Timothy Hutton

TNT has already signed the Timothy Hutton drama Leverage for a second season, but the show's team of crack con artists will have to make it through Tuesday's season finale (airing at 10 pm/ET) to get there. Last week's episode ended with Hutton's team leader, Nate, feeling betrayed by Sophie, the master of accents played by TVGuide.com celebrity blogger Gina Bellman.

Hutton, a 1980 Academy Award winner for Ordinary People, talked to TVGuide.com about what the team will face next season, how Nate is handling the reappearance of his ex-wife (Kari Matchett), and his character's growing reliance on booze.

TVGuide.com: The Leverage team is really a band of thieves, and we're starting to see the consequences of that now. How does Nate bring them back together in the season finale?
Timothy Hutton: I think in the final episode Nate is not quite sure he wants to bring the team together. I think that the team also isn't quite sure if they want to continue working with others. ... they've developed kind of a wonderful family dynamic working as a team, but over the course of the first season some trust issues come up... The team sees that (Sophie)'s maybe working for her own ends.

Certain things are going to have to be expressed. Certain new ways of working together are going to have to be agreed upon. The conclusion is a very complicated and yet compelling one that will bring us nicely to a second season.

TVGuide.com: Has Sophie's betrayal derailed the romantic tension between her and Nate?
Hutton: I think more of that is going to reveal itself as time goes on, and certainly in the second season we're going to learn more about the space between when they first met and when they sort of reunited. The show has kind of exposed a lot of that already, but I think there's going to be more. And I think we haven't seen the last of the Maggie character, Nate's ex-wife. I think she might come back in the mix a little bit, which might create a rather complex triangle.

TVGuide.com: Sophie impersonates someone new every week, and your character is often undercover as well. Is it more fun to play someone who's often playing someone else?
Hutton: One of the things I expressed to (executive producer) Dean Devlin and the writers is, it's very easy to have Nate be kind of a serious guy... that nobody can really read. Mysterious, morose. And I felt the danger with that is, you just have sort of a one-dimensional, self-involved character, which he has to be on some level — I mean, he is dealing with things and he is very flawed. But I thought there had to be other aspects and if you were going to do a kind of Mission: Impossible, Ocean's Eleven kind of thing where you have five characters that are running a con against really bad con artists that are really harming people... then Nate should be allowed to sort of get outside of himself.

He probably can't stand to be inside his own head and walk around in that skin. I mean he's so self-loathing. He would be absolutely compelled to and drawn to the idea of being a little like Sophie and the others and kind of playing different parts... That was something that kind of developed between the pilot and the rest of the shows: That all of the characters would be doing different things.

TVGuide.com: Finally, you own a bar and restaurant in New York City, PJ Clarke's. Did that affect how you played someone who has issues with alcohol?
Hutton: Well, I can't say that I've sat at PJ Clarke's and studied excessive drinkers. I like to go in there to have a meal more than a drink. One of the reason I wanted to get involved with PJ Clarke is I love their menu.

But as far as that aspect of Nate's character, the drinking part, you know, it's a typical self-medicating kind of thing that's going on with him, and he thinks he can handle it and it doesn't affect his thinking, his decision making, or his relationships, responsibilities. But of course it does, and it's going to be a journey for him to come to terms with that. And I think we've seen a lot of that in the first season. The rest of the team has just about had enough of it, and Nate's going to have to figure that part out: find another vice.

TVGuide.com: Any idea what that new vice might be?
Hutton: I don't know — there's some interesting ideas being kicked around. I personally am not really interested in playing a character who, when he is having a difficult time, turns to the bottle. I think that idea has a certain shelf life. The demons don't go away, but how he deals with them and his way to shut down or escape those thoughts and feelings has to transform into some other type of behavior to keep it interesting.

What do you think? What will Nate adopt as his new vice?