TNT continues its streak of hit shows, building on Saving Grace and the cable channel’s premier show, The Closer, with Leverage. It’s easy to label the show Mission Impossible meets The Sting, as it’s a light, witty caper show revolving around a series of misdirections and cons.

“My job is helping people. I find bad guys.” –Nathan

From the more-nimble-than-they-appear fingers of executive producer Dean Devlin (Independence Day, Godzilla), Leverage follows the adventures of Nathan Ford (Oscar-winner Timothy Hutton). The insurance company where he worked for over twenty years refused to pay for his dying son’s medical treatment. Grief-stricken and slowly climbing out of the bottle he fell into, he pulls together a team of crooks who scam the wicked to help the oppressed. Hutton anchors the show with his charisma and gravitas, balancing the four more comic members, each with their own superpower, err, specialty: Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane), the hitter; Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge), the hacker; Sophia Devereaux(Gina Bellman), the grifter; and Parker (Beth Riesgraf), the thief. (Nathan has one too: fortune tends to “bend in favor of his machinations”)

“People like that, corporations like that, they have all the money they have all the power and they use it to make people like you go away. Right now you’re suffering under an enormous weight. We provide … leverage.” –Nathan

Like modern day Robin Hoods, the Leverage team are bad guys (at least bad guys in the eyes of the empire they choose to go up against) going after worse guys. The empire takes the form of big business, sometimes in league with big government, sometimes the criminal underworld, or sometimes just one powerful person’s avarice or pettiness. The team picks up where the law left off, following the greater calling of Nathan’s vision to defend the weak. In fact, Nathan’s vision falls in lockstep with God’s own, charging us with the mission of while we are here, we need to be about the poor, the widows and orphans. “We all pay the price” when we let our neighbor down.

“Sometimes bad guys are the only good guys you get.” –Parker

But it’s almost like thieves occupy a special place in God’s heart, too. Jesus, when he was on the cross, suffering through the slow torturous death that was crucifixion, was also the subject of cruel taunts from the crowd, soldiers, and priests. The punishment of crucifixion was reserved for the worst of criminals, those declared enemies of the Roman state. Occupying the spot originally reserved from freed criminal Barabbas, Jesus was crucified between two other criminals. Thieves, men of violence.

Initially, both thieves joined in the crowd’s scoffing, yet something changed in the (soon-to-be-contrite) thief’s mind, awoke in him. To the crowds’ jeers he heard Jesus say “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” He saw his life and his own actions in a new light. On the cross, his life nearing its end, he realized that his sentence was just. He took ownership of his actions, but not only that, he saw Jesus for who He was. Just as much as Jesus identified with sinners, that sinner had a clear view of the Christ. Jesus’ own disciples didn’t have such a clear faith as the thief did.

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” –the thief on the cross

Leverage
is uncomplicated television, little more than a slick, modern day A-Team. Glib, moving at a quick pace, buoyed by clever banter with quirky, though fleshed out, characters, the show is absolute fun. The equivalent of comfort food, it’s Ocean’s Eleven: the series and that’s not a bad way to spend an hour.