Corporations have all the power, all the money, Nathan Ford (Timothy Hutton) tells a weeping mother at the end of the pilot for a series premiering Sunday night on TNT. "We provide [pause] leverage."
So begins Leverage, a Mission Impossible-type series of a band of merry pranksters - hackers, grifters, escape artists and thieves - assembled to right the wrongs of society with high-tech tools.
There is nothing new or exciting about the team, which is mainly done as caricature. There's the immature computer hacker who drinks orange soda, the femme fatale who seduces men into deals they shouldn't make, and an escape artist who is blond and lithe and seems to have studied every one of Uma Thurman's moves.
That's not necessarily fatal; the series will live or die on the performance of Hutton, who plays the world-weary soul holding the team together.
Ford, whom he portrays, is a former insurance investigator whose son was allowed to die because an insurance company wouldn't pay for the boy's treatment. Getting the goods on the bad guys is how Ford comes back to life - maybe. (10 p.m. Sunday, TNT) ** 1/2
LATE-NIGHT GUESTS President-elect Barack Obama appears on a repeat of Late Show with David Letterman. Actress Cate Blanchett appears on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
online Read more by David Zurawik at baltimoresun.com/zontv