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‘Leverage’ Hints at Romance in Season 2

On the TNT series "Leverage," the relationship between team leader Nate (Timothy Hutton) and actress Sophie (Gina Bellman) was playfully stirring up during the first season.

Now, with the show getting ready to launch its second year, expect some more action on the romance front - but not that much.

"The show is going to have a definite Nate and Sophie arc to it," Hutton says. "By around the seventh show or so, it's going to get to kind of a tipping point."

Being the good salesman that he is, Hutton won't spill the beans about what goes on between the twosome. However, he will say that no one should expect the series to move into "Moonlighting" territory.

"That will never be the focus of the show," he says. "It'll be an aspect of the show. It will be an interesting path they share. It will be the cause of tension between them. But it's not going to be a storyline. It's a sideshow, an interesting sideshow, but a sideshow."

Still, thanks to the fun chemistry between Hutton and Bellman, a charmer from the British sitcom "Coupling," the Sophie-Nate dynamic fun is one of the show's most appealing elements.

In fact, the chemistry between the five principals - Christian Kane, Aldis Hodge and Beth Riesgraf round out the cast - has been uniformly strong since the pilot.

"That was just luck of the draw," Hutton says. "That was there from the beginning. We're lucky that we all like each other and we all enjoy each other's company. It was just really good and careful casting on the part of TNT."

It has paid off the for the network, which saw the show deliver solid numbers during its freshman year. "Leverage" deals with a group of grifters who aim to help ordinary citizens. As part of the cons, the characters often take on the guises of other characters.

"That's really fun to do," says Hutton. "Every week, the character is presented with a really complex and disturbing situation ... it's just a fun way to work."

Other challenges are coming Nate's way this season. The biggest: In a very made-for-TV coincidence, the hard-drinking character has given up the bottle but taken up residence over a bar.

"The character is so well-written, if you remove the drinking part of him, there are still other vices there," Hutton says. "It's certainly a little more fun to play this year."

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