Stars: Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Aldis Hodge, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, Michael Gladis, Leon Rippy
Writer: Josh Schaer
Director: Marc Roskin
Network: TNT, Sundays @ 9 PM
Airdate: July 10, 2011
The title of LEVERAGE’s episode “The 15 Minutes Job” refers to Andy Warhol’s oft-quoted saying about the amount of time everybody supposedly will have to be famous. The plot concerns a neat reversal, where instead of going after famous bigwigs abusing their power, Nate (Timothy Hutton) and friends find themselves going up against a foe who is pretty similar to the LEVERAGE team in his methods.
Nate is approached by his childhood friend Ed Kelly, now a district attorney, to take down Reed Rockwell (Michael Gladis of MAD MEN). Rockwell is a professional destroyer of reputations, hired in this instance by Kelly’s political enemies to stir up scandal. Rockwell operates out of the shadows, using technology and trickery to make his targets look bad, just like our guys do, with the difference that Rockwell is hired to go after the good guys.
Nate’s scheme is to discredit Rockwell by making him famous, but this takes some doing. After Eliot (Christian Kane), Parker (Beth Riesgraf) and Sophie (Gina Bellman) all fail to lure Rockwell into doing a good deed, Hardison (Aldis Hodge) has to pose as a coffee shop robber in order to get Rockwell on camera, appearing to save the day while simply trying to save his own behind. The resultant publicity makes Rockwell a media hero. Now, Nate swings into action, posing as a publicity consultant. Eventually, our gang get Rockwell to frame himself via a phony blackmail scheme over a 14-year-old drunk driving incident, where Rockwell shifted the blame to an innocent man who has done time for the crime.
What makes “The 15 Minutes Job” work so well is that it balances a lot of good comedy, including some physical gags that border on slapstick, with appropriate introspection. Sophie may be the one voicing all of the comparisons between Nate’s activities and Rockwell’s techniques, but Nate is obviously thinking everything that’s being said aloud. If there is a very fine line between using a public fiction for the greater good – as Nate et al do when they frame a mark guilty of something else for a different crime – and using a lie to destroy someone, this episode makes it nice and blurry.
Additionally, “15 Minutes” has some good insights into what makes fame so attractive to even the most secretive individuals, noting that even Nate isn’t totally immune to the appeal of the spotlight. Sometimes LEVERAGE tries to make a point without setting up a good argument first, but here its wisdom is earned.
Gladis is very good as the slimy target, and Leon Rippy shows up at the end as a mysterious party who looks likely to figure in future story developments. Meanwhile, the themes explored in “The 15 Minutes Job” are not only handled potently, they are worth revisiting.
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Click on link: Dean Devlin interview on LEVERAGE – Season 4
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Click on link: Christian Kane’s HOUSE RULES CD review
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Article: Review: LEVERAGE – Season 4 – “The 15 Minutes Job”