These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
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.
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 WalmartExpy closes all found jobs at smaller shops instead though those smaller shops that pay better also have fewer total workers.
Base Breaker: "The Office Job" episode. Either a very funny episode or the worst episode in the entire series.
Complete Monster: Dr.AnneHannity from season 3's "The Inside Job" wanted to kill off the world's wheat market with a super-plague, willing to starve the whole planet, so that her own plague-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.") On a show where most villains are interested in stealing patents and building strip malls she, and her Dragon, cold-blooded Security Chief Voorhees, really stand out.
"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 fairness to Hardison in the latter case, he did loop the signal, so it was at least O-S-O-S-O-etc.
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."
Elliot 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.
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."
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.
Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The government is corrupt and it's totally ok to trust a group of strangers who happen to be career criminals to give you your house, money, property back. You wanna know why? They have a fancy looking office!
Well, we never get to see their first (external) job, and later they note that they take clients by referral only. Several characters have heard of the team before, so they must have a good reputation. And finally, they generally don't involve their clients in their cons at all, so said clients don't really have anything to lose.
Hardison/Parker is canon. There is a healthy shipping base for Elliot/Parker because so many of their surrogate sibling moments, especially the ones when Elliot 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 Elliot play past versions of characters who fell in love via Stockholm Syndrome.
Parker and Sophie jumping off the building together in the first season finale.
In the pilot, when Parker hooks Sophie into her rappeling gear and pulling her so close to her face that their noses bump.
Earlier in that episode, Parker and Hardison make out so they have an excuse for pumping a secured door open, while Sophie hides around the corner. Nate and Eliot can hear everything over the earbud, and when Sophie heads back outside:
In the second half of the Season 1 finale, Parker sniffs and pets Nathan's ex-wife.
In "The Tap-Out Job", we learn that Eliot's been teaching Parker basic fighting techniques. She applies them on Hardison, and she seems rather pleased he can't escape her arm bar. She then moves into a choke (using her thighs). Hardison: "She's... killing... me..."
Averted in "The Order 23 Job", when Parker informs Eliot and Hardison that nurses haven't worn white skirts and pantyhose since the 70s. They look disappointed.
In "The Two Live Crew Job", Eliot's Distaff Counterpart on the opposing team is an attractive Badass Israeli woman. Strictly speaking, the gradual stripping of their clothes and mushing their wet bodies together wasn't necessary. The handcuffs, oddly enough, were. And someone had to get a kick out of Parker with her foot on the rival thief's back, in a police uniform.
Parker looks amazing in a suit (like the one she wears when masquerading as an FBI agent).
Let's just make it easy on ourselves and say "Parker in any kind of uniform or professional wear."
In "The Maltese Falcon Job", Parker dresses as a French Maid, complete with accent. Later on, she dangles Tara off a building, by holding her by the throat.
Eliot and Sterling fighting seems to cause an in-universe example for Parker, as shown in "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job." Eliot punches Sterling and the camera zooms over to the bar. Hardison hands the bartender a wad of cash to look the other way and Parker stands there with a very... questionable... smile on her face. She also licks her lips. Interpret that as you want. Of course, at the same time, it could just be normal happiness at seeing the team's nemesis getting the everloving crap beaten out of him, but it doesn't look like a normal smile.
Another in-universe example, possibly related to the above: Parker explicitly has a Money Fetish. When they recover a shipping container full of cash she is ... very happy. Then there is her Christmas present - a stack of unmarked non-sequential hundreds.
Hardison and Eliot handcuffed together, running through the woods while being hunted.
Sophie in any kind of dress suit, but especially in "The Jailhouse Job" with that miniskirt....
She poses as a Chauffeur in "The Ho, Ho, Ho Job". Hnnngh.
Parker dressed as Nancy Drew in the "The 10 Lil' Grifters Job".
Forties!Everyone in "The Van Gogh Job". Also doubles as Costume Porn.
Parker dressed like a french artist and pretended to be a french photographer in the "The Queen's Gambit Job".
Hardison running in his skivvies (for a frat initiation).
Fetish Fuel Station Attendant: Parker. Should I even explain? Flexible, cute, long blonde hair, tight leather suits, not to mention the lack of boundaries. (Only mentioning that because it resulted in sniffing Maggie's hair.) Oh, and the back shots... Yum.
"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.
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.
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 DetectiveGrayson, 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.
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.
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 EvilSmug Snake that it's hard not to find him very entertaining.
Magnificent Bastard: Jim Sterling, Nate's Not So DifferentEvil 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.
Memetic Badass: Eliot has attained this status, thanks to "The Big Bang Job."
STERLING. NEVER. LOSES.
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, hewasnoneoftheabove. 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
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."
Poor Man's Substitute: Subverted. They wanted someone like Timothy Hutton to play Nate — and ended up with Timothy Hutton.
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.
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.
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.
The DVD case for the first season had a picture of the team standing on a street, while dollar bills rained down on them. One dollar bills.
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.
Uncanny Valley: The fake-Hardison from the finale definitely falls into this.
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?