LEVERAGE’S Timothy Hutton Talks Season 4 Villains and Cons

When we last saw the LEVERAGE crew, they had just outwitted Big Bad Damian Moreau after stealing the San Lorenzo election. Parker (Beth Riesgraf) had decided she was in the mood for pretzels which made Hardison (Aldis Hodge) flash a mile-wide grin, Nate (Timothy Hutton) and Sophie (Gina Bellman) had woken up in bed together, and Eliot (Christian Kane) just wanted to go home. Season 4 premieres on TNT June 26 with new cons, new relationship issues to figure out, and a new big bad in Mr. Latimer (Leon Rippy).

Daemon’s TV was there when Timothy Hutton talked about Nate’s season 4 arc, which team member Nate might view as the most stable (this might be a surprise), and the possibility of an all-star villain episode. He also teases some of the upcoming cons and guest stars, so there are spoilers ahead.

On what’s ahead for Nate

Nate and Sophie sleeping together was a fun surprise to end the season, but no one’s talking about how much it will change their relationship. Timothy only said, “A lot of what’s happening this season has to do with Nate and Sophie trying to figure out their place in each other’s lives,” which could mean anything.

Fortunately, he was a bit more forthcoming when it came to Nate’s drinking, which has endangered the team more than once. Timothy explained, “The fourth season is much more about Nate on a mission to be clear minded and try not to let his team down and become dangerous and put his team in jeopardy. I think this year you’ll see that he’s starting to realize how it’s affected his life. So he’s definitely dealing with it and having to come to terms with how it affects him on a daily moment to moment basis.”

It sounds like Nate might finally be letting go of some of the grief that has shadowed him during the first three seasons. “You’re not going to see a drunken Nate stumbling around all morose about the bad things that have happened in his life. He’s a more positive forward thinking Nate, which I think, is part of his recovery.

Wherever Nate’s arc takes us, Timothy is positive we won’t be bored because the possibilities are almost endless. “The nice thing about the character is there aren’t a lot of boundaries. He started off in such dire straits that it’s been a lot of fun to play because there are so many possibilities. He’s quite an unpredictable person with a lot of flaws. ”

On the most stable team member

When asked who Nate would say was the most stable team member, Timothy answered, “Probably Parker,” which I doubt was the answer most of us expected, but which ended up making a lot of sense. Timothy explained, “One of the things that happens in the season right now is Nate is quietly watching all the team members and giving them specific assignments. And from episode to episode he mixes it up and if he wonders if Hardison can handle a certain skill challenge without letting them know exactly why he’s giving them things he would ordinarily he would give a different team member.”

Nate is actively trying to learn not only who is the most stable, but also who can best back up each of the other members. “Nate wants to see what tools everybody has in their box, and I would say that when it comes down to it, in watching Parker, he feels that she’s learned the most maybe. At this particular stage and by the way, he might be completely wrong, he thinks that if you look at all the particular requirements of what the Leverage team has to do–almost all of them–at this particular stage he might feel that Parker would be the most stable. Of course she’s one of the most unstable people, you know, ever. But they all are.”

On Season 4’s Big Bad

As the Leverage team gets even better at its job, the villains have to up their game, also, and Timothy claims that this season’s over-arching adversary is “a more dangerous character than even Moreau.” His name is Mr. Latimer, and he is portrayed by Leon Rippy of Saving Grace and Deadwood fame. “The Leverage team is being followed by a group of people, and Leon’s character factors into that a little bit. We’re not sure who he is exactly but we know that he has quite a keen interest in the Leverage team and what we’re up to and has kind of eyes and ears everywhere.”

The ramifications of this for the team are far-reaching and should add a new level of storytelling, as Timothy explains. “You will see the Leverage team being pursued, hunted in a way by people who want them to stop what they’re doing or want them to continue what they’re doing if it benefits them in some way. You see how the Leverage team handles the idea of being pursued and people knowing their every move. They have to go underground and they never want to be together at the same time in the same place. So, along with them doing their typical cases that they take on, they have to watch their backs all the time.”

On season 4 teases

Timothy is very excited about the upcoming season, lavishing the writers with praise. “I mean the scripts this year I think are better than ever. They’re just, they’re incredible.” He teased two episodes in particular.

Danny Glover guest stars in the fifth episode as an untrusting veteran. Timothy explained, “It’s about a lost van Gogh painting that he, and only he, knows where it might be. He doesn’t trust anybody and we get him to tell us a story about his time in World War II and a woman he fell in love with and had to leave behind when he left and went off to war, and, of course, how he came across this Van Gogh painting. When he tells the story, it’s done in flashback and the Leverage characters – Nate, Sophie, Hardison, Elliot, and Parker – all become the characters he’s discussing. It sort of leads us to where this painting we’re trying to recover might be. And along the way of course, a con happens.

The star of another episode is especially surprising: a world-changing potato. “It’s a very special potato that has components in it that will change the world, so the Leverage team has to con their way into a very high tech agricultural company and find this very specific potato. They also have to assume roles inside this massive high security building in the hunt for a very particular potato.”

The Leverage crew has obviously gotten into secure buildings before, but this time Nate and Parker have a new approach, as Timothy explained. “At the building, Nate notices there’s a group of school children pulling up who are going to be given a tour, and he quickly gets it in his head that if he can somehow be the tour guide to this group of school children, that will get him into the building. So has to figure out who the teacher is on this field trip with these kids, who in the company is there to meet them and sort of move them out of the way so that he and Parker can be the guide to all these kids. And that’s ultimately how they get in. Nate and Parker play Teacher Mike and Teacher Jen and Beth Riesgraf and I had a lot of fun doing that.”

On all-star villains

How much fun would it be to have a Leverage League of Villains? Well, it seems the writers agree it could be a lot of fun. According to Timothy, “There’s talk about revisiting some of the people – some of the victims, but there’s much more talk about revisiting some of the bad guys and having some plot lines where some of the bad guys get together and form their own kind of super team to go up against the Leverage team because they feel like they were really wronged by the Leverage guys, by Nate Ford. There’s been talk about bringing back some of the really bad guys like Victor Dubenich (Saul Rubinek), Richard Kind’s corrupt mayor, Griffin Dunne’s grifter, Wil Wheaton’s Chaos. There’s talk about having a sort of best of the bad guys episode where they devise an elaborate scheme to mess up the Leverage team’s workings.”

I vote for that to be the next Christmas special.

Season 4 of Leverage premieres on TNT Sunday, June 26 at 9pm eastern/8 central. Ten of the eighteen episodes will air this summer with the remaining eight being held for late fall/early winter.

You can read all our Leverage coverage here.