Leverage takes on Wine Fraud: An interview with actor Aldis Hodge

I have been a long time lover of TNT’s show Leverage. For those of you who have not had the privilege it is an action-packed show about vigilante con-men, with a super talented cast of character actors. They are now in the show’s fifth season, which took a major foodie bent after the crew relocated their headquarters to Oregon, and opened a brew pub. It stars Timothy Hutton as Nate Ford, Gina Bellman as Sophie Devereaux, Aldis Hodge as Alec Hardison, Christian Kane as Eliot Spencer, and Beth Riesgraf as Parker. It is easy to draw the comparison between this show and the A Team, except that this show is much more modern, with strong female leads, and I feel like it tackles much more important issues.

I have recently been made aware that they are finally running a wine con. On Tuesday December 11th, the team will con a corrupt winery out of a priceless bottle of their own wine in an episode called “The Corkscrew Job” (10PM/9 CST.)

You can look up more info at http://www.tntdrama.com/series/leverage/

I am always excited when my favorite shows collide with my favorite beverage, and I had the pleasure of interviewing Aldis Hodge about this show, and wine:

What is your favorite wine and why?

AH: I have three favorites. Rambaure’s Reisling, Hawksview Cellar’s La Baliene, and Anam Cara’s Gewurztraminer- and simply because they all have a great taste.

Who decided to do a show on wine fraud? 

AH: Our writer for the episode Jenny Kao.

I know from time to time each of you get to highlight some of your special talents, like your wonderful violin playing. Will we get to see any new layers of Aldis in this episode?

AH: Hardison does get to tussle a bit in this episode. Though it’s not exactly how I was brought up fighting (haha) it’s close enough.

Did you guys hire consultants from the wine industry to help you with this episode?

AH: Living in Portland, OR is all the consultation you need. The place is a mecca for wine knowledge.

Is this show loosely based on any true stories?

AH: Not certain, but if I was a betting man I would say that certain elements of it are.

This season is especially foodie-centric, what is the driving force behind that?

AH: Just being in Portland. It has an amazing food culture and you know what they say? When in Rome…

Which cast member is the biggest wine enthusiast?

AH: Probably Hutton. He currently owns a restaurant so I think from that experience he’s built a sound foundation of wine knowledge.

There has been a through-line of a turbulent relationship with alcohol from the beginning… why is that? 

AH: That’s a question for the creators Rogers and Downey… haha. I personally think that it’s Nate’s kryptonite because he hasn’t resolved past issues. It’ s also proof that the mastermind is human and has flaws.

Are you really a tech genius, or do you just play one on TV? 

AH: I merely play one on TV. If I was a tech genius I’s sure I’d be a billionaire living in Greece spending the fortune I just made off of reinventing the internet and finding a solution to harnessing reusable clean energy from an infinite source.

What is your favorite moment of this episode and why? 

AH: A moment towards the end between Hardison and Parker. I can’t give details, but let’s just say that Hardison proves his merit by fighting for what he wants.

Well I can say that I am super excited to watch this episode.  I look at wine as the fine art of the food and beverage world, and for most people on every level of the industry it is a labor of love, so it drives me crazy when people try and scam on that. I am happy that Leverage is shedding some light on this issue. Not that, with any wine related show or movie I will not be watching with a critical eye, and wincing if people are holding their wine glasses by the bulb  or saying things like “this Pinot Noir from Bordeaux is mind blowing,” but I have faith this team will do a great job. I hope that one day Mr. Hodge gets to be a Grecian billionaire, and as to the Parker and Hardison moment coming at the end of the episode, I am hoping Hardison puts a ring on it!

I would love it if you all would share your thoughts on this show.

You can fallow Aldis at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Aldis-Hodge/131506073422

I will be tweeting my thoughts – follow me at @SaraKayGodot


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