Leverage

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Name: Leverage
Abbreviation(s): none
Creator: John Rogers & Chris Downey
Date(s): 2008-2012
Medium: television
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: IMDB, tv.com, Official series page on TNT, Official fan wiki
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Contents

The series follows a team of thieves, hackers, and grifters who act as modern-day Robin Hoods, taking revenge against those who use power and wealth to victimize others.[1]

Leverage stars Timothy Hutton as Nate Ford, a former insurance investigator whose life was thrown into turmoil when his own employer refused to fund his dying son's treatment. In the first episode, he takes a job offer from a stranger in a bar and agrees to supervise a team of his former adversaries. Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge) is a computer expert and hacker. Parker (Beth Riesgraf) is a thief with a fondness for explosives. Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane) is a "retrieval specialist" who doesn't like guns, but has a way with violence. They're joined on their first job by Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman), a grifter and part-time actress.

During the second season, a new character joined the cast temporarily: Tara Cole, a grifter who was filling in for Sophie while Sophie was off finding herself. Tara was played by Jeri Ryan.

TPTB and the fans

The show runner, John Rogers, has a long-running blog, Kung Fu Monkey. He's been talking about Leverage on his blog since before he cast the show, so some fans have been following along since long before the show hit the air. He does an open thread for questions after each show airs, and answers most of the questions. He's been open about mistakes made, and of network interference. He's a long-time web person, and prefaces posts on episodes with comments like, "this one is going to get lots of fanfic written." He's also a gamer, comic-book writer, and huge Doctor Who/Torchwood fan -- references to all of these have already appeared in the show.

Rogers has also, in a post on his blog [2], expressed broadly positive sentiments about fanworks (albeit tarred with some inaccuracies), saying he thinks that "fanfic is the sign of a healthy show". He also was extremely active on Twitter, answering questions about the show (i.e. <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>).

Support of the fandom was also expressed in the first official Leverage convention, CONcon, held March 19-21, 2010 at the Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. The hotel is where some scenes in the show were filmed. The event was a co-production of TNT, Dean Devlin, Electric Entertainment, and MBL Entertainment. Dean Devlin floated the idea for a convention on Twitter and was overwhelmed with positive response from fans. [3] The name of the convention came from multiple fan suggestions.

In December 2012, Ruth Alderson tweeted the question with the hashtag #Leverage: "Um. Did John Rogers just use his series finale to make the OT3 basically canon?", to which she received a tweet from Rogers that said: "You're welcome."

Criticism of the Series

Some (former or casual) fans of Leverage find various elements of the series deeply problematic. Issues relating to race and the representation of countries other than the U.S. are troubling to certain viewers: "Its well-meaning white liberal niceness is so far away from the kind of political awareness I demand from anything I am expected to give intellectual acknowledgement to, that I resent it for falling so short." [4]

Leverage Fandom

Leverage fandom got off the ground almost as soon as the show premiered, and with the show's largely ensemble cast of five characters to choose from, there is wide interest in het, slash, and femslash pairings. The team caper format, where one job is followed from beginning to end in each episode, also attracts a lot of gen fans.

There is no one pairing that is taking the fandom by storm. However, Eliot appears to be the fandom's BSO [5] Some of Eliot's popularity with fans is a result of the existing fanbase for Christian Kane, due in part to the actor's role as Lindsey McDonald on Angel: The Series and his inclusion in many CWRPS and other RPF fanworks. At both Escapade 2010 and bitchin'party 2010, it was noted in discussion of the show that many fanworks feature OT3 or multiple pairings.

Timothy Hutton, who played Archie Goodwin on Nero Wolfe, also had an existing fanbase.

At the first official convention for Leverage Fans, Con-Con, a vote was taken and the term "Grifters" was adopted as the official name for Leverage fans [6].

Fanfiction

Most fanfiction tends to be short works, although a Leverage Big Bang, thebigbangjob ran in 2009-2011, and several long, multi-chaptered works have been posted to communities as WIPs.

There are crossovers with many fandoms, Supernatural, Angel, and White Collar are the most common. There are AUs, and caper stories, and a large amount of gen fiction. A common trope is to mimic the episode title style of The Something Witty Job for story titles.

Popular Pairings

The most popular slash pairing is Eliot/Nate, with Alec/Eliot a close second.

Due to Nate/Sophie and Alec/Parker becoming canon, these two are the most popular het pairings on the show. Eliot/Parker was popular at the beginning of the show because of a great chemistry between the actors, but now, with canon pairings firmly established, Eliot/Parker doesn't appear to be growing.

There is a reasonable amount of femslash, mostly featuring Parker/Sophie, with some Sophie/Tara and Parker/Tara happening since Tara has been introduced. Maggie, Nate's ex-wife, is also sometimes paired with Sophie, Tara, or Parker, and Parker is occasionally paired with her friend Peggy. One of TPTB said in a DVD commentary that he believes Sophie and Maggie have hooked up.[7]

There's also a fair amount of threesome fanfic for Eliot/Hardison/Parker. [8] Other threesomes/moresomes are written at times but this is the main OT3 of the fandom and fairly popular with cross-fandom threesome fans.

Representative Fanworks

Vids

Communities

Livejournal

Dreamwidth

Mailing Lists

Archives

Challenges

References

  1. Official TNT Leverage page, (Accessed January 27, 2009)
  2. John Rogers, LEVERAGE #205 "The Three Days of the Hunter Job" Post-game. (Accessed September 25, 2009)
  3. Dean Devlin On ‘Leverage’, The Con-Con And Shooting In Portland, Popculture Zoo. (Accessed March 31, 2010)
  4. Leverage Season 3 Ep 1 and 2 (Accessed June 30, 2010)
  5. cofax7, Lies, damn lies, and statistics (Leverage fanfic demographics). (Accessed May 1, 2009)
  6. iF Magazine Con-con News: 'LEVERAGE' FANS - YOU HAVE A NAME!. (Accessed April 27, 2010)
  7. And in Leverage femslash news...
  8. facetofcathy, Leverage on Delicious as at Monday, April 13, 2009 - Pairing Charts. (Accessed February 22, 2010)
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