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Recap / Leverage: Redemption S 1 E 7 "The Double-Edged Sword Job"

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The team takes on a brilliant software developer who is selling a groundbreaking facial recognition system that threatens everyone’s privacy but his own.

Tropes stolen in this job:

  • Asian and Nerdy: Joseph Cheng is a villainous version of this trope, although the Asian part is downplayed. He's a tech genius who has created Searchlight, which is not only the most scarily advanced Facial Recognition Software on the planet, but also predicts its subjects' behavior. He also happens to be Chinese-American, although no one ever brings this up.
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  • Black Gal on White Guy Drama: Another Downplayed Trope. Libby Barnes is black and her ex-husband Reece is white. However, the source of conflict in their relationship is that Reece is a Domestic Abuser. Team Leverage has been protecting Libby and her daughter Frankie, but then Reece uses his position as a policeman to track them down with Searchlight, proving how easily the program can be misused.
  • Continuity Nod: RIZ, the fascistic Private Military Contractors from "The Too Many Rembrandts Job" and "The Panamanian Monkeys Job", are interested in either buying or investing in Searchlight. They set up two meetings with Cheng, but Leverage disrupts them both by causing Cheng to act like a paranoid weirdonote , which scares RIZ off.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Cheng and his partners aren't too particular about who uses Searchlight, or why. A Domestic Abuser tracking down his terrified ex? Amoral Private Military Contractors? Dictators making sure their victims can't escape? Who cares, as long as the check clears?
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  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Leverage eventually defeats Cheng by turning his own creations Searchlight and Alay-Na against him.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Eliot and Marshal Shipp.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Domestic Abuse isn't exactly minor, but when Leverage investigates how Reece Barnes was able to find Libby, they discover the existence of Searchlight and its dire implications for the privacy of ordinary citizens around the world.
  • Noodle Incident: Apparently Breanna stole (or otherwise ran a caper somehow involving) 3000 tons of maple syrup at some point in the past.
  • No Social Skills: Cheng is uptight, nervous and cranky whenever he has to interact with people instead of software. Leverage takes advantage of this by sabotaging his meetings with RIZ, leading his partner Harwick to hire "social interactions consultants" Sophie and Parker, allowing them to infiltrate Cheng's home.
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  • One Steve Limit: Averted and weaponized by Leverage, who have their Joseph Cheng chased down by the police for crimes committed by other Joseph Chengs.
  • Phrase Catcher: The federal marshal tells Eliot that the way he disarmed her gun was "very distinctive."
  • Robot Buddy: Cheng's relationship with Alay-Na, the AI that runs his house (and his life). He gets along with it better than any human he interacts with.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Leverage starts messing with Alay-Na, Night of the Living Dead (1968) is shown playing on Cheng's TV.
    • The private security company providing on-call service for Cheng's house is called Initrode Security.