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'Leverage' goes to the mat with an MMA hour

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I’m liking this Leverage a bit more each week. The Timothy Hutton-led caper show is hitting its stride in its second season on TNT, with last night’s episode, entitled “The Tap-Out Job,” a strong, funny, smart hour. Hutton’s rob-from-the-rich-give-to-the-poor crew was avenging the injuries of a mixed martial artist as a result of the scheming of a corrupt MMA promoter.

Leverage captured some of the excitement of good MMA bouts, using the series’ strong-man, Christian Kane’s Eliot, as a fighter and Hutton posing as a drawling businessman to lure out the villain. The series did a fine job of making the case for MMA as a sport as legit as any other. (The famous quote of John McCain’s, that this genre amounts to “cockfighting,” was placed in one character’s mouth only to have the charge decisively dismissed.)

For all the meticulous clobbering done in this episode, it was Leverage‘s typical lightness of tone that made it entertaining. Hutton seems to be having fun impersonating various shady characters week after week, and his low-key enthusiasm gives Leverage a steady glow.

Have you been watching Leverage? What did you think?