Claire Willett’s Thoughts about Character

The playwright Claire Willett had these thoughts on Leverage (both the original television show and the new spinoff). They were originally posted to Twitter, and since that site is now closed, I got her permission to re-post the substance here. Copyright Claire Willett, 2022. (Some posts omitted for clarity and length). If you haven’t seen the show, skim through and just look at the specifics she’s pointing out (and how enthusiastically she reacts to them!). They’re deeply rooted in character.

there aren’t a lot of major tonal shifts between “Leverage: Original Recipe” and “Leverage: Redemption,” but one I appreciate is that the spin-off fully and enthusiastically acknowledges that Aldis Hodge is one of the sexiest men who has ever lived

I like a tech goober Hardison eating snacks and acting like a teenager but I also like him kicking off season 2 by stepping in front of a speeding car like goddamn James Bond okay I CONTAIN MULTITUDES
the secret sauce that makes this show truly magical is that Gina Bellman can do literally – LITERALLY – any accent it’s actually an incredibly heavy lift to pull off The Character Whose Job Is To Pull Off Infinite Characters and she makes it look so easy
like you know how one of the problems with “Studio 60” is that it was set behind the scenes at a comedy show but none of the comedy scenes were that funny? Grifter Sophie has to be fully believable as a totally different person every single episode or the premise fails completely
can confirm that this detail about British people immediately offering tea to the construction guys who show up to work on your house is accurate because Alice and I had a whole conversation about it while I was there
Sophie and Noah Wyle in formal attire are OF COURSE serving, but Sophie x Eliot is still my secret ship they were always the REAL mom and dad, to me; Nate was in some ways the most chaotic of them all, despite being the mentor figure. Eliot and Sophie were the two reliable pros
THIS! EPISODE! HAS! EVERYTHING! Real-world political parallels! “Getting the band back together” vibes! Sibling bickering! Callback to an old alias! Someone fucked with Eliot’s sandwich! Parker undercover on the catering staff! Slow-mo Eliot fight cam! Even a “Dammit, Hardison!”
I’m so happy I missed my crime children so much
me, happily collecting every single Easter egg and callback to the original series, like the mention of “Plan M” (referenced in the pilot as the plan where Hardison dies, a fact which amuses Eliot greatly)
I just want Sophie Devereaux to get a second chance at love with a man who doesn’t need her to save him from himself the way Nate kind of always did Wilson has a lightness to him that I really like for her
tiny thing that always delights me: “I’m going to throw something and you’re going to catch it without even looking as shorthand for how seamlessly we work together” Eliot and Parker have STILL GOT IT
one of the things I really love about the addition of Breanna to this show is that she’s a very believably frustrated young person who sees how big the world’s problems are and sometimes wrestles with how tiny their team’s impact can ever be on issues like war and climate change
Sophie is right that all anyone can do is the best you can do with what’s available to you right now for the people who are right here – she has a very mutual aid mindset about crime, actually – but Breanna is right that the bad guys still run the world
my shipper heart is feasting on the tiny crumbs of Eliot being nosy and resentful of Blast From Sophie’s Past Forger Guy
has there ever been a more perfect character detail than “Parker has never been to the dentist because she doesn’t want to risk anyone having access to her dental records”
SOPHIE BACKSTORY SOPHIE BACKSTORY SOPHIE BACKSTORY [there were several more of these in the original, but they rendered huge in WordPress]
every time I am reminded that Agent McSweetin is now head of the FBI counterterrorism unit I laugh out loud that soft, precious dork
this corrupt FBI agent might be my new favorite Eliot alias I’m cackling so hard
every time Eliot Spencer says “I got you” and then steps between one of his besties and a squad of armed goons to protect them, my Grinch heart grows three sizes
I’m so here for Sophie’s ascendancy as the new Nate, not just as the team captain but as the protagonist running from a complicated past that seems to potentially be catching up to her
90 seconds in and I’m ready for the team to absolutely WRECK this douchebag running some kind of e-sports tournament sweatshop Breanna is going to eat! him! alive!!!!!!!
“The Rashomon Job” is one of my top 10 favorite single hours of television ever made for many reasons, but one of them is Sophie not just playing two separate characters in one con, but two separate characters AS FIVE DIFFERENT THIEVES REMEMBER THEM
the running joke where every memory flashback has the Duchess of Barrington-Highsworth speaking in a different, and increasingly unhinged, accent – of whom only Nate’s perception is actually reliable – makes me CRY with laughter
I’m so emotional about soft Dad Friend Eliot making the kiddos homestyle Korean food so they can sit down together for a real meal instead of just the protein shakes full of illegal stimulants their shitbag coach is feeding them
Eliot Spencer WILL drug a bodyguard to enable a group of teenage boys to sneak out to a party so one of them can finally meet his online girlfriend IRL because he is SECRETLY SO GODDAMN SOFT
Sophie literally reading to Parker out of a binder labeled “ALEC HARDISON’s LEVERAGE USER’S GUIDE (VOL. 2)” to figure out how to work around a Faraday cage has ETHERED me there is no prop I want to own more
any fight where Eliot is the little guy is fundamentally hilarious
there’s something so perfectly “Leverage” about the two teams hugging in solidarity at the end after the shitty exploitative coach who manipulated them into seeing each other as enemies is unmasked as the real villain just let the precious baby nerds play their games!!!

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