YMMV: Leverage

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Nate has sociopathic tendencies in terms of the way he manipulates others. While Parker is seen as a Heroic Comedic Sociopath, Nate is a much darker version in that he genuinely doesn't care about the people he must manipulate to help others. While those people almost certainly deserve it, it is still interesting how little he cares about their fates. He also has a habit of risking himself and his team in ways that are almost unnecessary for the purpose of truly defeating his enemies. This is also seen in "The Boys Night Out Job" in which Nate is shown to literally have no friends outside of work; while his team is making fun of him over this fact, it is shown to in fact be true. Later in this episode he even has difficultly making small talk with a former client. Even Parker is capable of this with her friend Peggy.
    • Interestingly, related to the above, in the Five-Man Band, Parker could be seen as The Lancer and Sophie as The Chick. Parker does seem to have some similarity to Nate in terms personality as compared with Sophie. Sophie is also more worried about the emotions of the rest of the team, while Parker is a mild sociopath. In addition, Parker is the one with the least leadership potential relative to the rest of the team, also fitting into that requirement.
      • However, Sophie defiantly acts as Number Two to Nate, fitting in as The Lancer.
      • Also, when Sophie and Nate leave, it's Parker who becomes the next Mastermind.
    • The team as a whole can either be seen as mainly type 3 or 4 AntiHeroes or as type 3 AntiVillains. Word of God sees them as the bad guys.
      • Word of God also casts Sterling as an unambiguous good guy, which is definitely questionable considering how in his first appearance he quite bluntly tells Nathan that he only cares about finding a way to keep IYS from having to write a check - and as someone even he admits is likely to be innocent looks like a good fit for the frame, he's fully in favor of screwing a nobody to help his clients.
      Sterling: We're insurance men, Nate. We don't care who's guilty or who's innocent - just who pays.
    • The team (the whole show, for that matter) never seems to care or worry about the collateral damage caused by taking down the "evil" companies. Small-time investors, pension funds, employees, other companies who rely on the target... none of them are shown getting hurt. This is quite notable in "The Low, Low Prices Job", in which they state that the employees laid off when the Walmart Expy closes all found jobs at smaller shops instead though those smaller shops that pay better also have fewer total workers.
    ...some people went "boo hoo, what about the people who worked at that company?" But what they seem to be missing is that the company was overvalued based on Saul's original lie — he'd stolen another company's plans and had seized market dominance based on that lie. At that point, everyone else in the market was being cheated by this lie. His competitor's stocks were undervalued, the investors who held those stocks being cheated ... etc etc. All they did, really was create a perfectly legitimate market correction.
  • Base Breaker: "The Office Job" episode. Either a very funny episode or the worst episode in the entire series.
  • Cargo Ship:
    • Sophie and diamonds
    • Parker and money of any kind.
    • Hardison and his van, Lucille, in "The Three Strikes Job".
  • Come for the X, Stay for the Y: Come for the actors you know, stay for the top-notch stories, character development, and acting (from everyone).
  • Complete Monster: Rare - usually the team goes after crooked bureaucrats who steal patents and build strip malls on foreclosed property, all based on stories Ripped from the Headlines. However, this just makes the truly cold-blooded pieces of work (also Ripped from the Headlines) really stand out.
    • Darren Hoffman from "The Double-Blind Job" is truly slime, and based on a real atrocity to boot; he covers up evidence that an expensive experimental drug causes lethal liver damage, knowing that in the time it takes for thousands of patients to die, the company will make billions of dollars selling the drug - and after the court case, the FDA will fine them less than a sixth of the money they'll make selling it.
      "That's like tipping your waiter. 'Thank you very much for taking our drugs. Here's a little something for your family.'"
    • But he pales next to Dr. Anne Hannity from season 3's "The Inside Job" - planning to kill off the world's wheat market with a super-blight, willing to cause a global famine - a Class 0 Apocalypse - so that her own blight-resistant super-wheat would make her and, by extension, her company money. She also threatens Archie Leach's family to make him help her, and tries to kill the Leverage team when they find her out, asking them how they would like to be killed ("Mister Voorhees is flexible.")
  • Crazy Awesome: Parker veers between this and Bunny-Ears Lawyer.
    "Yeah, well, I stole the Hope Diamond. Then I put it back. Yeah. Because I was bored. Didn't care."
    • Pretty much the whole team. Nate for the plans, especially.
  • Critical Research Failure: In "The Rundown Job," Hardison gives an SOS signal as "long-long-long short-short-short." Not only does SOS start with the short signals, not the long ones, but it's a set of three sequences of three; hence, the three letter "SOS."
    • In "The Top Hat Job", the contents of a food company's patent portfolio is treated as an immensely valuable secret, the revealing of which would cost the company billions. But one of the requirements of patent law is that, in order to obtain a patent, the process involved must be published and filed with the Patent Office as a public record.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: The song that plays at the beginning of "The 12-Step Job" and during the poker game in "The Bottle Job", called "Can't Go Home Again." Many fans were sure it was a song by Dropkick Murphys or another Boston-area punk band, but it was actually written for Leverage by the show's composer because the show's budget wouldn't allow licensing music.
    • Actually, in "The Two-Horse Job", when Eliot and his old flame get back together, the backing track is a song by Kane's band called "More Than I Deserve". Why license when you have the actor working for you anyway?
    • The violin solo in "The Scheherazade Job."
    • Eliot singing country in "The Studio Job."
    Hardison: Nate, something's wrong. The system's not correcting his voice.
    Nate: That's because it doesn't need correcting.
  • Ear Worm: Hardison's "chase music" from "The First Contact Job".
    Eliot: I just got that song out of my head!
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Patrick Bonanno, a police detective the team tips off when they need someone to arrest the bad guy. He and Nate have a fascinating mutual respect even if they don't see eye to eye. The writers were really surprised at how happy viewers were to see him appear in "The Jailhouse Job."
  • Evil Is Cool: Sterling. He is played by Mark Sheppard, after all.
    • Subverted in that Sterling may be the team's Arch-Enemy and a Magnificent Bastard, but he is in fact the good guy. The True Companions themselves might count.
    • Chaos is a more straight example in that he largely adopts this as his personal philosophy.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Parker possibly qualifies, although she isn't truly evil she is one of the greatest thieves in the world. The pure pleasure she shows when pulling of a job or when surrounded by money also helps this.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Hardison/Parker is canon. There is a healthy shipping base for Eliot/Parker because so many of their surrogate sibling moments, especially the ones when Eliot is the one who calms Parker down when she's upset and irrational are profound and emotional enough that they could be turned romantic very easily.
      • "The D. B. Cooper Job" threw the pairing a bone by having Parker and Eliot play past versions of characters who fell in love via Stockholm Syndrome.
    • There's also a shipping base for Eliot/Hardison. Their Vitriolic Best Buds routine does border at times on UST.
    • Naturally, Eliot/Hardison/Parker is extremely popular.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Nate has an uncanny ability to pick out the worst possible outfits for his characters to wear.
  • Foe Yay: Nate and Sterling
    • Eliot and his "Two Live Crew" counterpart. Taken up to Slap-Slap-Kiss.
    • Also taken to near-ridiculous levels with Nate and the Italian.
    • The interaction between Nate and The Italian is thick with it. Also implied to be how Nate and Sophie initially became attracted to each other.
    • There's a little bit of Eliot and Damien Moreau as Eliot seems to be the only person Moreau actually kind of likes in his sociopathic way.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • "The Mile-High Job" (set largely on a plane) occurs the week after a plane made a (safe) water landing on the Hudson. Parker, as a stewardess, even makes a joke about a water landing being likely to kill everyone. Funny thing is, the episode was long finished by the time of the accident, and it's entirely within Parker's character to make such a joke. Rogers, commenting on his blog, says: "We of course didn't write a water landing, because at that point, every water landing had fatalities. Didn't bank on a miracle."
    • The plot of "The Homecoming Job" (head of PMC firm tries to off witness to company's illicit activites) qualifies as well.
  • Genius Bonus: At the beginning of "The Queen's Gambit Job," Sterling mentions how Interpol used a virus to sabotage the Kazakhstan nuclear refinement process by disrupting their centrifuges. This is in fact exactly how the Stuxnet virus was used: to disrupt Iranian nuclear centrifuges.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Hardison's comments about the "Butcher of Kiev," after the team goes to Kiev to rescue Maggie in "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job."
    Hardison: Have you ever been to Kiev? The Cakemaker of Kiev kick all our asses! This is the butcher.
    • Richard Kind plays a corrupt mayor in the season two finale. He would later play a similar recurring role in Gotham. Adding to it, another guest star in the episode is Paul Blackthorne, who at the same time as Kind getting the Gotham role was on another DC show, Arrow.
    • Sophie's performance in The Sound of Music gets critics rooting for the Nazis. Compare this to the reactions to Carrie Underwood's performance in the NBC live show.
    • The series finale features an engagement being called "the thing."
    • During the show's run, Aldis Hodge did a series of tea commercials with Stephen Fry, who would later marry a man named Eliot Spencer.
    • Saul Rubinek playing an executive at a company called Bering Aerospace, given his later association with a character whose last name is Bering.
  • Hollywood Homely: Peggy is actually a rather attractive girl, particularly in her second appearance. She's treated like a dateless weirdo in that same appearance.
  • Iron Woobie: It's not true all the time, but Eliot is this to the hilt in "The Big Bang Job" and "The San Lorenzo Job."
  • Les Yay: Parker seems to have a crush on Maggie. Being Parker, she expresses this by, at one point, sniffing her.
    • In "The Experiment Job", Eliot and Sophie are trying to get info about the mark from Detective Grayson, who is clearly frustrated that her investigation of a murder was quashed by political connections. Eliot tries to turn on the charm to get the info they need, and Grayson indicates to them that the tactic might prove more successful if Sophie were to make the advance instead. Eliot takes it in stride, and Sophie, for her part, seems flattered.
    • In the audio commentary for "The Last Dam Job" the idea of Sophie and Maggie being involved when Nate isn't around is teased by the writers/producers.
    • Sophie and Tara tend to act more like exes than friends when they get a chance to interact.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: You didn't really think Sophie was killed by Chaos's bomb in "The Two Live Crew Job," did you? Or again in "The San Lorenzo Job," right?
    • Or that Parker, Hardison, Eliot, and possibly Sophie actually would have died in 'The Long Goodbye Job?' That one is a little bit more convincing because it takes place in the series finale.
    • That first one also got some people at the time, as it was openly acknowledged that Gina Bellman's pregnancy would force her to leave the show for at least a while, and they were very secretive about how that would be accomplished.
  • Love to Hate: Sterling, as a Magnificent Bastard par excellence was designed to channel this. Colin "Chaos" Mason may be another example. Unlike Sterling he has no redeeming features whatsoever, and is a treacherous slippery little weasel, yet he's such an over the top example of a Laughably Evil Smug Snake that it's hard not to find him very entertaining.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Jim Sterling, Nate's Not So Different Evil Counterpart and insurance investigator turned Interpol officer, played by none other than the extremely smirk-ey Mark Sheppard. The universal rule of Sterling's appearances on the show is that Sterling never loses, meaning he's immune to Villain Decay. The only way the gang can win when Sterling shows up is to make sure that he wins, too.
    • Nate, as well.
  • Memes:
    • Sterling. Always. Wins. note 
    • Alright, let's go steal a meme.
    • It's a very distinctive meme.
  • Memetic Badass: Eliot has attained this status, thanks to "The Big Bang Job."
    • There's an in-universe example as well. In "The Rashomon Job", the team collectively remember the Chief of Security as a clever, cool-headed and perceptive Sterling Expy. That is, until we get to Nate's, who actually knew the guy, and as it turns out, he was none of the above. He's just a guy who had a crush on Sophie's cover. Unless Nate's exaggerating his flaws, considering that Sophie just said that the guy "could be even smarter than Nate." invoked
  • Moe: Parker is utterly adorable.
  • Narm: Eliot's "Matrix Moment" towards the end of "The Big Bang Job" is either this or a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
    • To elaborate - Eliot slides across a wet floor on his knees, dodging bullets despite the fact that he's moving slowly and in a straight line and there are like fifteen guys shooting right at him. Well, maybe dodging isn't the word - he simply leans backward as if he were in a limbo contest and everyone shooting is polite enough to aim right above where his body is. And evidently Eliot can see bullets as they move through the air. There's literally no plausible explanation for this but Eliot being the One.
    • "The Morning After Job" has Eliot telling Hardison to turn out the lights. But he says it like "Hardison. Dark." Which is extremely funny because it sounds like caveman speak for calling Hardison black.
  • Never Live It Down: The rest of the team periodically pokes fun at Hardison for getting kidnapped by Russians in "The Ice Man Job."
    • Parker stabbing a guy she was supposed to be buttering up.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • From "The Reunion Job":
    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.
  • Poor Man's Substitute: Subverted. They wanted someone like Timothy Hutton to play Nate — and ended up with Timothy Hutton.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: Pardison.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Tara has come under serious fire by the fanbase for potentially replacing Sophie. She has been in the show with her real personality for all of five minutes. The most common complaint is that she's a Mary Sue, since it's impossible that she called in a favor from a Hardison-level hacker to get her cover ID, Sophie gave her a key and the security code, and she's simply as good a grifter as Sophie.
    • Also, it's heavily implied by her...unusual facility with codes, ex-Soviet bureaucrats, and surveillance techniques that Tara was trained by the government (or, A government) as an intelligence operative before turning to a life of crime. It's conceivable that she has the skills or contacts to generate a false ID that would fool Hardison.
    • As of the Girls' Night Out Job, it's not so much implied as outright stated. She mentions being trained at Quantico, which is home to a Marine base, the DEA and FBI training academies, the FBI laboratory, and headquarters for the NCIS.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Rewatching season five lets you see just how often Nate and Sophie leave the other three to their own devices, preparing them to run the whole operation after those two retire.
  • Seasonal Rot: The fifth and final season stretches the premise, and some episodes rely on chance more...though the show remains enjoyable.
    • This is really more of an issue with the over reliance on rather unrealistic cons involving high technology that approaches Holodeck levels. Starting with the season pilot "The Very Big Bird Job", in which they convince the Villain of the Week that he is really flying the Spruce Goose, and moving on to the Inception-inspired "White Rabbit Job", in which they basically build an actual Holodeck and mess with the mark's subconscious, it feels quite off for a series that otherwise, despite being based on Action Movie physics, sticks to realistic technology.
    • It also felt as if the ending was completely abrupt as well with Nate and Sophie retiring. One angle that would have been somewhat interesting leading up to the ending as well as being a logical outcome of the series, is if Nate and Sophie became somewhat more recognizable due to their high profile roles compared to the other three that generally are Beneath Notice and in Hardison's case not physically present. It would then make sense for Hardison, Parker and Eliot to continue on without them as they are now becoming a liability to an extent. This would have also fit with the finale in which Sophie was never physically present and did all of her work over the phone with a variety of accents.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The first quarter of "The Future Job" has the team show Parker exactly how a phony psychic's "cold read" con works — how he reads tiny facial indicators and makes good guesses to create an illusion of psychic knowledge. Since the show hardly ever takes time to show how the bad guy's trick works, one wonders if there's an author somewhere with a point to make. Word of God says that episode was written to disprove psychics because an EP's family member was about to give money to one.
    • Justified that they were doing it to calm her down when he managed to point out that Parker watched her younger brother die years ago and blames herself for it, driving her to tears on stage. Needless to say, it definitely got personal for her after that stunt.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • While not a special effects-heavy show to begin with, and while most effects seen in the show are perfectly acceptable, the car crash in "The Beantown Bailout Job" (where a Cadillac hits a curb, then leaps a dozen feet in the air while doing a 720' flip right over Nathan's head before landing on its hood) is pure 100% distilled Narm.
    • The plane landing on a bridge in "The Mile-High Job" was also a special effects failure. The bridge seems to be too small for a plane to land on, but the next scene shows that the bridge either got bigger, or the plane shrank to the size of only two lanes. And that's not even pointing out that the turbines of the plane would have blown off any cars traveling on said bridge. Or the fact that the passengers AND pilots would have passed out from such a rapid descend.
    • The explosion special effect used for the house bomb in The Runway Job is perfectly acceptable. The only problem is that the commercial break that follows holds off exactly one second too long: Just long enough for the flame and smoke to dissipate and reveal a perfectly intact house with perfectly intact windows.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Some of the cons, as described, are utterly awesome; impersonating a priest inside a confessional in order to get the Corrupt Corporate Executive's personal assistant to go to the media, or altering the text of a Congressional bill by somehow stealing it and replacing vital pages before it's placed in the hopper. However, they are thrown off in thirty-second asides.
    • The confessional bit fell into Nate's lap due to luck and a subtle bit of manipulation. In "The Miracle Job," Nate and the priest need a private place to talk and Nate goes in the left side of the confessional box (where the priest is supposed to sit.) After the priest leaves but before Nate does, the assistant enters the box on the right side, leaving Nate an opportunity to pull off the plan.
    • Hardison and Nate do, in fact, note just how awesome the concept of stealing a law is. Hardison even goes so far as the say that Parker would be a legend for successfully pulling it off.
    • And then there's the awesome fight we were gonna get between Eliot and his double in "The Two Live Crew Job", which apparently ran out of time via setting up the battle, and so left us with a couple punches and a handcuffing.
    • The Damien Moreau arc is essentially forgotten between the first few and last few episodes of the season. Season 4's arc is a little better, but still disappears for so long that it feels like their hearts weren't really in it.
  • Uncanny Valley: The fake-Hardison from the finale definitely falls into this.
  • The Untwist: After watching for a while, it doesn't take much work to figure out when what appear to be major problems for the crew are actually part of the con themselves.
  • Viewers Are Morons: On occasion the cons are simple enough for us to follow them the first time through, yet the show still insists on holding our hand with flashbacks of every single step. How many times does it take to pick up that whenever you see Parker bump into someone, she stole something from them?
    • Word of God: "Testing indicates — and I'm not kidding — that about 30% of our audience never understands the con at all."
  • The Woobie:
    • Parker. When this girl cries, the entire group rallies for revenge.
    • And so does the audience.
    • Arguably, Coswell, the hapless security chief from "The Rashomon Job," qualifies when we get to see what he's actually like.
    • Widmark, the mark's stepson from "The Fairy Godparents Job". He tells Sophie that no matter how hard he tries, he never gets anything he wants, and when Sophie asks him what he wants, he says that he just wants someone to like him. Did we mention that he's 10? And named Widmark?