Recap / Leverage S 01 E 05 The Mile High Job
Any landing you can walk away from...
"Look, flying isn't really all that scary when you think about it. I mean, there are a lot more likely ways to die than on a plane: car crash, house fire, electrocution, drowning, auto-erotic asphyxiation. I mean, fact is, death haunts us every day, no matter where we are."

The team agrees to take the case for a couple who lost their daughter due to the effects of a company’s fertilizer. The mark is Alan Haldeman the CEO of Genogrow Industries, and they’re after whatever he’s hiding.

At the company headquarters, Sophie distracts security, while Parker lets the others, sans Hardison, into the building. Hardison is back at the office making breakfast, when he suddenly notices the team is in action.

He gets on comms just as Holloman comes into his office ranting about the EPA and mentioning some assets on a flight to the Caymans. They need to get on that flight. Hardison gets them tickets to the flight, Sophie and Nate as a married couple, Eliot as an air marshal and Parker will be a flight attendant.

In the meantime, Nate sends Hardison back to Genogrow to find the smoking gun.

As the team settles in to their flight, Hardison goes into the company headquarters. In the air, they discuss possible suspects and what the asset may be. They begins searching the possessions of people on board.

In the company building, Hardison begins bonding with one of the employees there over World of Warcraft. Nate calls and tells him to get into action, so he makes up a meeting and then fakes stomach trouble so he can snoop around.

He cross-references the flight manifest with the company roster and finds there are actually two people on the flight, Dan Erlick, head of security, and Marissa Devons, an accountant, but they’re not seated together. Nate and Sophie keep tabs on Erlick while Parker looks after Marissa.Talking to Marissa, Parker finds that she is on a business trip, but seems unaware that Erlick is there as well. Back on the ground, Hardison finds people searching her office, which means she knows more than they realized, and that Marissa is the asset to be liquidated.

Nate sends Eliot to talk to her since he has the badge. He finds out that she noticed some irregularities in payouts. Haldeman assured her they were errors and sent her to perform an audit. The team realizes Erlick is there to perform a hit.

Nate sets Hardison on Haldeman’s harddrive and Eliot on Erlick. On Haldeman’s laptop he finds out that he’s actually going to take out both Marissa and Erlick, by taking down the entire plane. They assume that means a bomb, but it actually turns out to be a device that will mess up the plane’s control and do it without leaving a trace on the blackbox.

Eliot and Nate go to the cockpit and inform the crew, just as the device activates. Now it’s up to Hardison to restart the plane’s electrical systems. He manages to do it, but the plane is so low they have to set down on a highway…somehow without damaging the plane or any of the cars on the highway.

It’s only a matter of time before Haldeman finds out his plan failed, and Nate orders Hardison out…with the hard drive. He also encourages Marissa to testify and she agrees, leading to Haldeman’s arrest.

Tropes stolen in this job:

  • Brick Joke: Marissa comments that it feels like the plane is traveling really fast, and maybe they picked up a tailwind. Later on the pilot mentions they'll probably arrive early if the tailwind keeps up.
  • California Doubling: The scenes set in the terminal at LAX were somewhat-obviously filmed in the concourse hall in the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The team carries multiple IDs, and even wedding bands in case they need to pose as a married couple. Eliot even has a federal air marshall's badge.
  • Episode on a Plane
  • Eye Take: When Hardison realizes the team is on a job.
  • He Knows Too Much: Marissa, the one who found the accounting discrepancies, and Erlick, the one running the cover-up.
  • Improbable Piloting Skills: The pilot lands the plane on raised highway with traffic on it, without causing a major accident.
  • Just Plane Wrong: A TWA jet can be seen during the scenes at LAX; TWA merged with American Airlines in 2001. The plane the crew are on is CGI and seems to be a 777 with the wings of an A330.
  • Loving Details: Sophie and Nate's relationship is in a tentative stage. Sophie becomes upset when Nate apparently doesn't remember their first meeting—he dates it as two years later than she does. She takes this as a sign that he's not really into her. Later, he recites details of the first time he saw her (which matches her date), but adds that he didn't properly meet her until two years after that. Sophie is reassured by this.
  • Multiple Identity IDs: Part of the team's preparations in case they need cover stories quickly.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: This episode aired the same week as the Miracle on the Hudson, which adds extra depth to Parker's talk on the PA about the unlikelihood of surviving a water landing.
  • Shown Their Work: The "black box" flight recorders are in fact bright orange, because that's easier to spot in the debris.