We Provide…[Leverage]

TNT Leverage

I’ve been hooked on TNT’s Leverage since day one, as over the past 5 years I’ve realized the network to be a viable contender when it comes to original programming (The Closer, Saving Grace, etc.). I like to call them the HBO of basic cable.


"Leverage" And if you are also a fan you know that this past season ended in a big way. But the ending isn’t what I want to comment on. You see, part of the story line for the second half of season 2 involved Sophie leaving the team to “tie up some loose ends,” leaving the group with a new female grifter on the team; the blond bombshell Tara Cole played by Jeri Ryan.

Now, some of the other hardcore fans, or Grifters as they are now called, will probably crucify me for this, but I’m going to stick my neck out there and say it: Jeri Ryan is a far superior member of the cast than Gina Bellman (Sophie Devereaux).

Gina-Bellman Yes, I said it. And I know other fans will secretly agree but voice otherwise. But, c’mon. Even from an acting standpoint, Ryan plays the part WAY better. The biggest complaint I’ve had with the show since day 1 was that Gina Bellman can’t play a character to save her life. Sorry, but it’s true. Every accent she’s tried to pull off ends in utter failure. She can’t even do British that well! That Kiwi just comes through no matter what.

That’s why I was supremely excited when Ryan joined the cast at the end of this past season. She acts beautifully and actually SELLS the part of the grifter. Everything about her character I find believable, especially when compared to Bellman as Devereaux, who just seems like a terrible miscast.

I’ll be honest, if Bellman were not to return to the show for season 3, I wouldn’t be upset at all. Sure, bring her around once in a while for a cameo, but keep Ryan on the show from now on. She is the piece that has been missing from this puzzle from the start and I hope the producers of the show realize that.

But hey, as long as my future husband Christian Kane remains on the show with that beautiful long hair, I’ll still watch. God, that man is the image of perfection.



13 thoughts on “We Provide…[Leverage]

  1. Can I just say WHAT THE HELL?! Gina plays her part to perfection just as Jeri plays hers. They are DIFFERENT type of grifters. If you read John Rogers post on Jeri coming on then you would see that he says while she is in fact a grifter she has a different style of grifting then Gina does. As for her accents, give the woman a break. She has about a day if not less to try and get it as good as she does.

    • Different though they may be, I still think Jeri fits the cast better, especially in a semi-antagonist kind of way. Every group needs a bad kid. And look, I’m not dumping on Gina completely. I do like her and think she’s been a good part of the show, I just think Jeri is better.

      • What it sounds like is that you want an internal fighting on the show. Somehow I think that the writers have this covered with the new season. All hint towards the team having to deal with outside force putting the team in a bad way.

        If you think this show would be better with Jeri then Gina you are allowed to say that. Just know that from what I can put together I think it’s going to better now with all that is suppose to come about and I’m not sure Jeri could it done as well. The fact that the team has now been together is why they aren’t fighting with each other and making the cons run better then when Jeri was trying to figure out “Nate speak”.

      • Of course I want internal conflict. That’s what makes television/movies/books/plays/etc. interesting. When you have a group of people that get along hunky-dory with each other, that’s boring. Internal conflict is what gives us real insight to the characters and makes things believable. People don’t go through life skipping hand-in-hand with those close to them. They fight and hurt each other, though not always intentionally. Conflict within a group is what gives the audience an understanding of the people they’re watching. It lets us know “Oh, these aren’t just larger-than-life characters on a screen. They’re human. I can identify with them.”

        When you have a character or a group that is too perfect, audiences can’t identify with them and they lose interest. That’s why I love the character of Tara. She rocked the boat and piqued my interest in what was starting to amount to a sub-par second season.

  2. Blond bombshell? Jeri Ryan? Blond sorrel, maybe. Chestnut with that pesky F-gene, possibly. Until Leverage, I didn’t know horses could act. But…that’s just my opinion of Ryan’s looks and has nothing to do with her acting.

    Gina is gorgeous and pulls off the accents quite well. The accents don’t have to be perfect. I seem to remember her obvious German accent and Retzing’s only comment being “French…niiice!” Which is why she doesn’t have to be spot on, even though she does do them well. Half the idiots they con wouldn’t know a foreign accent if it smacked them in the face.

    Gina is the best of the cast, and if Jeri were to stay, I wouldn’t watch anymore.

    Yes, Jeri filled in well enough, I guess, while Gina was on maternity leave, but I couldn’t stand “Tara”.

    That age old saying “Honor among thieves” is real, to a degree. You don’t ask for payment when doing someone a favor, especially if that someone (quite possibly) saved your life. Tara was a bitch and I’m glad she’s gone.

    Gina worked like hell to nail those accents as well as she could in the little time she had to prepare for them and for an actor to care that much about their part means a lot more, to me, than the actual execution of the accents themselves. Many actors would just wing it without much thought, producing even less convincing accents.

    All my respect goes to Gina for doing what she’s done, and will be doing, for Leverage…before Leverage, and beyond Leverage.

    • I think you guys are getting to be content with a show that is slowly becoming formulaic. The Jeri Ryan episodes mixed up the formula and made things interesting again. And as I said, every group needs the bad kid for internal friction. That’s what the Leverage team was missing and Jeri provided it. And I stick by what I said, Gina just can’t pull off many accents well at all. I’m not claiming she doesn’t try or work hard at it, I’m just saying she can’t.

  3. In all fairness, accents are hard. Just ask Christian! LOL
    Seriously, I didn’t think Jeri’s Italian? German? Russian? accent in the Runway Job was all that great. And in Gina’s defense, it’s hard for any British actor to sound perfectly American. Most actors get to work with dialect coaches for weeks.
    And Jeri did her job well. Her part in the plot to win the team over and get them to accept her was well written.
    But Gina’s back, thank God and we can focus on the rest of the team. We can get back to the dynamics that it was in the beginning…a dysfunctional damaged group of people that are learning to trust and work with others.
    I’m looking forward to seeing how Sophie regains the team’s trust. I’m sure Gina can pull that off with flying colors. That was the job she was hired to do.

    • Not trying to sound like an ass, but Gina is actually from New Zealand, and if you like to believe what people say in the industry, Aussies and Kiwis seem to have an innate ability to mimic accents. 2 members of the TrueBlood cast are Aussies and no one knew they weren’t actually southern due to their flawless accents. And look at Lucy Lawless, though her acting is fairly horrible, she does accents well. I don’t believe EVERY Aussie/Kiwi can do that, but I do believe Gina has a harder time of it than others. And no, Jeri’s Italian wasn’t perfect, but it was more believable.

  4. i certainly think that it’s fair to have your opinion of having a preference between the two actresses, but i don’t think that you are going to win over many supporters by ripping apart Gina Bellman’s acting ability.

    And to be fair, in terms of the featured dialects on the show… in the midst of a con, most of them have had kinda shit dialects, but I feel that’s what gives the show it’s charm. They still manage to convince the marks (or anyone for that matter) that they are German, Russian, English, Bostonian, Gay (remember Hardison and Eliot at the Rehab facility?), South American, etc… even though their accents are often laughable (think Nate as the German professor or Hardison as the Ice Man)

    • Well I certainly didn’t say what I did to win supporters. I still stand by it. I just find Bellman so wooden sometimes that it puts me off the character. The thing about the other characters pulling off different accents and personae is that while they may have been over-the-top or absurd, they did a great job of selling the part to the audience. I don’t always get that with Bellman.

  5. I’m not about to get involved in the Gina/Jeri war mainly because I think it’s stupid and pointless. Jeri was there for the last half of season two which no one could do anything about no matter how hard they tried, and Gina is the one going to be back for season three no matter anyone else’s opinions. It’s just the way it is.

    Besides, I like them both. Honestly I wish we could *have* both, but two grifters on the show probably wouldn’t work, unfortunately. I do hope they bring Jeri back for some guest appearances though.

    The only issue I really have with this is that you said Gina can’t play a character to save her life. I’ve watched a few things Gina has done outside of Leverage and every performance I’ve seen was believable in my eyes, as it is with the characters she plays on Leverage. I think she’s very talented.

    There’s always going to be the comparison between the two now though, unfortunately, and of course everyone has a right to their opinion or preference.

    I don’t know, I just really like them both and any bashing from either side kind of irks me. That doesn’t just go for you, but for the Gina lovers constantly shitting on Jeri. To be completely fair though, if someone was shitting on Beth I’d be all up over their ass like nobody’s business, so I get the hostility from fans.

    I just think they are both sexy, talented women and in my perfect world there wouldn’t be these kinds of debates.

    • Believe me, I was by no means trying to insight a war. I didn’t realize the Leverage fanbase was this hardcore. And I agree, having both on the show would be ideal and I would enjoy that a lot more, but it’s unlikely.

      And I make no judgement on Bellman’s work outside Leverage. If she’s a competent actress, great. But here I feel like she doesn’t quite hit it. As I said to some of the other commenters, it’s about selling the part and Bellman doesn’t always sell it.

      And may I just say to everyone who commented today; Guys, it’s OK to be critical of the shows you love. These actors/characters aren’t gods who will exact wrath upon you for saying they didn’t do something well and not everything they do is perfect. I LOVE Christian Kane to death and will watch anything with him in it, but did you see him on Angel? He was kinda shit. Anyway, I appreciate all the comments (and flames) just the same.

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