Stars: Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Aldis Hodge, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, Mitch Pileggi, Bhanna Peget
Jenn Kao, series created by John Rogers & Chris Downey
John Harrison
TNT, Sundays @ 9 PM
July 24, 2011

LEVERAGE’s “The Hot Potato Job” is decent enough – it literally involves a stolen (i.e., hot) potato, so points up front for a good title, as well as smart casting in employing Mitch Pileggi as the big bad of the week. However, given that this is the episode where team leader Nathan (Timothy Hutton) and longtime unconsummated/then consummated-but-pretending-it’s-no-big-deal love interest Sophie (Gina Bellman) decide to move their relationship along, it feels strangely uneventful.

An agricultural scientist who has developed an especially nutritious potato that she is sharing with the poor has her work – and primary potato – stolen by agents of a huge agricultural firm. Nate and the gang propose to retrieve the potato by getting into the building.

Due to a snafu on the road, Sophie winds up stepping into the job intended for muscle Eliot (Christian Kane), impersonating a private security operative hired by the company to ferret out a turncoat. Eliot poses as her accountant. Nate and Parker (Beth Riesgraf) pose as tour guides for a group of school kids on a field trip at the agricultural company’s headquarters. Hardison (Aldis Hodge) hacks into the company computers to get Sophie the right fake credentials. The group cause a building-wide lockdown, with no one allowed in or out.

In trying to come up with a suitable candidate as a corporate traitor, Sophie inadvertently fingers an innocent-seeming security guard who really has been stealing from his bosses. Parker has to make her way into a locked, freezing room that is set on fire when her intrusion is discovered. Happily, Parker makes it out in time with the potato and the Leverage gang frames Pileggi’s character for the guard’s embezzlement (which means he can’t go after the poor honest scientist who created the super-spud). Unfortunately, one of his associates is exonerated and may cause problems down the line.

The episode certainly has its funny moments – Sophie doing her best impression of Eliot is very amusing and Eliot’s reaction when he realizes what she’s doing is ever better. A running joke about Sophie punching Hardison doesn’t work as well, running out of steam before the dialogue is finished.

However, where “The Hot Potato Job” really suffers is a disconnect with the Nate/Sophie material – or rather, how it fails to link up with the caper. Near the beginning of the episode, Nate and Sophie have a “professional” dinner that turns into a night together. In the morning, they mutually decide nothing important has happened.

Nate sees Sophie in action through the course of the episode and apparently decides she’s more capable than he’d thought and that therefore he ought to be open to greater intimacy with her. At least, that seems to be the gist of his change in attitude. Given how long mutual rapport has been teased out between these two characters, if Nate is going to rethink his position, it might have been more natural if it was the result of something between them, rather than simply seeing Sophie do what she does pretty much every week. It’s well-played by Hutton and Bellman, but the end result feels a bit anticlimactic.

On the other hand, any episode that can turn a stolen potato into the equivalent of the Maltese Falcon has something going for it.


Click on link: Dean Devlin interview on LEVERAGE – Season 4

Click on link: Review of LEVERAGE – Season 4 premiere – “The Van Gogh Job”

Click on link: Review of LEVERAGE – Season 4 premiere – “The Long Way Down Job”

Click on link: Review of LEVERAGE – Season 4  – “The 10 L’il Grifters Job”

Click on link: Review of LEVERAGE – Season 4  – “The 15 Minutes Job”

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Click on Link: Exclusive Interview with LEVERAGE star Timothy Hutton on Season 4

Click on Link: Mark Sheppard on why you can’t get rid of LEVERAGE’s Sterling

Click on link: Christian Kane’s HOUSE RULES CD review

Click on link: LEVERAGE – “The Big Bang Job” review

Click on link: LEVERAGE – “The San Lorenzo Job” review

Click on link: LEVERAGE – “The Ho Ho Ho Job” review

Click on Link: Interview with “The Ho Ho Ho Job” guest star Dave Foley

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Article: Review: LEVERAGE – Season 4 – “The Hot Potato Job”




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