Exclusive Interview: LEVERAGE’s Executive Producer Dean Devlin Talks About Season 4, Sophie’s Real Name and Matt Smith

LEVERAGE The Long Way Down Job

TNT’s Leverage Season 4 is going premiere tonight Sunday, June 26, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) with a very snowy episode titled “The Long Way Down Job” which will be epic. Daemon’s TV had the opportunity to chat the executive producer of this action packed series, Dean Devlin, to find out what viewers can expect for the team this season, about the kind of emotional episodes we can expect and more importantly what is Sophie’s real name.

I can imagine your pretty busy with the start of the season.

Dean Devlin: It’s like any expectant father. I’m pacing the halls, waiting to give birth.

Congratulations on season four of Leverage. How does it feel to reach this milestone?

Dean Devlin: It’s really remarkable to be allowed to continue to tell this story and to let it evolve and grow towards the ultimate conclusion that we’re hoping to get to at some point. Every year we always design the season so that if we don’t get another season it’s still a fulfilling meal, but the idea that we could really pursue our larger vision for the show is remarkable and we’re very grateful.

How do you feel that this season will differ from the previous seasons?

Dean Devlin: I think this season’s overriding theme is “consequences”. Our team has been successful, albeit a little bit reckless in taking down some of the most powerful and corrupt people on the planet and at some point that’s going to come home to roost. So, this year we decided to really play on the theme of consequences, both in the things that they’ve done in the past, but also on a personal level, in the way that their relationships have developed or not developed – what are the consequences of that? So, I think audiences are going to be very surprised at how much emotion this season has. It’s a very intense year.

I watched the pilot season and emotion is present from the start, especially from Parker.

Dean Devlin: Parker is going through a big transformation. She’s a character who blocked out emotions, who tried not to feel things and now she can’t seem to help it and it’s changing her, affecting her. Again, there’s going to be consequences to that.

Can you elaborate on how the other characters are going to affected this season?

Dean Devlin: We ended last season with Nate and Sophie waking up in bed together. There’s definitely going to be some consequences for that and that relationship is going to have to grow. I think people are going to be very surprised with how the Hardison/Parker relationship develops, and of course Eliot who’s always been a character who was able to do very brutal things in his life by disassociating himself now finds himself feeling very much connected to this family and emotionally in jeopardy because he cares about them so much. The things he’s done in his past, he’s now thinking about them in a way that he never thought of them before. That’s also going to affect his ability to do things in the future.

I’m sure the cast must’ve had a great time playing all these emotions.

Dean Devlin: We like to sit down with the cast before the season and really talk to them about what we’ve done, where we’re going, where they want to go with the characters. These actors are quite remarkable and amazingly talented. They’re very connected with each other and they’re very much partners with us in developing these characters and where they go. So, we feel the freedom to develop in these directions because they’ve given us the green light, because they feel confident they can take it into those directions. So it’s really a partnership.

Do you have storylines guidelines for a season or is everything on the table as you go along?

Dean Devlin: I think we had more do’s and don’ts in the beginning and I think as we’ve gone on you want to break the mold more often so that the show doesn’t become predictable. The writers this year have really done a marvelous balance of staying true to the show, and yet, giving us episodes like we’ve ever seen before. I think between the theme of consequences, the intensified emotions of this year, they’ve also been able to fulfill the fun and cleverness of these cons and put us into situations and settings that we’ve never been in before.

I don’t think there’s ever been an origin story episode for each of the characters. Have you ever considered doing that?

Dean Devlin: I think everything is on the table. Last year we did an episode where the team almost met each other before they met each other. This year we have an episode that actually goes back to World War II. So, I think that people will very surprised with the direction the show’s going.

Will Nate find out Sophie’s real name this season?

Dean Devlin: You’ll have to watch to find out. I can’t give that out.

We’ve known each other for so long now –

Dean Devlin: It’s true. Just between friends [laughs].

What’s the first letter of her real name?

Dean Devlin: I can’t tell you. The minute that I tell you everyone will go back to that other episode and say, ‘Wait a minute, she pushed these numbers on the code. So, what letters could be on those numbers?’ The next thing I know I’ll have the whole internet coming down on me.

Can you confirm that there’s a vowel in there somewhere?

Dean Devlin: I can confirm nothing.

You’re tough, Dean.

Dean Devlin: It’s definitely something that will be talked about throughout the season.

Any notable guest stars this season you can mention?

Dean Devlin: One big surprise for us this year is that Danny Glover came in and did an episode for us, and he’s such an amazingly talented actor and he just knocks this thing out of the park. I think they’re going to be just thrilled to see him on the show this year.

We recently talked to Timothy Hutton and he mentioned that this season’s bad guy will be pretty intense, even more dangerous than Moreau. What can you say about that?

Dean Devlin: As I said earlier, the things that they’ve done in the past are going to come back to bite them, and that means the people they’re going to deal with are going to be a little more dangerous and a little more clever. The bar is raised on what they need to do to survive.

If you could pick anyone as a guest star for the show, anyone you wanted, who would it be?

Dean Devlin: Who I’d really like is Matt Smith who’s playing Doctor Who. If I could ever work it out to get him to guest star on the show, I can’t think of anything that would make me happier.

As Matt Smith or as The Doctor?

Dean Devlin: As The Doctor, no. Not unless I could talk Steven Moffat into coming here and writing it for us.

Are you a ‘Doctor Who’ fan?

Dean Devlin: I’m a huge ‘Doctor Who’ fan. I think that show is one of the most amazing things that I’ve seen on television in years.

Are you more of a Matt Smith or David Tennant fan?

Dean Devlin: I’ve liked them all. I especially liked [Christopher] Eccleston. I was really sad that he only did one season. Tenet was brilliant and after watching him you thought, ‘Who could follow this up?’ Then I think Matt just came up with such a new twist on the character that now I can’t think of any other Doctor Who, but him. I love all of them, but I think that the bar was set very high after Tenet. For Matt Smith to be able to pull this off I think was really remarkable.

Don’t forget to watch to watch the premiere of Leverage tonight Sunday, June 26, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) on TNT.