LEVERAGE: Dean Devlin on the Series Finale, That Final Scene, Sophie’s Real Name, and More

December 28, 2012 by  

LEVERAGE said its bittersweet goodbye this week as TNT aired “The Long Goodbye Job”…but if the people behind the show have their way, the story may not be totally over.

I spoke with LEVERAGE executive producer Dean Devlin about the series finale, if the show has a life beyond TNT, and more…

How are you doing right now? Has it sunk in that LEVERAGE as we know it seems to be over?
Dean Devlin: I mean, listen, I’ve got a whole bunch of stories I would like to have told, and I’m going to miss like crazy this cast and crew and the writers, but I’m very happy we got to make the 77 episodes. And I’m really happy we got to end it properly. So for me, it was a very fulfilling experience.

I know the cancellation news broke a bit later on Friday night, but did you get the chance to talk to the cast and crew before it spread?
DD: I did. I called the cast right away, and I wasn’t able to get a hold of everyone, but I was able to email them and they were able to call me back the next day. And it’s a bit heartbreaking, because we have such a family and we do so enjoy meeting up in Portland and jumping into this crazy caravan. But at the same time, everyone felt really grateful we got to conclude this, because we’ve all been on this run together. It was very bittersweet few days before Christmas.

The timing wasn’t the greatest.
DD: It wasn’t and it was. It wasn’t good timing in that it was sad news, but on the other hand, it really was a gift. And to give that gift to the fans on Christmas was poetic.

So, speaking of the finale, was “The Rundown Job” earlier in the season a bit of a test to see if LEVERAGE could work without the characters of Nate and Sophie?
DD: Well, I mean, partially we thought both with that and the [separate] episode with Tim [Hutton (Nate)] and Gina [Bellman (Sophie)], could either of these work as a spinoff? But how they were created was to explore the ending. We wanted to know when you got to the finale, what they’d be off doing. That Tim and Gina were off solving murder mysteries and the kids were off solving big adventures. So we wanted to plant that in your mind so when they separated in the end, it wasn’t this horrible idea. It was, “I can see what happens.”

We’ve seen how fun it could be…it’s not as traumatic as the complete unknown for these guys.
DD: Yeah. You get the idea that they will continue to have adventures, even separately.

Were you surprised by how fast people seemed to embrace the idea of LEVERAGE: INTERNATIONAL?
DD: Listen, I just think the fans don’t want this show to go away. I don’t blame them; I don’t, either. Who knows, maybe another network will want it and give me a call. At the moment I’m just grateful for this experience. It lasted longer than I could have hoped. I’m so damn proud of these episodes. I never thought we’d get so many in the can that I thought were really good.

The fan support has really been shocking, even from the beginning. We never expected that on a show like this — this is the kind of fandom you normally get with a fantasy show or a science-fiction show. The level of intensity of love and support from the fans has been tremendous. And it’s also why we felt we had this responsibility to end the show properly.

You mentioned another network. I know some fans are hoping for that, but how realistic is that at this point?
DD: I think it’s a long shot. I think the show had done well, but it hadn’t done spectacularly well. It was a profitable show, it was a show that would make another network money, but, again, it’s not often that you see shows move from one network to another. I don’t hold out a lot of hope for it, but hey, I’m willing to give it a shot.

Since it is over for now, is there any thought of continuing the story on with comics or TV movies, or anything like that?
DD: All doors are open. The first LEVERAGE novel just came out and we certainly want to do more of those. But the lovely thing is this show was done by us. There’s no studio involved; we own the show. So, we could do whatever we like with it in the future. There’s no door closed. if the right opportunity comes forward — if it’s a movie of the week, a feature film, or a web series, who knows? If the right opportunity comes our way, we’ll be open to it.

Good to hear. I know you crafted the final episode as the series finale just in case, but were there any things you might have put in if you knew for sure the show wouldn’t be returning?
DD: We had a trunk-load of stories…there’s still a lot of bad guys we never took down. [Laughs] And they keep popping up! And every time they pop up, we go, “Oh, I could think of a good LEVERAGE episode for that guy.

There’s a whole lot of backstory stuff we didn’t get to explore. We had just started to hint what was going on between Eliot and his father. One day, I’d love to tell that story because we have great stuff there. There’s a whole lot of stuff we’d love to get to that we didn’t get the chance to get to. But on the other hand, sometimes it’s best not to tell every story.

Sometimes it’s nice to let the fans have their own threads to play with.
DD: The fanfiction has always been the most interesting anyway, so we’ll see what they come up with!

Speaking of fan, well, questions, Sophie’s real name had been teased for years…and then you guys semi-answered it for a brief moment. Do you want to say whether we’ve ever heard Sophie’s real name on the show?
DD: Nope! [Laughs] I will let the fans interpret that and decide if that was her real name or not.

Fair enough! Was there any debate on who should give that final LEVERAGE speech?
DD: Well, I’ll tell you, there was a lot of discussion about it, but the concept of it actually happened during the shooting of the pilot. While we were shooting the pilot, [LEVERAGE co-creator] John Rogers turned to me and said, “If this thing goes, here’s how I’d ultimately like to end the show.” And he basically pitched me [the finale]. And every year, we’d say, how much closer do we want to get to in the development of our characters for the finale to work? And each year we’d push it a little farther  in that direction. But the concept was always for Parker to take over that team.

That’s kind of incredible, given how much she had to grow.
DD: It’s ultimately, what is the show about? It’s about a group of truly dysfunctional loners who have great skills. Who come together and form a family. The question of the growth every year was can this family work, and will they benefit from this family? So the hope was when you saw this finale, you were able to juxtapose it and see they’ve all come a long way and they’ve all really benefited from each other.

There were an incredible amount of parallels. Was there anything you had hoped to juxtapose that didn’t make the final cut?
DD: Nope. We tried to get in all of the references we could. We went back to the above shot of the circle, which we hadn’t done in a long time. So there was a whole lot of stuff we tried to callback just so the audience could put it side-by-side and say, this is familiar, but they are so different now.

If the show did move forward, were you planning on doing the series without the characters of Nate and Sophie?
DD: You know, we had every possibility [out there]. It could have been one or the other. It could have been alternating between where one episode was the kids and one episode was Sophie and Nate. We could have found some way to reunite them again. We really didn’t know. We didn’t know what we were going to do, how it was going to play out. We didn’t know if we did get a season, if it would be a full season, if it would be a movie of the week, would it be nothing. We didn’t spend too much time thinking about it. We just knew we had a bunch of stories we were able to tell and then we’d have to figure out how to tell them with what format and with what characters. But we really didn’t spend a whole lot of time on it. Our concern was ending this year properly. And then we thought, if we get picked up, as John Rogers always likes to say, “That’s a 20 minutes from now problem.”

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Are you happy with LEVERAGE’s series finale? Or do you miss the show already?

Related:

LEVERAGE Series Finale: Some Thoughts on ‘The Long Goodbye Job’
LEVERAGE: Aldis Hodge Talks About the Show’s Final Season
TNT Cancels LEVERAGE

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Filed under #1 featured, Leverage

Comments

23 Responses to “LEVERAGE: Dean Devlin on the Series Finale, That Final Scene, Sophie’s Real Name, and More”

  1. EKS on December 28th, 2012 9:39 pm

    YES I miss the show already! I missed it before it ended! Television is NEVER going to be the same. I will never invest my soul in a show again because I couldn’t bear to have it ripped out of my chest like TNT did with Leverage. I really couldn’t.

  2. Keith Viverette on December 28th, 2012 10:29 pm

    I thought the ending was done well but I miss it already.

  3. Nona Wallert on December 28th, 2012 10:36 pm

    Of course I miss the show already! The “Grifters” and “Kaniacs” are chasing down some ideas of networks to approach to take the show. We are also looking for a new distributor for Season 5DVDs as FOX has also dropped Leverage!

  4. Connie on December 28th, 2012 10:38 pm

    I missed it b4 its finale show. Almost couldnt watch it. I just found out there is no going to be Season % out on DVD so I’m really upset now.I want to see Leverage come back.

  5. Diana on December 28th, 2012 10:38 pm

    I will miss the show immensely – it was the best on TV and I can’t believe TNT were so heartless to cancel at Christmas I’m also devastated that there will likely be no Season 5 DVD either!

  6. ann ryce on December 28th, 2012 10:40 pm

    I missed it since Christmas night knowing that was going to be the last one for awhile! I love the show and have alot of hope that it will find another home and we can pick up right where it left off! Anything is possible as we have learned from Leverage! You never know, we might go steal a network feed for a little bit, genius’ are everywhere and so are hackers! We want our Leverage back!

  7. Amelia James on December 28th, 2012 11:55 pm

    I want Leverage: International!

  8. Thistlemoon on December 29th, 2012 12:29 am

    The finale was well done but I already miss it. I watch it every time it airs even if I’ve seen the episode already.

  9. Rose on December 29th, 2012 1:17 am

    Of course I miss the show already! It is (I refuse to say was) a one-of-a-kind unique concept show with an incredible cast and crew, and an amazing story line, that never stops surprising! I think TNT are making a HUGE mistake, and we’re all praying another smart network picks it up!

  10. kim on December 29th, 2012 2:50 am

    I loved the finale…except for the fact that it was the finale. I already miss Leverage! I want it back! The only show on tv that gives the little guy hope. I hate the over abundance of reality, cop, and medical shows. They don’t interest me one bit, and I basically refuse to watch them. TNT took my show away so now I’m taking TNT away from my tv’s. I only watch Leverage reruns on TNT now. I know it won’t phase TNT, but it makes me feel better. As for the season 5 DVD’s, come on, why in the hell wouldn’t they put out season 5? There are thousands of Kaniacs, Grifters, and others who would buy those DVD’s for many reasons. Memories, having the complete set, love for the show, and having something in their own home to watch that won’t be one of the horrific shows being offered by the networks, especially TNT, who despite their trademark catchphrase, “We know Drama”, really doesn’t know drama at all. Some smart network needs to pick up this show. Great storytelling, acting, directing, and all that combined with a ready made devoted, loyal fanbase. It’s a win win situation!

  11. Nina on December 29th, 2012 6:55 am

    I miss Leverage already! Love the show, the cast & crew are amazing, I’m not giving up on it, really hope another network picks it up!

  12. Kane Nation on December 29th, 2012 9:18 am

    I loved the finale …except for the whole having to watch CK get shot in the back thing… hurts my heart.

    But I thought they wrapped it up nicely…still leaving options open in case another network wants it or TNT wants to do movies or whatnot. I will miss them all …having them on my tv was a highlight and a joy. I have no doubt that we will see them all again and in the not too distant future. They are a talented lot and that hasn’t ended just because this show has.

    It was a great 5 years and I thank them all for that.

  13. Melanie on December 29th, 2012 9:47 am

    It was one of my favorite series finale’s ever. Thank you all for having the vision and affection for your characters and your audience that left us with that bitter sweet ending. And its only bitter because there were so many more character stories there to be told and so many more rich and powerful jerks that needed to be Leveraged that we never got to see.
    I do miss the show already. I really hope it continues on in some form.
    Thank you to all the cast & crew for five great seasons.

  14. mary e brewer on December 29th, 2012 7:24 pm

    The best con ever! Loved it. even though i was hoping for many more years of this awesome show but if it had to end this was awesome.. brilliant writing… I haven’t give up hope though that another smart network will pick it up! THANK YOU everyone involved in making LEVERAGE for 5 AMAZING SEASONS!!

  15. Fran Baker on December 29th, 2012 7:44 pm

    Definitely miss it! I couldn’t watch the finale on Christmas night, had to DVR it. As Mr. Devlin said there are so many more stories to be told, new cons and character backgrounds! There has to be a way to continue the Leverage story.

  16. Toni on December 29th, 2012 7:51 pm

    I it miss already! Great show all the way around. The network had a cast that got along like family, (which I’m sure is very rare) and excellent writers, directors and producers! I can’t believe TNT cancelled it, and I really can’t believe another network hasn’t taken it!

  17. GBellmansNo1Fan on December 29th, 2012 8:13 pm

    The last episode on TNT was absolutely AMAZING!!!!!! However, yes, I already miss it. There’s a large part of the fan base already on Twitter and Facebook trying to get the USA Network to pick it up. It deserves to be on a decent network that will actually promote it. As of December 25, 2012 at 11:00 PM, TNT has been locked out on my television. I REFUSE to watch anything else on that network EVER again.

    TNT Grinch #1: “Hey, let’s dump Leverage and make yet another doctor show…ohhhh and a reality show!” TNT Grinch #2: “That sounds like a BRILLIANT idea!!!” Leverage Fans EVERYWHERE: “Umm…what just happened?????”

    TNT didn’t know what a good thing they had when they had it. It’s long past time to find Leverage a new home so it can be treated with the respect it deserves!

  18. Reesie on December 29th, 2012 8:32 pm

    The last episode of Leverage was totally amazing and was a great way to end the series, if that’s the way it has to be. Missing Leverage but hopeful something even better will come out of all this. Leverage International sounds fantastic! Books, movies, miniseries, you do it I’ll be there!!! Would love if Leverage could find a new network!!!

  19. Donna on December 29th, 2012 9:53 pm

    To cancel it the week of Christmas was a knavish thing for TNT to do. If the staff wrote the finale, they must have known something was in the works. TNT should have had the decency to let us know long ago. The trash that goes for programming now (talking about Reality Shows) leaves my tv set off most of the time. There are only a few shows of quality worth watching, and now that Leverage is cancelled, there is one less. My fingers are crossed that another network will take on Leverage and give it the support and promotion it deserved.

  20. Joey on December 30th, 2012 1:43 pm

    I can’t believe Leverage and that there was so little notice that it was wrapping up. I understand why it was canceled, but I wish they had not announced it the week before. My coworker at DISH and I were excited to see that the crew was able to put together a proper finale and send off for the show though. I’ve been recording Leverage on my DISH Hopper so I can always re-watch my favorite episodes and if some network does pick up a spin-off, I’ll record it too. With over 400 hours of recording time in HD; I never have to think about how much free space I have for all my favorite shows like: Leverage, Fringe, and American Horror Story.

  21. talea on December 30th, 2012 3:27 pm

    The heck with it continuing; I’m past expecting that although I think it’s a tragedy (well, in TV terms). But I sure as heck want the Season 5 DVDS; they’ve already recorded some of the commentaries.

  22. The Lever on March 27th, 2013 1:19 am

    There needed to be a Leverage episode in which the villian was a tv station CEO who goes canceling good shows.

  23. LORRAINE STARKS on June 7th, 2013 8:58 pm

    I HAVE STOPPED WATCHING TNT DUE TO THE CANCELLATION OF THE BEST SHOW THEY HAD, LEVERAGE. I FEEL THE CANCELLATION WAS UNFAIR TO VIEWERS!! WHAT THE NETWORK IS SAYING IS THAT VIEWERS DON’T COUNT!!
    I ALSO FEEL THAT THE WRITERS OR WHOMEVER IS BEHIND THIS GREAT SHOW SHOULD HAVE FOUGHT HARDER AND EVEN AFTER CACELLATION, FOUND A NETWORK THAT WOULD PICK IT UP.
    THANKS FOR LETTING ME SPEAK!!

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