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Leverage, Amber, and Strategic Storytelling

This post is a repeat from the archive of my old Japanophilia-blog-turned-culture-blog I recently revisited this post and decided to repost it here because the question of strategic versus tactical plotting continues to interest me, and has become an important consideration in planning my current writing project.

Since this post appeared in 2010 Leverage went on complete five seasons and reached a very satisfying conclusion. Throughout its run it continued to build upon its style and structure of strategic plotting with super-competent characters.


Last week Darling Wife and I watched the Season 2 finale of Leverage, TNT’s updated fusion of Robin Hood and Ocean’s Eleven. Timothy Hutton stars as Nate Ford, a former insurance investigator who leads an all-star team of criminals — a Hitter, a Hacker, a Grifter and a Thief — to steal back justice for those victimized by the rich, powerful and unethical.

This most recent season of Leverage had its rocky moments, but the two-part finale was brilliant. Written by series co-creator John Rogers and directed by his co-exec producer Dean Devlin, it showed both their talent and the care they have for the material.

The season finale also brought home for me one of the reasons I enjoy the structure of Leverage, why its stories settle into the mind so comfortably. I think it is because the plots operate on a purely strategic level. Read more