Time for a third-episode verdict on TNT's Leverage then. After a good start, the show has continued to maintain its relatively high standards. Episode two tried to go for a slightly harder edge, with an Iraq veteran being cheated out of his rehabilitation money by government contractors and crooked politicians.
Episode three went with something a little more personal and more interesting, with Christian Kane's character returning home to Kentucky to deal with a racehorse owner who kills horses for the insurance money. High mark of the overly complicated episode is the introduction of the show's Professor Moriarty: fellow insurance investigator Mark Sheppard (BSG, The X-Files, Bionic Woman, etc), who's scheduled to appear in at least five episodes. Sheppard is adept at the cons and investigations as Hutton but is on the right (?) side of the law, and makes an interesting addition to a show that was in slight danger of repetition and losing tension in the long run.
Most of my initial criticisms remain: it's not very hard hitting, the cons are easy to spot a mile off and there's a fair bit of duff acting. Add to that Gina Bellman's less than outstanding attempts at accents, a decreasing amount of the character interplay from the pilot and the fact that most of the cons have relied on something being obviously switched at the last moment. It's also not especially memorable, so you never really remember the cleverness of the cons or much of the plot in the same way as you do with Ocean's 11, say.
But it's still very fun to watch. The cast are all pretty charismatic and there's an intriguing randomness and weirdness to its sense of humour (one character has a fear of horses because "they murder clowns" and there's a flashback to Kane being tortured because he wouldn't reveal the location of a monkey, for example).
Worth watching if you want some diverting, not too heavy entertainment of an evening.
Carusometer rating: 2
Predictions: Should last at least season