Interview with Executive Producers Dean Devlin and Kate Rorick of “Leverage: Redemption” on IMDb TV by Suzanne 9/29/21
This was a wonderful interview with the showrunner/producer/writer of the show, Dean, and the main writer, producer Kate. I’ve interviewed Dean before, but Kate was a pleasant addition. They were both fun to have on Zoom and gave great answers. I just love this show, and I was very happy to watch the series last 8 episodes of the first season. I hope it gets a second season. I was a huge fan of the original series that ran on TNT as well.
Suzanne: How are you guys doing?
Kate: Good. How are you?
Suzanne: I’m pretty good. Can’t complain. I’m on the beach, as you see.
Suzanne: So Dean, it’s nice to see you again, and it’s nice to meet you, Kate.
Kate: Nice to meet you too.
Suzanne: So, I finished watching all the Leverage episodes last night from the new season. I would have watched them sooner, but TCA happened… but I really love the show. I liked the first one, too. So, I’m a big, long-time fan.
So, why was the season broken up into two parts?
Dean: I think that was just a decision by IMDb TV to give us two jolts, so that it wasn’t just one shot in the arm.
Suzanne: Okay, and another question just occurred to me. I know that back when you were doing Almost Paradise, you kept trying to shop it to other networks. Were you trying to get a Leverage reboot done all this time, or was it a more recent thing?
Dean: Oh, no, no. I originally started talking to IMDb about doing Leverage almost two and a half years ago. So, yeah, it was a long time in the in the making. They’ve been spectacular partners and incredible support. Not only did they step up to bring the show back but then held our hands during a global pandemic and eight hurricanes that knocked us out. I mean, you can’t get a more supportive, better partner than than IMDb TV. And, of course, now they’re running Almost Paradise.
Suzanne: Oh, any chance for more episodes of those in the future?
Dean: Well, I think that the reality is that if these back eight of Leverage do as well as the first eight, or hopefully better, and people continue to keep watching Almost Paradise on IMDB TV, I think we have a really good shot of second seasons on both of them. So, my fingers are crossed. Hopefully they go up in big numbers.
Suzanne: Oh, good. When I interviewed you and Christian Kane in March 2020, that was my first Zoom interview
Oh, my gosh.
Suzanne: Because I had done only phone interviews up until then.
Kate: It’s weird how quickly it became normal.
Suzanne: I know, right? Weird. So, can you tell me, if it’s not going back too far, why was Nathan killed off rather than just went missing or recast?
Dean: Well, I think the thing is, the first Leverage series was really centered around a story of vengeance, you know, a man who lost his son, and it destroyed his life and his marriage, and he was set out for revenge. Over the course of 77 episodes, he found peace, and he found love again, and it really was a completion of an arc, and rather than just get him pissed off about something else again and launch the next show, I think what really made this work was by having a brand new engine and a new tone instead of a story that was about vengeance. This was a story about redemption. That really gave us an energy to put the show back together and to give it relevancy of why you should watch the new version.
Suzanne: And is there any remote chance that he would come back in the future, figure out that he’s not really dead or whatever?
Dean: You know, I never say never to anything.
Suzanne: I love the Easter eggs in the show like having LeVar Burton playing a librarian, and the episode when Noah Wyle goes in the hospital and pretends to be a doctor, and I’m not gonna put any spoilers here, but I heard and saw a few. That was great. Are there more that I didn’t notice?
Kate: Well, we try to feed in easter eggs whenever we can, because we know that we have a very passionate fan base who likes those things, but also, we as writers like those things. They tickle us when they make it through. As for the Noah Wyle in the doctor’s coat thing, we hadn’t originally planned on it, but the opportunity presented itself, and we said to ourselves, “Alright, we get we can do this once. We can do this once. So, let’s just do it now.”
Dean: Also, I think so much now within the streaming world you have shows that are serialized, and sometimes multiple shows that are serialized and interconnected, and it really demands a lot of the viewer that the viewer has to watch every single episode and remember everything from every show. Our show is episodic; you can you can jump in at any point. You don’t have to have seen previous episodes, and you can enjoy the show. But for us, the Easter eggs are a present for those who have stuck with us. You don’t need to have watched every episode, but if you have, you’re going to get a couple extra treats that everyone else won’t get
Suzanne: I watched them all, but I have a terrible memory, and I’m not all that observant, so if it’s obvious, I could see it, but I know I always have to find a video or something where somebody says, “Okay, here’s all the Easter eggs in that movie” or whatever.
Dean: You can always watch the official Leverage After Show on Electric Now, and we break down the Easter eggs of every episode.
Suzanne: I’ll definitely have to do that, then.
Can you tell us about the guest stars this half of the season? I didn’t have a list, but I recognized faces.
Kate: We have so many amazing guest stars in this season. LeVar Burton, you mentioned, is one of them. Joanna Cassidy shows up in a role that I absolutely adored, and she knocked it out of the park. James Marsters shows up to come play with his former Angel costar Christian Kane, and I love watching them go head to head against each other. Drew Powell in the same episode showed up. So, it was an embarrassment of riches the back half.
Suzanne: Cool. There was a woman, I think it was in the second episode that I recognized. She ended up working in like a drugstore somewhere. They put in witness protection at the end. I didn’t recognize her name.
Kate: I’m so sorry. I’m blanking. I know exactly who you are talking about on who you’re talking about, but I’m blanking [on her name].
Suzanne: Okay, I’ll ask IMDb. So, the series was primarily set in New Orleans, but where was it actually filmed?
Kate: It was filmed in New Orleans.
Suzanne: Oh, okay.
Kate: Honestly, I don’t think New Orleans can be doubled anywhere else except for possibly that one little square in Disneyland, but it is such a vibrant city, and it becomes a vibrant character that when you go to New Orleans, you shoot New Orleans.
Suzanne: Right, right. No, I understand. Actually, we were in Vicksburg not too long ago, and their their downtown area looks a lot like New Orleans, and they do the whole touristy thing there with the daiquiris and everything like they’re trying to imitate.
Dean: I love it.
Suzanne: Eliot went through a lot of personal stuff this season, more than Parker of Brianna. Can you tell us what went into that thinking of doing that for him?
Kate: Well, I think we wanted to give Eliot a relationship and a grown up relationship that has him thinking ahead to the idea that maybe, “My job is incredibly important to me. Leverage is the most important thing I’m going to do, but I also want to share my life with somebody.” So, I think that when we get through these back eight episodes, that’s sort of where Eliot’s mind has has landed, and he needs to find a way to balance.
Suzanne: And without giving away any spoilers, there was a possible meeting up with someone in his family, do you think that might continue in another season?
Dean: Absolutely. It’s something that we had actually been planning on in the original Leverage had there been a season six then. We had it on the drawing board to really go farther in it. So, we decided to release it in season one, and if, knock wood, we get to season two, we will definitely go farther down that road.
Suzanne: Okay, and was shooting the second half of the season easier for you, even though you had COVID restrictions during filming? I mean, did it get easier over time?
Kate: From my perspective, it did get easier over time, just because we’d sort of you figured out what you were going to stumble over as you went along, but to that point, it still wasn’t easy.
Dean: There was no break when we shot them. We shot all sixteen back to back, so we were still in the height of it.
Suzanne: And was it fun to incorporate two newer characters this season, Harry and Brianna, into the show with the rest of the Leverage team
Kate: It was honestly, and I’m so gratified and relieved at the reception that they’ve received from the fans, because it’s hard to join a very established show and to be somebody new on it, but they do. They bring new perspectives; they bring new new skills to the table, and I think that they breathe a lot of – they created a good engine for the show.
Suzanne: And when you have these ideas for the show, each episode where there’s some character or person or entity that they have to help, are those ideas taken from the headlines, or where do they come from?
Kate: We have like just files of the history of bad guys, things that have happened in the world. It’s like there is no dearth of bad guys for us to draw from. And in general, they are always worse than what we manage to put on screen.
Suzanne: I believe it. I liked that episode where Harry was going through the the files in his old legal office. He said, “And they did that, and they did that.” Just always terrible things.
Dean: There was one moment where we were looking at a line that one of our bad guys says in one of the episodes, and there were some question about whether it was too over the top, and then somebody showed the video of the guy we were kind of basing it on, and it was word for word what he said.
Suzanne: Well, they say truth is stranger than fiction, worse than fiction, apparently.
There’s a lot of comedy in the show, which I enjoy, especially with Parker. Is there ever a time when you think, ”No, that’s too much comedy; this is a drama we’ve got to cut that that back.”
Kate: I don’t know if we’ve ever actually gone too far. We try very hard to strike a balance between the comedy and the pathos of the story, but as Dean has said several times, if you stripped the comedy out of the show, Leverage is an incredibly dark show. Comedy is what makes it palatable, so chances are the worst thing that somebody has done, the funnier we’re going to try to be at some point, just to make it balanced.
Dean: And I think we live in a world now with a lot of very dark and serialized shows, and I think one of the things that makes this stand out is for an hour you get to escape. You get to have a good time, you get to be hopeful, you get to be positive, and at the same time, you get to punch in the neck some really bad people.
Suzanne: Yeah. I love that little sound; I don’t know if there’s a name for it, whenever Parker does something really fast, there’s a sound.
Dean: We call it the whoosh.
Suzanne: I’m surprised nobody’s made a video on YouTube of just all those little bits put together with the whoosh sound.
Kate: Well, they will now.
Dean: I’m sure somebody’s got a ringtone with it.
Suzanne: I don’t have the time to put it together, or I would.
The end of the season doesn’t seem to be an ending for the team. Did you write it with the idea that the show will hopefully probably continue?
Kate: We are cautiously optimistic that there will be a season two, knock on wood, all the wood you can find, but that said, we wanted to make sure that if there wasn’t going to be a season two that we ended season one on a satisfactory note. Everybody feels satisfied at the end of season one, so that was our goal as we went forward.
Dean: Yeah, if you really if you look back on Leverage, it was really one of the style choices that we always ended the season with a [conclusion]. We never did a big cliffhanger at the end of the season. We always wanted it to be a complete meal. Instead of making you want to come back on a cliffhanger, we wanted to make you come back because you had such a good time.
Suzanne: And I always wanted to ask this, and I never remembered before, but when you were younger, did you grow up watching things like It Takes a Thief and I Spy and Wild Wild West and Man from U.N.C.L.E.?
Dean: All three of those shows you mentioned my mother guest starred on, so I have to include them, but I [would] say if you were really going to pull where we pulled from, it would really probably be more Rockford Files, A-Team, Mission Impossible. I think those were probably more the predecessors.
Suzanne: Well, the coolness factor definitely reminds me of those old 60s shows.
And if Harry returns for the next season, would there be a possible romantic relationship between him and Sophie?
Kate: Never say never; don’t want to rule anything out. Yeah, never say never.
Dean: I think the thing is, what’s really great about their relationship is that Harry is the only person on the team who exclusively knows Sophie as who she is today, when everyone else has the memories of who she used to be. So, he’s able to bring [a] perspective that no one else on the team can, and that respect and that friendship is so important that for us it’s more important than a romantic relationship. If we made the decision to go down that road, it would be interesting, but to us, what’s really more interesting is how these people are relating on a different level than any of the other teammates relate on.
Suzanne: Okay, well, I’ll take your word for that, but I did notice that what she did after … at the last episode, and that seemed to indicate that there was some kind of … there, but I won’t spoil it.
Thanks so much. I really appreciate it.
Dean: Thank you. So nice to talk to you.
Kate: Thank you.
Suzanne: I’ll talk to you again sometime.
Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com
In this new iteration, and new world, the Leverage crew have watched as the rich and powerful continue to take what they want without consequence. Grifter Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman), thief Parker (Beth Riesgraf), hitter Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane), and hacker Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge) have watched the world change over the last eight years. Since their last job, it’s become easier–and sometimes legal–for the rich to become richer and the powerful to squash anyone who gets in their way. To address the changes in the world around them, the team finds new blood in Harry Wilson (Noah Wyle), a corporate lawyer who is looking for redemption after realizing he’d been sitting on the wrong side of the table for his entire career, and Breanna Casey (Aleyse Shannon), Hardison’s foster sister who has a knack for computers, robotics, and getting into trouble.
Dean Devlin, Marc Roskin, Rachel Olschan-Wilson and Kate Rorick. John Rogers and Chris Downey serve as consulting producers.
Dean Devlin, Marc Roskin, Noah Wyle, Francis Dela Torre, Jonathan Frakes
Electric Entertainment for IMDb TV
Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, Aleyse Shannon, and Noah Wyle, Special Guest Star Aldis Hodge
Catch Eight New Episodes of the IMDb TV Original Series Leverage: Redemption on October 8
CATCH EIGHT NEW EPISODES OF THE IMDb TV ORIGINAL SERIES LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION
ON OCTOBER 8
REVIEWS EMBARGOED UNTIL MONDAY, OCTOBER 4 AT 6:00AM PT/9:00AM ET
“Let’s go steal…eight new episodes of Leverage: Redemption.” In an all-new con, the Leverage crew surprised and delighted their fans by teasing the fall premiere of Leverage: Redemption in an exclusive video that dropped on IMDb TV socials today. The teaser video confirms that the IMDb TV Original series Leverage: Redemption will return this fall with eight additional season one episodes premiering October 8. In the brand-new episodes, the Leverage team finds itself up against a rival organization that embodies the system the team works so hard to take down.
Joining the cast in these additional episodes are guest stars Drew Powell (reprising his role as Jack Hurley from the original Leverage series), Ben Thompson, Joanna Cassidy, Jon Fletcher, and Brianna Brown, in addition to the previously announced guest stars James Marsters, LeVar Burton, and Andrea Navedo (continuing her role as Maria Shipp), as the Leverage team must aid a small town librarian, discredit a lifestyle and wellness guru, explore the failing memory of a legendary grifter, and more. Screeners for the new episodes are available now on Screeners.com. The remaining episodes of season one of Leverage: Redemption will premiere on October 8 on IMDb TV, Amazon’s free streaming service.
The first eight episodes of season one of Leverage: Redemption and all seasons of the original Leverage series are available to stream now on IMDb TV.
The rich and powerful take what they want, and the Leverage team is back to take them down. Sophie Devereaux (The Grifter), Parker (The Thief), Eliot Spencer (The Hitter), and Alec Hardison (The Hacker) have watched the world change over the last eight years. It’s become easier, and sometimes legal, for the rich to become richer and the powerful to squash anyone who gets in their way. The Leverage team finds new blood in Harry Wilson, a corporate lawyer who is looking for redemption after realizing he’s been sitting on the wrong side of the table for his entire career, and Breanna Casey, Hardison’s foster sister who has a knack for computers, robotics, and getting into trouble. In this new world, the team will use their collective skills to defeat a new kind of villain – from the man who created an opioid crisis from the comfort of his boardroom, to the couple who prefers to deport workers instead of paying them, to the shadowy security firm that helps hide dangerous secrets for a price. When someone needs help, they provide…Leverage.
Leverage: Redemption stars Gina Bellman as Sophie Devereaux, Beth Riesgraf as Parker, Christian Kane as Eliot Spencer, Aldis Hodge as Alec Hardison, Noah Wyle as Harry Wilson, and Aleyse Shannon as Breanna Casey. Kate Rorick is the co-showrunner and an executive producer alongside Dean Devlin, and executive producers Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson of Electric Entertainment. John Rogers and Chris Downey are consulting producers.
IMDb TV uniquely offers premium Originals on a free streaming service including the upcoming dramedy Pretty Hard Cases, premiering September 10. Spanning drama and comedy, scripted and unscripted, additional IMDb TV Originals include the Untitled Judge Judy Sheindlin Project, a Bosch spinoff; the comedy series Sprung; the Untitled Jeff Lewis Project – a new home design series; On Call from executive producer Dick Wolf; and second seasons of Alex Rider and Top Class: The Life and Times of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers.
Proofread and Edited by Brenda