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 Eliot: Good thinking, shooting out the engine block.

Hardison: I was aiming for his leg.

(Beat)

Eliot: Gimme the gun, Hardison!

  • Accidental Public Confession:
    • The climax of "The Homecoming Job"
    • In "The Studio Job", the villain is savvy enough to make sure none of the live mics right in front of him can pick up his whispered confession/threat to Eliot. Unfortunately for him, he whispered it directly into Eliot's ear (and thus his tiny two-way ear-piece communication device), so Hardison is able to record it and play it over the sound system for everyone to hear.
  • Action Adventure Series
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Wil Wheaton's hacker character calls himself "Chaos", which may be a nod to the Axis of Anarchy, and is nicknamed "Kobayashi Maru" by the government.
    • Eliot as a baseball player in "The Three Strikes Job." Christian Kane (Eliot) was also a baseball player in the Angelina Jolie film Life Or Something Like It. He also played a baseball player in Summer Catch with fellow Whedonverse alum Marc Blucas (Riley Finn), which starred Freddie Prinze Jr and Matthew Lillard who starred in Scooby Doo., with a certain Sarah Michelle Gellar. The circle goes round and round. Sarah Michelle Gellar starred as the lead of our other favorite Scoobies with David Boreanaz as Angel who starred on his own show with...you guessed it -- Christian Kane. Whew. How's that for a small world?
    • Nate spends the majority of "The 10 Lil Grifters Job" trapped in an office while the rest of the team plays detective for him; just like his old boss Nero Wolfe. The episode was a somewhat missed opportunity as Nate's fictional detective wasn't Archie Goodwin, but it was made up for by the fact that Nate's fictional detective was Ellery Queen, one of the best-known TV roles of Timothy Hutton's father, Jim Hutton.
    • In that same episode, one of The Mark's employees calls him a vampire, and says he wants to put a literal stake through his heart. While talking to Eliot, i.e. Lindsey from Angel, who has some experience with vampires.
    • In the Reunion Job, Hardison guesses that Eliot was the quarterback in high school. Ironic that it is Aldis Hodge who plays star high school QB Ray "Voodoo" Tatum in Friday Night Lights.
    • Towards the end of season four, Saul Rubinek once again has a minion named Latimer.
  • Action Girl: While they aren't the main fighters, Parker and Sophie have both had their extremely kick-ass moments: Parker fighting arms dealers in Serbia and Sophie knocking out goons with a fire extinguisher. They are also extremely, extremely competent in their own fields.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Eliot has to admit that the animated "Mr. Punchy" avatar Hardison made of him in "The Gold Job" is kind of cool.
  • Adam Westing: Wil Wheaton as snarky jackass hacker Chaos.
  • Addiction Displacement: Between seasons 1 and 2, Nate quits drinking alcohol and starts ingesting massive amounts of coffee. Sophie also suggests that the cons themselves are becoming an addiction for him. And now he is mixing both! (alcohol + cons)
    • In the last couple of episodes, Nate may be back to coffee.
  • Aerosol Flamethrower: Nate creates one when attempting to escape his captors in "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job".
  • Affectionate Parody: Both "The Order 23 Job" and "The Three Days of the Hunter Job" feature homages to B-movie archetypes when the POV switches to the victim, specifically the "Viral Outbreak" and "Government Conspiracy" templates respectively. This extends from the team's hilarious characterizations, to even the direction and background music.
    • "The Bottle Job" also references a con called "The Wire" which is the subject of the movie The Sting
    • "The Office Job" is one for the American version of The Office.
  • Affectionate Pickpocket: In "The Inside Job", Parker and her mentor Archie share an embrace -- and then Archie asks for his wallet back.
  • Air Vent Passageway:
    • "Looks like Parker's gonna have to crawl through the air duct again . . ."
    • Subverted in "The Inside Job", where security is Genre Savvy enough to put security systems in the air vents.

 Parker: Who puts laser trip wires in air ducts!?

  • The Alcoholic: Nate in Season 1. He turns into a coffee junkie in the second season. Until "The Bottle Job", when he starts drinking again.
  • Alice Allusion: In "The Juror #6 Job," Parker operates under the alias "Alice White," and even styles her hair with an Alice band.
    • Possibly also an allusion to 'Alice White', a character in the board game 'Clue'.
    • Parker uses Alice as an alias again in "The Morning After Job", and the mark actually says, "Alice in Wonderland."
  • All Girls Like Ponies: Hilariously averted. Parker is absolutely terrified of horses, stemming from a traumatic childhood incident in which a man in a horse suit beat up a clown during a birthday party.
  • All Women Love Shoes: Played straight with Sophie, who bought a 'frightening number of shoes' with the money she made in "The Nigerian Job." Subverted with Parker, who wonders in response what it is with women and shoes.

 Sophie: Go into Nate's closet and you will find a sexy mini-dress and my emergency Jimmy Choos

Parker: Jimmy who? You have a dead body in Nate's closet?"

  • Almost Kiss: Nate and Sophie at the end of "The Two Live Crew Job."
  • Ambiguously Tanned: Sophie has passed for everything from English to Arabic to Indian to South American.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: In "The Scheherazade Job," Sophie observes that this applies to good deeds as much as bad -- if you buy the town a new school, it just reminds people how rich you are, but if you help raise one person out of poverty, you're a hero. This turns out to be an integral part of The Con -- she convinces the autocrat potential dictator to set up a concert for an impoverished young violinist from his country, who turns out to be Hardison, so that they can break into his concert hall.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling : Eliot often seems to see Parker this way. And Hardison. The Word of God actually calls Eliot, Hardison and Parker "the kids" vs. Sophie and Nate "the adults/parents" WOG also says that they are growing to be more like Nate's peers a la Sophie.
    • Complete with "She's touching me!" argument from Eliot

 Parker: (poking Eliot's injured arm) Does that hurt?

Eliot:Yeah.

Parker: (pokes arm) Does that hurt?

Eliot:Yeah.

Parker: (pokes arm again) How about now?

Eliot: Stop!

Nate: Eliot, guys? Eliot, what are you doing?

Eliot: She was poking me!

  • Answer Cut:
    • At the beginning of "The Miracle Job," the night after watching one of Sophie's plays.

 Eliot: That was the worst night of my life.

Hardison: Come on, man, you've been in worse situations.

(Eliot flashes back to some dark den with a Korean-speaking man playing Russian Roulette with Eliot as the target)

Eliot: (snaps back to the present) No. No, that was the worst.

    • During "The Wedding Job," when the team realizes someone from Eliot's past may blow the con.

 Hardison: No -- the Butcher of Kiev.

Nate: Think he'll recognize you?" (Eliot flashes to a room full of flames with the Butcher holding a meat cleaver to Eliot's neck)

Butcher of Kiev: I kill you!

Eliot: (Eliot snaps back to the present) Yeah, I think he'd remember me.

    • Used in "The San Lorenzo Job" when Vittore asks what's worse than sex when Nate suggests creating a scandal for Ribera to be involved in. Turns out it's dog fighting.
    • From "The Long Way Down Job":

 Sophie: Nate, how dangerous is this gig you took without checking with us?

Nate: (stammers)

Hardison: (flashback to the office) Ridiculously dangerous! It's like a danger cupcake with murder icing!

  • Antidisestablishmentarianism: Used as part of a fake Spelling Bee in "The Fairy Godparents Job".
  • Arab Oil Sheikh: The part Hardison plays in "The First David Job." He later plays a similar role in “The Queen’s Gambit Job.”
  • Arch Enemy: Sterling. Chaos, for Hardison.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Jimmy Ford in "The Three Card Monte Job."
  • Arc Words: "Alternative revenue stream." "Sometimes bad guys make the best good guys" (and variations). "It's what we do." Also variations -- "We're (a bunch of) thieves" Nate's automatic response: "I'm not a thief." ...until the season two finale "My name is Nate Ford and I'm a thief!"
  • Arson, Murder, and Admiration: After Nate cons his dad into a situation where the Irish mob puts a contract out on him:

 "You're more ruthless than me, crueler than me. Maybe you are better than me. I'm proud of you son."

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "The Tap-Out Job", Parker invokes this when the team sets up their mark to be found crossing state lines with a ton of money, which is his, and six grand worth of guns, which Parker bought and stashed in his trunk for the cops to find. Along with a saxophone.
  • A Simple Plan: A common theme. Of course there's a reason it takes five of the world's best thieves to pull these cons off. Even the simplest plans have potential to go all to hell for reasons as simple and unpredictable as a mook of the bad guy calling his cousin or as large as someone trying to crash land the plane they're on-board while running a con.
  • Asshole Victim: A prerequisite for being targeted by the team. Though at least one episode ("The 12 Step Job") plays with this, as their target proves to be better than they expected -- and throws a bit of their own logic back in their face.

  "If you're doing it to help someone, doesn't that make it okay?"

    • In one episode they feel sorry for their victim and Nate tells Sophie that hating their victim is "a perk, not a requirement."
      • They end up helping said victim when his daughter is kidnapped.
  • The Atoner: Eliot confesses in "The Big Bang Job" that he used to work for season 3's Big Bad Damien Moreau, and that he did something on Moreau's behalf that he can never make up for. When the rest of the team asks what, he all but begs them not to press him for details, "because then I'd have to tell you." Based on comments by Moreau's other henchmen and Eliot's reaction to victimized children in past episodes, it is heavily implied that Eliot has murdered children on at least one occasion.
    • Word of God is that Eliot isn't trying to atone for anything. He knows -- or at least believes -- that the things he's done in the past are too horrible to atone for. "This is a man who's, well, not at peace but at equilibrium with being damned."
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: The team frequently refers to cons by their nicknames, such as "The Turnabout", "The Mona Lisa", and "The Lost Heir".
    • They begin mocking this by the third season, where Sophie, Eliot, and Hardison almost always argue over what the proper name of a con is. It seems that only Sophie and Nate share a playbook. Parker generally doesn't know plays by names.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: Sophie in "The Two Live Crew Job." As the corpse. And again in "The San Lorenzo Job."
    • Lampshaded by Nate in the latter episode: "You are utterly unclear on how to be dead. This is the second time in two years that you've shown up at your own funeral."
  • Author Avatar: John Rogers mentioned on a blog post that after three seasons of researching white collar crooks who -- unlike the show's villains -- tend to get away with it, he was suffering from 'asshole fatigue' as the production process for Season 4 began. Nate seems to be having the same problem as of "The 10 L'il Grifters Job."
    • Eliot's speech about why he dislikes baseball in "The Three Strikes Job" was taken word-for-word from a conversation between Rogers and producer Dean Devlin.
  • Authentication by Newspaper: Used by the team as part of their sell of a fake Michelangelo in "The First David Job."
  • Auto-Tune: In "The Studio Job," Hardison attempt to pass Eliot off as a country music star by providing a real-time auto-tune effect for him. He's horrified when he realizes it's not working, but it's okay: it turns out that Eliot doesn't need it.
  • Avengers Assemble: Happens at the beginning of "The Homecoming Job" as Nate gathers the team: everyone is in the midst of various solo jobs and they drop what they're doing (Eliot had a gun pointed at him and took the guy out, Parker was hanging from a ceiling, etc) to answer their phones.
  • Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other: Happens frequently, but most noticeably between Vitriolic Best Buds Eliot and Hardison -- such as in "The Ho Ho Ho Job," when Eliot calls out the gang of thieves for "killing his friend's van."
    • Also in "The Grave Danger Job," when Eliot gives Hardison a tight hug after they pull him out of the coffin and tells him 'don't do that again.'
  • Back for the Finale: The series 4 finale brings back quite a few characters from earlier who had ties with the team; Jimmy Ford, Maggie, Chaos, Quinn and Archie are temporarily recruited and Victor Dubenich is villain.
  • Backstory: We learn more and more about each team member as the series progresses, notably Parker's past as an orphan and the death of Nate's son due to the heartlessness of his insurance company.
    • Both Hardison and Parker are foster children, but had wildly different experiences with their families.
      • Parker had at least one abusive father (whose home she blew up -- he may or may not have been in it at the time). In fact, he was the one who *cough* inspired *cough* her career choice. He told her "be a good girl [or] a better thief." She was also a car thief and a getaway driver at the ripe old age of twelve. Her proficiency as an expert thief, however, is due to her relationship with Archie Leach, who found her, trained her, but didn't take her home to his own family because he didn't think Parker would fit in. However, Leach still refers to himself as Parker's father.
      • Hardison had a good childhood with a foster mother he calls Nana. He has a tendency to quote Nana and he "never does anything his Nana said don't do." Somehow he's still an internationally wanted hacker, especially in Iceland. Over Nana's medical bills. Who he still lived with at the time of "The Rashomon Job" He does, however, fake a miracle even though it was something Nana said not to do, leading him to worry about getting smited that entire episode. He spoke of her so often that Parker actually thought she was his grandmother. After Parker has a minor breakdown over the children in the Serbian orphanage, Hardison in a moment of bonding reveals that in fact Nana is not his grandmother but his foster mother. This is also one of the first moments of UST between Parker and Hardison.

 Hardison: I know growing up was tough, I-I know that you grew up in the system and that it was, it was bad, I know it-it was worse than bad, but that doesn't mean that all foster parents are monsters. Mine wasn't.

Parker: You grew up with your grandmother.

Hardison: We called her Nana, but she was our foster mom. She, uh, she would cuss like a sailor an' old girl would tan your ass just as soon as look at you, but, but she fed us, she bathed us, she put a roof over our heads, and, oh, she would raise hell if you so much as looked at us crooked.

Parker: Yeah? Well, you were lucky. No. We put these kids in the system and odds are, they're gonna... they're gonna... [tearing up] they're gonna turn out like me.

Hardison: I like how you turned out.

    • Of course, most of Sophie and Eliot's appeal comes from their near complete lack of a backstory whatsoever.
      • Due to her nature as a grifter, it's difficult to tell whether anything Sophie or anybody else says about her past is really true or not. In fact, "Sophie" is not even her real name. The only thing we really know is that she used to be Nate's nemesis during his time as an insurance investigator.
      • Eliot never mentions where he got his Special Forces level training from or precisely what he did as a "retrieval expert". The only concrete facts about his past that was revealed was that he used to work for Moreau and did something he considered as totally unforgivable while in his employ, and that he once stole a monkey.
  • Badass: The whole Leverage team are badass in one way or another, but Eliot is the standout in physical terms, plowing through mooks like nobody's business. Consequently, anyone who can give him a decent fight (Mr. Quinn, Mikel Dayan, the random security guy from "The Schaherezade Job", Roper) must also be a bonafide Badass.
  • Badass Creed: "The rich and powerful take what they want. We steal it back for you. Sometimes bad guys make the best good guys. We provide... Leverage."
  • Badass Crew: Every single member of the team is extremely badass in their own unique way. Also, Sterling, because Sterling. Never. Loses.
  • Badass Grandpa: Archie Leech, most definitely. In "The Last Dam Job" when Chaos makes a snide comment about his age, Archie sticks his cane under Chaos' chin and tells him that he has two canes. One of them has a high-voltage taser in it. The other has a six-inch stiletto spike, but he can't remember which is which because of his old age. Later on, Chaos says something snide again and Archie tases him.
  • Badass Israeli: Mikel, the hitter from Starke's team in "The Two Live Crew Job."
  • Badass Long Hair: Eliot slightly-below-shoulder-length hair; usually it hangs loose but he occasionally pulls it into a ponytail, especially when he knows he's about to get into a fight. Moreau comments in the "Big Bang Job" that the 'white hat' doesn't suit Eliot, but he loves the hair.
  • Bad Bad Acting: As mentioned above, Sophie is an absolutely horrible actress when she's onstage rather than running a con. Possibly the funniest part of it is that she seems to think she's a great actress. Played with in "The Stork Job," where she has to pretend to be an actress as part of the con, and pulls it off well. The following conversation ensues:

 Eliot: (bemused) She can't act.

Nate: She can act . . . when it's an act.

    • Sometime before that, Sophie invites the team to the opening of one of her plays.

 Eliot: That was the worst night of my life.

Hardison: Come on, man, you've been in worse situations.

(Eliot flashes back to some dark den with a Korean-speaking man playing Russian Roulette with Eliot as the target)

Eliot: (snaps back to the present) No. No, that was the worst.

  • The Magnificent Bastard Wins: The writer's room rule is that Sterling. Never. Loses. Of course, Sterling's not actually the bad guy.
  • Bad Habits: Nate dresses up as a Catholic priest in "The Wedding Job".
    • We also get Hardison as a priest and Parker as a nun in "The Beantown Bailout Job." Eliot is relieved to discover that Parker is wearing the habit for a con, as opposed to just being Parker.
    • "The Miracle Job" features a variation on this: Nate is trying to help out an old friend, now a Catholic priest, against that friend's will. The friend demands Nate see him in the confessional so they can talk in private about what's going on. Nate goes along with it -- but sits in the priest's side of the box. After their conversation is over and the priest leaves, Nate lingers in the priest's half long enough that the mark's assistant comes in to give his confession, which allows Nate-pretending-to-be-the-priest to push the assistant towards publicly exposing the mark later in the episode.
    • "The Boys' Night Out Job" has a two-fer: "Sister Lupe" is definitely not a nun, and Nate pretends to be a Catholic priest (again!) to avoid the hitmen after them.
    • 'Course, it has to be noted that Nate's backstory is that he was in seminary and well on his way to being a Jesuit once upon a time.
  • Bad Santa: Chaos gets a group of criminals hired as mall Santas for his caper in "The Ho Ho Ho Job."
  • Baguette Beatdown: "The Wedding Job."

 Nate: "Did you just kill a man with an appetizer?"

Eliot: "I dunno...maybe..."

 Sterling: You realize that your entire plan relied on me being a self-serving, utter bastard?

Nate: Ha, yeah, that's a stretch.

    • In the last 10 minutes of every episode, if the villain thinks they've figured out they're being conned, or have a member of the crew in danger, 99% of the time it's all part of the plan.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Also almost Once an Episode. Hardison is the absolute master of this trope, with occasional backup from Parker and/or Eliot optional. He even turns the tables on an Army interrogator after he was caught breaking into an Army base using just his Social Security number and his Army record. He even ordered him not to leave the interrogation room during his own interrogation.
  • Becoming the Mask:
    • "The Three Strikes Job" has a humorous non-evil version of the trope. Eliot has to play the part of a baseball player as part of a con, but as he tells Hardison before the con, he doesn't like baseball. However, as the con goes on, it turns out that not only is Eliot really good at baseball, but he starts to enjoy it too. He even gets a sandwich named after him. It leads to the following exchange:

 Nate: All right, Good News, Bad News.

Tara: Good news?

Nate: The mayor's hooked. We're in the pinch.

Tara: Bad news?

Nate: I think we lost Eliot until the playoffs.

 Sophie: Stark was right. I'm not Sophie Devereaux anymore. I haven't been for ages, I- you killed her, you and your silly crusade.

Nate: It's just a name--

Sophie: No, they're not just names -- not to me. All my aliases, every one of them, I know when their parents died, I know when they had their first kiss. They--

Nate: Sophie--

Sophie: You're the closest thing I've ever had to a real friend and I've never heard you say my real name. How sad is that?

Nate: So tell me.

Sophie: Let me, let me finish burying Sophie first, finish burying the rest of them until all that's left is me. Just me.

    • Played straight and subverted once more when Eliot poses as a country music singer. He turns out to be an excellent singer and guitar player, and gets lots of groupies after just one performance. However, he doesn't want to be famous, and he finds the fans annoying. By the end of it, however, he's used to being chased and signing autographs, and seems to rather enjoy it.
    • Also the entire Leverage crew had this after they split up at the end of the first season. Claiming that they can't go back to their usual con or thieft for profit because helping people was more rewarding.
  • Bedmate Reveal: Nate and Sophie at the end of "The San Lorenzo Job".
  • Berserk Button:
    • Nate REALLY doesn't like it when you bring up his dead son. It's a bad idea even for the team.
    • Parker has a really big soft spot for orphans, since she is one. Also, anything to do with dead children and Nate. If you try to use his dead child to screw him over, he will not only destroy your company, he will destroy the entire field your company works in.
    • Eliot really dislikes child abusers, as seen in "The Order 23 Job".
      • Hell, don't threaten a child--the client's child, the mark's child, your own child--when the team is around. Just don't. Or they will reset and unleash Holy Hell upon thee.
    • Have it be implied you betrayed the team and Parker will go into her Summer Glau mode and hang you off the side of a building.
    • Actually betray the team and Eliot will go into his Depraved Dentist mode and pretty much scare everyone involved. Including the viewer, a little.
    • The mark from "The Boiler Room Job" really doesn't like it when people can't remember his nickname.
    • Also, don't spill Eliot's coffee on him. He'll be cleaning your blood (and teeth) off of his shirt afterwards.
    • Sterling is one for the entire team. Eliot has to be physically kept away from the guy after the "Queen's Gambit Job".
  • The Berserker: Hockey-player-turned-hedge-fund-manager Mark Vector, allowing the Leverage team to make him think he killed Parker in a fit of blind rage.
    • Eliot's persona in "The Tap-Out Job" once he's drugged.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Sophie, for Parker especially. Eliot has this towards Parker and Hardison, though he typically doesn't show it and would never admit it. When a fake psychic caused Parker to break down in tears and run away in "The Future Job," Eliot semi-seriously volunteers to kill him.
    • "Semi"?
  • Big Store: The pilot is one example; so is "The Boost Job."
    • Inverted in "The Gone Fishin' Job" where the team makes a legit business look fake as bait for a mark looking for a way to launder money. They get a small gym cleared out during peak hours (except for one intense woman who keeps up with Parker on the exercise bike) so it looks like an operation set up to cover "fake" membership dues as a laundering set-up with no real costumers (for an added twist, the list of fake members is just the names of all the people the mark had stolen money from, he doesn't even recognize their names).
  • Bilingual Bonus: "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job" has an aerosol can very descriptively titled "Олій".[1]
    • One in "The Two Live Crew Job" if you know Hebrew. When Starke's team meet, there's a line spoken in Hebrew by Mikel Dayan that isn't translated, because she said something pretty nasty: "And you lead me straight to the hands of Eliot Spencer, you son of a bitch" (roughly translated, the actual literal translation is 'Your mother's vagina', which in this context means the same in Hebrew slang).
  • Black and Nerdy: While Hardison definitely acts cool, he is a computer genius who once hired girls to dress up in Princess Leia-esque gold bikinis while brandishing lightsabers and skipped his high school prom to hack into the Bank of Iceland. For his Nana.
  • Black and White Morality: For a show centered on a bunch of thieves and liars, there's a surprising lack of depth to almost all the villains of the week. There's never any doubt about who the good and bad guys are because the villains have no redeeming features whatsoever. For these people, puppy kicking is more than a calling--it's a way of life.
  • Bland-Name Product: The show used an interesting twist to this in season 1: Instead of having fake products, they would have *real* products, but would never show their names or labels. For example, Hardison is clearly seen drinking orange Jones soda, but the front of the label was always against his palm or otherwise turned away from the camera.
    • Also subverted at times with the product placements for Hyundai and Nate's Tesla Roadster.
    • On the other hand, "The Cross My Heart Job" has airlines such as Vista Atlantic, Global Vista and Air Uruguay, an electronics store called "Modern Image," "Linguistic Mystic" language learning products, the "Crab-a-rama" restaurant
  • Blind Without'Em: Possibly played straight with Hardison, as we've seen him two or three times (mostly in flashback) with glasses on, and he may wear contacts. Averted with Eliot, who wears glasses about 35% of the time (Word of God is that they're not for show).
  • A Bloody Mess: Ketchup for blood in the second season premiere. It fools Nate, as well as the mark.
  • Bond One-Liner: Eliot gets one of these in "The Bank Shot Job."

 "What smells like crank and screams like a girl?"

Kicks meth dealer's knee inside out, prompting aforementioned scream

"Huh...right answer."

  • Book Ends: The pilot has a scene where the team (minus Sophie, who had not been introduced yet) started out standing in a circle, but then walked away, with an overhead shot. The episode ended with the team (included Sophie this time) standing in a circle and not separating. The season ended with an overhead shot of them (again in a circle) going their separate ways -- but hesitating. "The Jailhouse Job" ends with them preparing to split up again... but this time making plans to reunite once they've shaken the authorities.
  • Bottle Episode: It took place mostly in a bar-room set (for the double meaning) and Nate's apartment. They lampshaded it by calling the episode "The Bottle Job". Also, as the team has to hastily assemble a scam in a fraction of the usual time -- Nate calls it "The Wire in a bottle". Finally, this is also the episode where Nate, a recovering alcoholic, starts drinking again, after going the entire season without alcohol. MEANINGPOCALYPSE
    • The Cross My Heart Job, sort of.
  • Bottomless Magazines: What the hell kind of sniper rifle was that guy using in "The Morning After Job"? Was the mag in the shape of a Moebius Loop?
    • There were plenty of times that he could have been reloading. Just because he's never shown reloading doesn't mean he never reloaded, especially since we didn't get many close-up shots of the shooter. However, that still doesn't explain half a minute of sustained fire from one gun.
  • Boxed Crook: The Italian's plan for Nate and the team in Season 3.
  • The Boxing Episode: "The Tap Out Job."
  • Brains and Brawn: Eliot and Hardison play these roles at times -- though Eliot is a Genius Bruiser and Hardison has come a long way from when fighting the injured was his niche.
    • Played with in one job, where Sophie played a internal investigations Hitter (ie, Eliot's role, though she never actually had to fight) and in doing so we get this line

  Eliot: *after hearing Sophie speak* "Is that supposed to be me?"

  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Parker has one in "The Mile High Job," as she plays her role as a flight attendant and tries to comfort a nervous passenger:

  Parker: When you think of it, there are many ways to die besides on a plane. Car crash, electrocution, drowning, auto-erotic asphyxiation.

  • Breaking the Bonds: Eliot does this in the second season finale. However, considering that he's the show's Lightning Bruiser and the cuffs were of the plasti-cuff variety, rather than metal cuffs, it's not surprising.
    • Word of God says that their research showed that with plastic ties, this is possible given the right training and skills.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: The finale of seasons 1 and and 2. The end of season 1 has the team walking away after they consider their job done, the end of season 2 has Nate going to jail for the rest of the team.
  • Break the Fake: In the episode "The Rashomon Job", with a bejeweled dagger.
  • Breather Episode: The "Juror #6 Job" (at least in broadcast order), "The Ho Ho Ho Job," "The Van Gogh Job."
  • Brick Joke:
    • At the beginning of "The Homecoming Job," as Hardison is introducing the rest of the team to the Leverage Consulting & Associates offices, he suggests that they personalize their offices, perhaps buy a plant. At the end of the episode, the following exchange occurs.

 Parker: I bought a plant.

Hardison: Nice. Team spirit.

Parker: What does it do?

There was originally supposed to be a much longer, season-spanning joke about the plant, but it was cut for time.
      • The exchange is referenced again in season 4's "The Lonely Hearts Job" when Parker a carnivorous plant from Hardison (although it's actually from Eliot). She notes that she now has a plant that does something.
    • There's also that the painting of what was supposed to be Nate's relative who started the firm, which Hardison painted himself. Later in the season he goes back to get it before their offices blow up, and it shows up again in the next episode. It's revealed in "The Bottle Job" that Hardison keeps a large stack of cash hidden behind the painting. The painting is still intact as of "The Last Dam Job" at the end of season 4 as the team is seen moving it into the "Batcave" when they're forced to leave Nate's apartment.
    • The Sapphire Monkey.
    • Hardison's Rocks Paper Scissors tell in "The Snow Job." Eliot informs him that he STILL has a tell two seasons later in "The Gone Fishin' Job."
      • A year after that, Hardison STILL has a tell in "The Boys Night Out Job."
    • Parker's bunny.
    • Hardison dies in Plan M.
    • In the briefing in "The Last Dam Job", Nate predicts that Dubenich will personally fall out of the sky if Sophie goes anywhere near anyone Latimer knows. Late in the episode, sure enough, Sophie talks to Latimer and gets him a drink in a bar and Dubenich appears out of nowhere.
  • Bring It: Eliot does this to some mob hitmen in "The Beantown Bailout Job" before proceeding to beat the crap out of them. Actually, he does this with nearly every fight he's in. Taunting must be part of the criteria for a retrieval specialist.
    • Nate does this to an extent. He takes on nearly any job, regardless of the difficulty or danger.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: "The Rashomon Job," to Crowning Moment of Funny levels.
  • British Accents: Sent up in "The Rashomon Job", when only Sophie and Nate's recollection of her accent is accurate. Eliot recalls her with a Cockney accent, Hardison with a Scottish one, and Parker imagines her speaking pure gibberish.

 Maid of Honor: You don't think it makes me look fat?

Sophie: (shakes head no) Uh-uh.

Parker: Oh, definitely. I mean, why do you think I had to let out the waist, to make you look less skinny? What do you weigh, anyways, a buck fifty?

Maid of Honor: (whimpers)

    • And in "The 15 Minutes Job:"

 Nate: The question is, how would I destroy myself?

Parker: Yeah, and you can't say booze.

  • The Brute: The Butcher of Kiev, Mr. Quinn, and Roper who all function as the muscle for their respective antagonist groups.
  • Buffy-Speak: In "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job," Tara describes Eliot's Death Glare as "that thing with your eyes that scares people."
  • Bullet Time: Done EPICALLY in "The Big Bang Job" along with mad Gun Kata skills.
  • Bullying the Dragon: Invoked in "The Boost Job" the team is setting up a car thief ring and the dirty car salesman who sells the stolen goods by stealing nine nice cars from a golf tournament whose participants were police officers. They were slightly motivated to get their cars back.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Parker is possibly the best thief on the planet but she has...quirks. Enough so that she spent an entire scene dressed as a nun in "The Beantown Bailout Job" -- and Eliot wasn't sure whether she was wearing it for a job or just being Parker. This borders on Crazy Awesome, in that it's implied in "The Inside Job" and elsewhere that her quirks are the result of her having been thieving as opposed to having a normal childhood.
    • We get this gem from the "10 Li'l Grifters Job," coming immediately after she pulls Hardison into a previously undiscovered secret passageway:

 Hardison: "Is that music?"

Parker: (casually) "Oh, you hear that, too?"

      • In other words, Parker may well be regularly hearing things when no one around her can, and is not at all concerned about that fact.
  • Buried Alive: "The Grave Danger Job" (season four) includes Hardison being buried alive by a Mexican drug cartel.
  • Busman's Holiday: "The Juror #6 Job" features the team sending Parker to jury duty so she'll have a chance to interact with people normally. Of course, there ends up being a big corporation trying to buy the trial.
    • Also "The Girls Night Out Job" and its counterpart "The Boys Night Out Job" where each half of the team independently finds itself drawn into a completely unrelated job.
  • The Butcher: The Butcher of Kiev appears in "The Wedding Job". Eliot, acting as the chef at the wedding, briefly misunderstands the reference to "The butcher is here!" and asks if he brought the lamb chops.

 Hardison: Have you ever been to Kiev? The Cakemaker of Kiev could whoop all of our asses. This is The Butcher.

  • Cacophony Cover-Up: In "The Scheherazade Job" they use the climax of the masterpiece "Scheherazade" to cover-up blowing up a hole in the ceiling of a vault and as an excuse to get the people to turn off the seismic sensors.
  • Call Back: Word of God says there isn't a show bible but Leverage has an enormous amount of callbacks that often come from throwaway lines like the infamous "Hitter, Hacker, Grifter, Thief, Mastermind" which was a tossaway line in the season 1 premiere.
    • After beating Hardison in Rocks, Paper, Scissors in "The Snow Job," Eliot informs him that he has a tell. Two seasons later in "The Gone Fishing Job," Eliot beats him in Rocks, Paper, Scissors again -- and informs him that he still has a tell.
      • And Eliot lets him win one despite the tell in "The Boys Night Out Job."
        • Of course, the one he "won" led to Eliot flirting with a police clerk and Hardison getting chased by two very...enthusiastic dogs.
    • In the season four opener, "The Long Way Down Job" there's a callback to the Snow Job from season one. (And Nate's rampant drunkenness...)

 Nate: Okay, people, Let's go steal a mountain.

Parker: Again.

Nate: What?

Parker: Again. We already stole a mountain, two years ago.

Nate: Really?

Eliot: Technically, it was a mountain resort, not a mountain, but yeah.

Hardison: You were also very drunk on that one.

    • The team also makes quite a few references to the mark Parker stabbed with a fork in "The Stork Job".

 Parker: I think I'm getting better at this!

Hardison: I'm cloning Rockwell's cell phone right now. Good work, girl.

Parker: And I didn't even stab him!

Hardison: Yeah--we--you--we are so proud of you. Uh, no stabbing Wednesdays. New tradition.

    • When Eliot and Hardison can't communicate over walkie-talkies in "The Cross My Heart Job," Eliot signals him by having "Kirk Picard" paged -- a callback to the Star Trek-based system the two of them worked out in "The Order 23 Job."
    • Also in "The Cross My Heart Job," Nate and Sophie refer to the repeated calls in to the National Weather Service claiming they saw a tornado as a "MASSDOT Special" -- referring to the similar tactic they used on the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to steal a train in "The Gone Fishin' Job."
    • In "The Queen's Gambit Job," Nate references using Plan M. Hardison, alarmed, asks about the prospects of him dying -- a callback to way back in the pilot, when Nate jokes that "Hardison dies in Plan M."
    • In "The Lonely Hearts Job," Parker gets a carnivorous plant and notes that it's a plant that does something. This is a reference to Parker and Hardison's conversation in "The Homecoming Job" (see Brick Joke above).
    • In "The Two-Horse Job" while speaking of Sterling either Sophie or Nate mentions he once hid in a trunk of a car for over a week to get his mark. In "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job" he hides in one again to catch the bad guy.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: In "The Three-Card Monte Job". Hardison gets an in-True Companions version in the second season finale.
  • California Doubling: Starting in season 2, Portland doubles for Boston. Really, really, really obvious when Portland's PGE Park is used in the "Three Strikes Job." Starting in season 5, though, the trope will be averted, as the episodes will take place in Portland.
    • There's a funny one in "The Mile High Job" during season one, where the "airport" the team visits in the first half of the episode is very obviously the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Nate can't escape helping people. He finds a client while on a job interview in the season two premiere and another one while serving time in prison during the season three premiere. Not to mention Hardison bought the building his apartment was in and turned into their new base of operations.
  • Camera Abuse: Deliberately incorporated into a fake news broadcast which the crew staged as part of their scheme to discredit Moto in "The Scheherazade Job." "Reporting" in front of a green screen, Eliot ducked on cue as Hardison shook the camera, and a thrown bottle that struck the "lens" a glancing blow was later inserted into the shot.
  • Camera Spoofing: The team uses Version 2 on occasion.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: In the Leverage episode "The Double Blind Job", Parker, who often has trouble in social situations, can't quite bring herself to tell Hardison that she has feelings for him, and ends up blurting out "I have feelings for... pretzels." Unusually for this trope, Hardison knows exactly what she really means, and responds, "They're right here when you want them."
  • The Caper: So far at least Once an Episode.
  • Caper Crew: Couldn't have a caper without one.
  • Caper Rationalization: They're helping the helpless!
  • The Captain: Nate
  • Cargo Envy: Was there anyone who didn't want to be that safe from "The Bottle Job?"
  • Cast Calculus:
    • Five-Man Band (Highlighted in certain episodes when the team shifts roles).
    • Four Is Death: After Sophie leaves the now Four-Man-Band is thrown off very badly (to the point where Hardison, playing Sophie's role, is captured by Russians) and keeps calling her for help.
    • Guest Star Party Member: Maggie in "The Second David Job". Sterling in "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job" and "The Queen's Gambit Job."
  • The Cast Showoff:
    • Aldis Hodge plays the violin. In "The Scheherazade Job", he gets a chance to show his skills off.
    • Beth Risegraf really is performing almost all of the lifts that her character does.
    • Christian Kane finally gets to put his musical chops to good use in "The Studio Job". He also does his own stunts.
  • Casualty in the Ring: The team fakes one in "The Tap Out Job."
  • Catch Phrase: "Age of the geek, baby." Also "global economy" and "alternative revenue stream" might count as either this or Arc Words.
    • Not to mention the ubiquitous phrases "We're going with a much bigger scam" and "Let's go steal ourselves a <something improbable>," which is a classic Mad Libs Catchphrase.
      • The best one is "Let's go steal ourselves the future" from the aptly named "The Future Job".
      • Also one of the best "Let's go steal a Parker." from "The Inside Job."
      • In "The San Lorenzo Job", they steal a country.
      • "Let's go steal the Department of Defense." "Isn't that treason?" "We'll give it back."
      • "Are we going to steal the wake?" "Show some respect. We're going to BORROW the wake."
      • "...the man on the street... in Africa."
      • "...a miracle." "...we're all going to hell."
      • "...a movie."
      • "...a concert."
      • "...an auction."
      • "...some cars."
      • "...a federal witness."
      • "...a royal title."
      • "She's gonna buy a jury!" "Not if we... steal it first."
      • "We're gonna steal this ballpark. And then the team. Not necessarily in that order."
      • "Let's go steal a mountain." "Again." "What?" "Again. We stole a mountain two years ago. I guess it was really more of a mountain resort..." "You were pretty drunk then."
      • Check out this video for more.
      • Lampshaded by Nate himself:

 Sophie: "Now here's the hard part. We need to steal a general."

Nate: "No, it's let's go steal a general!"

    • Also, "We pick up where the law leaves off."
    • And finally, "This is what we do"/"It's what we do."
    • "It's a very distinctive _______"-- Eliot's response whenever someone's astonished at how he can identify people/weapons using cues like knife fighting style/stance/sound of a gunshot/shoeprints.
      • Gets lampshaded by Parker after Eliot identifies the mark's hireling as being former Spetnaz based on a single bootprint in "The Long Way Down Job".
    • "I don't like guns" -- Eliot, right before or after disarming an armed man and unloading the gun in the very same motion.
    • "Dammit, Hardison!" -- Eliot's response to being the recipient of Hardison's mistakes or pranks.
      • Hardison finally gets a turnabout in The Gone Fishin' Job and gets a "Dammit, Eliot!"
    • "You're adorable." -- Whenever you need to explain to someone exactly what genre of show they are on.
    • "Seriously?" -- A go-to expression of dismay or surprise. Usually said by Hardison, though Sophie seems to have started saying it occasionally too, and everyone's said it at least once. (Nate upon opening the fridge to find lots of orange soda, Eliot when Hardison just happens to have a blacklight on him, Parker when Eliot goes on about sleeping with lots of models...) It's a habit of co-showrunner John Rogers, who gets a kick out of how each actor has made it his/her own.
      • Also "Really?" used in the same way as "Seriously?
    • "I've dated a lot of _____s." -- Eliot's excuse for knowing whatever random fact he needs to know for the episode. So far, flight attendants, models, and a neurologist, at least.
    • "I can explain!" -- Nate's go-to whenever his ex-wife Maggie realizes that Nate's involved her in a con somehow. Word of God says that Nate said it a lot to Maggie during their marriage whenever he was in trouble.
    • "Run it." -- Nate telling Hardison to start the briefing about whoever the subject of their job is.
    • "There is something wrong with you!" -- Usually uttered by Eliot whenever he finds out about another one of Parker's quirks.
    • Nate Ford in the first two seasons has always drawn a moral line between himself and his crew -- always responding with some Arc Words version of "I'm not a thief" which makes it especially awesome as a catch phrase in the second season finale when Nate is caught by Interpol Sterling and the FBI ask who he is. His reply? "My name is Nate Ford...and I'm a thief!"
    • Also, Parker's "What? I'm a thief!"
    • Hardison's got "Do you know who I am/do you know what my name is?" whenever the team asks how they're going to do something that falls within his skill set.
    • Hardison's "Heeeey."
  • The Cavalry:
    • In "The Maltese Falcon Job", Sophie swoops in to save Nate.
    • Lampshaded in "The Bank Shot Job":

 Hostage Mother: Who are you?

Eliot: Well ma'am, we'd be The Cavalry.

      • Parker repeats this in "The San Lorenzo Job," complete with an imitation of Eliot's accent.
  • Celebrity Paradox: You'd think Trekkie Hardison would notice Brent Spiner, Wil Wheaton, Jonathan Frakes, Armin Shimerman, John Billingsley and Jeri Ryan running around. In fact, that's at least one actor from every Star Trek series except the original series and the new movie. Word of God says they originally wanted Zoe Saldana to play Wil Wheaton's part.
  • Chained Heat: Eliot and Hardison in "The Gone Fishin' Job"
  • Character Development: This is actually enforced in-universe. In order to continue being an effective force, the team needs to have a grounding in each other's area of expertise. By the final episode, everyone has Taken a Level or Two In Badass across the board.
  • Character Focus: Everyone gets A Day in the Limelight episode every now and again. Just to name a few:
    • Nate: The First and Second David Jobs, The Three-Card Monte Job, The Miracle Job
    • Sophie: The Two Live Crew Job, The King George Job
    • Eliot: The Two Horse Job, The Tap-Out Job, The Studio Job, The Big Bang Job
    • Hardison: The Mile High Job, The Scheherazade Job
    • Parker: The Stork Job, The Inside Job, The Boost Job
  • Character Name Alias: The aliases used in Leverage generally have some connection to the heist they're pulling. Word of God states that this is because Hardison picks them.
  • The Cheerleader: Nikki pretends to be this in "The Reunion Job." In fact, she's just a hired gun assassin trying to get close to her target by driving away a witness, albeit a pretty bitchy one.
  • Chef of Iron: Eliot. In "The Wedding Job", he demonstrates that he's eerily schooled in the differences in proper knife-holding techniques for different tasks, causing Nate to become visibly disturbed.

 Eliot:"Hold a knife this way, dice an onion. Hold a knife this way, slice through eight Yakuza in four seconds..."

    • That same episode has Eliot dispatching a thug The Butcher of Kiev by shoving a pair of hors d'oeuvres in his eyes that he squirted lemon juice on.

 Nate: "Did you just kill a man with an appetizer?"

Eliot: "I dunno...maybe..."

    • This is set up as early as episode 2 ("The Homecoming Job"), in which he assembles a pile of phonemes into a convincingly French name for the hors d'oeuvre he's holding.
      • Almost, he managed to get all of them except the phonemes for "F," "U," and "K." Although, he deliberately annoys the guy he's trying to record them from, who then puts them together for him (really loudly.)
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Hardison makes sure they save the "Old Nate" painting before they blow up the season one headquarters in "The First David Job". In "The Bottle Job", he reveals that's where he keeps his "emergency fund".
    • In the season three premiere, "The Jailhouse Job", Hardison is seen building a toy helicopter. That helicopter plays a role in fooling the prison guards into thinking Nate is trying to escape from the rooftop.
    • "The Boost Job" has a literal gun. Well, an EMP gun...
    • The season 3 finale is called "The San Lorenzo Job". Two episodes earlier, in "The Ho Ho Ho Job", the mark is headed for San Lorenzo when he decides to flee the country.
    • Moreau is able to hack into Hardison's secure video feed at the beginning of "The San Lorenzo Job" because Larry Duberman's software and servers went on the black market after the team took him down in "The Reunion Job".
    • More of a Chekhov's Fake Gun: The prop machine guns in "The Stork Job" -- as soon as Hardison complains that no one would be fooled by them, you know they're going to come up later. The team ends up using them to replace some of the arms dealer's products. Nate also specifically mentions earlier that all they have is a prop truck -- which they end up putting to good use.
    • The pipe wrench in the library in "The 10 Li'l Grifters Job."
    • The Wurlitzer in "The Van Gogh Job."
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Nate talks to Maggie on the phone in "The Miracle Job" before she makes her first onscreen appearance later in the season in "The First David Job." Word of God says that Maggie was originally written into the episode.
    • The daughter Hayley keeps popping up in "The 10 Li'l Grifters Job" without much relevance to the plot until the very end.
    • Eliot, 'taking the rest of the job off' in "The 15 Minutes Job." Longtime fans had a sneaking suspicion he'd still end up playing an important role in the con.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • In "The Bottle Job," we see a flashback to Nate's dad breaking a guy's fingers while young Nate watched. At the end of the episode, Nate breaks Doyle's fingers in the same way to provide a little extra emphasis to telling Doyle to get out of town and never come back.
    • In "The Reunion Job," Sophie demonstrates "neurolinguistic programming" by using the power of suggestion to get Eliot to pour her tea. At the end, the same skill is used to manipulate the bad guy into changing his master password to something chosen by the team.
    • "The San Lorenzo Job" features a call back all the way to season two when Sophie fakes her death the same way Eliot did in "The Beantown Bailout Job"
  • Cherry Tapping: Eliot, frequently.

 Hardison: "Look, nobody's asking Eliot to fight someone with a Nerf sword..."

Eliot: "Damascus. 2002."

  • The Chessmaster: Nate. Also Sterling.
    • Sophie mentions this in “The Queen’s Gambit Job” when she notes that Nate is always playing chess.
  • Chess Motifs: "The Juror #6 Job" and "The Queen's Gambit Job" are full of them, and the whole series has them to a lesser degree. Nate is referred to as either a "White Knight" or a "Black King". (Obviously, he's black--Leverage Consulting & Associates moves second.) Not for nothing, the show does work with this.
    • Nate: Black King. Powerful enough, but important, and if he's without an escape or protection, the game is over.
    • Sophie: Black Queen. The most versatile and dangerous piece on the board, but vulnerable if threatened.
    • Eliot: Black Rook. The muscle. Fast, dangerous, and when well-placed ("specific range of efficacy") able to dominate the game.
    • Hardison: Black Bishop. Confined to only one type of square, he's a tiny god in cyberspace but unable to do a pick to save his life. A good long-range piece.
      • Actually, in "The 12-Step Job" (and others) he kicks serious ass.
    • Parker: Black Knight. So stealthy, she's seemingly able to turn herself invisible and teleport from place to place. Her moves are erratic and she's the only piece that doesn't in some way emulate the Queen.
      • With the added bonus of her knight's move thinking.
    • Everyone Else: The pawns. Not able to do much on their own, but together, they decide where and how the game is played.
      • We could go on. White Turned Black Pawns (no pun intended) could very well be the victims. White King can be the head of the villains they face off. Other White pieces would be another major bad guy except for the White Pawns. They would be the stereotypical henchmen. Black Pawns can be the few allies like Nate's wife in "The First and Second David Job" and the doctor in "The Tap-Out Job".
    • "The Three-Card Monte Job" explicitly contrasts Nate's game (chess) with his father's (by a spectacular coincidence, three-card monte).
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Nate went to seminary (but dropped out), his friend became a priest, the girl in "The Beantown Bailout Job" has a Saint Brigid pendant. However, it's largely justified since Boston, where most of the show takes place, is roughly 50% Catholic. In "The Miracle Job," they even show a fairly accurate portrayal of a Roman Catholic mass except for the colloquialization of the Gospel text.
    • The Boys' Night Out Job also features a group of Irish thugs that refuse to kill someone inside the church. They finally decide to drag them out and kill them in the parking lot.
  • Chronically Crashed Car: Lucille, Hardison's spy van.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: The team has apparently developed this by the second season, since Good Feels Good.
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: The CIA (or one of its agents) used homeless veterans with PTSD to experiment with "hands-off" torture; when one of them died of a heart attack he got replaced by Eliot. They're also aware of the Leverage crew.
    • It is also heavily suggested that the woman who sent the Leverage team after Damian was CIA, who even states that being bad is necessary to do good. Nate dismisses this.
  • Class Reunion: Duberman from "The Reunion Job" was a software mogul obsessed with proving he was better than the classmates who had tormented him in high school. To get his computer passwords, the team set up a Class Reunion with Nate taking on the role of a Jerk Jock who had degenerated into a drunken slob.
  • Classy Cat Burglar: Parker is arguably a subversion of this archetype; while she has all of the thieving skills, she has none of the typical seductiveness. This isn't to say she can't pull it off, as she showed quite well in "The Iceman Job". Whatever her emotional eccentricities, she is the Best Thief in the World.
  • Cleanup Crew: Eliot pretends to be this twice (once in "The Maltese Falcon Job,") both times to scare a mark into panicking and doing something stupid.
  • Cliché Storm: In "The San Lorenzo Job", the team writes a speech for a politician that is intentionally made up of nothing but political speech cliches. The public eats it up.
  • Click Hello: Eliot in "The Big Bang Job."
  • Cliff Hanger: The second season finale ends with Nate turning himself in to Interpol and the FBI to save his team. Also, he's got a gunshot wound in the gut.
    • In commentary, John Rogers specifically denies that this qualifies. I.e., had the show not been renewed, the completion of Nate's arc would have made this an emotionally satisfying, if bittersweet, series finale.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Parker. Dear God, Parker. Word of God says that she has "a touch of Asperger's Syndrome," which would explain her behavior and also attributes that make her a good thief (like enhanced perception of small changes in familiar objects). It also says "I think she channels anxiety and aggression into precision and control" Not to mention she had a messed up childhood. The rest of the team is used to it. Eliot is usually the one who comments on it ...frequently

 Parker: What is it with women and shoes?

Sophie: There is something wrong with you.

Eliot: That's what I said!

 Eliot: Oh, she's dressed up as a nun for a con.

Nate: Did you think she was just dressed up like a nun for no reason?

Eliot: It's Parker.

(Beat)

Nate: ...Fair enough.

  Parker: "Oof. I'm so glad I don't live in the real world."

    • A really quick example of this pops up in "The 10 L'il Grifters Job" -- while wandering through a secret passageway, Hardison asks about the music playing in the background -- Parker responds with "oh, you hear that, too?"
    • She seems to be the perfect mixture of bizarre nurture and crazy ass nature, for instance, we learn she came by her love of Tasers from Archie Leach, her adoptive father.
  • Cold Reading: Dalton Reed's SOP in "The Future Job."
    • Nate, Sophie, and Hardison (in that order) occasionally use this when they have to make-up or adjust a con on the fly.
  • Comm Links: Hardison invented an earpiece called the Earbud that hides almost undetectably in one’s ear and can be used in all but the most extreme situations. The entire team nearly constantly has them, allowing them to easily communicate with each other and listen to any conversations that the others are having. Commonly somebody (mostly Hardison and Eliot) will mutter to themselves, forgetting others can hear them. Losing or turning off an Earbud is always a dramatic turn.
  • Completely Missing the Point: Parker has a number of these moments, particularly with relation to Hardison. One notable example comes after her Fake-Out Make-Out with Hardison in "The First David Job":

 Hardison: Can we talk about what just happened?

Parker: 'Yeah, crazy, right? Nate's ex-wife just showing up like that?'

 Sophie: Parker, you're jealous.

Parker: I'm not jealous! It's just when I see them together... I don't... like it...

    • Starts with Parker as early as the pilot.

 Hardison: He tried to kill us!

Parker: More importantly, he didn't pay us.

  • Complexity Addiction: This is Nate Ford's shtick. Numerous characters have pointed out that he's addicted to running increasingly complex cons.
    • In "The Gold Job" we see that Hardison's susceptible to it too. And Nate points out the BEST cons, are where your back-up is the quick and dirty route...KansasCityShuffle for the win!
  • The Con: And pretty much all related tropes. While the team's activities normally fall under The Caper, they usually run The Con as part of The Caper.
  • Concealing Canvas: In "The Bottle Job," we find that Hardison has hidden large quantities of cash inside the frame of his painting of Harlan Leverage III (AKA Old Nate).
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Played ludicrously straight in "The Big Bang Job" where Eliot takes cover during a gunfight behind a large cardboard box and it's shown stopping all of the bullets.
    • The question that needs to be asked here is not "Dude, how did that cardboard stop it?" Instead, I'd try for something more like "Dude, what was in that box?" It was a warehouse, and the sides and front WERE being shot up pretty well. That said, it was a pretty big risk to take... but I guess when you don't have a lot of options, risks are the way to go.
  • Confess in Confidence: Nate (a mostly-trained former seminary student) uses the sanctity of the confessional to achieve his aims as a conman in "The Miracle Job." He gets in on the wrong side to talk to the priest, and when the priest steps out, the mark's beleaguered assistant steps in... putting Nate in the right position to sway him into exposing the mark's plans.
  • Con Men Hate Guns: Eliot. Though it doesn't mean he can't use them.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: "Wade Perkins" (Hardison) in "The Three Days of the Hunter Job", complete with a standard-issue Room Full of Crazy. Hilariously, Eliot and Hardison start telling Parker the stuff on there is real, just to mess with her.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Several throughout the series, but, during "The Fairy Godparents Job," recurring FBI agents Taggart and McSweeten mention the events of "The Wedding Job" as well as "The Bank Shot Job," which they don't realize the Leverage team was involved in. Technically, they know that Hardison and Parker were involved in the events of the former, but they think that Hardison and Parker are fellow FBI agents.
    • Basically, whenever the show wants to use FBI agents for some gags, Taggart and McSweeten are the go-to characters, so it's not surprising that they'd be the ones making the references.
    • When the Yakuza show up in "The Runway Job," Eliot comments "Huh, cleavers. Haven't done that in a while." This refers back to his cleaver fight in "The Wedding Job," and the conversation he and Nate had in that episode:

 Eliot: "Hold a knife this way, dice an onion. Hold a knife this way, slice through eight Yakuza in four seconds..."

        • Actually, it's the Chinese Triad who shows up, a completely different group sans the fact they are both Eastern Asian and criminally active. Perhaps the show was generalizing things a bit.
    • In "The Reunion Job," it turns out Eliot originally heard the "people are like knives" speech from his high school home ec teacher.
    • When Bonanno shows up in "The Jailhouse Job" he's walking with a cane, obviously still recovering from the injuries he sustained in "The Three Strikes Job". He's also now a Detective Captain.
      • Nate has continued to use him as an ally, getting the evidence against Moreau to him in "The Big Bang Job" and calling him to arrest the killers in "The 10 L'il Grifters Job." They're even friendly enough to play poker together in "The Boys' Night Out Job" (which means Bonanno is conveniently around to arrest the bad guys again, too).
    • A commenter on Rogers' blog asked if the Stradivarius violin being smuggled in "The Mile High Job" was the same one Hardison used in "The Scheherazade Job," which Rogers liked so much he declared it canon.
    • In "The Underground Job," Sophie and Nate refer to a "fiddle game," which was run a few episodes earlier in "The Studio Job." Highlighted by Parker in this exchange:

 Parker: Is Eliot gonna be the fiddle again?

Nate and Sophie: No.

Parker: Can I be the fiddle?

Nate and Sophie: No.

    • In "The Rashomon Job," Hardison caustically brings up the hypnosis from "The Scheherazade Job" while giving Nate a very unfunny glare.
    • In both "The Iceman Job" and "The Morning After Job," Parker is nervous about having to seduce a target (normally Sophie's job), and brings up how things didn't go so smoothly when she tried that during "The Stork Job."

 Parker: Remember the last time I was the "carrot?" Remember how I stabbed a guy with a fork?

She's gotten more confident in herself by "The 15 Minutes Job.":

 Parker: I think I'm getting better at this... I didn't even stab him!

    • In "The Inside Job," when the team finds Parker's not-so-strange living quarters, the bunny from the very first episode is there.
    • Janet Lin, the Channel 6 reporter who the team uses to bring down Dr. Hannity in "The Inside Job," is the newscaster doing the story on the dagger that kicks off the plot in "The Rashomon Job."
    • At the beginning of "The Long Way Down Job," Nate opens the mission by saying "Let's go steal a mountain." Parker immediately comments "again," clarifying that they'd stolen a mountain -- well, really more of a mountain resort -- two years ago. This was a reference to "The Snow Job." As Word of God says, "after three years, you've earned your in-jokes."
    • At the end of "The Long Way Down Job," the team finds a bug in Nate's apartment and speculates as to who may have done it -- suggesting Sterling, Starke from the "Two Live Crew Job," Moreau from "The Big Bang Job" and "The San Lorenzo Job," Nate's father from "The Three-Card Monte Job" and the Irish Mob from "The Beantown Bailout Job."
    • Parker telling Sophie she likes her crazy driving in "The Big Bang Job," calling back to everyone's complaints about Parker's own driving in "The Boost Job" and "The Gone Fishin' Job."
    • Eliot uses the car he loaned to Nate for the con in "The Boost Job" to track a mook in "The 15 Minutes Job."
    • In "The Cross My Heart Job," Nate and Sophie agree to use the "MassDOT Special" to convince the National Weather Service that a tornado is headed for the airport. They do, indeed, run the same con they used on the Massachusetts Department of Transportation in "The Gone Fishin' Job."
    • In "The Queen's Gambit Job," the team has a conversation at the end that refers to the fact that Hardison "dies in Plan M," referring back to the pilot.
  • Convenient Slow Dance: Sophie and Nate share one at the end of "The Reunion Job" -- as do Hardison and Parker.
  • Conviction by Counterfactual Clue: In "The Homecoming Job," Sophie reveals that Congressman Jenkins lied about not knowing about their client's shooting in Iraq because he looked her straight in the eye when he said it, rather than at any other part of her anatomy. Apparently, the only time any man ever looks a woman in the eye is when he's making an effort to lie to her. Alternate explanations (e.g., he's Straight Gay, Asexual, or just Happily Married) apparently do not exist.
    • Admittingly, she is a world class grifter who can presumably read people very well. It is likely that there were other signs as well, that was simply one of the most notable. Also, it is Gina Bellman in a cocktail dress.
  • Cool Big Sis: Parker acts like one to Josie in "The Boost Job". Sophie, while more of a Team Mom, is also occasionally this towards Parker.
  • Cool Old Guy/ Old Master: Archie Leach in "The Inside Job" is one of these.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The villain in most of the earlier episodes.
  • Corrupt Hick: The judge in "The Bank Shot Job."
  • Courtroom Antic: Hardison's part of the con in "The Juror #6 Job." He started by bringing in a massive amount of information so boring and irrelevant that the judge was falling asleep, when by that point she should definitely have been demanding an actual justification for why it was important. Then he discredited his opposition's expert witness by bringing up the fact that he was on the no-fly list, which he only knew by hacking into their database and so had no proof of, and claiming that if the government didn't trust him to fly how could they trust his testimony. The judge ignored their objection and didn't give so much as a Disregard That Statement.
  • Courtroom Episode: "The Juror #6 Job", "The Lost Heir Job"
  • Crazy People Play Chess: Nate's first opponent is this in "The Queen's Gambit Job". He literally sleeps through most of the match, only waking up to make a single move. And he's so good that Nate tries to very quietly move and press the chess timer. It doesn't work.
  • Crazy Prepared:
    • Parker apparently spends her free time thinking up ways to rob stuff. "Some people do crosswords."
    • Also Nate, who, as noted below, made at least 13 different plans for the first job the team (minus Sophie) pulled (see the quote for Time for Plan B.)
    • Nate now has at least 26 standing plans. Allegedly, Hardison dies in about 6 or 7 of them (including Plan M, which they actually did, causing Nate to clarify that he only "is likely to die" in that plan, but is guaranteed to die in all the others, including plan C). Nobody else dies in any plans, so he's probably teasing Hardison. Eliot gets a trendy eye scar in one of them too.
    • When the team needs an ultraviolet light, Hardison casually pulls a portable one out of his bag, prompting Eliot to wonder why he would be carrying something like that.
      • Hardison also spends his weekends making disguises and extremely detailed fake identities (the basis for the plot of Juror #6) for the group.
    • Eliot spends free time watching hockey fights. "You never know when you'll have to fight a guy on ice."
    • The team works so well together that often when one of them turns out not to be Crazy Prepared enough, another team member has already prepared for the possibility.
      • When Parker does not bring a parachute for one job it turns out that Hardison packed one for her and snuck it into her gear.
  • Cringe Comedy: Not every episode, but some of them just pile it on. In "The Top-Hat Job", when half the crew is onstage performing a magic show they haven't exactly rehearsed for, not only do they keep cutting back to that part just to keep up the "comedy," but they add in some even worse Cringe Comedy when they have to use the magic show to get not only a thumb print but a retinal scan in order for the other half of the gang to do their job.
  • Crosscast Role: In an In-Universe example, Sophie gives a Giftedly Bad performance as Willie Loman.
  • Crossover: Averted, unfortunately. Word Of God says that if Psych hadn't made Leverage a fictional show within Psych's universe, Eliot would have had an uncle named Henry.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: Leverage has several of these, such as the named cons that we never see the team run, like the "London Spank," the "Genevan Paso Doble" and the "Apple Pie," which is a "Cherry Pie" but with lifeguards. Also, there's what Nate did at the Russian border. Word of God says that he may have technically hijacked a train, but that hasn't been mentioned on the show and likely never will be.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: A surprisingly one-sided fight scene in "The First David Job." Eliot can't even get a punch in until the very end, when he works out how to take down his unexpectedly fast opponent. By that time, he's barely able to stand and is impaired for the rest of the episode. Fortunately, he's stubborn.
  • Curse Cut Short

 "It's shrimp, you stupid fu--"

"Yippie-kay-ay, mother-" Cue scene cut and "Found it!"

  • Curtain Camouflage: Parker hides in the curtains from Moscone in "The Wedding Job."
  • Cut Himself Shaving: The sort of excuse used by the abusive father in "The Order 23 Job."
  • Cutting the Knot:
    • In "The Homecoming Job", Hardison wants to spoof the IP of a webcam and broadcast a fake signal; Eliot just throws a rock at it. It ends up being subverted when the lost feed alerts the guard to the fact that there's something going on.
    • Parker plays this straight in "The King George Job" when she has to replace the auctioneer.

 Parker: Sophie told me to find his true heart's desire and give it to him, but that would have taken way too long.

FLASHBACK TO AUCTIONEER'S OFFICE -- Parker: Does this rag smell like chloroform?

  • Darker and Edgier: Season Three by comparison. People often die either before or during cons, the stakes are raised, and Nate seems even more out of control.
  • Dating Catwoman: Nate and Sophie's pre-series relationship... even though he remained faithful to his wife and she believes he was never really tempted. (He was.)
  • Dead Little Sister:
    • A dead little son in Nate's case, whose needed medical treatments were denied by the very insurance company he worked for, resulting in quitting his job, divorcing his wife, and becoming an alcoholic. Not necessarily in that order.
    • In "The Future Job" it was revealed by a fake psychic that Parker had a Dead Little Brother who died in a car accident when they were both little. What makes it especially painful to her is that she was the one who taught him how to ride a bicycle, which was what he was doing when he was hit.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Everyone has their moments, but most notably Hardison and Eliot, particularly around each other. As in this hissed exchange while Hardison pretends to beat Eliot up as part of a con.
    • Hardison has been using an unconvincing fake accent with the character he is portraying:

 Eliot: Next time, man, I’ll play the thief.

Hardison: I’d like to hear you do an accent!

Eliot: I'd like to hear you do an accent!

Hardison: I went to Second City Chicago!

Eliot: Where did you find time between that and Karate at the Y?

    • Nate gets a good one in "The Wedding Job": "Yeah okay, yeah. Let's go rob Nicky Moscone. A guy who kills people, and lives in our city. Yeah, let's do that."
  • Deal with the Devil: A wealthy investor(?) who is powerful enough to plant a bug in the team's office and reinstate a greedy agriculture company's second-in-command after the team framed her offers to hook Nate up with loads of inside information on potential targets in exchange for a heads-up so he can sell his stocks before the team destroys the companies. Nate walks away, for now.
  • Death Glare: Eliot has it down to an art. In "The Zanzibar Market Job" Tara calls it "that thing with your eyes that scares people."
  • Death in the Clouds: A variation in "The Mile High Job", where someone on the plane has evidence they plan to destroy before it can be used against their company in court. The "evidence" turns out to be another employee, who the company wants assassinated before she can testify. And just to be certain, they try to bring down the whole plane...
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Nate chased all of the team members when he was previously an insurance investigator. One flashback reveals that Nate and Sophie even shot each other when he was chasing her.
  • Delayed Wire: The original con in "The Bottle Job."
  • Designated Parents: Nate and Sophie, with Eliot as the older brother and Hardison and Parker as the younger kids.
  • Determinator: Eliot. Nate, often to the chagrin of the team.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Pretty much every episode.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: In "The Bank Shot Job," Hardison mentions having to route through three different satellites to get a decent signal and download the latest Doctor Who torrent -- Parker turns on a lighter and says: "Hey... Illegal downloading is wrong." Then she sets fire to a wastebasket inside a small van. This is especially ironic because Parker is nothing if not a thief.
    • Surely Parker was just screwing with Hardison's head?
    • I think that, as someone who steals things like the hope diamond for the challenge, she more likely finds it wrong as it is cheating, like reading the last page of a mystery first.
    • Or that it's too easy. She might think that if he wants to see Doctor Who he should either hack into the BBC or deal with the alarms and guards to steal the hard copy.
      • No, dealing with alarms and guards to steal the unseen episodes, and the 'lost' episodes.
  • Dirty Business: Eliot Spencer is the team's "hitter" and is the only one on the team to physically hurt people on a regular basis. Even if nearly everyone he takes down is asking for it and he doesn't seem to have a problem with doing what has to be done he's the only one on a team of career-criminals-turned-Robin-Hoods who describes himself as a bad guy (and not in a way that suggests he's proud of it either).
    • His dialogue in "The Tap Out Job" to Sophie and the "Gone Fishin' Job" to Hardison before they return to the militia camp illustrates that he has no illusions about the nature of his work, but he also knows that he is particularly suited to it and that it's sometimes entirely necessary, so he shoulders the responsibility. He takes the pain so others don't have to, because he is the one who CAN take it.
    • It is repeatedly indicated that in the past Eliot commited acts for which there is no excuse or justification and it is the guilt over this that drives him to do what he does. Word of God describes him as a man who has accepted that he is eternally damned.
    • In "The Long Way Down Job," Eliot and Parker are trapped and their only way out is to abandon the body of the man they wanted to rescue. Eliot points out that they are the only two on the team that are cold enough to do it, which is why they are there. The only difference between them is that Parker is trying to become a better person, whereas Eliot has accepted his role.
  • Disappearing Box: The team performs this trick during their "Top Hat Job" magic show in order to get the CEO up to unlock a door requiring a retinal scan. Their way of doing it: they switch his box with an empty one when it passes behind a sheet.
  • Discriminate and Switch: Hardison in the "Homecoming Job": "This is because of my et-ni-ticity, ain't it? Cause I'm Jewish?" Bonus points for the nametag on his shirt reading "White."
    • Gets a callback in "The Cross My Heart Job" when Hardison has to use a woman's ID badge. When someone questions him about his gender, Hardison claims he's being sexist, racist, and anti-Semitic.
  • Disguised Hostage Gambit: In "The Bank Shot Job," Nathe is about to con a corrupt judge out of thousands of dollars when the bank is robbed and the robbers take everyone hostage when the police arrive. The robbers turn out to be father and son who only rob the place to get money to pay off some thugs holding the father's wife for ransom. The judge figures out that he is being scammed and when he disarms the robbers, he uses the gun to shoot Nate. When the cops storm the bank in the end, the team has arranged things to look like the judge was the sole robber and hostage taker. All the witnesses back them up since the judge is reviled by everyone and the cops will not investigate further since they hate his guts as well.
  • Disney Villain Death: In the finale of Season 4, Nate is holding Latimer and Dubenich at gunpoint. Nate reasons that if he kills one of them, the other goes free and becomes a Karma Houdini. Latimer and Dubenich are already pissed at each other, so he takes a fourth option (his third option was to shoot them both dead) and spares them, but sets the gun at the edge of the concrete platform they're standing on and walks away. Both Dubenich and Latimer go after the gun and get into a struggle causing them to fall off the platform.
  • Disorganized Outline Speech: The villain in "The Miracle Job."
  • Documentary Episode: "The Office Job." Hilarity Ensues.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Eliot likes to get up close, and with guns that's usually not a very good idea. Of course, just because he doesn't like them doesn't mean he can't use them.
  • Does This Make Me Look Fat?: In "The Wedding Job", one of the bridesmaids asks Parker and Sophie if the dress makes her look fat. Sophie reassures her, but Parker being Parker, she tells her the truth.

 Parker: Oh, definitely. I mean, why do you think I had to let out the waist, to make you look less skinny?

  • Doing It for the Art: Part of the team's entire schtick (the other part being Good Feels Good). They certainly aren't doing what they do for a living (consider that at the end of the pilot, the entire team was wealthy enough to live extravagantly for the rest of their lives).
  • Don't Explain the Joke: In "The First David Job."

 Parker: Gimme three days of prep. It'd be like taking diamonds from the French National Bank.

Beat

Parker: That's like taking candy from a baby.

Hardison: I got it.

Parker: A very easy thing to do.

Hardison: Got. It.

    • In "The Runway Job."

 Eliot: ...if you ask me. What? I date a lot of models. Lot of private fashion shows, if you know what I mean.

Parker: Yes, yes.

Eliot: But the dresses usually ended up on the ground.

Parker: Yup. I get it. You're a guy.

Eliot: Means they were naked.

Parker: Okay! Seriously?

  Hardison: "...Why am I looking away?"

    • Tara does a Towel Hits Floor variation in The Maltese Falcon Job, to Parker and Eliot's shock.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Parker, if "The Gone-Fishin' Job" is to be believed.

 Parker: Who knew a sedan could hit 140?

Sophie: Parker, never get behind the wheel of a car again.

    • The very next episode, "The Boost Job", reveals that she used to be a getaway driver for a gang of car thieves -- as a twelve-year-old, so this is likely subtle foreshadowing.
    • Sophie, for all her complaining in "The Gone Fishin' Job," qualifies as well as of "The Big Bang Job."

 Parker: Who taught you how to drive?

Sophie: A taxi driver in Istanbul.

Parker: I like it.

  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Jimmy Ford's motivation.
  • Dueling Hackers: Hardison got into one of these in "The Two Live Crew Job". Bonus points for the fact that the antagonist is played by Wil Wheaton.
  • Dumb Muscle: Eliot Spencer subverts this trope hard. He knows fashion, plays chess, cooks like a master chef, and can think on his feet in bad situations.
    • Eliot also parodies this trope in "The Three Days of the Hunter Job", when Hardison is stuck in the field and he has to look info up.

  The "http" goes before the "www dot", right?

He then proceeds to point out to Hardison that now he knows how it feels to have Mission Control sitting behind a keyboard making jokes.
  • Dysfunction Junction:
    • Nate was an honest man before the insurance company he worked as an investigator rejected the policy on his son's health coverage causing him to die. As a result of this, he gets divorced and becomes an alcoholic and turns to a life of Robin Hooding.
    • No one actually knows who Sophie really is as she is a grifter who is constantly living in new identities. She has a lot of angst about it in Season 2.
    • As the only member of the team to have physically hurt people in the past, Eliot is The Atoner. It's heavily implied he killed children for Moreau. Word of God has it that Eliot is a man who has "accepted that he is damned."
    • Parker grew up on in the foster system with a series of terrible foster parents -- one of whom she may have blown up after they stole her favorite toy. She had a brother who died at a young age in when he was hit by a car while on his bike -- she taught him to ride. She was driving get away cars when she was 10. After being caught for car theft when she was 12, she was thrown into juvenile detention. She trained under the greatest thief in the world as a teenager who kept her away from his real family because he thought she wouldn't fit in. To top it off she also has Asperger's Syndrome meaning that she never really fits in in social situations.
    • Hardison is the only member of the main cast that seems to be relatively normal as the playful hacker. He grew up in the foster system, but unlike Parker was in a stable situation with Nana.

Notes

  1. Ukrainian for "Oils"
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