"I would say we have one of the greenest sets, and not just because we're in Oregon," Timothy Hutton says about "Leverage," which shoots in eco-friendly Portland. "[Producer] Dean Devlin is very much concerned about things like recycling and separating what should be disposed of and how, and trying to cut down on the use of trucks and various modes of transportation that are needed to produce the show. All of that has been carefully considered. On a personal level," continues Hutton, "I do my part and I get on people to do their part."

 

For its fifth season, premiering on TNT July 15, "Leverage" has relocated its setting from Boston to Portland, where it has always filmed, which has allowed production to utilize local locations such as a vineyard and winery. Other cons and infiltrations will involve an air freight company, a hockey team (in episodes one and two, respectively), intellectual property piracy, competitive cheerleading, vintage cars, art theft, international terrorism and the infamous skyjacker D.B. Cooper, all reflective of an increased global focus for the team, which "has come a lot closer together. You'll see a lot of really great surprises and sides of each character that you haven't seen in previous seasons," says Hutton.

 

As Nate Ford, a former insurance investigator who heads a team of thieves, hackers and con artists that expose corporate corruption and help those victimized by it, Hutton finds it fun to be able to play somebody different every week, depending on the situation, and deal with the twists and developments the writers have created for the character. "With the way that his father died in the finale last year, I think it's made him someone who isn't connected to his past and is instead more interested in his future and his way of going about life, and it's changed him quite a bit. He's a guy burdened by a lot of events that happened in his past, but he's a pretty good person. And now you'll see a lot more of Nate figuring out what can happen to him in the future versus what has happened to him in the past."

 

That includes dealing with his alcoholism. "Nate is very interested in recovery and in being a determined, forward-thinking person, so as the season begins you will see that he's come back from a long trip where he was by himself, and it's kind of a new Nate. He's much more available to others and he's not so internal. He doesn't take to the bottle. But one thing about that approach is that it allows the possibility of a cliff for him to fall off of," Hutton adds. Similarly, "Nate feels confident that he can trust all of them [on the team], which allows the writers to betray that trust, so you can look forward to that possible theme as well."

 

The season's roster of "Leverage" guest stars includes Cary Elwes in the premiere, Treat Williams in episode two, Steve Valentine, Ronny Cox, Fred Ward, Matthew Lillard and Willa Ford. "When we're done with this season, it will have been 77 one-hour episodes," Hutton reflects. "It's pretty hard to believe, but here we are, and we're still having a great time making them, and I hope to do many more seasons."

 

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