Jack-of-All-Trades: Over the course of the show, most of the members get proficient at the other crew members' skill specialties (especially grifting), allowing the team a lot of versatility and options in being able to switch up roles at times.
Hardison in particular. He started off as a master hacker and a decent grifter and thief, became better at both, learned some combat skills, and has a wide variety of artistic and craft skills for the cons. Anything he can't do, he can typically learn (and complain the entire time)
Jail Bake: In "The Jailhouse Job", the team sends Nate a kielbasa with an earpiece hidden inside it. Another prisoner sees him tear apart the kielbasa and stick something into his ear and is suitably grossed out.
Japanese Tourist: Chinese actually, but a family in line with the trope show up in "The Two-Horse Job" and are unwittingly incorporated into both the team's scheme and Sterling's counter-measures, thinking the whole time they are just taking pictures and doing touristy stuff.
Japandering: In "The Three Strikes Job," part of Eliot's baseball player cover is a (fake) Japanese energy drink commercial that Hardison whipped together. Usually, Eliot is not fond of Hardison's hijinks, but he actually loves the commercial.
Jerkass: All of the marks targeted by the Leverage crew are this, how they shamelessly bleed dry innocent people of all they have for fun and profit. They whine and panic once seeing that their schemes are no longer funny once put on the receiving end by Leverage.
Jumping Out of a Cake: Used by Archie to smuggle Parker into a party and then what they are stealing out.
Jurisdiction Friction: Used to their advantage in "The Radio Job". When the team is stuck in a building surrounded by FBI, they turn it into a turf war between them and Homeland Security by faking a terrorist threat.
Jury Duty: Parker (or rather, one of Parker's cover identities) gets called to jury duty in "The Juror #6 Job" and stumbles upon a plot by another group to mess with the proceedings.
It is implied that Hardison arranged for Parker's jury duty on Nate's orders- presumably to help her develop some social skills.
In "The Boiler Room Job", they pull a massive shuffle on The Makonote Or was it The Trout or The Goldfish. The team thoroughly convinces the guy that they are going to try to short the market on cocoa bean shares, going so far as to falsify a chocolate persona so Sophie can steal the show at a chocolate festival, pretend that Nate (going by the name Count Chocula)owns the market on cocoa futures, fly the Mako out to South America to view the deforestation, and get an entire roomful of actors to pretend they are a legit stock brokering firm — and then when the Mako is gloating about how he saw through the whole thing They rob him blind and take everything out of his bank accounts. And the FBI is right outside, since they traced his accounts.
In the mid-season 3 finale, Nate confronts the Italian telling her he had gotten what she wanted, Damien Moreau's accounts, but was not giving them to her and was going after Moreau himself. After he leaves it turns out that this was what her people had wanted all along, Nate's team to take out Moreau, so they could be rid of him without getting their hands dirty.
Karma Houdini: Sophie conned the team into taking on a job that involved going after Nate's old boss Ian Blackpoole by convincing all of them that it was in order to avenge Nate's son. Then, when the team finds out that it was all so that Sophie could get the Second David to increase the value of the one she had already stolen, Nate confronts her. She avoids censure by pointing out that Nate uses their cons to avenge the death of his son.
In "The San Lorenzo Job" President Edwin Ribera gets to retire peacefully and use the corrupt political system to seize Damien Moreau's assets for himself as part of a deal he makes with Nate to have Moreau arrested. Ribera was highly corrupt in the time he was president; he had opponents and dissidents arrested and murdered regularly, but there is no indication that he will suffer any reprisal and will instead have a cushy retirement. The only real punishment he got was a very difficult campaign that he lost and was warned to retire else "running this country would be a pain in the ass".
Keep the Reward: The Leverage team work like this, doing jobs where all the profit goes to their clients. Somewhat justified in that their first job (a vengeance gig against the guy who tried to screw them) made them filthy stinking rich.
Plus, Hardison is a Wall Street-level genius at shuffling money around.
Averted, however, when Tara filled in for the absent Sophie — she very specifically demanded her cut of the take each week.
Well, not ALL the profits...the pilot implies they take a bit from the marks, to cover expenses.
Its an "alternative revenue stream." Basically they steal money when they can from the mark and as a result, never have to charge the client.
T Here's a good chance that whenever they go up against a large business, Nate repeats what he did in the "Nigerian Job" and further pads their income.
Kill It with Fire: Parker destroys the weaponized Spanish flu virus in "The Rundown Job" by burning it with a small blowtorch as it sprays out of the briefcase.
Knife Nut: Eliot. He's also a chef when he's not killing people.
Eliot: Hold a knife like this (normally), cuts through an onion. Hold a knife like this (switches to a backhand grip), cuts through, like, eight yakuza in four seconds. Screams, blood, carnage. People are like knives. Everything's in context.
Kinda Busy Here: Used by name on several occasions by both Hardison and Eliot.
In "The Second David Job", Maggie joins the team, and comments on how annoying it must be to have Nate talking to them all the time. Nate disagrees, then Hardison and Eliot basically go "Actually...".
"The Three Days of the Hunter Job" is full of lampshades hung by Nate while critiquing Sophie's leadership technique.
And in "The Runway Job" an irritated Tara repeatedly lampshades Nate's catch phrases and general style of speech. After "Let's go steal a ..." she looks at the others and says, "Steal a fashion show... Does he always talk like that?"
Tara: So he just says things... and walks away? Parker: Yeah... you're gonna have to get used to that.
In "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job" Hardison casually pulls a ultraviolet light out of his backpack when Sophie tells him he needs one. This is commented by Eliot with a "Seriously? You just happen to have one lying around?".
After Nate criticizes The Mark for his business practices in "The 15 Minutes Job":
Sophie: "Like I've never seen you take any victory lap after you've pushed us to the edge or stick around to gloat while the bad guy's being dragged away."
Parker in "The Boiler Room Job."
Parker: "So what is it we're stealing? I mean, is it 'let's go steal a mountain, a funeral, a panda, what?"
Doubles as a Continuity Nod, as earlier in the season the team had indeed stolen both a mountain ("The Long Way Down Job") and a funeral ("The Grave Danger Job").
Landmark Sale: In "The Three Strikes Job", Nate poses as a real estate developer planning to build a baseball stadium to con a corrupt mayor. This requires him to make it look like an actual team was planning to move to the stadium.
Hardison and Nate's general grifting style is to unnerve their mark by being intense (Hardison) or being annoying (Nate) so the Large Ham is a natural tool for nearly all their personas.
Laser-Guided Karma: The Leverage crew pull this off on every one of their marks, subjecting the marks to the same pain and suffering they inflicted on others just to line their pockets.
Laser Hallway: Guarding the vault in "The First David Job". Parker gets around it with acrobatics and aluminum foil.
In a flashback in "The Inside Job," a teenage Parker is shown doing something similar to get to an ice cream sundae as part of her training. Her mentor then holds up a spoon, and she presumably does the entire thing backwards without spilling the ice cream, although it cuts back to the present before we can see her try. The same spoon shows up earlier in the episode, in a shot of her apartment / supply cache, so she did. Taken to an extreme in the same episode where to Parker's surprise and annoyance, there were lasers in a ventilation shaft. She can pass through a laser array just fine, provided there's room for her to move in...
Parker: "Laser tripwires... in a VENTILATION SHAFT!? ... I'm in trouble."
In "The Gimme A K Street Job," Parker tries to teach Laser Gymnastics to a group of cheerleaders. They don't respond too well to the idea...
Sophie: Braddock Aeronautics. It's top shelf. Eliot: That's military aircraft contractors. They used to stamp their logo on their choppers and we'd have to file them off before we — wentfishin'. (beat) Eliot: For...fish...
Law Enforcement, Inc.: IYS, the insurance agency that Nate worked for, seems to be this in part—if he can go after Sophie with a gun instead of having to call the local cops, well...
Leverage & Associates does not work this way, however—it takes up "where the law leaves off".
The Law of Conservation of Detail: The team needs to create elaborate schemes in order to manipulate their mark. This means that side comments to the mark often end up being important later, and their importance becomes apparent during the "how it was done" flashback scenes. This is a trait shared with its spiritual predecessor Hustle.
Season four has two episodes dedicated to this, "The (Girls'/Boys') Night Out Job" splits the team along gender lines (and brings Tara back for one episode) and has each half of the team run a job to help a former client once again.
Like a Son to Me: Well, niece, actually. Nate goes back a long ways with John McRory, so his daughter Cora is like a niece to him. That also means that she's off-limits.
Parker is like a daughter to Archie Leach to the point where when his actual biological daughter asks who she is in "The Last Dam Job", he answers "my daughter".
Literal-Minded: Parker in "The Lonely Hearts Job", where in order to single out the ringleader in the bachelor auction, Sophie instructs Parker to get in a fight with Hardison's date. Parker misunderstands and goes up and sucker-punches said date in the kisser, starting a fight. Sophie facepalms, saying she meant having a heated argument, not literally fist fight her.
Locked Out of the Loop: Nate and Hardison were secretly working together to find the location of the Black Book, a file containing the names and crimes of every major white collar criminal in the world. However, they don't tell the rest of the team until the series finale.
Lost In A Crowd: Variation in "The Second David Job:" the team plants fake David statues in everyone's bag at the museum coat check. The real Davids were both in the display case the whole time, covered by a cloud of steam. The whole thing was a decoy while the team stole every other work of art in the gallery.
Luke You Were My Father: a dying industrialist gives his fortune to a charity because its operator is his long-lost daughter. He didn't tell her the truth because he didn't want her to hate him for (accidentally) abandoning her and her mother.
Luxury Prison Suite: Used in several episodes, most notably in "The Lost Heir Job." They have a witness who is in jail. They offer to break him out if he helps them. He laughs at them, because he is quite happy in the minimum-security prison. So they frame him as the leader of the Aryan Nation and threaten to send him to a maximum-security prison if he doesn't give them the info they need.
MacGuffin: For one, the Van Gogh painting itself in "The Van Gogh Job." It's very valuable, a lot of people want it, and it's part of an epic Star-Crossed Lovers story. What it is exactly beyond that is completely irrelevant.
MacGyvering: Often along with Indy Ploy. In "The First David Job", Parker breaks into a high-security vault during a dinner party with whatever she can scrounge up on the buffet table: a glass of ice, some aluminium foil, silk napkin, dark eyeshadow and some gum.
Hardison: You did not just think about that on the way in from the van. Parker: Some people do crosswords.
In "The Top Hat Job," Hardison uses gummy bears to simulate the texture of a human finger to bypass a fingerprint scanner.
In "The Two Live Crew Job," Parker delays the activation of a motion-sensitive bomb in a flower vase by pouring in Jello mix.
In "The Cross My Heart Job", the team does without earbuds, lockpicks, money and Hardison's laptop. They make do with walkie-talkies, a desktop and whatever else they can lift or steal.
Made of Iron: Eliot. Lampshaded by Hardison in "The Rundown Job" (where Eliot gets shot twice and then beats the crap out of the Mad Scientist they chased):
Hardison: He takes getting shot very lightly.
Eliot also had a crowbar (accidentally) thrown at his head by Parker, much to his anger.
Eliot: YOU DON'T THROW CROWBARS AT PEOPLE!!!
He had also gotten hit by a car in "The Boost Job" and still managed to survive. Lampshaded by Parker.
Eliot: I GOT HIT BY A CAR!!! Parker: (mockingly) 'I got hit by a car!' GET OVER IT!
Magic Floppy Disk: Well-averted in general, but Played for Laughs in "The Wedding Job." When Eliot infiltrates the FBI in order to steal the audio surveillance on the target, he finds that the FBI is still using cassette tapes to record their audio. Hardison is dumbfounded, and ends up having to set off the fire alarm so that Eliot can get out of the building with a box full of tapes.
In "The Reunion Job" where Hardison tries to hack into the mark's computer, only to find in surprise that the computer is an old 80s version that uses floppy disks, meaning no USB ports to use to extract.
Mall Santa: The Client in "The Ho Ho Ho Job." The mooks are also playing Santa to get into position for a theft.
The Man Behind the Curtain: Invoked in "The Future Job" when Elliot walks in on the phony psychic's control room and his lackey is there feeding him information.
Man Bites Man: Hardison bites a mook in "The French Connection Job." He even warns the guy he would.
The Man Makes the Weapon: Eliot, most notably in "The Wedding Job." He disarms a man holding a huge knife, using a whisk. He then kills the man with an appetizer and a tray.
Manipulative Bastard. Sophie's job. Nate. Sterling. Chaos, for sure. A number of the marks. It's a pretty common trope on this show.
Manipulative Editing: Hardison uses this on the jury room footage in "The Juror #6 Job" to convince the mark that she was about to win the trial. He also does so in "The Bank Shot Job" to make it look like the judge had taken the hostages from the beginning.
This ends up being critical to the con in "The 15 Minutes Job."
Martial Medic: Played straight in "The Bank Shot Job" — Eliot is the only member of the group whose job regularly involves violence so it stands to reason that he's the one who's going to know what to do with a gunshot wound.
Matzo Fever: Eliot seems to get a mild case of it toward Mikel Dayan, his counterpart in the rival crew in "The Two Live Crew Job."
Meet Cute: Implied in the pilot that Nate and Sophie had one — that ended with him shooting her. And her shooting him.
Metal Detector Checkpoint: In "The Lost Heir Job," a corrupt lawyer is delayed by Hardison stuffing him full of keys in all of his various pockets before he can enter the court house security check.
Metaphorgotten: Nate's homily for the wedding during "The Wedding Job". Marriage is a sacred bond, which is a contract, which is a lousy way of relating between two people, I mean, you might as well try to explain baseball to a dog but at least the dog will bring the ball back to you . . .
A Million Is a Statistic: In "The Scheherazade Job," Sophie's character 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.
Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: It's not uncommon for the crew to start investigating a mark on behalf of a single victim, only for said mark to be operating on a larger scale. However, the series tends to shy away from the team attempting to Save The World.
"The Homecoming Job". Coverup of a friendly fire investigation → multi-billion-dollar money-laundering scheme.
"The Snow Job". Negligent home contracting job → nationwide foreclosure-related fraud.
"The Stork Job". Spanish Prisoner scam with orphans → weapons smuggling.
"The Gone-Fishin' Job". People being scammed by fake IRS agents → anti-government militia planning a terrorist attack.
However, there are a few cases where the stakes are mind-bogglingly high;
"The Inside Job". A theft from an agricultural company → plot to cause a global famine so the company can profit from its monopoly on blight-resistant wheat.
"The Last Goodbye Job". Stealing orphan drugs to treat rare terminal illnesses → stealing proof that international law enforcement let international criminals steal a third of the world's wealth during the 2007/2008 financial crisis.
Missing Episode: TNT pulled "The Mile High Job," which was set on a plane and devoted much of its comedy to making fun of water landings after the Miracle on the Hudson. The episode was later aired in its original form after the media frenzy had died down.
Mission Briefing: Done Once an Episode to describe The Mark and his various evil activities using fancy slideshows, unusual in that it's Hardison who does it instead of Nate, the team's leader. Usually, everyone butts in with their own comments or the character who actually knows what they're talking about takes over the briefing.
Mission Control: Nate, or sometimes Nate and Hardison, and on one occasion Hardison and Sophie.
Missing Mission Control: A few times, usually with Hardison being in danger, missing his equipment or just bowing out (The start of "The Mile High Job") and things go spiraling very quickly. Inverted in "The Long Way Down Job" when Eliot, Parker, or Nate are mostly out of reach on the comms.
"Mission: Impossible" Cable Drop: Parker's trademark maneuver is to jump off the side of buildings and lower down on a cable, instead of doing this on the inside. She then goes in through the window. No one but Parker is crazy enough to do it willingly, though they are often forced to anyway.
The Missus and the Ex: Nate's ex-wife Maggie and current lover Sophie. They were already friends before Sophie started sleeping with Nate but the fact hasn't deterred their friendship. Maggie doesn't even mind when Sophie calls her up to help with a problematic con.
Mistaken for Badass: The head of security in "The Rashomon Job". Parker, Eliot, Sophie, and Hardison all thought he was a clue-sniffing monster who was five seconds behind them, but it turns out he was just a hapless non sequitur who showed up at the wrong place over and over again, and was in fact hired because he was incompetent by the real criminal, the museum's owner. Also, he had a crush on Sophie.
Mistaken for Servant: Done deliberately in "The Low Low Price Job". Sophie sends in her acting troupe dressed in the same shirts and pants as employees of Value-Mart, with instructions to be ignore the customers, in an attempt to ruin the store's reputation.
Monumental Theft: The team specializes in some amazing tactics to get what they're after and leave their client's enemies holding the proverbial bag. The targets of their clever thefts and elaborate con-jobs are never small-time, either. Their first job netted them millions of dollars and upset the entire industry of the guy who double-crossed them, on top of causing an international incident. It helps when you have four amazing thieves lead by a grandmaster of the Batman Gambit.
Mood Whiplash: The show can often veer from a breezy Oceans Eleven-esque tone to a very serious, dramatic one (such as flashbacks to the death of Nate's son, Eliot threatening a child abuser or Parker finding an arms smuggling ring running out of a Serbian orphanage) in a matter of minutes.
From the season 5 premiere, we go from a typical family-like team dinner ending to a very dark stinger with Hardison and Nate. Hardison makes a money transfer and mentions that he doesn't like lying to the others, Nate replying heavily that all good things must come to an end.
And another one, courtesy of "The Rundown Job". How? "The Rundown Job" has Parker, Elliot and Hardison taking on a terrorist attack that's using the Influenza Virus. This is really driven home, because the last episode was a "Parker Makes a Friend" episode, and this one is deadly serious. Hardison says very early in the episode that this is way out of their league.
Mook Horror Show: The "Elliot vs. the dirty cops" scene in "The Morning After Job" is presented this way.
Motive Misidentification: In "The Ho Ho Ho Job," the team believes that the plot at the local mall is to steal everyone's credit card numbers for massive identity fraud. So they shut down the power in the whole area. Then it turns out that Chaos wanted them to do just that. The power outage disabled the security system at the nearby bank (their real target) and he and his goons were free to move in and rob it. Of course, this being Leverage, they were still able to stop him in time. Still one of the only times when the villain was a step ahead of the team.
Ms. Fanservice: If someone's going to be in a fetish-y position, it'll almost always be Parker. However, as demonstrated by several episodes, such as “The Snow Job,” Sophie is more than capable of filling this role.
Parker in a French maid outfit in "The Maltese Falcon Job".
Parker doing her laser gymnastics. Lampshaded in "The Rundown Job"
Hardison:(staring) I never get tired of that! (Eliot, also staring, silently gives Hardison a fist-bump of approval)
No love for Tara? This troper must cite “The Bottle Job” for her hooker-ish cover.
Tara: (hikes skirt, sticks out chest, pouts lip) “My name’s Trish and I’m lonely…” walks with swining hips
Mr. Fanservice: Eliot and Hardison both fall under this. The show's writers and directors know it, too, providing many instances of suit-wearing, arms-showing-off, and other (usually subtle) instances of fanservice.
Multitasked Conversation: Nate in "The Bank Shot Job", Parker in "The Fairy Godparents Job" when both talk to the team on the comms and still act like they are having a normal conversation with a person close by.
Mundane Solution: In "The Reunion Job", when, Eliot, Hardison, and Parker sneak onto a supply dock, and notice a webcam stationed at the container they were trying to get to. Hardison was prepared to hack the webcam through his phone to disable it, but then Eliot simply disables the cam by flinging a rock at it.
Hardison: "I just have to spoof the IP address and overlay a digital duplicate on the wi-fi and-" (Eliot throws a rock at the webcam, smashing it) "... or that."
Subverted in that breaking the camera causes security to investigate, where Hardison's hacking would have left them blissfully unaware.
In "The Bottle Job" a Loan Shark targets Nate's favorite pub after its owner had borrowed money from him. The shark does this after the funeral of the original owner while the wake was still happening.
In "The Top Hat Job" Parker, Hardison, and Elliot try to get into the private food company. Nate, being Genre Savvy, knows this is a bad idea and even a simple scouting job will be doomed. Turns out the company has ex-Special Forces as security and state-of-the-art protection for all the food patents. Elliot couldn't even get past the lobby before they were smoked out.
The Murder After: "The Morning After Job" centers around the team convincing a mark that this has happened.
Musical Spoiler: During "The Order 23 Job", an out of place bit of Middle-Eastern music cuts in when Hardison gets into a Marshall's car to search it. Except that the Armenian assassin's car is actually the second one he searches. And Armenia is in the Caucasus. Someone on the sound team screwed up.
There's a Getting Crap Past the Radar moment there if you're paying attention — she is clearly using different Serbian words when she tells the kids "I will make your tomato shiny" and when she exclaims "Oh, Shiny Tomato!" on getting caught, making it clear that the subtitles have been sanitized.