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LEVERAGE 10 p.m. EST Dec. 7 TNT


Timothy Hutton has starred in two television shows that were quirky in design, a favorite of critics and lasted less than a year. In 2001, it was “A Nero Wolfe Mystery.” Then in 2006, he came back to television for the short-lived “Kidnapped.”


Maybe the third time will be a charm.


The Oscar-winning actor (“Ordinary People”) stars in the new TNT drama “Leverage.” The series follows a team of thieves, hackers and grifters who are a modern-day band of Robin Hoods. They like to get revenge against those who use power and wealth to victimize others.


Hutton plays the leader of the band of techno vigilantes that includes Gina Bellman (“Coupling”), Christian Kane (“Into the West”), Beth Riesgraf (“Alvin and the Chipmunks”) and Aldis Hodge (“Friday Night Lights”). The series debuts Sunday before moving into its regular 10 p.m. EST time slot next Tuesday.


“I read the script and just thought this would be really kind of a great journey to go down. I like the whole setup of it. I like the character. I like all of the different situations we’re going to find ourselves in. It just was a very exciting opportunity I felt to be excited again to go to work each day,” Hutton says during an interview in July to announce the new series.


The cable series was intriguing enough to get Hutton to agree to it despite the small inconvenience of living in Paris. Series creator Dean Devlin and writer/director John Rogers helped him make up his mind to come to Los Angeles to work on the series.


“John and Dean are very collaborative, and we had a fantastic time doing the pilot,” Hutton says. “Dean was incredible to work with as a director and pushed all of us to explore things that I don’t know we would have done on our own. We had a great time doing it, and we all trust these two guys enormously.”


For Bellman, it was the writing of the series that made her agree to move from England to the United States to do the series. “I’ve never had a real urge to come to the U.S. and do something, although I’ve always been open to it. But I did read John’s script and I just loved it,” Bellman says. “I think what’s great about the show is that it seems to me that all the shows that are a success right now all have a balance of smart and fun.


“They’re always like a little bit mentally engaging, but also fun and a little tongue-in-cheek. I think this show balances that perfectly, and I’m really excited to be able to use both of my skills as a comic actress and a dramatic actress in this series.”

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