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  • Jack-of-All-Trades: Over the course of the show, most of the members get proficient at the other crew members' skill specialties (especially grifting), allowing the team a lot of versatility and options in being able to switch up roles at times.
    • Hardison in particular. He started off as a master hacker and a decent grifter and thief, became better at both, learned some combat skills, and has a wide variety of artistic and craft skills for the cons. Anything he can't do, he can typically learn (and complain the entire time)
  • Jail Bake: In "The Jailhouse Job", the team sends Nate a kielbasa with an earpiece hidden inside it. Another prisoner sees him tear apart the kielbasa and stick something into his ear and is suitably grossed out.
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  • Japanese Tourist: Chinese actually, but a family in line with the trope show up in "The Two-Horse Job" and are unwittingly incorporated into both the team's scheme and Sterling's counter-measures, thinking the whole time they are just taking pictures and doing touristy stuff.
  • Japandering: In "The Three Strikes Job," part of Eliot's baseball player cover is a (fake) Japanese energy drink commercial that Hardison whipped together. Usually, Eliot is not fond of Hardison's hijinks, but he actually loves the commercial.
  • Jenny's Number: The pilot has a Freeze-Frame Bonus when they're breaking into Pierson's server room. It shows the screen of the skimmer Hardison used to crack the code, and the first seven numbers are 8675309.
  • Jerkass: All of the marks targeted by the Leverage crew are this, how they shamelessly bleed dry innocent people of all they have for fun and profit. They whine and panic once seeing that their schemes are no longer funny once put on the receiving end by Leverage.
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  • Jumping Out of a Cake: Used by Archie to smuggle Parker into a party and then what they are stealing out.
    Archie: The thing to remember, son, is that nobody ever cuts the cake 'til somebody tells them to cut the cake.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Used to their advantage in "The Radio Job". When the team is stuck in a building surrounded by FBI, they turn it into a turf war between them and Homeland Security by faking a terrorist threat.
  • Jury Duty: Parker (or rather, one of Parker's cover identities) gets called to jury duty in "The Juror #6 Job" and stumbles upon a plot by another group to mess with the proceedings.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: The mission statement of Team Leverage.
  • Just One Little Mistake: The fake FBI agents chasing the client at the beginning of "The Double Blind Job" make two little mistakes — they show Hardison their fake badges... and they spill Eliot's coffee.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Naturally, a con about misdirection will happen in a show about cons.
    • "The Nigerian Job" and "The Second David Job."
    • In "The Boiler Room Job", they pull a massive shuffle on The Makonote . The team thoroughly convinces the guy that they are going to try to short the market on cocoa bean shares, going so far as to falsify a chocolate persona so Sophie can steal the show at a chocolate festival, pretend that Nate (going by the name Count Chocula)owns the market on cocoa futures, fly the Mako out to South America to view the deforestation, and get an entire roomful of actors to pretend they are a legit stock brokering firm — and then when the Mako is gloating about how he saw through the whole thing They rob him blind and take everything out of his bank accounts. And the FBI is right outside, since they traced his accounts. The Mako was so stunned at this that even as he was being dragged out by the Feds, he continued to ask if this was part of the con.
    • In the mid-season 3 finale, Nate confronts the Italian telling her he had gotten what she wanted, Damien Moreau's accounts, but was not giving them to her and was going after Moreau himself. After he leaves it turns out that this was what her people had wanted all along, Nate's team to take out Moreau, so they could be rid of him without getting their hands dirty.
    • In "The Ho Ho Ho Job", the team ends up on the receiving end of one, courtesy of Chaos, who had the team thinking he was committing credit card fraud to get them to shut down the internet trunk line when he was actually planning on robbing the federal depository.
    • "The Long Goodbye Job" is three shuffles in one. In order:
      • The first part hinges on Agent Casey figuring out Nate's lying and getting Sterling called in, as well as what room Parker was really breaking into and having the "bodies" of Hardison, Eliot and (presumably) Sophie brought into the Interpol building, allowing Hardison and Eliot to sneak into the building again, this time as the coroner drivers.
      • The second part is based on Sterling figuring out what Nate's really after, so he goes in and checks to see if any of them are in the server room, which allows Parker, Hardison and Eliot to get into the server room to steal the hard drive.
      • The third part is Sterling realizing the first and second parts, as well as the fact that Sophie was the one on the phone lines all afternoon and that she was not the afternoon Lady Macbeth. All of this gives Eliot, Parker and Hardison more than enough time to get back through the tunnels and disguise themselves amongst the cast for the play.
  • Karma Houdini: In "The San Lorenzo Job" President Edwin Ribera gets to retire peacefully and use the corrupt political system to seize Damien Moreau's assets for himself as part of a deal he makes with Nate to have Moreau arrested. Ribera was highly corrupt in the time he was president and he had opponents and dissidents arrested and murdered regularly, but there is no indication that he will suffer any reprisal beyond the loss of his political power - and since his corruption was well known to the public while he was in office, the fact that he voluntarily concedes the election means he'll likely get a boost to his public image to go with his cushy retirement.
  • Keep the Reward:
    • The Leverage team work like this, more or less, returning any money that the mark took from their clients in full and often finding a way to give the client monetary compensation even in cases where the client's losses weren't originally monetary (such as in "The Beantown Bailout Job," "The Iceman Job," and "The Double Blind Job," among others). They can more than afford to do this since, as clients who raise the subject of payment are informed, they work on an "alternate revenue stream": they steal from the marks whenever they can, so they never have to charge their clients. Hardison is also more than capable of applying his genius to the stock market, as proven by the "retire and buy an island"-level payout he nets them from their first job together, and every time the team goes up against a corporation gives him another opportunity to repeat the performance.
    • Averted by Tara when she joins the team in the second season; she is very blunt about expecting a cut of whatever payout is gained from each job, pointing out that this is how she makes her living and she's not working for charity. Given the "alternate revenue stream" described above, it's never really an issue and simply serves to highlight that her mindset is more mercenary than the rest of the team's.
  • Kick the Dog: The stock in trade of almost all of their marks. For example, the wealthy guy who stole a heart destined for a teenaged boy. Nate gives him a snow globe instead.
  • Kill It with Fire: Parker destroys the weaponized Spanish flu virus in "The Rundown Job" by burning it with a small blowtorch as it sprays out of the briefcase.
  • Knife Nut: Eliot. He's also a chef when he's not killing people.
    Eliot: Hold a knife like this (normally), cuts through an onion. Hold a knife like this (switches to a backhand grip), cuts through, like, eight yakuza in four seconds. Screams, blood, carnage. People are like knives. Everything's in context.
  • Kinda Busy Here: Used by name on several occasions by both Hardison and Eliot.
  • Kiss-Kiss-Slap: Nate and Sophie at the end of The Maltese Falcon Job.
  • Kung-Foley: Eliot's fights tend to be very noisy.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • In "The Second David Job", Maggie joins the team, and comments on how annoying it must be to have Nate talking to them all the time. Nate disagrees, then Hardison and Eliot basically go "Actually...".
    • Also in "The Second David Job" Sophie mentions that chance tends to bend itself to Nate's plans after Maggie says the plan will never work.
    • "The Three Days of the Hunter Job" is full of lampshades hung by Nate while critiquing Sophie's leadership technique.
    • And in "The Runway Job" an irritated Tara repeatedly lampshades Nate's catch phrases and general style of speech. After "Let's go steal a ..." she looks at the others and says, "Steal a fashion show... Does he always talk like that?"
      Tara: So he just says things... and walks away?
      Parker: Yeah... you're gonna have to get used to that.
    • In "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job" Hardison casually pulls a ultraviolet light out of his backpack when Sophie tells him he needs one. This is commented by Eliot with a "Seriously? You just happen to have one lying around?".
    • After Nate criticizes The Mark for his business practices in "The 15 Minutes Job":
      Sophie: "Like I've never seen you take any victory lap after you've pushed us to the edge or stick around to gloat while the bad guy's being dragged away."
    • Parker in "The Boiler Room Job."
      Parker: "So what is it we're stealing? I mean, is it 'let's go steal a mountain, a funeral, a panda, what?"
      • Doubles as a Continuity Nod, as earlier in the season the team had indeed stolen both a mountain ("The Long Way Down Job") and a funeral ("The Grave Danger Job").
  • Landmark Sale: In "The Three Strikes Job", Nate poses as a real estate developer planning to build a baseball stadium to con a corrupt mayor. This requires him to make it look like an actual team was planning to move to the stadium.
  • Large Ham:
    • Nate's director persona in "The Stork Job".
    • Sophie when she's acting onstage—in a bad, non-endearing way.
    • Nate in "The Fairy Godparents Job", as the "German" Dr. Heinlin Melcher.
    • Nate again as an Army General in "The Three Days of the Hunter Job". And Monica Hunter in general, though in an evil way.
    • In "The Iceman Job", Alec Hardison is...The Iceman. Lampshaded repeatedly by the team.
    • Really, pretty much all of Nate's in-con personas. This show has allowed Tim Hutton to ham it up at near Shatner level. Hutton has said that Jimmy Papadokalis is his favorite.
    • Parker's Björk/Lady Gaga-esque character in "The Studio Job."
      Parker: I don't think I'm being weird enough.
    • Many, many of Hardison's characters.
    • Hardison and Nate's general grifting style is to unnerve their mark by being intense (Hardison) or being annoying (Nate) so the Large Ham is a natural tool for nearly all their personas.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The Leverage crew pull this off on every one of their marks, subjecting the marks to the same pain and suffering they inflicted on others just to line their pockets.
  • Laser Hallway: Guarding the vault in "The First David Job". Parker gets around it with acrobatics and aluminum foil.
    • In a flashback in "The Inside Job," a teenage Parker is shown doing something similar to get to an ice cream sundae as part of her training. Her mentor then holds up a spoon, and she presumably does the entire thing backwards without spilling the ice cream, although it cuts back to the present before we can see her try. The same spoon shows up earlier in the episode, in a shot of her apartment / supply cache, so she did. Taken to an extreme in the same episode where to Parker's surprise and annoyance, there were lasers in a ventilation shaft. She can pass through a laser array just fine, provided there's room for her to move in...
    Parker: "Laser tripwires... in a VENTILATION SHAFT!? ... I'm in trouble."
    • In "The Gimme A K Street Job," Parker tries to teach Laser Gymnastics to a group of cheerleaders. They don't respond too well to the idea...
  • Laser Sight: The red dots of multiple laser sights appear on Hardison's chest when he and Eliot are captured by Right Wing Militia Fanatics in "The Gone-Fishin' Job".
    • Parker uses the non-lethal kind when scoping out the gallery in "The Second David Job".
    • Used to show the tables turning on the bad guy in "The Carnival Job."
  • Last-Name Basis:
    • Nobody ever calls Hardison "Alec." When the client from "The Double-Blind Job" says it, Parker reacts. But she's not jealous. (She DOES call him "Alec" during "Grave Danger Job," showing just how serious the situation is.)
    • Nor does anyone call Sterling "Jim." It even takes Nate a second to realize when Maggie mentioned Nate bringing home "James" it meant Sterling.
    • Jury's out on Parker — since her name is just Parker.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: In "The Close Encounter Job", this is combined with a Noodle Incident.
    Sophie: Braddock Aeronautics. It's top shelf.
    Eliot: That's military aircraft contractors. They used to stamp their logo on their choppers and we'd have to file them off before we went — fishin'.
    Eliot: For... fish...
  • Late to the Punchline: Parker in "The Studio Job."
    Parker: Ohhhhh! Eliot's the fiddle!
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.:
    • IYS, the insurance agency that Nate worked for, seems to be this in part—if he can go after Sophie with a gun instead of having to call the local cops, well...
    • Leverage & Associates does not work this way, however—it takes up "where the law leaves off".
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: The team needs to create elaborate schemes in order to manipulate their mark. This means that side comments to the mark often end up being important later, and their importance becomes apparent during the "how it was done" flashback scenes. This is a trait shared with its spiritual predecessor Hustle.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: All over the place. Pretty much every Mega-Corp the team takes a swing at is a Fictional Counterpart of one caught with its hand in the cookie jar, Ripped from the Headlines;
    • Bering Aerospace in "The Nigerian Job" is one of these for the real-life Boeing.
    • Monsanto just can't stay out of trouble, so they're practically a Recurring Boss.
      • In "The Mile High Job", they're GenoGrow, knowingly using toxic fertilizers.
      • In "The Inside Job", they're Wakefield Agricultural, trying to create a monopoly on blight-resistant wheat... by releasing a blight.
      • In "The Hot Potato Job", they're Verd Agra, planting bio-patented seed on farmer's lands to accuse them of patent violation so they can steal open-source biotech.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Sophie pulls one of these when Parker gets jealous of Hardison's connection with the client in "The Double Blind Job."
  • Leitmotif: Sterling has one that usually pops up alongside his first appearance in any given episode. In "The Queen's Gambit Job", when Olivia Livingston first mentions her real father - Sterling, though we don't know it yet, the theme can be subtly heard.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: Usually comes in two ways.
    • First, the gang do this when they realize the mark is up to more than they thought and the plan is far more complex. "So it's not just a dirty laundromat, we're taking on the Chinese mob?"
    • The second is when the mark is caught and tries to explain what happened to the dubious authorities, such as in "The Very Big Bird Job."
    FBI Agent: So your story is you didn't flee the country because of embezzlement and fraud, you fled because you thought terrorists were trying to kill you for secret stealth technology invented by Howard Hughes?
    Romer: Yes.
    FBI Agent: But you didn't report that to the FBI because you believed you stole the world's largest airplane out of a museum, which you had crashed?
    Romer: Now you got it!
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Even though Eliot is the muscle, all of the members are capable of fisticuffs if the situation is dire enough to call for it.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!:
    • At the end of "the First David Job", the team splits up to lay low for six months.(they barely manage three before meeting up with each other again by coincidence).
    • Season four has two episodes dedicated to this, "The (Girls'/Boys') Night Out Job" splits the team along gender lines (and brings Tara back for one episode) and has each half of the team run a job to help a former client once again.
  • Like a Son to Me:
    • Well, niece, actually. Nate goes back a long ways with John McRory, so his daughter Cora is like a niece to him. That also means that she's off-limits.
    • Parker is like a daughter to Archie Leach to the point where when his actual biological daughter asks who she is in "The Last Dam Job", he answers "my daughter".
  • Literal-Minded: Parker in "The Lonely Hearts Job", where in order to single out the ringleader in the bachelor auction, Sophie instructs Parker to get in a fight with Hardison's date. Parker misunderstands and goes up and sucker-punches said date in the kisser, starting a fight. Sophie facepalms, saying she meant having a heated argument, not literally fist fight her.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: In "The Cross My Heart Job".
  • Locked in the Bathroom: In "The Fairy Godparents Job", Widmark locks himself in a bathroom stall while suffering from extreme stage fright. It is up to Sophie to talk him out so the con can go ahead.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Nate and Hardison were secretly working together to find the location of the Black Book, a file containing the names and crimes of every major white collar criminal in the world. However, they don't tell the rest of the team until the series finale.
  • London Gangster: Annie Croy, one of Sophie's recurring personae, is a London Gangster. (Croy is a reference to the Kray Brothers, an actual London Gangster duo.)
    • So are many of Hardison's disguises.
  • Lonely Funeral: Subverted in that Sophie's first funeral is actually pretty crowded — but no one there knows who she really is.
  • Los Angeles: Season one was both set and filmed there.
  • Lost in a Crowd: Variation in "The Second David Job:" the team plants fake David statues in everyone's bag at the museum coat check. The real Davids were both in the display case the whole time, covered by a cloud of steam. The whole thing was a decoy while the team stole every other work of art in the gallery.
  • Loveable Rogue: Pretty much all of Team Leverage.
  • Love at First Punch:
    • Sophie and Nate's first chronological meeting involves Nate interrupting Sophie as she tries to steal a painting. Their eyes meet, a quick smile, then she puts a bullet in his shoulder. The instant she turns around, he pops one of his own into her behind. She is pissed.
    • John Rogers is proud to have written "The first Meet Cute sequence I can think of that involves the principals shooting each other."
  • Loving Details: In "The Mile-High Job" (season 1), 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—see Love at First Gunshot above), but adds that he didn't properly meet her until two years after that. Sophie is reassured by this.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Eliot's Improvised Weapons tend to be of the defensive rather than offensive variety. Notably, during his kitchen brawl in "The Wedding Job," with plenty of bladed implements at his disposal he picks up everything except a knife to fight with, using one only after taking it away from his opponent (and then only briefly).
  • Luke, You Are My Father: a dying industrialist gives his fortune to a charity because its operator is his long-lost daughter. He didn't tell her the truth because he didn't want her to hate him for (accidentally) abandoning her and her mother.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: Used in several episodes, most notably in "The Lost Heir Job." They have a witness who is in jail. They offer to break him out if he helps them. He laughs at them, because he is quite happy in the minimum-security prison. So they frame him as the leader of the Aryan Nation and threaten to send him to a maximum-security prison if he doesn't give them the info they need.
  • MacGuffin: For one, the Van Gogh painting itself in "The Van Gogh Job." It's very valuable, a lot of people want it, and it's part of an epic Star-Crossed Lovers story. What it is exactly beyond that is completely irrelevant.
  • MacGyvering: Often along with Indy Ploy. In "The First David Job", Parker breaks into a high-security vault during a dinner party with whatever she can scrounge up on the buffet table: a glass of ice, some aluminium foil, silk napkin, dark eyeshadow and some gum.
    Hardison: You did not just think about that on the way in from the van.
    Parker: Some people do crosswords.
    • In "The Top Hat Job," Hardison uses a gummy frog to simulate the texture of a human finger to bypass a fingerprint scanner.
    • In "The Two Live Crew Job," Parker delays the activation of a motion-sensitive bomb in a flower vase by pouring in Jello mix.
    • In "The Cross My Heart Job", the team is stuck at an airport with none of their usual equipment, not even earbuds or credit cards. Starting with only the cash they happen to have on them and the emergency high heels Sophie had in her carry-on, they proceed to make do with whatever they can borrow, steal, or jerry-rig from around them.
    • In "The Radio Job", the team find themselves barricaded inside the US Patent Office, so they use the prototypes to distract the FBI and get themselves out.
  • Made of Iron: Eliot. Lampshaded by Hardison in "The Rundown Job" (where Eliot gets shot twice and then beats the crap out of the Mad Scientist they chased):
    Hardison: He takes getting shot very lightly.
    • Eliot also had a crowbar (accidentally) thrown at his head by Parker, much to his anger.
    • He had also gotten hit by a car in "The Boost Job" and still managed to survive. Lampshaded by Parker.
      Eliot: I GOT HIT BY A CAR!!!
      Parker: (mockingly) 'I got hit by a car!' GET OVER IT!
    • Not to mention getting hit full-force in the head by a carnival ride and still getting back up and beating up the guy responsible in "The Carnival Job".
  • Magic Floppy Disk: Well-averted in general, but Played for Laughs in "The Wedding Job." When Eliot infiltrates the FBI in order to steal the audio surveillance on the target, he finds that the FBI is still using cassette tapes to record their audio. Hardison is dumbfounded, and ends up having to set off the fire alarm so that Eliot can get out of the building with a box full of tapes.
    • In "The Reunion Job" where Hardison tries to hack into the mark's computer, only to find in surprise that the computer is an old 80s version that uses floppy disks, meaning no USB ports to use to extract.
  • Male Gaze: Pretty much every mark Sophie is about to work on gives one to her on sight, basically Once an Episode.
  • Mall Santa: The client in "The Ho Ho Ho Job." The mooks are also playing Santa to get into position for a theft.
  • The Man Behind the Curtain: Invoked in "The Future Job" when Eliot walks in on the phony psychic's control room and his lackey is there feeding him information.
  • Man Bites Man: Hardison bites a mook in "The French Connection Job." He even warns the guy he would.
  • The Man Makes the Weapon: Eliot, most notably in "The Wedding Job." He disarms a man holding a huge knife, using a whisk. He then subdues the man with an appetizer and a tray.
  • Manipulative Bastard. Sophie's job. Nate. Sterling. Chaos, for sure. A number of the marks. It's a pretty common trope on this show.
  • Manipulative Editing: Hardison uses this on the jury room footage in "The Juror #6 Job" to convince the mark that she was about to win the trial. He also does so in "The Bank Shot Job" to make it look like the judge had taken the hostages from the beginning.
    • This ends up being critical to the con in "The 15 Minutes Job."
  • Marrying the Mark: The team uncovers a ring of Black Widows whose M.O. is basically quickly seducing wealthy men, marrying them, then murder. How? One of the ringmembers ran away after ending up in love with her target for real. Said target goes to the Leverage team to locate her, going into Ain't Too Proud to Beg as he is a wealthy businessman, the kind of person the Leverage team usually takes down.
  • Martial Medic: Played straight in "The Bank Shot Job" and "The Boys' Night Out Job" — Eliot is the only member of the group whose job regularly involves violence so it stands to reason that he's the one who's going to know what to do with a gunshot wound.
  • Massive Multiplayer Scam: The team's modus operandi.
  • A Match Made in Stockholm: D.B. Cooper and his wife in "The D.B. Cooper Job."
  • Mating Dance: In "The Girls' night Out Job," Tara does a very sexy tango with a mark to distract him while Sophie switches his briefcase.
  • Matzo Fever: Eliot seems to get a mild case of it toward Mikel Dayan, his counterpart in the rival crew in "The Two Live Crew Job."
  • Medication Tampering:
    • In "The Miracle Job", the crew induces a panic attack in the mark by replacing his anti-anxiety medication with pills that are a mix of caffeine and dexamphetamine.
    • In "The Second David Job", the crew cause a museum direction to think he has contracted an infection from a mummy by swapping his allergy medication for a mixture of ragweed pollen and dexamphetamine.
  • Meet Cute: Implied in the pilot that Nate and Sophie had one — that ended with him shooting her. And her shooting him. In "The Lonely Hearts Job" this trope is actually discussed as Nate and Sophie have to manufacture one for their characters in the con.
  • Memetic Badass: In-Universe: 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."
  • Metal Detector Checkpoint: In "The Lost Heir Job," Hardison delays a corrupt lawyer at the courthouse's security checkpoint by slipping an assortment of loose keys into his pockets and hiding a tin foil wrapper molded into the shape of a gun in the man's briefcase.
  • Metaphorgotten: Nate's homily for the wedding during "The Wedding Job". Marriage is a sacred bond, which is a contract, which is a lousy way of relating between two people, I mean, you might as well try to explain baseball to a dog but at least the dog will bring the ball back to you . . .
  • Mid-Life Crisis Car: Nate's Tesla Roadster, promptly called out as such by the rest of the team as they watch him drive away.
  • Mile-High Club: Averted in "The Mile High Job."
  • A Million Is a Statistic: In "The Scheherazade Job," Sophie's character observes that this applies to good deeds as much as bad — if you buy the town a new school, it just reminds people how rich you are, but if you help raise one person out of poverty, you're a hero. This turns out to be an integral part of The Con — she convinces the autocrat potential dictator to set up a concert for an impoverished young violinist from his country, who turns out to be Hardison, so that they can break into his concert hall.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: It's not uncommon for the crew to start investigating a mark on behalf of a single victim, only for said mark to be operating on a larger scale. Nate will then throw their current con under the bus to rewrite it so he can completely kill off the mark's plans from the roots rather than the branches. However, the series tends to shy away from the team attempting to Save the World.
    • "The Homecoming Job". Coverup of a friendly fire investigation → multi-billion-dollar money-laundering scheme.
    • "The Snow Job". Negligent home contracting job → nationwide foreclosure-related fraud.
    • "The Stork Job". Spanish Prisoner scam with orphans → weapons smuggling.
    • "The Gone-Fishin' Job". People being scammed by fake IRS agents → anti-government militia planning a terrorist attack.
    • The canon novel "The Con Job". Dealing with a forger stealing original work from aging comic artists → Preventing a Japanese real estate developer/crime boss from killing everyone at Comic-Con with a car bomb so he can set it up in his own hotel(!).
      • However, there are few cases from Season 3 onward where the stakes are mind-bogglingly high;
    • "The Inside Job". A theft from an agricultural company → plot to cause a global famine so the company can profit from its monopoly on blight-resistant wheat.
    • "The Double-Blind Job". Accidentally foiled kidnapping/assassination → plot to knowingly release toxic drug nationwide, killing anywhere from thousands to millions, earning the Evil Drug Company billions for a 15% fine.
    EDC CEO: That's like tipping your waiter. "Thank you very much for taking our drugs. Here's a little something for your family."
    • "The Big Bang Job". Investigation of international criminal → plot to destroy Washington DC with a prototype EMP city-buster.
    • "The Rundown Job". Investigation of an planned assassination → plot to release Spanish Influenza.
  • Missing Episode: TNT pulled "The Mile High Job," which was set on a plane and devoted much of its comedy to making fun of water landings after the Miracle on the Hudson. The episode was later aired in its original form after the media frenzy had died down.
  • Mission Briefing: Done Once an Episode to describe The Mark and his various evil activities using fancy slideshows, unusual in that it's Hardison who does it instead of Nate, the team's leader. Usually, everyone butts in with their own comments or the character who actually knows what they're talking about takes over the briefing.
  • Mission Control: Nate, or sometimes Nate and Hardison, and on one occasion Hardison and Sophie.
    • Missing Mission Control: A few times, usually with Hardison being in danger, missing his equipment or just bowing out (The start of "The Mile High Job") and things go spiraling very quickly. Inverted in "The Long Way Down Job" when Eliot, Parker, or Nate are mostly out of reach on the comms.
  • "Mission: Impossible" Cable Drop: Parker's trademark maneuver is to jump off the side of buildings and lower down on a cable, instead of doing this on the inside. She then goes in through the window. No one but Parker is crazy enough to do it willingly, though they are often forced to anyway.
  • The Missus and the Ex: Nate's ex-wife Maggie and current lover Sophie. They were already friends before Sophie started sleeping with Nate but the fact hasn't deterred their friendship. Maggie doesn't even mind when Sophie calls her up to help with a problematic con.
  • Mistaken for Badass: The head of security in "The Rashomon Job". Parker, Eliot, Sophie, and Hardison all thought he was a clue-sniffing monster who was five seconds behind them, but it turns out he was just a hapless non sequitur who showed up at the wrong place over and over again, and was in fact hired because he was incompetent by the real criminal, the museum's owner. Also, he had a crush on Sophie.
  • Mistaken for Servant: Done deliberately in "The Low Low Price Job". Sophie sends in her acting troupe dressed in the same shirts and pants as employees of Value-Mart, with instructions to be ignore the customers, in an attempt to ruin the store's reputation.
  • Modesty Towel: When they need access to a hotel room in "The Maltese Falcon Job", Tara asks Parker to steal a towel for her and she pretends to have been locked outside of her room in just a towel to trick the Housekeeper into opening it.
  • The Mole: Occasionally when running a con the team either uses a mole in the group or fakes one and make the mark waste time looking for one. Other times they must hunt down the mole who is working against the team's interests.
  • Monumental Theft: The team specializes in some amazing tactics to get what they're after and leave their client's enemies holding the proverbial bag. The targets of their clever thefts and elaborate con-jobs are never small-time, either. Their first job netted them millions of dollars and upset the entire industry of the guy who double-crossed them, on top of causing an international incident. It helps when you have four amazing thieves lead by a grandmaster of the Batman Gambit.
  • Mood Whiplash: The show can often veer from a breezy Ocean's Eleven-esque tone to a very serious, dramatic one (such as flashbacks to the death of Nate's son, Eliot threatening a child abuser or Parker finding an arms smuggling ring running out of a Serbian orphanage) in a matter of minutes.
    • From the season 5 premiere, we go from a typical family-like team dinner ending to a very dark stinger with Hardison and Nate. Hardison makes a money transfer and mentions that he doesn't like lying to the others, Nate replying heavily that all good things must come to an end.
    • And another one, courtesy of "The Rundown Job". How? "The Rundown Job" has Parker, Eliot and Hardison taking on a terrorist attack that's using the Spanish Flu Virus. This is really driven home, because the last episode was a "Parker Makes a Friend" episode, and this one is deadly serious. Hardison says very early in the episode that this is way out of their league.
  • Mook Horror Show: The "Eliot vs. the dirty cops" scene in "The Morning After Job" is presented this way.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: In-universe, Hardison's violin solo in "The Scheherezade Job". He does so good a job of playing it, everyone in the concert hall is moved to silence and stillness...including the crew, costing them their window to break into a safe.
  • Motive Misidentification: In "The Ho Ho Ho Job," the team believes that the plot at the local mall is to steal everyone's credit card numbers for massive identity fraud. So they shut down the power in the whole area. Then it turns out that Chaos wanted them to do just that. The power outage disabled the security system at the nearby bank (their real target) and he and his goons were free to move in and rob it. Of course, this being Leverage, they were still able to stop him in time. Still one of the only times when the villain was a step ahead of the team.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Sophie's part in any given con is more often than not helped along by how easily she can distract and win over male marks with sex appeal and flirtation.
    • Parker in a French maid outfit in "The Maltese Falcon Job".
    • Parker doing her laser gymnastics. Lampshaded in "The Rundown Job"
    Hardison: (staring) I never get tired of that!
    (Eliot, also staring, silently gives Hardison a fist-bump of approval)
    • No love for Tara? This troper must cite “The Bottle Job” for her hooker-ish cover.
    Tara: (hikes skirt, sticks out chest, pouts lip) “My name’s Trish and I’m lonely…” walks with swining hips
  • Mr. Fanservice: Eliot and Hardison both fall under this. The show's writers and directors know it, too, providing many instances of suit-wearing, arms-showing-off, and other (usually subtle) instances of fanservice.
  • Mugged for Disguise:
    • "The Mile High Job" has a variant where the victim doesn't end up naked. Operating from the knowledge that flight attendants bring two uniforms with them when they fly, the team tricks a stewardess into thinking there's a medical emergency with her cat; while she panics, Parker switches out her suitcase with another one so that she can take the spare and infiltrate the flight.
    • Eliot does this twice in "The Rashomon Job": first mugging Dr. Wes Abernathy for his clothes and invitation, and later knocking out a museum guard and stealing his uniform.
    • Eliot again in "The Hot Potato Job" When Sophie gets him an in as her accountant, Nate tells him to "look the part." Answer Cut to him tackling an accountant, and popping up a moment later in the man's clothes.
  • Mugging the Monster:
    • In "The Bottle Job" a Loan Shark targets Nate's favorite pub after its owner had borrowed money from him. The shark does this after the funeral of the original owner while the wake was still happening.
    • In "The Top Hat Job" Parker, Hardison, and Eliot try to get into the private food company. Nate knows this is a bad idea and even a simple scouting job will be doomed. Turns out the company has ex-Special Forces as security and state-of-the-art protection for all the food patents. Eliot couldn't even get past the lobby before they were smoked out.
  • Multitasked Conversation: Nate in "The Bank Shot Job", Parker in "The Fairy Godparents Job" when both talk to the team on the comms and still act like they are having a normal conversation with a person close by.
  • Mundane Solution: In "The Homecoming Job", when, Eliot, Hardison, and Parker sneak onto a supply dock, and notice a webcam stationed at the container they were trying to get to. Hardison was prepared to hack the webcam through his phone to disable it, but then Eliot simply disables the cam by flinging a rock at it.
    Hardison: "I just have to spoof the IP address and overlay a digital duplicate on the wi-fi and-" (Eliot throws a rock at the webcam, smashing it) "... or that."
    • Subverted in that breaking the camera causes security to investigate, where Hardison's hacking would have left them blissfully unaware. (Although this also is implied to have been intentional, to test the security team's responses.)
  • Mundane Utility: Hardison retasks two satellites just so he can torrent the latest episode of Doctor Who. Strangely, the episode aired the week after the 2009 Who Christmas special. And honestly, is there a Who fan here who wouldn't do the same thing?
  • The Murder After: "The Morning After Job" centers around the team convincing a mark that this has happened. There's even a specific name for the particular con (although nobody can agree on what it is).
  • Musical Spoiler: During "The Order 23 Job", an out of place bit of Middle-Eastern music cuts in when Hardison gets into a Marshall's car to search it. Except that the Armenian assassin's car is actually the second one he searches. And Armenia is in the Caucasus. Someone on the sound team screwed up.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Parker's Serbian in "The Stork Job" — concluding with "Oh, Shiny Tomato!"
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Nate sees Cora McRory like this, though she's more like a surrogate niece to him.
    Nate: She's like my niece. So I'd appreciate it, if you didn't like my niece.
  • Mysterious Employer: The Italian. No other name.


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