TNT’s “Leverage” slides back into action Sunday with the chill “Long Way Down Job” season four premiere

For an Oscar winner, “Leverage” actor Timothy Hutton is incredibly amenable to freezing his butt off. TNT’s favorite dysfunctional family of cons starring Hutton, Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf and Aldis Hodge is back Sunday at 9 p.m. with an epic adventure set atop an Alaskan mountain. Portland’s Mount Hood doubled as the 49th state during the three-day shoot.
“There are no digital effects in the first show at all,” Hutton tells us. “It was one of our favorite episodes to shoot.” So yeah, that breath you see hanging outside Hutton and company’s mouths? The real deal. Once on location, Hutton says “Leverage” creator Dean Devlin decided to up the ante by adding the episode’s indoors tent scenes to the location shoot as well. “As actors, it only heightened the experience for us,” reports Hutton. “There wasn’t a lot of pretending going on under all that outerwear!”
As the season opens, Hutton’s “Leverage” leader Nate Ford finally has his addiction to alcohol on the run but has to deal with the effects of being at an elevated altitude. “I’ve never felt boxed in by the character’s past,” Hutton says. “There are always so many places to take Nate. He’s constantly evolving. In season four, you’re going to see a Nate with the cloud of alcoholism somewhat lifted. It’s not the same guy who’s made lapses in judgment because of his drinking. This is a sharper, more clear thinking Nate.” And with what the writers have cooked up for season four, the “Leverage” team is going to need Nate at his best (one particularly juicy carrot is dangled to viewers at the very end of the season four premiere).
“Leverage” fans will also get to see the morning after effects of Nate and Sophie’s game of mattress tag that concluded season three. “They’re going to have to deal with it at some point, yes!” Hutton says laughing. “But these are two very complicated people. As the season goes on, it’s going to get more and more difficult keeping it under wraps from the rest of the team.”
Hutton is also particularly proud of an upcoming episode guest-starring Danny Glover as a World War II veteran the team is trying to protect from thieves who want to get their hands on his rare Van Gogh painting. “The key to solving the mystery is locked in his mind,” previews Hutton. “The story is told largely in flashback where the World War II era characters are all played by members of the ‘Leverage’ team. It’s probably one of the best episodes we’ve ever done.”
The veteran actor continues to marvel, meanwhile, at the folks behind the scenes at Turner here in Atlanta who have helped to make “Leverage” one of cable’s biggest hits. “It’s an incredible place to work,” he says. “The care that they take with their shows is quite exceptional. I always love meeting the executives from Atlanta who know the shows inside out and can quote lines from episodes. It’s practically unheard of in this business. They love the shows and give you unconditional support. We feel very lucky to be a part of TNT.”