Hardison: Have you ever been to Kiev? The Cakemaker of Kiev could whoop all our asses! This is the butcher.
The Napoleon: The younger son in "The Snow Job" is the brains behind the operation, despite his short stature, and resents the cavalier attitude of his much taller brother and the way their father dismisses the importance of his work in favor of praising and encouraging said brother.
This actually creates a bit of an unreveal at the beginning of "The 10 Li'l Grifters Job," when a man addresses a shadowy man about a murder. The second man steps out to reveal that it's Nate, but anybody familiar with the show has already figured it out since he's wearing one of his trademark fedoras.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: A few of their cons go like this. They either get conned themselves or they simply overplay their roles and panic the mark into doing the opposite of what they want him/her to do.
In "The Underground Job", the team tries to con a corrupt mine owner. However, their original plan backfires when the mine owner decides to pay off a corrupt attorney general by firing his workers and using their payrolls. Then he plans to destroy the mine, which would also destroy the local town's only source of employment.
In "The Ho Ho Ho Job", when they take down the local trunk phone line, thus stopping the internet, to foil the villain's plan electronic identity theft ring, they learn that his real plan relied on them doing just that as it also shut down the security to the Federal Depository next to the mall.
And, in a longer-term one, the team's takedown of Duberman in "The Reunion Job" allowed Damien Moreau and President Rivera to get Duberman's software system Manticore and use it against Rivera's political opponents in "The San Lorenzo Job".
In the "The Blue Line Job" they do such a good job of convincing a corrupt hockey team owner that a rival hockey league will force him out of the business that he decides to simply declare bankruptcy and run away with the money he embezzled. This means that all the team's players and staff will lose their jobs and will not receive the money they are owed.
In "The Low Low Price Job", the team tries to force a megastore into debt by distributing fake coupons that cut the price of their big screen TV's by 90%. However, this backfires horribly because the store ends up making record profits anyways. Nate realizes that huge amounts of customers were drawn to the store due to the sale, and starting buying more products in addition to the TVs.
In Nate's defense, the customers would have to buy ridiculous amounts of additional products to make up for the loss of the TV's, far beyond any realistic expectation of a "loss leader".
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Victor Dubenich, the bad guy from the first episode, he formed the team, then tried to off them when they got the job done. That gave them motive for revenge and since Good Feels Good they decided to stay at it afterwards. Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realize that compared to their lives before the pilot, they're much better off because of it.
This is alluded to in "The Last Dam Job" when Nate visits Dubenich in prison. Nate mentions, "my team..." and Dubenich retorts, "my team!"
No Celebrities Were Harmed: Parker is disguised as Lady GagaBjor-- "Don't say her name!" At one point she's worried that "she's not being weird enough". Needless to say, even with Nate reply, "Somehow, I doubt that.", she is.
A scare tactic-obsessed cable news anchor character who is definitely not Nancy Grace appears in "The Three Days of the Hunter Job".
Word of God confirms that they work to disguise the identities of all the real people they base each episode on — mostly to avoid doing anything actionable. In the case of the villain in "The Scheherazade Job," John Rogers extended that to "Also, I did not want to get shot in the face."
No Honor Among Thieves: Occasionally the crew will find a group willing to betray members in the group for a better profit. They promptly exploit this for the con.
Notable is Chaos who back stabbed two crews he worked with against the Leverage Crew. However, when they hired him to help on a job, he did not even hint at betraying them. Though this may have been more about fear of reprisal than lack of opportunity.
Noodle Implements: Most of the scams — i.e. the Cherry Pie, the Cuban Sandwich, the London Spank, the Genevan Paso Doble, etc. — many of which the team disagrees on the exact elements of.
We never find out exactly what happened to the people the team was helping at the end of "The Nigerian Job" or how the team helped them.
The Sapphire Monkey, which Eliot was supposed to steal in North Korea. In "The Two-Horse Job," we see that he failed to acquire the Monkey, since he was being interrogated by two North Koreans who demanded to know where the Monkey was. Later on, in "The Rashomon Job," Eliot is given the task of stealing the Dagger of Aqu'abi because he failed to get the Monkey.
In "The Bank Shot Job," we never find out the full details of the con at the beginning of the episode.
In "The Order 23 Job", what the actual Order 23 is.
What Nate did at the Russian border. (Word of God says that he "may have technically hijacked a train.")
Lots of the unexplained cons fit under this, like the "Apple Pie," which is a "Cherry Pie" but with lifeguards.
One of the other retrieval specialists that Eliot runs into in "The Van Gogh Job" owes him $27,000 for something that happened in Singapore. All we know is that it involved a bass guitar belonging to Paul McCartney.
What exactly it was the team did in Juarez.
The time they stole a panda, as referenced in "The Boiler Room Job." Word of God has it that the team does a lot of complicated and interesting jobs that are not included in episodes...
...as we see in "The Cross My Heart Job" at the beginning, where the team is returning from a job in the Caribbean where all the earbuds and Hardison's laptop got wrecked, Hardison faked a volcanic eruption, Eliot apparently fought three combat divers with spear guns, underwater, on a shipwreck, and Sophie played a French heiress on a topless beach.
In that same episode, Hardison is working without his usual setup and complains when Nate pressures him that no one is asking Eliot to fight a guy with a Nerf sword. To which Eliot responds: "Damascus, 2002."
The con that the rest of the team is pulling off in Japan while Parker is laid up in "The Broken Wing Job." It apparently involved the theft of a gold monkey statue, a katana duel, Hardison dressing up as a general, Eliot pissing off the Emperor by putting the moves on his daughter, and a live monkey in a box.
Word of God is that this MAY have something to do with the aforementioned Sapphire Monkey.
In "The Girls' Night Out Job," we never do find out what exactly the boys are doing that leads to them being in a Mexican gang bar and then running from guard dogs. This is then explained in the following episode "The Boys' Night Out Job"
Sophie, technically. By season 3, everybody but Nate (and the audience) learns her real name. Apparently, Nate learned it during their night together in "The San Lorenzo Job" but was too drunk to remember.
Liam's brother ("The Bottle Job") is only ever referred to as...Liam's brother.
In "The Boost Job", Hardison looks quietly heartbroken that Parker's previous car-thief partner would leave her to the cops and run.
In "The San Lorenzo Job", Eliot and Parker plan on rescuing a general being held political prisoner, but — only for him to decline the offer because he refuses to leave his men in prison. The general then asks Eliot whether he'd leave any of his team. Cue Eliot looking into Parker's adorable "I did good?" face.
This precipitates the main conflict in "The Bank Shot Job." Nate realizes the bank is about to be robbed, and he could have gotten out in time, but he waits because Sophie is still inside.
No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Happens in the pilot; Hardison "leaves the cupboard bare" but apparently Pierson Aviation never heard of off-site, off-line backup. Again in "The Reunion Job" when Eliot wipes the Manticore server. Anything that important in a company that big, set up by someone who "wrote the book on database security," would have a hot standby server in another location... at least.
When Parker was asked to be a bride's maid in the mark's daughter's wedding:
Cindy: 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?
Hardison actually had to teach Parker the hand-quote motion in "The Beantown Bailout Job," and even then she wasn't confident she was doing it right.
Eliot mentions that he got over his fear of the dark and/or claustrophobia as a kid by locking himself in a shed for a few days. Parker says she did the same thing (cut to Parker locking herself in a trunk and having some other kids bury her alive):
Eliot: That's NOT the same thing. What's wrong with you?
In "The Runway Job," when Sophie asks the team to give Tara a chance, Parker seems to be trying to fit in/play along, but apparently misjudges the expected response:
Eliot: She is hot. Hardison: Very hot. Parker: Hot. (Everyone stares) Parker: Warm? Cold? Why are we staring?
Also, from "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job":
Parker: So, I took your advice and did the whole touristy thing. Went to the museum, and it was amazing. Hardison: See? Parker: Yeah. They have a Guardian T-840 Security System. I've only seen those in books. And the motion detectors—ooh, gorgeous! Six digital receptors. Six! Hardison: What about the paintings? Parker: What about the paintings?
Also also, Parker got a hug from the client at the end of "The Future Job" and clearly had no clue how to deal with it.
"Juror #6 Job", where she keeps referring to her alias as a different person (and makes one of her first, non-criminal friends)
Parker: Aww, Alice made a friend. Eliot: Let me tell you one more time. You made a friend. Not Alice. Parker: Oh cool... Think she'll want to steal a painting with me? Sophie: Start small, Parker. Try coffee.
In "The Three Card Monte Job" the others are about to look up what kind of security systems three banks have when Parker casually starts talking about them (and laughing at them, of course). Cue blank stare — "Well, what do you guys do on your weekends?" She's apparently scoped out all the banks in Boston.
"The Rashomon Job" shows how far she's come in two years from gleefully handing a giant knife so someone can do an impromptu tracheotomy to actually feeling sorry the head guard, who isn't a hardass tactical genius but a wuss who had feelings for Sophie's "character".
"The Broken Wing Job" pretty much sums up the extent of Parker's Character Development, as she is now fully capable of empathy and forging social bonds with strangers without help from her teammates.
Interestingly subverted in the finale. Sterling explicitly states that they are different. Nate believes in justice for bad guys no matter what the cost. Sterling believes in keeping order and trusting the system to do its job. Sterling doesn't like working outside the system. Well, except maybe once or twice.
Nate and his father are compared to each other a few times, notably in "The Bottle Job" where Cora notes his father was very protective of his close friends, much like Nate, and rarely allowed people who crossed him to go unpunished, such as forcing the Loan Shark of the episode either he goes home to his father in Ireland and tells him things went bust, or Nate will call the father and tell him he lost all the loan money in a poker game with cops and confessed to at least one felony and then broke the guy's finger in the same way his father was seen in a flashback. A cop who witnessed that and knew Jimmy Ford told Nate he was just like his father.
Wes: (Introducing himself) Dr. Wes Abernathy. Sophie: Doctor? What's your PHD in? Wes: I'm a surgeon.
Not What I Signed On For: In "The Homecoming Job" when things get violent and their client had two ex-special forces assassins come after him, Hardison, Sophie, and Parker each say this because they're crimes didn't get people hurt or make them come after them with weapons. Eliot, however, is used to this.
Hardison pointing the gun at Eliot sideways Nate: Yeah, and you seem pretty relaxed for a guy with a gun pointed at him. Eliot: Safety's on. Hardison: Like I'm gonna fall for that. Nate: No, no, actually he's right. The safety is on. Hardison looks down to check, and Nate grabs the gun.
Sophie and Tara, when they get caught spying in the "Mark"s hotel room closet in "The Girls Night Out".
Nun Too Holy: Parker pretends to be a nun in "The Beantown Bailout Job."
And "Sister" Lupe in "The Boys' Night Out Job."
Obfuscating Stupidity: "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job" shows that Eliot is actually much smarter and more devious than he's generally given credit for, and Nate notes that's the entire point.
Obstructive Bureaucrat: Eliot and Hardison try to get Maggie out of a Ukrainian prison by forging documents to have her transferred to the US Embassy. However, the police chief refuses because he knows Maggie will go the Embassy and never reappear for trial. Tara Lampshades this by telling the duo that the police chief has spent decades cheating Soviet bureaucracy and that there's no possible way to outsmart him with paperwork.
The main problem the team faces in "The Gimmie a K Street Job" is that all of the marks are Obstructive Bureaucrats, making them difficult to con.
Of Corpse He's Alive: In "The 10 Li'l Grifters Job", The Mark is killed during his own murder mystery-themed dinner party. Nate, realizing that he would be the prime suspect, tries to pretend that the really obvious corpse on the ground is a lifelike dummy, and that the whole thing is actually all part of the game, while figuring out who actually did it.
Offhand Backhand: Parker does this at long range with a stun gun in "The Lost Heir Job."
Hardison freaks out rather badly in "The Rundown Job" when he finds out that the episode's villain is attempting to weaponize the Spanish Flu and nearly backs out of the job.
In "The Homecoming Job", a goon gets a particularly expressive Oh Crap face when he realizes Nate has just pressed a defibrillator to his chest and is about to pull the trigger.
In the same episode corrupt US Congressman utters this when his and his accomplice's recorded confessions to their crimes were just sent to the reporters talking to them. The reporter calls her manager they would lead with "Crap."
Older than They Look: Beth Riesgraf (the actress who plays Parker) was 30 during the first season, and 34 during the last.
One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Happens frequently. One notable example being "The Three Days of The Hunter Job": The mark for the episode, a journalist, has been steered towards a politician to ask about an alleged government project called "Destiny". The Destiny that he thinks she means is his favourite stripper.
One Last Job: The team promises that their job in "The Homecoming Job" will be the last one (this was before they were inflicted with Good Feels Good). Nate's father also says he's taking one last job in "The Three-Card Monte Job".
"The Radio Job" was supposed to be one last job for Jimmy Ford. As it turned out, it was, but not for the reasons he thought.
As of "The Queen's Gambit Job", this holds true for Sterling's daughter, especially when it comes to chess.
Only One Name: Parker. When picking up a will call ticket at a production of The Sound Of Music (starring Sophie) in "The Beantown Bailout Job," she literally says "Only One Name".
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In the episode "The Two-Horse Job," Sophie attempts what sounds like a Dixie accent. She slips into her British accent just about every other word, however.
In "The Ten L'il Grifters Job," the detective calls Sophie out on this after she tells him that she works for the murder mystery company, rather than a client of The Mark. She tells him she finds it's adorable that he thinks that's her real accent.
Open Sesame: A safe in "The Homecoming Job." The team is able to get a voice-activated safe open by being able to record every possible sound from the safe's owner by getting him to say the name of a very complicated French dish, then have him drop the F-bomb when he realizes it's raw shrimp.
Orphaned Punchline: The end of the joke Hardison is telling the monkey in "The Broken Wing Job".
Out of Order: According to Word of God, the order in which Season One was meant to be aired (accompanied by broadcast order number) was as follows: Nigerian (1), Homecoming (2), Wedding (7), Snow (9), Mile-High (8), Miracle (4), Two-Horse (3), Bank Shot (5), Stork (6), Juror #6 (11), 12-Step (10), First David (12), Second David (13). This leads to some... interesting jumps in continuity:
There are a couple references where the payoff occurs before the setup. For example, Hardison asks Eliot if he'd ever thought about getting married in "The Wedding Job," when in broadcast order Hardison had already met Eliot's ex-girlfriend Aimee in "The Two Horse Job."
In broadcast order, Taggart and McSweeten appear for the first time in The Stinger of "The Bank Shot Job" to take the credit for taking down the bank robber — the audience was intended to meet them in their much longer appearance in "The Wedding Job," making the bit a lot funnier.
Nate's alcoholism gets stronger and weaker over the course of the season, and it was meant to climax with "The 12-Step Job" just before the two-part finale; the broadcast order gives us "The Juror #6 Job" as a Breather Episode before the finale instead.
The level of trust the team has for each other varies considerably over the season as well — particularly noticeable in broadcast order with Nate and Hardison, who have a breakthrough moment in "The Mile-High Job" which seems out of place coming after Hardison's leadership in "The Bank Shot Job." The Season One DVD set contains the episodes in intended order.
Pair the Spares: "The Girls Night Out Job"/"The Boys Night Out Job": apart from official couples Nate/Sophie and Parker/Hardison, we also have Eliot/Not-a-Sister Lupe, Tara/Mattingly and Hurley/Peggy.
Pants Positive Safety: Played with hilariously in "The Miracle Job" when Eliot and Hardison run into some street thugs and the leader tries to intimidate them by lifting up his shirt and revealing the gun tucked into the front of his pants. Eliot just grabs the gun and flips the safety off without ever removing it from the guy's pants. It's very effective.
Sterling used the team to help save his daughter, who not only was living with a man who sells goods to terrorists but also she was spying on her step-father for Sterling.
In "The Radio Job" Jimmy Ford first appears to be doing the job because of the large payout. Turns out Latimer threatened to kill Nathan if Jimmy didn't do it. Later, Jimmy gives the team a slip to confront Latimer alone, to ensure his son's safety.
Also, Archie to an extent towards Parker. Watch the two times he confronts Chaos in "The Last Dam Job." The first time, he only looks mildly annoyed by Chaos's insults until he makes a snide comment towards Parker, and then Archie rests his cane against his neck. Later, when Archie actually does taser him, it's only after he makes yet another snide comment towards Parker.
Hardison: "It's cute how you still believe in privacy."
Also played with in-universe with the paranoia wall in "The Three Days Of The Hunter Job." Parker's not sure if all the conspiracy theories are fake or not, and Hardison and Eliot don't help.
Parker: Eliot, these conspiracies aren't real, right? Eliot: What do you mean? Parker: Like that one over there that says all the major wars of the past fifty years were ordered by members of the council. Eliot: (suddenly on edge) Parker, I'm not at liberty to discuss that with you. (Walks away, looking at her suspiciously) Parker: Wh- Well, you're not a member of the council, are you? Eliot. (To Nate) Is he? (Nate mumbles and leaves) Is he? Nate?
From "The Mile High Job," when Eliot has adopted the guise of an air marshal:
Sophie: What if there's already an air marshal on the plane? Eliot: There's only one air marshal per every 100 flights. Sophie: Ahhhh... I know that's good for us, but I so wish I didn't know that.
Parental Abandonment: The client Ruth Walton in "The Lost Heir Job" was an orphan who was adopted and worked with other orphaned children. Her father, a wealthy man, didn't send her pregnant mother away, his corrupt lawyer did, and upon finding her, got to know her without telling her the truth so she wouldn't hate him at first.
Parker: Forty-two seconds. Hardison: What? Parker: To rob this bank. One security guard who's never fired his gun before, two closed-circuit cameras outside, one inside, and a Glenn-Reider safe built in the '50s whose default combination is the birthdate of the manager's wife! Get in, get out, forty-two seconds.
Patron Saint: Saint Nicholas' other patronage (that of thieves — more accurately, repentant thieves) is mentioned in "The Miracle Job," where Sophie tells Parker (who is only aware of the Santa Claus version) that St. Nick is also the patron saint of thieves.
Nate is also handed a Brigid medal in "The Beantown Bailout Job."
In the "The Cross My Heart Job" this is taken to a level unusual for Nate when he threatens to kill the villain of the week and further terrifies him at the end of the episode, further worsening the dying man's condition.
Given that the dying man in question was already quite old himself, and was willing to let a young boy die just so he'd get maybe 3-5 years more, it seems fairly justified.
A good deal of "The Van Gogh Job" takes place in the 1940s.
Then there's "The D.B. Cooper Job", which flashes back to the 1970s.
Pet the Dog: One of the bad guys in "The Ho Ho Ho Job" seems to be genuinely happy to be handing out toys to kids, even letting a young girl give him a cute kiss on the cheek.
Phoney Call: Hardison does this in "The Iceman Job," telling a mark he has to call his girlfriend, then calling Sophie and managing to signal to her that he's in trouble.
In "The Boys Night Out Job", Nate and Hurley hide from Mooks in an addiction support group meeting. (A Call Back to Hurley's original appearance in "The 12-Step Job.") After trying unsuccessfully to get a cellphone from various attendees so he can contact the team, Nate volunteers to talk next, laments about how he hurt his ex-wife, Maggie, and says "If I had a cellphone right now I would call her..." Naturally everyone in the crowd offers him their phones. Of course, Hilarity Ensues as he attempts to maintain his cover.
Hardison: "Why did Nate call me 'sweetheart?'" (Cuts back to Nate) Nate: "I'm sorry about the bag of drugs''..." Crowd: "Ooh..."
Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Parker turns out to have a lot of strength in her skinny little body when she grabs Tara by the throat with one hand, then holds her over the roof of a building.
Police Are Useless: The FBI and local cops are generally portrayed as being well-intentioned, but incapable of catching the episode's villain either due to ineptitude or legal procedure. Interpol, on the other hand, is quite capable and feared, and Detective Bonanno is always on top of his game.
Porn Stash: The second season premiere plays with this when Sophie stays over at Nate's apartment to make sure he was ok after he was injured in a fight. She notes that she didn't look under his bed because she knows that's where guys keep all of their "weird kinky stuff." Nate, of course, denies that there's anything under his bed. (There is. Sophie actually looked.)
Reaches an apotheosis in "The Maltese Falcon Job". While Parker and Tara are on their way to the waterfront in a Hyundai Genesis, Tara, out of the blue, asks if they're taking the fastest way to get there. Parker replies in a voiceover, "Yeah, see? There's no traffic this way", while the camera practically makes sweet love to the car in a slow pan across the car's dashboard and front console, lovingly displaying the steering wheel options and leather interior before lingering sexily for several seconds on the built-in GPS display.
Pretty in Mink: Furs show up when their jobs involve places in high society.
Properly Paranoid: Sterling in "The Second David Job". This is what Nate was counting on.
Protagonist-Centered Morality: Nate and company lie, cheat, steal, and inflict emotional trauma, yet they're the good guys. Somewhat justified in that (A) their victims are clearly shown to be unremitting jerkasses, and (B) what they do, they do on the behalf of people that their victims screwed over.
Proud to Be a Geek: Hardison is the resident hacker and very proud of his geekery, with such lines as, "Age of the geek, baby. We rule the world." He's also a fan not only of Star Wars but also of Doctor Who.
In the "15 Minutes Job" he complains about the use of CGI in the Star Wars prequels.
Pseudo Crisis: In "The French Connection Job," Lampard realizes that the bag of truffles Nate is selling him is short-weighted. Cue dramatic music and a fade to black, as it seems the con is blown. Then fade in after the commercial and it turns out Lampard thinks it's only short by a couple of ounces, rather than the several pounds it's actually missing. The deal then concludes amicably.
Put Off Their Food: Parker's attempt at social skills in "The Juror #6 Job". When told to convince Eliot to eat an orange instead of an apple, she chooses this tactic.
Put on a Bus: Done slightly differently. While Sophie couldn't do anymore cons halfway through season 2, due to Gina Bellman's pregnancy, Sophie is still in almost every episode, appearing in a different part of the world every time the team calls complete with regional get up and cheesy background. It's becoming apparent that while the character was Put on a Bus, she never really left.
Kind of amounts to Present Absence in a way at times, given that her absence is escalating Nate's behavior as well.
"Rashomon"-Style: "The Rashomon Job". Sophie, Eliot, Hardison and Parker remember a heist that happened five years ago, when they were each independently trying to steal an ancient dagger. The details of their stories can vary greatly, like Sophie's accent.
Played with in "The Long Goodbye Job", when Nate is being interviewed about the heist by an Interpol agent, he tells her how the plan went awry and the entire team ended up getting killed. However, the agent finds some inconsistencies and presents her own theory about what might have happened. In the end, it turns out that neither story is true, since the real story is even more awesome.
Real Estate Scam: One example that stands out is "The Miracle Job" — a priest is assaulted by gang members, who were paid by a real estate mogul trying to buy up the land his church (which is in danger of closing) is on. The gang tries to prevent the church's closing by faking a miracle... which backfires, as the mogul's now going to build around the "crying statue" and turn the place into a faith-based moneymaker.
Reality Ensues: Actually invoked in-universe to make one of their scams more plausible. In "The Order 23 Job", Ford is pretending to be a doctor. Parker is freaked out by this, and has clearly been watching too much TV:
Parker: What if someone asks you to deliver a baby?!?
Ford: I'll just tell them I'm not an obstetrician.
Reality Is Unrealistic: In interviews and episode commentary, the writers take great pains to point out how few of their villains' atrocities are NOT things that actual white-collar criminals have gotten away with.
At one point in 'The Runway Job', Sophie (who is in Uzbekistan) has a conversation via video conference with Tara. A fan commented that the green-screen was obviously fake, only for Word of God to say no, it's not a green-screen, they just had some problems with the monitors.
Real-Life Relative: Aldis (Hardison) Hodge's brother Edwin guest-starred as the client in "The Jailhouse Job". His character isn't related to Hardison, but the scam relies on Hardison being able to act as a Body Double for him.
The villain in "The Underground Job" has an attorney general in his pocket, since he made major campaign contributions to her. This is a direct jab at the 2010 US Supreme Court ruling rescinding campaign contribution limits for politicians.
Way back in "The Three Strikes Job" part of the plot was that the local baseball team might be moving. At the time, there was discussion in Portland (where the series is filmed and where the stadium used was located) over the future of that city's baseball team, as their field was going to become unusable after extensive renovations to make the then-PGE Park into a venue suited for a Major League Soccer team. Unlike in the show, however, the Portland Beavers later did end up moving away after plans to build a new baseball stadium fell through.
The series as a whole is this: it's no coincidence that the series launched very shortly after the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.
Real Person Fic: The Tie-In NovelThe Con Job, set at the San Diego Comic Con, is full of references to famous comic book creators. In particular, Stan Lee and Rich Johnston appear as characters, Jim Lee is mentioned, and Eliot impersonates Warren Ellis.
Refuge in Audacity: Hardison any time he has to improvise in character — throwing himself a birthday party to distract everyone in the office building in "The Mile High Job" and convincing the police that bank robbers want 25 large pizzas and the equipment to hold a tail-gate party in "The Bank Shot Job", to name but a few examples.
This gets him in a lot of trouble in "The Iceman Job."
Reliable Traitor: Nate counts on Sterling to be this to pull off his plan in "The Second David Job."
Retcon: For a show that has a truly staggering amount of continuity nods, Hardison's first name being changed from Alex to Alec following the pilot (screen shot from the pilot can be seen here◊) can be kind of glaring.
Parkers age was possibly changed as well. The pilot implies Parker is roughly the same age as her actress, late 20's. However the season 3 episode The inside Job states she was a young teenager when she met Archie leach. 12 years earlier in 1998, which puts her in her mid 20's by season 3, a few years younger than previously suggested.
Retirony: Jimmy Ford kept saying he would retire after one big score. Let's just say he bit off more than he could chew in "The Radio Job".
Revealing Injury: In "The Rundown Job", Parker is looking for a bio-terrorist whom she knows has just inoculated himself against the flu virus she is carrying. She walks through the car, bumping each passenger on the arm, until one of them yelps.
Notable examples being the use of the Supreme Court's campaign finance decision in "The Underground Job."
Rock Beats Laser: Several times a simple physical attack beats the advanced tech. Notably, in "The Last Dam Job" Hardison and Chaos plan to give Archie and Parker a bunch of high-tech doodads to break into a vault. Archie thanks them, but notes all they need is flour, milk, eggs, and sugar. With the only advanced tech involved being Archie's tazer cane and a bomb, it works perfectly.
Earlier in the same episode Hardison does this as well by using Mussels (an invasive species) to shut down a dam instead of a more complicated computer intrusion.
Latimer: You made it impossible for Hardison to hack us with a computer, so he hacks us with a clam?
In " The Homecoming Job", Hardison was about to hack a security webcam stationed near their quarry to prevent it from seeing them, but Eliot saves time by simply chucking a rock at said webcam, effectively disabling it.
Eliot keeps running into other hitters he knows while hunting for the painting in "The Van Gogh Job."
In "The Boiler Room Job," the team keeps pretending to forget or not recognize the mark's nickname—"The Mako"— to hit his Berserk Button. Parker's character even gets his real name wrong every time she speaks to him. The end of the episode has them suggesting multiple embarrassing alternatives when somebody really does forget the mark's moniker ("The mackerel!" "The puffer!")
McSweeten: "What was it again?" Hardison: "I don't know, the Blowfish, maybe?"
From "The Reunion Job," Hardison and Eliot are pretending to be health inspectors to get into a Iranian secret police safehouse disguised as a restaurant. With each violation ("cockroach in the shisleek," "shwarma is only lukewarm"), they say with righteous indignation and in the exact same tone of voice each time "That's going to cost ya" and "I've gotta dock ya!" Leads to a Crowning Moment of Funny later in the episode, when one of the secret policemen breaks into a locked room and is confused to find 'health inspector' Eliot there. To which Eliot shrugs and says "I've gotta dock ya again!" And then beats him up.
Odds are if the team is giving a Mark a list of names the team either scammed money from, are partnered with, or plan to take on, it will be a list of the Mark's victims. And not once did any Mark realize what they were looking at.
On the season 4 DVD commentaries, Aldis Hodge kept bitching about always having to eat Chinese food, only to be answered with "It allows us to show passage of time without sacrificing continuity" (they always just ate out of the cartons).
The team arguing about the names of various cons and the Noodle Implements they require.
Russian Roulette: Eliot has a flashback to being tied up playing this in a Season 1 episode. He was the only one playing. Apparently it was still better than going to one of Sophie's plays.
Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Parker. An incredibly talented thief who plans complicated robberies the same way normal people do crosswords, she nonetheless has serious problems interacting with people on an everyday basis. Because of an abusive childhood (during which she may or may not have blown up her foster parents) and later being raised/trained by a master thief, she comes across in non-heist situations as awkward, disturbing, or somewhere in between.
Word of God says she has Asperger's, which would explain a lot of the problems she has interacting with people and her references to having to take a lot of psych tests as a kid.
Sadly Mythtaken: Saint Nicholas of Bari (who was part of the inspiration for Santa Claus) is the patron saint of repentant thieves (among other things). While the team isn't repentant about continuing to steal, lie, cheat, the team doesn't keep anything they steal and they are trying to be better people and help those who cannot help themselves.
Saving the Orphanage: In "The Miracle Job", the team of former crooks tries to save a church from being bought by a real estate developer. They also save actual orphans in "The Stork Job," which wasn't really an example of this trope.
Sequel Hook: Even though Nate and Sophie have retired in the series finale, Parker, Hardison, and Eliot decide to continue their work. Hardison even mentions recruiting more grifters and thieves and expanding Leverage to have international reach. Plus, there's all those names in the Black Book to take care of...
Serious Business: Eliot feels this way about MMA fighting and gets annoyed when Sophie expressed her disgust as to how something so violent can be considered a sport. He then goes to explain that MMA is more than just beating the other guy down as there are other areas to make note of, then proceeds to use Parker and Hardison as a live example with a spar (much to Hardison's pain).
Shaped Like Itself: In "The Carnival Job," the mark's daughter says that trying to talk to their eastern European housekeeper is "like trying to talk to an eastern European housekeeper."
She Really Can Act: Done in-universe with Sophie. She's usually a terrible actress unless she's grifting, but her performance in "The Stork Job" amazed everyone because it was part of the job.
Eliot: But...she can't act.
Nate: She can act...when it's an act.
She does it again in "The Long Goodbye Job", to the point where she receives a standing ovation from the audience.
Also, in "The Long Goodbye Job", Sterling praises that Nate's picked up quite the ability to act, after seeing his performance retelling Parker, Hardison, and Eliot's deaths.
The Shill: As a show focusing on cons, this is a frequent part of the plot.
In "The Lonely Hearts Job" Eliot sends Sophie flowers and Parker a Venus flytrap, a plant that actually does something, and claims that it was from Nate and Hardison respectively. The Call Back was to season 1 in which Parker didn't understand what a plant did when Hardison said she should get one for the office.
The Leverage team themselves, in "The Two Live Crew Job". Starke mentions some of their earlier jobs, and the audience realizes that if you don't know they're the good guys, they sound like one of the best (criminal) crews ever. Also, Starke's hacker gets so panicked at the thought of Sophie being anywhere near his upcoming double-cross he promptly tries to kill her.
Also, Nate is so good at keeping himself and his team under the radar that the FBI has absolutely no idea who he is.
We also have "The Rashomon Job", in which the main characters (with the exception of Nate) all remember the Chief of Security as being...rather different then he actually was.invoked
Sidetracked by the Analogy: Mrs Cox, a victim of the mark who helps out the team in "The Boiler Room Job" is informed that they will be running the "Moonwalking Bear": namely, have the mark so focused on one particular thing that he fails to notice anything else, up to a moonwalking bear. For the rest of the episode, she is worried: where is the bear? Is it going to eat her?
Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: A Word of God variant; in answering questions from fans about why the cops and the court system is so ineffective in Leverage-land, John Rogers commented that "There are times you people's faith in law enforcement is genuinely touching." Since the whole premise of the show involves (often not very altered) fictionalized versions of real-life crimes, it's not a surprising attitude to find in the show's creators.
In fact the shows writers are open about most of the alterations they make being designed to make them 'less' evil and villainous than the real life crimes they are based on so as to make them more believable
In "The Second David Job" -
Maggie: You can't just make somebody do what you want them to do. Eliot: Whoa! (everybody starts chuckling) Hardison: T-That's what we do. I mean... Parker: (pets Maggie's head) You're adorable.
Similar Squad: The rival team in "The Two Live Crew Job", which is basically Leverage without Sophie. Their Parker is a tiny guy with a goatee (played by the show's pickpocketing consultant), their Eliot is a hot Israeli Action Girl, and their Hardison is white!Jerk!Hardison. In fact, you might even call him...TheWesley?
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.
In "The Second David Job," Maggie, temporarily. And, in keeping with the trope namer, she's awesome.
And in "The Lost Heir Job" Tara Carlisle, the client's lawyer. Turns out it's Tara Cole, and Sophie sent her to join the team. She actually turns up from time to time as a recurring character in some Sixth Ranger capacity.
In "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job," Sterling was the Sixth Ranger, and he too was awesome.
Slap-Slap-Kiss: Between Eliot and his counterpart in "The Two Live Crew Job", not that you couldn't see it coming a mile away. It's one of the hottest scenes on the show, though it's technically more of a "Slap Slap Strip Slap Slap Strip Slap Slap Press Kiss Handcuffs".
And in "The Juror #6 Game", Earnshaw, the lawyer opposing them, also plays chess. Ford uses Chess Motifs to explain her tactics.
Smug Snake: Very frequently the case with the Villain Of The Week, but Ian Blackpoole (Nate's former boss) deserves special mention; his policies were a direct contributor to the death of Nate's son, but he doesn't even pretend to feel remorse or regret about it, and in fact seems almost surprised that Nate would be angry at him about such a thing.
The conman in "The Order 23 Job."
The judge in "The Bank Shot Job."
"The Mako," the villain of "The Boiler Room Job" who combines it with Insufferable Genius by virtue of being the son and grandson of the best con-men of their times, meaning that he knows every trick the Leverage team do, and he will not shut up about this fact.
Snipe Hunt: A con based on this is in "The Hot Potato Job". The idea was to fake a mole in a high-security company in order to trigger a lockdown. While Sophie and Eliot focused on hunting down the fake mole and distracting company heads, Parker would steal the potato while the security is lax. Turn out, there was a mole after all - the janitor has been stealing money for years and has an account in the Cayman Islands.
Social Services Does Not Exist: In "The Order 23 Job", Eliot meets an abused kid and tells him that with all the cops around, the kid could go tell them what was happening with his father. The kid tells him that all the cops are friends of his father. Eliot later gets a Marshal to get the kid out for him.
So What Do We Do Now?: The second season opener reveals that the entire team has been suffering from a combination of this and Chronic Hero Syndrome brought on by Good Feels Good since they broke up at the end of the previous season. Parker even stole the Hope Diamond and then put it back because she was bored and didn't see any point to it.
Spanish Prisoner: Name-checked in "The Stork Job." The Mark is in with the Russian Mafia, and runs a version using Serbian war orphans where the prospective parents have to keep paying "overhead" costs. Sophie explicitly makes the comparison.
Spanner in the Works: In "The Gold Job" Hardison takes over for Nate as The Chessmaster for an episode and plans an elaborate con based on video game theory; dangling a carrot in front of the marks which he keeps pulling away at the last second to sweeten the pot as it goes on. He didn't anticipate the mark getting tired of jumping through hoops and simply quitting. In the episode's denouement Hardison receives the letter Nate sent out earlier in the episode which had three simple steps that would make a successful plan (these steps were in Hardison's plan and led to it not being a failure for the team). Nate then explained that he starts with the ugly plan and then builds it up to his elaborate plans, revealing that he anticipates Xanatos Speed Chess because he accepts that he can't plan for how the marks will react.
Spelling Bee: In an attempt to make a student look good in "The Fairy Godparents Job," Sophie rigged a spelling bee to give him easy words and the other students impossible ones. This backfires when the student's opponent is capable of spelling everything up past Antidisestablishmentarianism, and he is unable to spell "bicycle".
Spit Take: The gang cons a reporter into covering a fake story about the U.S. water supply being poisoned in "The Three Days of The Hunter Job." When the reporter announces it on the air, a studio employee with a water bottle does a Spit Take.
Eliot has one after Parker tells him she put a razor blade in his apple during Sophie's persuasion tactics lessons in "The Juror Number Six Job."
Sophie does a variation when she sneaks away to an art auction only to hear Nate's voice. She chokes on her champagne.
Spoiled Brat: The mark's daughter in "The 10 L'il Grifters Job."
Spotting the Thread: Maggie is tipped off that Eliot is working for Nate in "The Second David Job" when she sees that he is wearing the button camera she gave Nate for his birthday.
Staged Shooting: Used twice in "The Beantown Bailout Job." First, "gunshots" were fired at a Corrupt Corporate Executive to convince him that he had hitmen after him, and he should go to the cops. Then, when that plan backfired spectacularly, Sophie "shoots" Eliot so that he could play dead, since the villains of the episode were actually going to shoot him.
Stairs Are Faster: In an effort to delay Sterling, who's taking the elevator, Nate runs up the stairs and pushes all the elevator call buttons, causing Sterling's elevator to stop at every floor.
Star Trek Movie Curse: Referenced in "The Order 23 Job"; Hardison says he'll say the name of an even-numbered Star Trek movie over a hospital intercom for bad news, and an odd-numbered one for good news. Shortly after, a "Dr. Ralph O. Khan" gets paged...
Stealth Hi/Bye: Parker is really good at vanishing at a second's notice, so much so that Hardison ends up just planting a GPS locator on her. Even Nate and Hardison manage one in "The Stork Job." It gets lampshaded in "The Mile High Job".
Eliot: How does she do that? Nate: I don't even ask anymore.
"We're moving in on someone. You see, most thieves aren't as smart or good looking as they think they are."
Straw Hypocrite: The episode with the anti-IRS militia (because the IRS impinges on personal freedom and STEALS our hard earned money) has the group drawn in because the militia's leader/financial backer has been scamming people with massive IRS debts by extorting them for all their credit card information and then stealing their identities.
Stolen MacGuffin Reveal: In general this is a fairly common concept on the show and one of Parker's specialties, she often does this with guns. This is done in an especially awesome manner as the main con in "The Top Hat Job." As the Villain of the Week is busily erasing the incriminating files about the tainted food his company was selling, he forgot an important detail, those weren't the most important thing on the company servers. Hardison steals the company food patents, worth trillions, and downloads them to the baddie's cell phone as they captured Hardison with his hard drive. After Hardison convinces the baddie to walk outside, Parker pickpockets the phone with the information and Nate uses that to blackmail him into pulling the tainted food.
The Mark's over-the-top clichéd country music video in "The Studio Job".
Sophie: I say we take him down for that alone.
Invoked in-universe in "The Three Days Of The Hunter Job".
Sophie: (exasperated) Parker, we went over this. You're not supposed to take it, you're supposed to get caught with it.
Parker: I don't know how to get caught!
Sophie: Yeah, I know it's difficult to steal badly. Just... just try!
Suddenly Always Knew That: Every once in a while, a character (Parker especially) will pull some hitherto unknown skill from the ether, which is usually just Handwaved as being something that they picked up over a long career of professional theft.
Swapped Roles: The team tries this in a few episodes, most notably in "The Three Days of The Hunter Job," when Sophie masterminds, Parker and Hardison grift and Eliot hacks.
Also, Hardison and Nate in "The Gold Job".
Deliberately invoked in their second encounter with Sterling. Sterling knows exactly how Sophie and Nate think, so the only way they are able to beat him is by thinking "What would Parker/Hardison (respectively) do?"
Sweet Tooth: Hardison has a particular taste for gummy frogs. Sophie had to act out as one for a con. Parker is a complete chocoholic, she even got overly hyper after attending a chocolate festival.
Sword Sparks: Eliot and a Russian mob thug generate sparks while fighting with crowbars in "The Three Card Monte Job".
Sterling is also an interesting example because he doesn't actually care all that much about capturing Team Leverage unless it somehow serves his own purposes and ambitions. Most of the time, he just leaves them alone.
Eliot did pummel him brutally at the beginning of one of their encounters, so he does get a little humiliation just not within his field.
Sophie got her chance to humiliate him in The Frame-Up Job when he insists on accompanying her while she grifts.
And Hardison nearly blew him up with a bomb. Really the only one he doesn't have any emotions towards is Parker.