Recap / Leverage S 05 E 06 The DB Cooper Job
Reynolds and McSweeten bust some crooks—70s style!

Agent McSweeten has come to Parker for help. His father Peter, a former agent, is dying of pancreatic cancer, and he wants the teams help tracking down the one felon his father wasnít able to catch, D.B. Cooper. Nate is reluctant, but relents and allows them to help.

Hardison and Nate meet with the Peter McSweeten's partner, Steve Reynalds. His wife was a stewardess on the plane that was hijacked and so itís personal for him. They ask him if he has a theory on who D.B. Cooper was, and he tells them several that are all as plausible as the other.

Nate later meets with McSweeten's father who begins to tell them about the case. (These scenes are Flashbacks in which the major characters are played by the Leverage cast, as in "The Van Gogh Job".) It was his first day as chief of the Portland area. As he arrived at work he gave a short speech about the values of their motto, but feels there should be one word added, ďcompassion.Ē On Trans Pacifica 305, a stewardess, Stephanie Ritter, is handed a note by a passenger. At first she thinks itís a love note, but when she reads it she finds a message telling her he has a bomb.

On the ground, McSweeten is heading for the airport after the plane lands. He reviews the demands and is informed that there is a tactical response team ready to go, on McSweeten's say-so. All the shades on the plane are down so police snipers canít hit him. Aboard the plane, Cooper is talking to Stephanie until she goes to answer a knock on the door. McSweeten is there with the demanded money and parachutes. Cooper instructs the pilots to fly to Mexico City, at 10,000 feet, flaps at 15 degrees. McSweeten arranges to intercept the plane in Reno, but Cooper jumps out the back of the plane and vanishes. McSweeten is then transferred back to his old position.

Hardison and Steve find a possible match and Nate sends Sophie to check it out.

After losing Cooper, McSweeten becomes nearly obsessed with finding him, chasing down leads wherever they turned up. He goes to see the stewardess from the flight and asks him to identify a man in a photo claiming to be D.B. Cooper. She isn't sure, and as heís about to leave, she and her husband Steve offer him some coffee. Inside they discuss Steveís military service and McSweeten decides to sponsor his admission into the FBI, after which they become partners.

Steve and Hardison are discussing the same thing. Steve tells him McSweeten quite probably saved his life that day.

McSweeten's first break comes when money from the hijacking is discovered and they go to search the area. After a further search turns up nothing, the additional agent with them storms off in a huff, saying Cooper is just another case for the cold files. Realizing they're just spinning their wheels, McSweeten decides to switch tracks. He and Steve decide to take over the cold case files, tracking down many other unsolved mysteries.

Peterís story is interrupted by a call from Sophie, who has located the suspect Hardison and Steve foundÖin a graveyard. He died three years before the hijacking, in Vietnam. Itís another dead end. Hardison finds the file on him, but notes there isn't any DNA evidence. If there is still some to be had, it will be at the forensics lab.

Back in McSweeten's story, he starts talking about the effect the search had on his son. He laments that his son will probably try to avenge his fatherís failure and asks Nate to make sure he doesn't lose himself to it.

When they get the DNA evidence, they find itís been contaminated because it was before DNA evidence was really relevant. Then a call comes in. Peter just died. They all gather for a little memorial and Steve reminisces about his partner. McSweeten announces that the hunt is now his and gets up.

That night Nate is up staring at the picture of Cooper. He and Hardison brainstorm trying to track down anything. Nate realizes the only thing thatís never been questioned is the sketch of the stewardessí description of Cooper. He decides to do just that and finds that the face of Cooper was actually on the back of the airlineís in-flight magazine. With that realization Nate figures out what's been going on.

Nate goes back to confront Steve about what really happened on flight 305. Steve then begins to relate the events of the flight from his point of view. After the initial bomb threat, he talks to Stephanie and asks "Do you think I look scary to you?", eventually winning her sympathy. He even tells her that heís doing it for a friend, PFC Dan Cooper, to get money for his family. The bomb is a fake and he tells the stewardess to tell McSweeten that if they try anything he will set it off. Before she walks off he ask for a drink. Later as he prepares to jump, she goes back to try and talk him out of it. He asks why she cares but she canít answer. He promises to see her again and then jumps, disappearing into the dark sky.

Stephanie returns home where Steve appears outside her house one night and the two have an emotional reunion. Some time later, as they celebrate their first Christmas as a married couple, McSweeten comes. Stephanie tries to tell Steve to run, but he decides to face McSweeten, leading to the eventual job offer. After McSweeten leaves, Stephanie tells Steve to accept the job offer, because that way they will never find him as "DB Cooper" is right in front of them.

McSweeten asks Nate how he figured it out, and Nate says Dan Cooper died in the Tet Offensive, and Steve was in his unit. Steve tells McSweeten his father was like a brother, even as McSweeten slaps the cuffs on him. He adds that the money was given to Cooper's family and the rest hidden in the forest, until the money was found by some hikers. Before he carts Steve off, Nate comes out and talks to him. He tells him that his father had the gift to see the good in people and because of that, he did bring D.B. Cooper to justice. McSweeten eventually relents and lets him go. At his apartment he finds a copy of The Odyssey, and inside is the Christmas list he wrote all those years ago, asking for a bike and D.B Cooper. Later he thanks Nate for his help.

After he leaves Sophie comes in and she and Nate discuss what they do. Nate decides he wants to build something.

Tropes stolen in this job: