The con continues on Leverage: Redemption, now in its second season.
In this revival of Leverage, which ran on TNT from 2008 to 2012, sophisticated grifter Sophie (Gina Bellman), tech genius Hardison (Aldis Hodge), sensitive and strong Eliot (Christian Kane), and master thief Parker (Beth Riesgraf) reunited to help Sophie who was grieving the death of her husband Nate (Timothy Hutton, who starred in the original series). The team was joined by Hardison's foster sister Breanna (Aleyse Shannon) and lawyer Harry (Noah Wyle), who spent his career defending bad guys and was looking to change his nefarious ways.
Now the team is back for more sophisticated schemes, fun accents, and elaborate wigs as they continue to try to help those in need and right society's wrongs. As the second season kicks off, Sophie comes face to face with a man she's harmed in her past as Harry tries to figure his place in the team.
"I don't want to give too much away but this is a Sophie-centric season," Wyle says. "If you like some Sophie Devereaux, you are going to be very happy. That character became a very significant narrative character this year."
Here, Wyle and Bellman talk to Metacritic about the show's second season, their characters' arcs, and if romance might ever blossom between Harry and Sophie.
Sophie is now in charge of the team. But, as we see in the season's opening episodes, she's dealing with her past coming back to haunt her.
Gina Bellman: Sophie is hitting her stride. She's really loving being a mastermind. She throwing off the widow's weeds and then suddenly this person from her past steps into the frame. I think she got into crime very young and I think that it probably started off as a bit of mischief and then became more and more serious.
You started playing Sophie in 2008, what's it been like to learn more about her past now?
G.B. It was such a special moment because when we started the original show I had thought about my backstory and I had discussed my backstory with [Leverage co-creator] John Rogers. I gave him my version of what I thought her backstory was, and all these years later, it is very much aligned with what I had talked about 14 years ago. I'm really really happy that that is how it played out.
Will we see more of Sophie's past coming back to confront her this season?
G.B. Yes and in a much deeper way than I think you might imagine. It's a bit of a British invasion by the end of the season. New Orleans [where the show is filmed] is playing London in three episodes. A lot of people from her old criminal life and some people on the sidelines who are collateral damage of her old criminal life become kind of front and center. And Christian's character Eliot is the one to kind of pin Sophie against the wall and say, "What the hell is going on? What have you done in the past? Tell us everything. You need to be transparent." It's one of the things I love about Redemption is we do have to confront our emotional stories in a way that we didn't really get the chance to in the past.
Noah, you joined the cast last season. What was it like returning for the second season?
Noah Wyle: It was great coming back again. There's a little bit more ease and shorthand with us all although I was reminded last year that Aldis Hodge had been a patient of mine on ER many years ago. Beth Riesgraf had been on The Librarians, and obviously Christian Kane had been on The Librarians, so really the only one I hadn't work with before was Gina.
Harry is back with the team but still has his law practice. How involved will Harry be with the team this season?
N.W.: I think Harry exemplifies the redemption in Leverage Redemption and his exposure to this crew last year has put him on the path that will be his continual path. Hanging his shingle out to do pro bono legal work for the needy will always be a part of his life but it's really hard to keep him down on the farm when he's been to the big city of the Leverage crew. So, I think what drags him back is the excitement and the camaraderie and the opportunity to go on a con and wear a costume and do a funny voice. It is all very infectious, especially to someone who probably had all those aspirations but suppressed them to be more of a conservative lawyer type.
Let's talk about the Sophie/Harry relationship this season. Do I detect a hint of romance between them?
N.W. I don't want to give you false hope, but I will say this: I think what makes Harry significant is that maybe outside of Nate, he's the only person Sophie has expressed any real vulnerability around. And he's the only person who has a sort-of objectivity on her behavior to guide her and assist her from a confidante stand point. I don't know if anybody else on the crew with their history with her is able to have that sort of point of view. Part of what brings him back is not just him missing the excitement but also his realization that she's expressing a need for that objectivity. To keep an eye on her, to bring that perspective that she wouldn't necessarily have. In allowing him that intimate sort of role in her life, it is a significant relationship.
G.B. I think what Sophie likes about Harry is that he's the other grown up in the room. Not to say that the others aren't grown up, but she has had a maternal relationship with all of them; with Harry she doesn't have to be the matriarch, and I think that was very liberating and freeing for her.
So no romance between them yet?
G.B. Sophie is healing and she's living her best life this season in lots of ways and I think maybe next season there might be a conversation if she's ready for another relationship. There's a really funny episode later in the season where I get to play a science professor and I have a very, very comic interaction with one of the guest stars who I don't think has been announced yet so I can't say who it is. But there's definitely a spark between them even though she's in a character. There are moments in the season where she starts kind of playing with her sensuality again and that was nice to see.
Leverage: Redemption Season 2 streams new episodes Wednesdays on
Get to know Noah Wyle:
Wyle is perhaps best known for playing Dr. John Carter on ER (Metascore: 79). He also starred in The Librarians (64) and Falling Skies (68). On the movie side, he co-starred in A Few Good Men (62), Enough (25), and Swing Kids (39). Also a director and writer, he helmed several episodes of television including two episodes of Leverage: Redemption (67) this season.