In the same episode, Nate says that they ran an American campaign by declaring victory and pushing it regardless of what the actual results are. Bush v. Gore, anyone?
Take a Third Option: In the finale of Season 4, Nate is holding Latimer and Dubenich at gun point at the edge of a concrete platform at a dam. Each tries to argue that Nate should kill the other one (which would leave the survivor with a scape-goat so he can walk away free). Nate does have five bullets, and points out that he could just shoot both of them, but he's also having a bit of a moral dilemma on being a killer. He decides that he won't let vengeance turn him into a person he doesn't want to be and walks away. But not before putting the gun at the edge of the platform, in between Dubenich and Latimer (who are pretty pissed at each other). The two villains then try to go after the gun to try to kill the other, but the ensuing struggle causes them both to fall off the platform to their deaths. Nate walks away with his hands (relatively) clean of blood and both his enemies dead.
Maggie does this to Ian Blackpoole in "The Second David Job" when she found out the truth her son died because Blackpoole didn't feel like accepting a claim for an operation that could have saved him.
Tap on the Head: Done all the time by Eliot, both as a one-hit punch in the midst of combat and also as a casual way to knock people out, sometimes innocents totally uninvolved in the crime. No side effects ever seem to appear from this.
Tasty Gold: Parker licks the statue of Ra in the King George Job. Sophie then explains how Parker can taste that it's gold because other metals heat up when touched but gold doesn't.
Team Chef: Eliot. He is trained well in the culinary arts and has gone undercover as a chef more than once.
Team Dad: Part of Nate's Character Development is his growth from mere Mission Control to a true team leader. (This isn't obvious since the episodes in season 1 weren't shown in the order that the jobs happened.) This is lampshaded when Nate's dad shows up a second time and Hardison makes the connection between Nate's relationship with his father and Nate's own "distant and emotionally unavailable" management style.
Team Mom: Sophie similarly grows into this role, most obviously in "The Stork Job" when she talks Eliot through how to scam someone. Confirmed after the team fakes Sophie's death in "The Two Live Crew Job":
Hardison:(to Sophie) We trust Nate to make sure the plan works. We trust you to make sure we're all OK.
Tears from a Stone: In "The Miracle Job," the team fakes a miracle by creating a statue that cries when it's touched by smoke from the candles. However, the statue isn't made of stone and the liquid it produces isn't tears, meaning that when the Vatican investigative team shows up to ascertain the veracity of the miracle, they would be found out almost immediately.
Tempting Fate: In "The French Connection Job" when they have the mark's attention and focus, Nate says, "Barring any unforeseen circumstances, we're good to go." Cut to some people the mark angered about to enter the restaurant and cause trouble.
That Poor Car: This is played with by Hardison, to provide a distraction.
Theme Music Power-Up: When the Leverage theme starts playing, you know someone on the team is about to do something awesome.
Themed Aliases: The team tends to use Doctor Who-themed aliases (probably because they're all arranged by Hardison the uber-geek).
There Are No Good Executives: The show pretty much runs on this trope. Many if not most of the episodes are about some evil executive(s) or entire corporations abusing their power.
Averted in "The Top Hat Job" where the CEO is clean, the team goes after the Vice President who is not.
Nate actually believes this trope. In "The Lonely Hearts Job," he initially refuses to take the job because the client is a billionaire and Nate assumes (without any evidence at all) that he is therefore a horrible, corrupt person.
They Have the Scent: A militia group uses hunting dogs to pursue Eliot and Hardison in "The Gone-Fishin' Job".
This Is Gonna Suck: Parker actually uses the exact phrase in "The Nigerian Job," just before sticking her fingers down her throat to force herself to throw up so the doctor will come so she can pickpocket his phone.
Those Two Guys: FBI Special Agents Taggart and McSweeten from "The Wedding Job" show up again from time to time. They even cross over into Heterosexual Life-Partners at one point. In "The Fairy Godparents Job," there's an exchange about "[seeing] other partners."
A Threesome Is Hot: Hayley Beck offers to let Parker join in when she's caught making out with her boyfriend in the pantry in "The 10 L'il Grifters Job."
That's not even the worst of it When Sophie and Nate say they're leaving, this whole thing happens:
Sophie: Promise me you'll keep them safe. Eliot: Till my dying day. Nate: You know, Eliot, I’d say, call if you need anything, but you never, never need anything. Eliot: Yeah, I did. [looks over at Parker and Hardison for a moment before looking back] And thanks to you, I don’t have to search anymore.
"The Rundown Job" is full of moments for them, including Parker climbing all over Hardison to disable a claymore while Eliot grins at them both.
Throwing the Fight: In "The Tap Out Job," the team is exposed as conmen and Eliot agrees to take the dive in the upcoming prize fight. (Thanks to some Xanatos Speed Chess, this still works out in the team's favor in the end.)
They Do: Apparently, Parker and Hardison as of "The Long Way Down Job", and then officially confirmed to the rest of the crew and the audience as "we're dating now" in the Fifth season opener.
Hardison: Going to Plan B? Nate: Technically that would be Plan G. Hardison: How many plans do we have? Is there like a Plan M? Nate: Yeah. Hardison dies in Plan M. Eliot: I like Plan M.
Word of God has it that things are badly out of whack when Nate gets past G in the alphabet.
As of "The Queen's Gambit Job", Hardison dies in Plans C, F, and M through Q.
Eliot also gets a trendy eye scar in one of the plans.
Title Drop: Nate drops the show title at the very end of the pilot, and the team takes the name "Leverage Consulting & Associates" as a corporate identity in the following episode. Occasionally someone outside the team will use the word "leverage," and all the nearby team members will glance at each other meaningfully.
From the 2nd season opening sequence — "The rich and powerful take what they want. We steal it back for you. Sometimes bad guys make the best good guys. We provide . . . leverage."
Eliot also uses the word "leverage" while explaining the grappling aspect of mixed martial arts to Sophie, while talking Parker through how to beat the snot out of Hardison.
And the judge in "The Bank Shot Job" uses it while holding people hostage.
The season 3 opener, "The Jailhouse Job", features Nate explaining that "they" now have the leverage, referring to the shadowy interests that the Italian represents, and that the team has to "take it back from them."
Also used in "The Long Way Down Job". Upon discovering that a bug has been planted in the HQ, Nate points out that they are at the top of the list of enemies for many people he then states; "When you're at the top, it's a long way down."
To Be Lawful or Good: This is the main conflict between Sterling and Nate. Nate falls on the side of good and becomes a thief to for three understandable reasons: to avenge the death of his son, to punish those who would otherwise be unpunished by the legal system, and to rehabilitate four of the world's best thieves. Sterling on the other hand is not on the side of good and sees his main role as taking down Nate and his team as his Robin Hood fantasy is just that. This is also played with in "The Queen's Gambit Job" in which Sterling manipulates the team into saving his daughter. It is also used (and lampshaded by Nate this time) again in "The Long Goodbye Job" in which Nate is stealing information on those behind the financial crisis when Nate is apprehended and interrogated by Sterling, Sterling actually helps them get away with it though that was partially in return for them helping to save his daughter.
More deeply played with Sterling, actually. Sterling IS a good guy, when it comes down to it and genuinely does care about serving justice. He just believes that law & order is different from justice. If the two align, he's happy about it, but he was doing the best he could as an agent of the law otherwise.
Token Evil Teammate: Tara during Season 2. She isn't really evil but she's not there because she wants to help people and expects to be paid for her part in their jobs
Token Good Teammate: Nate Ford to the rest of the team. He was specifically hired to be the "one honest man" on a crew of thieves. However, the distinction gets fuzzier as time goes by, as Nate begins to relish his role of criminal mastermind and the rest of the team discovers they enjoy using their skills to help people
Tomboy and Girly Girl: Parker and Sophie definitely qualify, but it's justified as Sophie's specialty is conning people, often by seducing them, and Parker's specialty is breaking into high-security vaults.
Took a Level in Badass: As of the second season's premiere, Sophie throws a mean headbutt, while in the previous season's "The "Wedding Job", she was knocked down by a bitchy housewife hitting her with a handbag.
Hardison also learns how to handle himself more as the series goes on. Eliot has presumably been giving them pointers. In "The Tap-Out Job" he asks Parker to demonstrate the choke hold he showed her.
In "The Maltese Falcon Job (Part 2)" Parker dangling Tara over the ledge of a building for a presumed betrayal of the team.
In "The Hot Potato Job" Sophie punches Hardison to sell a con... Eliot's really proud.
Eliot: She popped you, huh? I've been teaching her a couple things. Hardison: Nah man, I had to help her out. I had to really sell it. Eliot: She got you man. You got a little blood right there! Hardison: Yeah, she got a right hook like a freight train. Eliot: She put her hips into it? That's my girl! Hardison: Stop- don't teach people how to do that!
Victor Dubenich would be a villainous example.
Too Dumb to Live: Many of the marks ultimately prove to be this — the judge in "The Bank Shot Job," who ends up taking a bank full of people hostage to get back the money he was paying under the table to Nate, is a good example.
The sniper in "The Rundown Job" certainly qualifies. He knew he was the second choice to get the job, after Eliot Spencer, who is a living legend in those circles. Suddenly he sees Eliot charging him, and what does he do to try to slow him down? Throws a bag of golf clubs at him... which Eliot promptly makes use of by pulling out a club and beating him senseless.
Too Many Belts: This is the distinctive marker of the mark's clothing line in "The Runway Job."
In an Easter Egg, if you look close you'll notice that the team's phones all have a feature that gives the exact coordinates of each team member at all times.
Trademark Favorite Food: Hardison and orange soda (and later, gummi frogs). His counterpart in "The Two Live Crew Job" likes strawberry soda.
Parker seems to like cereals, in just about any episode we see her eating some. She even hides her emergency funds in one of her numerous cereal boxes.
In another episode we also see her eating a doughnut covered in cereal.
Trailers Always Spoil: The "Automated Phone Recording" ads for season 2.5 spoil the ending of "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job".
Also, the ending of "The Lost Heir Job" was spoiled by a TNT promo that aired right before the last segment when the uptight lawyer revealed that she was actually Tara Cole and had been putting one over on the team as her "audition". (Not a surprise to anyone who reads John Rogers' blog, but still.)
Tranquil Fury: Eliot goes into this a few times. In "The Order 23 Job," he nearly topples a man down several flights of stairs, speaking softly and calmly all the while, because he takes issue with people who beat up kids. In "The Jailhouse Job," he quietly informs Nate as to his typical handling of people who run a con on their own team while holding a running dental drill in one hand. In short, if angry!Eliot is looking at you with an even expression, it's best to back away slowly. If he's smirking, run away very fast at right angles to him. If he laughs...
Nate also gets his moments. When talking to the villain of "The Cross My Heart Job", who was a terminally ill CEO willing to steal a child's heart to survive, Nate slowly and calmly describes how he will methodically destroy him, his company, and everything he owns. It's also one of the few times where he outright threatens to actually kill the villain. In "The (Very) Big Bird Job", when the villain laughingly notes how when his corporation gets people killed, all he has to do is pay a fine, Nate goes very, very still. To a casual glance, Nate doesn't seem to be reacting, but people who have watched the show before can tell that Nate is about as pissed as he ever gets. This is immediately lampshaded by Hardison whose comments of "I know this is the sort of person that pisses you off, but we can't go after him yet" are ignored, as Nate hatches a con on the spot to utterly destroy the man in front of him.
Subverted with Sterling in "The Maltese Falcon Job". He goes into the Mayor's hotel room (after he was kidnapped by the team), goes out and looks calmly at the guards.
Sterling: You name's Bob, right?
Bob: Yes, sir.
Sterling: And you've been here the whole time, Bob.
Chaos: You have to admit, it was a good plan. Hardison: It was, but there was one thing you didn't count on. Chaos: Aw, no. Hardison: You forgot... Chaos: No, no, no... Hardison: ...about the true meaning... Chaos: Don't you say it! Hardison: ...of Christmas. Chaos: Gah, come on man, that barely applies here!
Try And Follow: Parker quite frequently does this. Notably she has base jumped off of one of the world's tallest buildings as well as backflipped off a bridge and held on by her fingertips.
Two-Teacher School: Eliot and Sophie seem to be the only teachers at the mark's stepson's school in "The Fairy Godparents Job."
Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Used towards the end of "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job", after Maggie kisses Nate, only to be interrupted by Parker dropping in to get the bomb that was about to kill them. When she returns, Maggie, Nate, and Maggie's boyfriend have clearly been standing around awkwardly.
Undercover as Lovers: Surprisingly for a show in which the main characters adopt new identities in every episode, Leverage does this rarely; however, in "The Mile High Job", Nate and Sophie pretended to be a couple while boarding an airplane, and then got into an argument over their past history while working on their cover story.
Hardison and Parker have also posed as a couple a couple of times. Most notably in "The First David Job" where they make out to cover for opening a door. Then there's "The Ice Man Job" where she's the girlfriend to his diamond merchant (the titular "Ice Man"), and finally "The Fairy God Parents" where they pose as newly-weds when looking at an apartment.
There are also several times where they pose as lovers making out in order to escape suspicion from guards.
Hardison and Eliot also posed as a couple to get in and see Nate in "The 12-Step Job". Eliot was less than pleased.
In the "Homecoming Job" Nate and Sophie pretend to be a bickering married couple from New Jersey to distract the guards.
To a degree between Parker and Eliot in "The Inside Job" while the two were running through the Wakefield Building halls as the latter fights through. An employee who was crushing on Parker's character runs into her asking to exchange numbers and was nearly assaulted by Eliot, whom Parker quickly stops. The employee asked in fear who he was, and Parker quickly responds that Eliot is her boyfriend before going on her way. The employee leaves to sulk.
Unflinching Walk: Happens occasionally, but perhaps most notable Parker's from her introductory flashback. The one that takes place when she was six.
Unorthodox Reload: In "The Big Bang Job" Eliot secures the magazines of his twin pistols by pressing them against his hips and pulls back the slides by holding one pistol upside down over the other so he can hook the rear sights together and pulls the pistols in opposite directions. This example is made even more interesting by the fact that Eliot doesn't like guns.
To quote Quigley: "I said I don't like 'em; never said I couldn't use one."
The team itself becomes one of these in "The Ho Ho Ho Job." They think that Chaos is trying to pull off a massive case of identity fraud by boosting credit card numbers from a mall. So they shut off the Internet connection from the trunk line to the mall... only to realize too late that that part of the trunk line goes to the Federal Bank Depository as well, leaving Chaos and his crew free to pick it without worrying about triggering any security he can't hack.
They also become pawns to the Italian, and to Dubenivich twice.
Villainous Breakdown: A good majority of the marks once their schemes get exposed by the Leverage team, most notable in episodes like "The Boiler Room Job". The last was made even sweeter since before the mark had bragged that the team failed to con him and arrogantly calls them pathetic for trying, until Nate pointed out they were simply doing something else while using his overawareness to distract him from what they were REALLY doing, which was plain rob him since he knew beforehand a con wouldn't work. Then the mark gets taken away kicking and screaming by the authorities, unable to understand how he was beaten.
Violin Scam: Used often, and explicitly named in "The Studio Job."
Vitriolic Best Buds: Eliot and Hardison, though whether or not they're really "best buds" is debatable. At least until the end of "The Gone Fishin' Job," when they become openly friendly with each other. Word of God says that events in this episode "did more to cement their friendship than anything else in the last two years. Although, again, neither would admit it."- Of course, the vitriol remains.
Even before this moment, they do seem to spend a fair amount of time together — they find the client in "The Double Blind Job" when she literally runs into them out getting coffee together, which Word of God says they do more often then they'd admit. They're also paired throughout "The Gone Fishin' Job" because Eliot insists on taking Hardison fishing with him.
Eliot: "Nobody throws Hardison off a building"
Arguably, the interaction between Nate and Sterling smacks of both this and Worthy Opponent.
Sophie and Tara in "The Girls Night Out Job", although they come off more like sisters than anything. To note, each mimicking each other childishly, disagreeing on just about everything, stealing each others ideas, and so on.
Vomit Discretion Shot: Luckily Parker ducks just out of view after sticking her fingers down her throat to force herself to vomit (she needed to get a doctor's attention so she could steal his phone) in "The Nigerian Job."
Waif-Fu: Parker normally avoids combat, but cracks open a case of waif fu to fight a Serbian gangster in "The Stork Job." As per the trope, when he gets a grip on her she's in serious trouble, but when she breaks free she's able to use her greater speed and agility to knock the crap out of him.
Water Source Tampering: Part A of Nate's plan against Dubenich and Latimer in "The Last Dam Job." The location is Latimer's Bellington Dam. Nate ensures the dam's filters are filled with quagga mussels, a predatory creature which would destroy the ecosystem if released. This forces Latimer to close the dam down for a year long clean-up.
We Have Reserves: In "The First David Job" Sterling tells an employee, who was reaching for a priceless art treasure on the edge of a tall building to be careful, what he is reaching for is irreplaceable, the man reaching is not.
We Interrupt This Program: The climax of "The Three Days of the Hunter Job." The news show is in the middle of the stock report when the mark, reporter Monica Hunter, bursts in and demands that they interrupt the broadcast so she can deliver an emergency bulletin. When she finds that her evidence is gone and starts raving about a government cover-up, the anchorwoman whose broadcast was interrupted turns to the camera and reports the breaking news that Monica Hunter has just had a nervous breakdown right there in the studio.
Wedding Ring Defense: Invoked during an episode in which they discuss the D.B. Cooper hijacking — the stewardess who Cooper gave his note to was wearing a fake ring in a vain attempt to avoid pickup lines.
Weirdness Censor: The folks at the bar in which the team meets with the client. Eliot beats someone down there on a regular basis, and people just go back to their drinks.
"The Zanzibar Marketplace Job" addresses this. When Sterling comes into the bar and Eliot starts beating the crap out of him, the camera pans over to the bar, where Hardison hands the bartender a wad of cash to look the other way. Considering how much money the team has, I'm sure they're capable of making the bartender ignore the fights quite often.
"The Bottle Job" also provides an explanation: it's a thief bar. It's also owned by a friend of Nate's father — and later by his daughter, who Nate describes as like a niece to him.
"Well Done, Son!" Guy: Nate has quite a few issues with his father, Jimmy Ford, and is quite eager to prove that he's better than the old man.
By the end of the series, Nate has become the Team Dad, and his approval means a lot to the others. He has a Passing the Torch moment with each of Parker, Hardison, and Eliot over the course of the final season.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: The villain of "The Rundown Job" attempted to stage a massive bioterrorism crisis to showcase how vulnerable the United States would be to such an attack. Col. Vance, Eliot's old boss/friend who has no patience for government bureaucracy and would rather attack potential threats as soon as possible using small teams of agents, is warned he could become this too.
We Need a Distraction: In "The Nigerian Job," Nate starts smashing car windows outside the building, intentionally drawing the attention of all the security guards, who go running out the door. Everybody in the lobby, including the mark, becomes curious what's going on and stops what they were doing to look out the window.
We Work Well Together: The team, made up of one honest man and four criminals who had previously worked on their own, makes this discovery after they work together in the pilot.
Wham Episode: "The Radio Job", where Nate's father is killed and the first episode villain Victor Dubenich returns to take revenge on the team.
Arguably "My name's Nate Ford... and I'm a thief." Depending on how much attention you paid to the subtle character development throughout the first two seasons.
What the Hell, Hero?: In "The Scheherazade Job", Nate hypnotizes Hardison into thinking he's a violin prodigy so that he can pull off a perfect performance during the concert. Hardison, upon finding out, does not take the news well.
You hypnotize marks, not your own crew.
Nate gets this again at the beginning of "The White Rabbit Job," with basically every other member of the team except Sophie objecting to the idea of essentially trying to gaslight a man into becoming a model citizen.
What Would X Do?: In "The First David Job," Nate and Sophie realize that their main problem is that Sterling knows how they think. Their solution, of course, is to think like someone else — i.e. Hardison and Parker.
Whole Plot Reference: "The Office Job" is one to the American version of The Office, complete with the same documentary-type camera angles from the show and Expies of characters from the show (including a mark who has almost the exact same characterization as Michael Scott).
Why Did It Have To Be Horses?: Parker's great fear is horses, as revealed in "The Two Horse Job" — she saw one kill a clown when she was a child. (It was actually a guy in a horse suit.) She ends up having to spend time in a stable with one as part of the job.
Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Inverted. Dubenich could have gotten away with everything if he had just paid them, instead of trying to kill them.
Why Won't You Die?: In "The First David Job", Sterling's thug demands to know why Eliot won't go down. Eliot laughs. And kicks the crap out of him.
Wig, Dress, Accent: Featured often with Sophie. Lampshaded and almost subverted in "The Rashomon Job" when a museum head of security notes that a duchess in the main hall bears a striking resemblance to one of the lab girls (both are Sophie's acts, one in a slinky evening gown with her usual accent, and the other in a white lab coat with what sounds like a Chicago accent) and almost seems to make the connectionnote At least, Sophie thought he was making the connection. In fact, he'd fallen in love with her lab-girl persona and was trying to pay her the complement of saying the Duchess couldn't hold a candle to her.
Would Hit a Girl: From "The Two Live Crew Job," Eliot's Evil Counterpart is an Israeli woman, who asks "You wouldn't hit a girl, would you?" He responds in Hebrew "Not unless she hits me first." When she does, he says "That counts" and they fight, with a lot of Clothing Damage on both sides. In a later episode Nate punches out a nun that is holding him at gunpoint. Both the nun and the gun are fakes.
Wrench Wench: Parker is apparently quite handy with engines as a result of a few years spent as a car thief when she was a teenager. Also, Josie, from the same episode where that's revealed.
Written-In Infirmity: Due to Christian Kane's insistence on doing his own stunts whenever possible (and not always getting them right), his character occasionally has to explain away the actor's injuries. Since Eliot is the team's fighter, it doesn't distract from the plot — or from the hilarity.
Eliot: "Well, how was I supposed to know it was a lesbian bar?"
Wrote the Book: In "The Reunion Job", the mark literally wrote the book on database security.
Xanatos Speed Chess: Most episodes tend to have everything go to plan in the first half of the show, and then nothing going right in the second, forcing Nate to improvise another (and even another on top of it) way to bring down the mark in the intended beneficiary way for his client. Fortunately, Nate is a Xanatos Speed Chessmaster.
In a Heartwarming Moment Hardison tells this to Parker during "The Queen's Gambit Job". Parker feels trapped at the top of one of the tallest buildings in Dubai and cannot risk jumping because at her weight, she would be as a leaf in a wind storm. Hardison reminds her that she isn't alone and the gear he had made for her to steal the item is also a contingency for her escape.
Parker gives one of these to The mark in "The White Rabbit Job" when he believes he is in a dream and about to kill himself over guilt of failing his cousin years ago because he was too busy with work. He has felt alone and Parker tells him how she thought she was alone after losing someone close to her but found people who love her. She is no longer alone and neither is he as his own workers hired the team to help him.
You Are Too Late: Often a part of Nate's speech during The Reveal of the team's plan. The nature of a con sometimes makes it so Nate ends up a giving a triumphant, heroic You Are Too Late speech to a villain's initially boastful You Are Too Late speech.
Parker: Hardison, you have to make it through this. Because you're my friend. And I need you. Do you hear me, Alec?!
You Can Always Tell A Liar: Played for laughs between Eliot and Hardison in "The Snow Job." Eliot then pulls it off again in "The Gone Fishin' Job."
Eliot: You have a tell. Hardison: I have a tell? Eliot: Yes. Hardison: I have a tell for Rock Paper Scissors? Eliot: Yes!
He pulls it again in "The Boys Night Out Job", when he lets Hardison win so he can hit on the lady running the impound lot.
You Can Panic Now: What the mark in "The Three Days of the Hunter Job" does for a living on her news show. She actually turned down a fake story they fed her about secret terrorist prisons in the US because she didn't think it would scare her viewers enough. So they change it to make her believe every source of water is poisoned and some black ops people are hunting her down. This is enough for her to take over another show to tell people the "truth".
Your Other Left: In "The Future Job" Wilson, the phony psychic's lackey, is directing him from a control room to the targets to "read and get psychic visions from" and when he tells him the first woman is to his left, the psychic looks the other way and Wilson said this trope.
Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: In "The Gone Fishin' Job", a group of militiamen claim to be 'anti-government freedom fighters', which gives them the right to kill two IRS agents as enemy combatants. Later they are revealed to be making a bomb to blow up a civilian target.