with the fun and the comedy. Our show is primarily a fun ride but along the way a lot of interesting things get revealed, both about our characters as well as storylines that are usually related to something that is really going on in the world.

LAist: Can you tell us a bit about next season?

Dean Devlin: We start shooting the season 3 on March 1st and I'll be directing the first episode ...and yes, the first several story lines are coming in. To some degree We will be exploring a bit more of what we wanted to do before Gina Bellman (aka "Sophie Devereaux") got pregnant. The first season was really an exploration of Nate's problem with dealing with the death of his child and all of his values changing: this incredibly honest man is now running a group of thieves. Season two we had been exploring their identities: if they're not who they used to be, who are they now? Sophie actually had to leave the in order to find himself, and Nate who had tried to stay away from drinking had fallen off the wagon. In season three will be a whole new deal.

The Pitch for "Leverage" as told by Dean Devlin, Producer:
- Double Cons
- Great Cast
- Comeuppance for Corporate Fatcats
- In depth Exploration of Characters vs. Procedural
- Timeliness

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To hear the full Pitch from Dean Devlin, including some discussion about Timothy Hutton, listen to this podcast:

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