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  • Earpiece Conversation: Common, since the gang wears their earpieces all the time when on the job (and Hardison has his in 24/7.) Usually it's Nate feeding people their lines, as in the "Nigerian Job":

 Sophie: I represent a group of investors who are looking to start an airline for short tour flights in Africa.

Dubenich: Out of Johannesburg?

Nate: Okay, he’s testing you. You want Bloemfontein.

Sophie: Keep away from the hubs. Revitalize the regional airports. In South Africa Bloemfontein for example. But really it’s Nigeria we’re focused on.

Nate: Yeah, perfect.

    • See "The Stork Job" for one of many incidents of this leading to hilarity:

 The Mark: Where are you from?

Nate: Pittsburgh, Detroit, Atlanta

Parker: Pittsburgh, Detroit, Atlanta.

Nate: No, pick one, Parker.

  • Emotionless Girl: Parker, sort of. It's not exactly that she doesn't have emotions, or doesn't display them, it's just that they're typically the wrong emotions. Played with in "The Twelve Step Job" when she goes on anti-depressants as part of her cover and suddenly becomes a more or less normal, well-adjusted human being.
    • In "The Snow Job", Parker has to pretend to be a patient dying of a brain tumor and Sophie is trying to help her prepare for the role.

 Sophie: Think about something sad. Like, think about when your father died.

Parker: (laughs hysterically)

      • In her defense, her parents were pretty awful. Also a nice Continuity Nod, since we may have seen her blow up her parents.
      • Later the Mark comments about that, stating her eyes looked like there was no soul.
    • This is slowly changing as her Character Development continues in Season 4 -- for example with her "I want to do the right thing!" monologue in "The Long Way Down Job."
    • She's getting much better--crying at the Star-Crossed Lovers story in "The Van Gogh Job", for example.
  • Enemy Mine: The team works with Sterling to help save Maggie in "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job."
    • Also for the upcoming "Last Dam Job" episode, they recruit a few old faces to help them out, including Hardison's Evil Counterpart Chaos.
  • Engineered Public Confession: The end of "The Homecoming Job", "The Future Job", "The Inside Job", and "The Studio Job". From the first of those examples: A congressman and the head of a Blackwater-style security company are basically using the Iraq War as a giant money laundering operation. The crew sends earlier proof of their collaboration the news outlets, and when reporters catch the two together they try to play it off as a secret plan to expose corruption. Cue the really incriminating conversation they had minutes earlier being sent to the reporters.
  • Episode on a Plane: "The Mile High Job."
  • Eureka Moment: Hardison gives Nate one in "The Two-Horse Job".
    • A Running Gag/ Once an Episode is that Nate will say some non-sequitur code/con-speak when he figures out how to pull off the con and then walks off.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • "The Miracle Job"; A priest is beat up, and two of our heroes go looking for the "local talent" involved. When they question a Hispanic gang, the leader goes "We're not monsters." It turns out one of the gang members was involved, whereupon the leader asks for his gun back so he can point it at the guy's head. "You're gonna have a long penance. Start by answering the man's question."
    • From "The Homecoming Job":

 Dufort: ... buying a United States Congressman is one of the best investments a corporation can make.

Hardison: Oh, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. I'm a professional criminal and I find that disturbing.

    • Sophie has done some bad things in the past and even now lies and tells half-truths all the time but the amount of it in politics disturbs her in "The San Lorenzo Job."
      • Shortly before that, Sophie is horrified to find out that a chain of art smugglers/grifters (i.e. her earlier profession) use children to smuggle their goods, and worried if her antics had similar victims without her knowing.
    • Arguably the entire basis of the show. It's a team of the greatest career criminals in the world, but they're using their skills to stop even worse people.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In "The Queen's Gambit Job", it's revealed that Sterling manipulated the entire con so that he could rescue his daughter from her overbearing stepfather.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: The accident at the beginning of "The Beantown Bailout Job". Of course, given that it was an engineered crash...
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": In "The Bottle Job," the villain's two henchmen are repeatedly introduced as "Liam" and "Liam's Brother".
    • Everyone only knows her as Parker. Word of God states that her name is actually just Parker.
      • More than word of god. When she picked up her ticket to Sophie's play, it was under "Parker. No first or last name. Just Parker."
  • Everything Is Online: Sometimes Averted, other times played straight. While Hardison does frequently hack into systems that would realistically not be remote-accessible, there are several occasions where he requires a hard-line tap to get access to the information he needs. In "The Tap-Out Job", he spends time faking the records of Nate's cover, and the mark simply calls his friend. Hardison points out that he can hack a computer, but he can't hack a hick. Also played pretty straight in "The Double Blind Job" where every single record from birth to death of the victims has been erased from the Web.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier If French: Sophie's Michelle the Rave Girl character from "The Mile High Job."
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Probably the only time we see Sterling truly off-balance is when Nate gives himself up to the Feds rather than the rest of his team at the end of "The Maltese Falcon Job".
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Sterling.

 Parker: He's like Nate. Evil Nate.

 Hardison: There are anomalies in the levels of the northeast quadrant.

Eliot: Speak English!

Hardison: Turn right, find bomb.

  • External Combustion: Played with.
  • Failed Attempt At Drama: See The Exit Is That Way.
  • Fake Action Prologue: The season 3 premiere starts with an over-the-top jailbreak, which turns out to actually be Sophie's plan for an over-the-top jailbreak. They don't use it.
  • Fake Kill Scare: Done by the heroes in "The Maltese Falcon Job". They have a corrupt mayor held hostage in a warehouse and make him call a criminal he's been working with (who they're running a con on). Then they make it sound as though the mayor has just been killed. Which blows their cover the moment the mayor escapes and shows up alive.
  • Fake Nationality: In-universe example in "The Juror #6 Job". Eliot has a friend help with a very minor part of the con. He plays an Indian man and looks and sounds the part, only to revert to his (presumably native) strong Scottish accent as soon as the conference call is over.
    • Hardison is often a Fake Brit when he grifts.
    • Sophie has been a Fake American along with fake French, Indian, South African, and Austrian/German, among others.
    • Not exactly a nationality, but Nate's grifts often play him up as a Southerner, mostly so he can come off as abrasive and simple so his mark will underestimate him.
  • Fakeout Escape: A crucial part of the plan during "The Jailhouse Job".
  • Fake-Out Make-Out:
    • Parker and Hardison during "The First David Job." Cue UST.
    • They do it again in "The Jailhouse Job"

 Hardison: You know I like this, when we pretend to kiss.

Parker: Pretend?

Hardison: Heeey...

  • Faking and Entering: In "The Iceman Job," a diamond seller has some thieves steal a shipment of his diamonds so he can claim the insurance while selling the diamonds on the black market.
  • Faking the Dead: The team uses this every so often to convince their mark of the seriousness of the situation -- in one notable instance in "The Three Days of The Hunter Job," Parker was run over by a car, with the mark standing right there.
    • In "The Two Live Crew Job," Chaos tried to assassinate Sophie, so they pretended the attempt succeeded -- complete with funeral -- to figure out who it was.
    • They fake Parker's death in "The Morning After Job" to convince The Mark he killed her.
    • They fake the assassination of Sophie's fiancee character in "The San Lorenzo Job" to help complete the election victory (and ensure that she can leave the country).
  • Fan Mob: Eliot gets one during the team's Fiddle Game in Memphis.
  • Fan Service: Aside from Parker as Ms. Fanservice (see below), Hardison spends most of "The King George Job" in a tank top with his well-muscled arms showing. And Sophie's outfits always accentuate (and reveal) her long, long legs.
  • Fatal Flaw: Nate's anger, and his alcoholism.
    • Sophie's desire to make history and go for the big score causes major problems in "The First David Job."
    • Hardison's tendency to go WAY over-the-top when he grifts gets him into trouble on occasion, most notably in "The Iceman Job."
  • Faux Yay: In "The 12-Step Job," Hardison spontaneously pretends to be Eliot's boyfriend in order to get into a rehab center, leading to a Crowning Moment of Funny while he hams it up and Eliot visibly struggles to stay in character because he had been flirting with said receptionist...and had just kissed her hand.

 Hardison: See he thinks the flirting just makes me jealous but it doesn't. You know, but if you was like Brad Pitt or Denzel or somebody? Oh girl, it would be on. Seriously!" *ring desk bell* "Bring yo' ass. Bring yo' ass!

  • FBI Agent: Taggart and McSweeten, Those Two Guys who show up and get credit for the team's work in "The Bank Shot Job," "The Wedding Job," "The Fairy Godmother Job," and "The Morning After Job." Their appearances are a Running Gag -- they're well-meaning but incompetent, and they have benefited from high-profile arrests that are handed to them by the True Companions.
    • Parker, Hardison and Eliot frequently play FBI agent characters.
    • An FBI agent is the antagonist in "The Three Strikes Job" and "The Maltese Falcon Job."
  • Fifteen Minutes of Fame: In the aptly named "The Fifteen Minutes Job", the crew takes the mark down by briefly making him famous.
  • Film Felons: Part of The Caper in "The Stork Job."
  • First-Name Basis: Parker may or may not be an example.
  • Five-Finger Discount: Parker's specialty. An actual pickpocket, Apollo Robbins, was called on as a consultant so that all of the scenes where she "acquires" things are realistic. Said consultant played Parker's counterpart on Starke's team in "The Two Live Crew Job." He also has mentioned in interviews that Beth Riesgraf, who plays Parker, learned to be a pretty damn good pickpocket and could probably make a living at in real life.
    • In "The Reunion Job" (second episode aired, sixth episode written and shot), Parker has to squeeze between two men, one of them carrying a satchel with a large bound document, and lift said document. Per Word of God: after instruction from Robbins, they first rehearsed the scene just to block the movements, then the director said "let's try it with the lift." Beth Riesgraf turned around, grinned hugely, and held up the book; she already had it, and the director hadn't noticed her doing it.
  • Five Foundations of Morality: The show builds off the conflict between Care/Fairness and Authority, that certain victims are not treated fairly or kindly because of failure in the current system. So the problem is that if the good guys all played by the rules (honoring Authority), the victims would continue to pile up in the wake of unchecked villainy (failing to honor Fairness and Care). Because of this, the audience can root for the heroes even though they're disobeying the law (grandly) and even hurting people. If you stop to think, though: To what extent are they free to inconvenience or even harm innocent bystanders (for example, honest guards just doing their jobs) in order to accomplish the mission?
    • (Of course, once you're past the premise, you can see that it's not "harm five innocents" vs. "let bad guy go free"; it's "harm five innocents" vs. "allow harm to continue to plague 500 others" and then we're into the Utilitarianism mindset. If this leads you to mull over your own moral and ethical inclinations in these matters, the show may have done good by that alone.)
    • It gets a little more edgy when the dichotomy is Authority vs. Ingroup: To what extent are they free to harm innocent bystanders in order to ensure the team's safety and freedom even when the mission is (at that point) a wash? If Eliot breaks a guard's arm to keep Nate from going to jail, is he still a heroic type? [1]
  • Flashback Cut: Used for comedy and to explain The Caper.
    • The comedy ones tend to be memorable. Witness:
      • Young Parker seeing a horse kill a clown.
      • Young Parker blowing up her foster parents' house (possibly with them in it) for taking The Bunny away.
      • Eliot concluding that the Butcher of Kiev will probably remember him.
      • Eliot remembering being forced to play Russian Roulette -- and finding it better than having to go see one of Sophie's plays.
      • "It's ridiculously dangerous! This is like a danger cupcake with murder icing!"
      • Hardison sitting next to Halle Berry when she won her Oscar.
  • Foe Yay: The interaction between Nate and The Italian is thick with it. Also implied to be how Nate and Sophie initially became attracted to each other.
  • Foil: The classy, social, likable, completely fake consummate liar Sophie and the crazy, No Social Skills Cloudcuckoolander but always honest Parker have this feel at times.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Eliot's Evil Counterpart Badass Israeli calls Starke "your mother's cunt" in Hebrew in "The Two Live Crew Job."
    • Sophie calling Nate a wanker after he shoots her in "The Nigerian Job" flashback.
  • Foreshadowing: Hardison in "The Reunion Job," when Nate and Sophie ask if he rigged the Reunion King and Queen ballot for them:

 Hardison: "Naw, man. I don't rig elections. I mean, I could..."

    • They end up defeating Moreau in "The San Lorenzo Job" by having Hardison rig an election.
  • For Halloween I Am Going as Myself:
    • In "The Snow Job," Nate uses his own identity as an ex-insurance investigator to convince the mark to buy into a life insurance scam.
    • He tries again in "The Iceman Job", posing as an insurance investigator to get a way into the mark's vault. By he time he's found out, it's too late.
  • Four Is Death: The episode after Sophie leaves, "The Iceman Job," does not go well for the team. They get their groove back when Sophie sends in Sixth Ranger Tara to fill her role while she's gone.
    • Also happens briefly at the beginning of "The Gold Job", when Hardison decides he will sit the con out if he can't run it. So the team attempts to go on without him. The briefing (led by Nate attempting to control Hardison's infoscreens) is a farce. Things go downhill from there.
  • Foster Kid: Both Hardison (whose Nana was a great foster mom) and Parker (who had not quite so good an experience and may have blown up her foster parents).
  • Free Wheel: The "12 Step Job" uses it for misdirection: it'd be natural to think that the camera's focusing on the wheel rolling out of the wreckage just because that's a standard convention for filming car explosions, but it's actually because that wheel is where all the money got hidden...
  • Friend on the Force: FBI agents Taggart and McSweeten and Massachusetts State Police Detective Captain Patrick Bonano. Of course, Taggart and McSweeten don't actually realize they're fulfilling this role -- they still believe that Hardison and Parker are fellow agents, and they think they're solving the cases themselves.
  • Friends with Benefits: What Nate and Sophie are telling themselves and others that they are, as of season 4. (The rest of the team seems skeptical.)
    • As of "The Last Dam Job" they may be finally admitting to an actual relationship, as Nate talked about "plans" and then kissed Sophie when she asked him to clarify.
  • Friendship Moment:
    • Everyone coming to save Parker in "The Inside Job."
    • "You killed my friend's van."
    • Nate going to jail for the team in "The Maltese Falcon Job," and everyone helping to break him out in "The Jailhouse Job."
    • The occasional team dinners, such as at the end of "The Boost Job."
    • Hardison and Eliot apparently have a secret handshake as of the end of "The Van Gogh Job."
  • Friend to All Children: Parker and especially Eliot both exhibit these traits. Heck, if the kid drew the short stick in life, they'll go into Papa Wolf ("The Order 23 Job") or Mama Bear ("The Stork Job") mode to help them.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Parker's normally mild-mannered friend Peggy manages to beat off an assailant with a knife using nothing but a frying pan, and from the look of it leaves him with a nasty lump on the head.
  • Functional Addict: Nate Ford could be the Trope Namer. He acknowledges it himself:

 Nate: "I'm a functioning alcoholic. The trick is not to get hung up on the "alcoholic," but celebrate the "functioning" part of the sentence."

  • Funny Background Event: In "The Studio Job." Hardison and Parker are in a sound studio, distracted, while behind plexiglass in a soundproof room Eliot furiously tries to get their attention while a hitman tries to kill him.
    • Parker continuing to do MMA moves on Hardison while the conversation continues in "The Tap Out Job."
    • Parker sliding back and forth on a rolling chair behind the back of the innocent civilian Hardison is trying to con in "The 15 Minutes Job."
    • Parker grabbing the kidnap victim and Eliot taking out the kidnapper while Sophie yammers on to distract the waiter in the "Cross My Heart Job."
    • Eliot beating up people in the background of Hardison's attempts to scare one of the people into giving themselves up in "The Boys' Night Out Job".
  • Fun with Subtitles: In the pilot episode, the subtitles describe Parker as "Security Circum—" then are deleted and replaced with "Infiltration and Alter—" which is also deleted and replaced with "Thief."
    • In the first episode of season three, "The Jailhouse Job," the subtitle "Nate's Apartment" is deleted and replaced with "Leverage HQ."
  • Gambit Roulette: A few of their more complicated schemes edge into this.
  • Gaslighting: Some of the cons at least flirt with this trope, if not play it straight. Certainly we can assume that the mark needed extensive amounts of therapy after "The Order 23 Job," (where the team convinces a germophobic Corrupt Corporate Executive that he has a fast-moving fatal disease) and the same goes for Vector in "The Morning After Job."
    • In the latter example, they convinced a protected federal witness that he had killed his one-night stand, played by Parker, to convince him to give them evidence against Moreau. The plan goes awry, so they end up bringing Parker into the courtroom when he's about to give his testimony and escape all consequences for his actions. Needless to say, he flips out and ends up being tazed after leaping off the stand screaming "WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?" at Parker and poor McSweeten.
    • "The Three Days of The Hunter Job" is another one. The team convinces the corrupt reporter that there's a deadly chemical in the water supply, and give her pills to counteract it -- pills that were actually just caffiene pills in a jar labelled "anti-psychotics". Guess what happens when she interrupts a broadcast for "breaking news" and her producers tackle her...
  • Gambit Pileup: Considering the genre, they happen frequently. One notable example is "The Second David Job," where Nate's gambit essentially depends on Sterling's.
    • "The Rashomon Job" in spades. It's five years before the team's founding, meaning each thief is an independent operator after the MacGuffin. Each has a really good plan to get their mitts on it using their particular specialty. Each one manages to screw up each others' attempts to get the MacGuffin in the most spectacular way possible. In the end: Nate, who was working for the insurance company, exposes the MacGuffin as a fraud. The art thefts were done by the curator, who had an antiquities smuggling "side business."
  • Gay Bar Reveal: How was Eliot supposed to know it was a lesbian bar?
  • Geeky Turn On: Played with in "The Mile-High Job."

 Hardison: I'm just remote-accessing the plane's electrical system from 3,000 miles away. You know, if you were a geek, you'd be really turned on right now.

    • In "The Double-Blind Job," the client's less-than-platonic interest in Hardison is suddenly heightened when she sees him at work.
    • Hardison also hits it off with a female "co-worker" when they discuss the new expansion for World of Warcraft.
  • Gender Separated Ensemble Episode: split into the two appropriately-titled episodes "The Girls' Night Out Job" and "The Boys' Night In Job".
  • Genius Bruiser: Eliot is a perfect example; besides being an accomplished martial artist, he apparently has professional training in the culinary arts, speaks multiple languages, and in general is a lot smarter than the others (or at least Hardison) give him credit for. This tends to annoy him a bit. He finally gets credit for it after rescuing Nate and Maggie in "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job".

 Maggie: You know, people underestimate you, Eliot.

Nate: That's kind of the point.

 Du Fort: You stupid f--

(Listening through earpieces) Parker: Oh! There it is!

    • Sophie, about her donation to an art exhibit.

 "It's nothing compared to the magnificent beauty of your dagger."

    • Don't forget the scene Hardison spends with Parker's legs wrapped around his head. It's Played for Laughs, but if you ignore what's being said it's a rather compromising position.
    • The Two Live Crew Job: 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).
    • Eliot's story about "trimming a banzai" with a Japanese policewoman in "The Reunion Job."
  • Giant Mook: The random security guard from "The Schaherezaede Job." Standing roughly One Head Taller than the rest of Alexander Moto's security detail, he gives Eliot a surprisingly tough fight and is knocked out. He then wakes up and attacks him again, forcing Eliot and Parker to blow him up, dropping him thirty feet into a safe and knocking him unconcious. The plan goes wrong, Moto rushes in, and the guy wakes up, dusts himself off, and proceeds to ready himself for a rematch. Essentially the TV version of a Boss in Mooks Clothing.
  • Giftedly Bad: Sophie, at acting, except when it's a con. "The Stork Job" shows a particularly interesting example when Sophie pulls off an excellent acting job. Eliot is shocked and Nate explains that "she can act when it's an act."
  • Gilligan Cut: Often to Hardison:
    • From "The Long Way Down Job":

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

Nate: (stammers)

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

    • From "The Ten L'il Grifters Job":

 Parker: We have the blueprints.

Hardison: (Gilligan Cut to a few hours later in the office) We do NOT have the blueprints!

  • Give Me Back My Wallet: In "The Inside Job", Parker and her mentor Archie share an embrace -- and then Archie asks for his wallet back.
  • Girl with Psycho Weapon: Parker has been exploding things, possibly human things, depending on the viewer, since the age of six. Word of God has confirmed that in the flashback in the pilot, it was Parker's foster parents that she blew up in the house.
  • A Glass in the Hand: In "The Double Blind Job", the sight of the client of the week flirting with Hardison leads Parker to utterly demolish her beer bottle. With her fingers.
  • Going Cold Turkey: Subverted in "The Twelve-Step Job" when, after a forced stint in rehab and a fair amount of withdrawal, Nate ends the episode with the line "I'm ready for a drink." Averted in season two when it's clear that even though Nate has quit drinking, he's still an addict and trying to control everything.
  • Gone Horribly Right: One of the more frequent way that the team's plans go awry.
    • The team does such a great job of making everyone believe that their mark is a true psychic in "The Future Job" that he's kidnapped by some criminals who want the mark's help finding a lost bank heist stash.
    • Hardison convinces the Russians in "The Iceman Job" that he's an expert diamond thief -- which becomes a problem when they kidnap him and force him to steal a diamond.
    • In "The Underground Job," the mine owner is accidentally convinced to fire his workers, shut down his mine, and blow it up -- which is a problem since they're trying to help the workers keep their jobs.
    • Shows up as early as "The Nigerian Job" -- they did everything perfectly, it just turns out that they did it to a good guy.
    • In "The Miracle Job," they try to dissuade a real estate developer from shutting down a church and turning the area into a mall by faking a miracle -- which convinces the develop to buy the church anyways and set up a Bible-themed entertainment and shopping center instead.
  • Good Feels Good: The end of "The Homecoming Job." Seems to have brought about Chronic Hero Syndrome on the team by season two.
  • Good Guy Bar: McRory's pub, where Leverage Consulting and Associates meet their clients.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Nate like whoa.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: It's probably best that we didn't see Eliot beating up those two mooks in the beginning of "The Double-Blind Job," since Hardison later said that Eliot was cleaning blood and teeth off of his shirt in addition to the coffee. Don't spill Eliot's coffee.
  • Go to Alias: Rogers says the Doylist reason for doing this is to lessen the number of names they have to run by their lawyers.
    • Nate uses Jimmy Papadokalis every time he's playing a lawyer; he's used Tom Baker and Bob Gibson multiple times as well.
    • Eliot has used the name Wes Abernathy at least twice.
    • Parker has used Alice White at least twice.
  • Great Escape: The "Jailhouse Job" opens with the team busting Nate from a courthouse. It soon cuts to Nate, behind bars, pointing out to Sophie that it would never work, and he points out the numerous flaws in it. He then breaks out of prison anyway, and pins the warden/CorruptCorporateExecutive as his accomplice in one episode.
  • Groin Attack: Done hilariously by Eliot in "The Three Card Monte Job".
    • Sophie does this to Nate in "The Boost Job" to create a distraction. In her defense, he had slapped her ass earlier.
  • Groupie Brigade: Eliot acquires one when posing as a country and western singer in "The Studio Job".
  • Guile Hero: The whole team, Nate in particular.
  • Guns Akimbo: Eliot does this in "The Big Bang Job." Also a good example of Gun Kata.
  • Guyliner: Eliot has to wear some for his character in "The Runway Job." Hardison, quite naturally, mocks him for it.
  • Hair Flip: Sophie and Eliot performed a double hair flip while riding down a window-washing elevator in "The Inside Job."
  • Half Arc Season: Attempted with Season 3, but due to availability, odd timing, lack of scripts, etc. the arc episodes are heavily concentrated at the end of the season and most of the first two-thirds goes by without anything involving the arc happening.
  • Handsome Lech: Eliot Spencer, both on and off screen. On the other hand, everyone else in the True Companions gets to be part of an Official Couple, so it seems only fair.
  • Hands-On Approach: In "The Studio Job", Kaye Lynn sits in Eliot's lap while helping him get the hang of playing something on the guitar.
  • Hannibal Lecture: An example of a good guy one in "The Experimental Job", when Eliot turns the questions of a CIA interrogator against him.
  • Happily Adopted: Hardison loooooves his Nana.
  • Happy Dance:
    • Parker does one after stealing the dagger in "The Rashomon Job."
    • Hardison does one after busting the guys who put him in a coffin. Nate calls him out on it, until he points out They put him in a coffin!
  • Hates Being Touched: Both Eliot and Parker tend to dislike being touched. Parker in particular has no problem with getting up in people's space to distract the guards when necessary, but she once broke a guy's fingers for putting a hand on her leg.
  • Hattori Hanzo: Nate and Sophie get Eliot a Hanzo sword for Christmas in "The Ho Ho Ho Job." Nate knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a samurai.
  • Heroic BSOD: Nate has one in "The Radio Job" when he sees his father blown up by Dubenich's henchmen.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Eliot often pulls these against the rare equally strong opponents.
  • Hey, That's Mine!: Parker pulls this. A lot.
  • "Hey You!" Haymaker: Used by Eliot when he grabs a security guy who was tailing an accountant with a hit on her when he drags him into an airplane bathroom and knocks him out in "The Mile High Job."
    • He does something similar in "The Bank Shot Job" to one of the meth heads holding the mother hostage.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Eliot is smart, and an excellent cook. Oh, and a pretty good judge of fashion.

 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?

Eliot: I'm just sayin'. [Parker stalks away; model walks by] How you doin'?

    • Hardison, meanwhile, is a kickass artist and craftsman. (As is Aldis Hodge in real life.)
    • Parker, despite her small frame, is extremely strong. It comes from, in her own words, hanging off of buildings by her fingertips. She's also picked up quite a few skills from her long career as a professional thief (she was a getaway driver at age twelve before becoming a car thief, and there's no word on how long she was a driver). Among other things, she's really handy with engines.
    • While Taggart and McSweeten may seem like standard bumbling FBI agents, in season 3, it’s revealed that Taggart is a Krav Maga instructor for the FBI.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Done on Gina Bellman in "The 2 Live Crew Job" by holding a bomb to her belly. And later stuffing her in a coffin. Take that, How I Met Your Mother!
    • At the end of the episode, she goes on a journey to "find herself"; the next episode, she's only present in phone calls from the main team, usually shot from the chest up behind a bar or in the back seat of a cab. Of course she came back for "The Maltese Falcon Job" and was running around on a freighter while seven-and-a-half months pregnant.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Subverted, in that the humor in Parker's childhood comes not from the abuse, but from her revenge on the abusers.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The writers prefer their villains to be taken down this way. They even use the phrase in the DVD commentaries.
    • One example in the episode "The 15 Minutes Job" -- not only do they bring a crisis PR consultant down using his own business methods, they also set him up for a drunk driving accident to make up for an earlier incident in which he'd set someone else up for a drunk driving accident in which he WAS driving.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Hardison may be the greatest hacker in the world, but even then what he can do is unrealistic.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Monkeywrenched every which way with Hardison, who is confident with girls, and openly admits to playing World of Warcraft (and even bonds with a "coworker" over it in a cover!) and torrenting Doctor Who. And he's not exactly "Hollywood" good-lookin', either, but he can rock a suit when he needs to. In "The Bottle Job" Hardison strips to arrange a last minute weatherman job and trust me -- he is definitely Hollywood Nerd!
  • Hollywood New England: Subverted in that while Boston is played by Portland, Oregon, they actually do a better job than most shows of staying true to New England realities.
  • Home Base: The Leverage Consulting and Associates offices in Season 1. McRory's and Nate's apartment from Season 2 on.
  • Honey Trap: Sophie usually fills this role, as does Tara while Sophie is gone in late Season 2. Parker also gets her shot, such as in "The Iceman Job" and "The Morning After Job."
  • Honor Among Thieves: Running a con on your own team is taboo.
  • Hostage Situation: Nate and Sophie wind up in one during a con in "The Bank Shot Job."
  • Hot Chick in a Badass Suit:
    • Anytime a con involves Parker "dressing up". (In a business suit, gosh!)
    • "Pinch-hitter" Jeri Ryan's Tara, who is, to quote Hardison, "one sexy librarian."
    • Sophie, usually at least once an episode.
  • Hot for Teacher: Eliot for his high school home ec teacher, as seen in his "Reunion Job" flashback.
  • Hot Librarian: Tara's introduction.
  • Hot Mom: Maggie, Nate's ex-wife.
  • How We Got Here: "The Second David Job", begins with a moment from the climax of the episode, then spends the episode showing How We Got Here.
    • This is done in a couple other episodes, including "The First David Job," "The San Lorenzo Job," and "The 10 Li'l Grifters Job."
  • Humiliation Conga: Happens to many marks, and to the Chief of Security in "The Rashomon Job."
  • Hustling the Mark: Subverted in "The Bottle Job," in which Nate pretends to pull this trick on his mark in a game of poker. When the mark realizes he's been scammed, he pulls a gun on Nate. Which is a problem, since he's in a room full of off-duty cops who he's just confessed his involvement in a major heist to.
  • Hypno Fool: "The Scheherezade Job". In order for their heist to work, they have Hardison infiltrate an orchestra since he had been a violin prodigy when he was young. He was nervous about not having touched a violin in years, but when his solo comes he plays his part beautifully. The Reveal at the end is that Nate had hypnotized him to return to his childhood level of skill, 'shaking the cobwebs out' as he put it. It still earned Nate a big What the Hell, Hero? from the rest of the team, with callbacks to it in future episodes.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Eliot toward Hardison, as seen in "the Office Job". "Nobody throws Hardison off a roof. Except maybe me."
  • I Call It Vera: Hardison's van, "Lucille." And then, after it gets blown up, "Lucille 2.0". Unfortunately, Lucille 2.0 has also been blown up with Hardison's own EMP gun by Chaos in the "Ho Ho Ho Job". And yes, there is a Lucille 3.0. This may end up being a Once a Season Running Gag.
  • I Can Explain: Nate says this in every episode when he interacts with his ex-wife Maggie.
    • Word of God is that he said it a lot when he was in trouble during their marriage.
  • I Can't Hear You: Nate, in a low moment in the season two finale, calls Sophie to tell her the team's in trouble and confess that he needs her. Unfortunately, she's on a helicopter and can't make out... at least some of what he's saying.
  • Identical Grandson: Played with. Hardison paints a picture of the "founder" of their "firm" to make them seem more legitimate. He looks like Nate aged fifty years..
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All the episodes are named according to The Crime Job.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: In "The Cross My Heart Job," Hardison lands a passenger jet using skills he learned from a flight simulator video game.
  • "I Know What We Can Do!" Cut: Played with in "The Two Live Crew Job," where Nate describes how impossible a painting would be to steal, including all the specific next-to-impossible obstacles they'd have to overcome... while a different group of thieves are busy overcoming all those obstacles. The team gets in just as the painting has been replaced with a stock Dogs Playing Poker.
  • Imagine Spot:
    • When The Italian invites Nate to dinner, he briefly visualizes himself getting strangled from behind while she casually drinks a glass of wine.
    • Eliot and his counterpart play out their entire fight in their heads in "The Two Live Crew Job." They're both beaten up by the end. Everybody else in the room is dead.
    • Parker has one in "The Radio Job" where she imagines Nate's father going back in time to 1963 (It Makes Sense in Context), complete with a Suspiciously Similar Song to the Doctor Who theme playing.
  • I'm Going to Hell For This: Hardison's reaction to Nate's plan to steal a church in "The Miracle Job."
  • Impersonating an Officer: A regular part of the team's plans.
  • Implacable Man: The Giant Mook from "The Schaherezade Job" who seemingly cannot be stopped by any means. Knocked out, blown up, dropped a full story into a vault, he inevitably returns for more.
  • Impossible Thief: "Let's go steal an X", though they usually do this through Bavarian Fire Drill or similar means.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Eliot Doesn't Like Guns. He'll use pretty much anything else.
    • His Improvised Weapons included an egg whisk and AN APPETIZER in "The Wedding Job."
    • In "The 15 Minutes Job," Eliot uses a screen door.
    • We haven't seen it, but alledgedly he fought a man with a nerf sword in Damascus in 2002.
    • His Evil Counterpart Mikel Dayan would mop the floor with you. Because she once killed a guy with a mop.
  • Improvised Weapon: For starters, Sophie using a fire extinguisher in a fight.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bomb: Subverted in "The Two Live Crew Job." The bomb sent to Sophie is very subtle, as it's motion sensitive and hidden in the bottom of a vase. No timer, no wires, just the bomb.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug: Subverted and Lampshaded in "The Nigerian Job."

 Dubenich: I found the transmitter!

Nate: Ah, you found the transmitter with the blinking light. Yeah, we wanted you to figure some of it out.

  • Induced Hypochondria: Used for Gaslighting in "The Order 23 Job." The team notices a Corrupt Corporate Executive about to go away to Club Fed and escape with his stolen seems to have germophobia... so they drug his water, send him to the hospital, then hijack an entire wing to make him think he's ended up in the middle of a pandemic.
    • In "The Second David Job," the crew convinces the curator of a museum that he has fallen ill due to a mummy's curse. Maggie tells him it's ridiculous -- everyone knows it's just a deadly fungus.
  • Indy Ploy: There's often some twist at the end of the episode that throws the con off track, resulting in them having to make it up as they go along. One of the most notable is "The Beantown Bailout Job," where the guy who was supposed to run to the police turned out to be the head of the operation they were trying to take down.)
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Nate, most notably at the end of "The 12 Step Job."
  • In Harm's Way: The entire team has a touch of adrenaline junkie about them.
  • In Medias Res: "The First David Job," for one.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Raised by Wolves Parker has a touch of this. YMMV on how innocent it is as the series goes on -- it almost always happens around Hardison.
  • Insecurity Camera: They take out the security cam with a thrown rock. Somewhat averted as when the guard's captain is told something is wrong with the camera, he goes running to the site.
  • Insecurity System: The bank in Juan, in "The Bank Shot Job". Something of a mixed blessing, as they're not the ones robbing it...
  • Inspector Lestrade: Played with with FBI Agents Taggart and McSweeten, in that they think that the team is actually also with the FBI and don't realize that they're not solving the crimes themselves.
  • Instant Drama Just Add Tracheotomy: Played for laughs in "The Rashomon Job." Everyone except Hardison thinks he's having an allergic reaction and requires a tracheotomy, with the knife being handed to Eliot getting progressively larger each time the story is retold. Subverted in that Hardison does not actually want or need said tracheotomy, and has to con his way out of the procedure.
  • Instant Mystery, Just Delete Scene: The show uses this trick to hide some of the crew's cleverer preparations: the audience usually isn't let in on the entire scheme until it actually goes down, when the missing steps are revealed in flashbacks.
    • Veteran viewers will have little trouble identifying the moments when someone in the crew is doing SOMETHING that is part of the unrevealed plan (ex: Sophie borrowing someone's coat, Hardison working on some random little device, etc) but it's not always possible to tell how the pieces all fit together until the end.
  • Instant Sedation: Played straight in "The King George Job," in which Parker asks an auctioneer the traditional question, "does this rag smell like chloroform to you?", and knocks him out in about 2 seconds.
  • Instant Web Hit: Used in "The Tap Out Job" to convince The Mark that hiring Eliot for his MMA fights will help his business. Of course, this is a con -- Hardison set up a script to automatically view the video from many different IP addresses.
    • Hardison uses the same trick to help make The Mark's fake act of heroism famous in "The 15 Minutes Job."
  • Insult Backfire: From "The Top Hat Job":

 Goon: You know when I said earlier you had pretty hair? I lied.

Parker: Yeah, well, I lied when I said you didn't. Wait... dammit. ('jumps off bridge to escape')

  • Interpol Special Agent: Sterling. Word of God holds that Interpol is something like UNCLE in the Leverage universe, a law enforcement all-star team.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Invoked in "The Radio Job", when the crew are in a building surrounded by the FBI. In order to get out, they pit them against Homeland Security and turn it into a turf war.
  • In the Blood: In "The Queen's Gambit Job", The Mark's stepdaughter is an undefeated chess prodigy who is able to beat even Nate at the game. It comes to no surprise when it was revealed that her real father is Sterling since He. Never. Loses.
  • In Love with the Mark: Happens to one of the grifters in "The Lonely Hearts Job," kicking off the plot.
  • I Own This Town: The judge in "The Bank Shot Job."
  • Invincible Hero: For a while early on, Eliot didn't fight anyone who even gave him a challenge. Since then, he's taken a few serious beatings, but has yet to actually lose a fight. At least it makes him immune to The Worf Effect.
    • Although he complains far more often than anyone else about how little time they have between jobs, so there's some indication that he does in fact feel the consequences.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • In "The Second David Job":

 Nate: (to Blackpoole)"You can't let your personal feelings affect policy! You have a responsibility to the shareholders! No exceptions!"

    • In "The Maltese Falcon Job":

 "My name is Nate Ford and I am a thief."

    • In "The Juror #6 Job":

 Nate: "Apparently, there is an evil conspiracy lurking behind the curtain of every routine, etc, etc, etc."

    • In "The Big Bang Job":

 Parker: "I have an idea."

Sophie: "Am I gonna hate it?"

Parker: "No, but he is." (raises eyebrows and smiles at Hardison).

      • Then later...

 Parker: "You got an idea?"

Hardison: "Yeah."

Parker: "Am I gonna hate it?"

Hardison: "No, but I am."

    • "You know, the sass? Not helping."
    • In "The Three Card Monte Job," Jimmy Ford repeatedly accuses Nate of thinking he's better than him. At the end of the episode, when Nate has foiled his plans and is running him out of town, Jimmy says "You're more ruthless than me, crueler than me... Maybe you are better than me."
    • From "The Boost Job:"

 Sophie: "Could have done without the ass slap."

Nate: "Just trying to sell the bit."

      • Then later...

 Nate: "Could have done with the knee."

Sophie: "Just trying to sell the bit."

 Hardison: Li'l Jennifer Pearson's wearing you out, ain't she?

Eliot: Dude, we walked the Freedom Trail twice.

Hardison: Nice!

Eliot: No, man, the actual Freedom Trail. We took paddle boats to the public gardens, shopped on Newbury Street, and went to something called the Boston Duck Tour.

 For all you Spec-Monkeys out there: never be afraid to call someone. A very nice lady from the Boston PD Public Relations Department spent a good hour with us on the phone explaining how evidence is stored and transferred in the Boston PD system...Then, we got some vague answers from bank-alarm companies about the protocols for bank alarms and how police deal with them...by cross-referencing the answers we got from the companies to fill in the blanks, we got a very good sense of how these things go down. At which point Boylan and I, who were the ones working on the script (the rest of the room had moved on to #310), realized we should totally go rob a bank.

  • It's Personal: "The First and Second David Jobs" and "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job" for Nate. "The Nigerian Job" -- for Nate it's because Dubenich used his son, and for everyone else it's personal because they didn't get paid. "The Three-Card Monte Job" for Nate because of his father.
    • "The King George Job" for Sophie -- she is wondering whether her previous jobs have had consequences for innocent people and it ends up touching on an identity that is very important to her.
    • "The Two Horse Job" for Eliot -- the client is his ex-fiancée's father.
    • Eliot has a soft spot for kids, so jobs that involve them - especially mistreated ones - generally become personal.
    • "The Stork Job" for Parker -- she identifies with the orphans as a Foster Kid. "The Boost Job," because she identifies with Tagalong Kid Josie. She does "The Inside Job" because her old mentor was in trouble.
    • Nate in general has a tendency to get personally involved in anything involving prescription drugs or the medical industry, dead kids or hospitals because of his son.
    • The fight against Moreau becomes personal for the entire team, but especially for Eliot, his former employee.
    • The "15 Minutes Job" for Nate -- the client is an old friend and The Mark is an Evil Counterpart. (Noticing a theme in this category?)
    • The end of the "Grave Danger Job." Team Leverage does not like it when you threaten one of their own.
    • "The Cross My Heart Job" for Nate, because of the parallels with his own son.
    • "The Last Dam Job" for Nate, partially because of the events of the first episode, but mainly due to the death of his father.
  • It's What I Do: From the series premiere:

 Eliot: You're not as useless as you look.

Hardison: I don't even know what you do.

A few scenes later, after taking out four guys by himself in the time it takes a bag Hardison dropped to hit the floor, Eliot turns to Hardison, and smiles.

Eliot: That's what I do.

    • Later, in the season finale, we get:

 Maggie: You can't just make somebody do what you want them to do.

Eliot: Whoa!

[everyone starts chuckling]

Hardison: T-That's what we do. I mean...

Parker: [pets Maggie's head] You're adorable.

  • It Was Here, I Swear: Subverted in "The Three Days of the Hunter Job." Nate and The Mark walk into what she thinks is the apartment belonging to someone who is unraveling a government conspiracy, to find the material gone and Eliot coming out, cleaning up.
  • I Uh You Too: In "The Double Blind Job," Parker proclaims that she has feelings for... pretzels. Hardison assures her that the pretzels will be there when she decides she wants them.
    • In "The Big Bang Job," she adds that she's craving pretzels. As of "The Long Way Down Job," They Do.
  • I Want You to Meet An Old Friend of Mine: Kari Matchett, who plays Nate's ex-wife Maggie, played several characters with Timothy Hutton in Nero Wolfe.

Notes

  1. Don't try to keep a running total of Eliot's victims, it'll only make you depressed. Plus in the "Maltese Falcon Job" he'll just do it for you
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