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Left to right: Sylvester, Cabe, Walter, Happy, Toby and Paige.
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From CBS, the network that brought you The Big Bang Theory, comes another series starring a group of brilliant but maladjusted nerds—but this time, they're action/adventure heroes (more or less). It's Based on a Great Big Lie, specifically the claims of executive producer Walter O'Brien, who supposedly has an IQ of 197 and runs a security firm named Scorpion Computer Services.

The fictional Walter O'Brien (Elyes Gabel) ekes out a living fixing small businesses' computer problems in Los Angeles. He lives in a converted garage with three other troubled geniuses: Sylvester Dodd (Ari Stidham), a "human calculator" who relates to numbers more than people despite his extremely high EQ; Dr. Tobias M. "Toby" Curtis (Eddie Kaye Thomas), a "world-class behavioral scientist" whose keen understanding of human behavior has endowed him with a huge gambling addiction; and Happy Quinn (Jadyn Wong), a "mechanical prodigy" who has serious problems with authority and the physical know-how to back it up. These people are all experts in their fields, but when it comes to the minutiae of everyday life, from social skills to paying bills, they're barely functional. However, Walter is able to fully complete Team Scorpion when he manages to meet and, over the course of a very stressful day, befriend waitress Paige Dineen (Katharine McPhee), partially because he recognizes that her "challenged" nine-year-old Ralph (Riley B. Smith) is actually a Child Prodigy like he once was.

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And why is the day so stressful? Because Walter receives a visit from Cabe Gallo (Robert Patrick), a Homeland Security agent who mentored Walter when he was a Teen Genius, and with whom he has a contentious relationship. It seems that due to a faulty software update, the communication system at LAX has shut down, and several passenger planes are endangered; disaster will strike unless someone as brilliant as Walter can fix everything. Walter and his friends — including Paige, who gets roped into helping after they end up back in her diner — go on an epic adventure to save the planes, which they do just in time. Afterwards, Cabe convinces all of them to become a team who will help the government deal with high-tech threats before they can hurt innocent people. Soon, Walter and company are saving the world on a regular basis — and still dealing with their various issues.

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CBS ended the show after it ran four seasons.


Tropes:

  • 555: Averted in "Forget Me Nots", in which a real phone number (323-248-8049) is important to the plot. It's actually Viral Marketing; if you call the number, you get a pre-recorded message from Walter in which he asks you to decode a substitution cipher to prove yourself "worthy" of joining the Scorpion team.
  • Absentee Actor: Riley B. Smith (Ralph) gets Promoted to Opening Titles at the start of season two, but the first episode of the season that he actually appears in is the third. He appears much less often than the other regulars.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Compare Elyes Gabel with this photo of the real Walter O'Brien.
  • Adorkable: Sylvester, especially when someone gets him started on Super Fun Guy.
  • Adult Fear:
    • "Single Point of Failure" has the Governor of California going through a bad one: his daughter is terminally ill and the best doctors in the state, including the freaking CDC, have no clue what's wrong with her.
    • Paige gets a smaller one in the pilot when she asks Sylvester about his family and learns that they haven't spoken in ten years—at which point she realizes that if she doesn't learn how to connect to Ralph, this will one day be her relationship with him.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in "Dominoes", where two-thirds of the episode involves an attempt to rescue a nine-year-old boy trapped under a rock slide near the beach. Oh, and this also happens to be the Christmas Episode.
      • Adding to this is that it's a rare episode with no villain. Even if no one at all is out to get you like the first example mentioned, your kid can still go through something like this.
    • Paige becomes afraid for her nine-year-old son's life if they stay around Scorpion after Ralph's idolizing of Walter leads him to risk his life and come close to falling into an incinerator.
    • All of the plot regarding Megan until her death in "Arrivals And Departures" is the O'Briens suffering at seeing one of the people they love the most waste away and being completely helpless to do anything—doubly so for Walter because for all of his smarts, he's unable (and even more unwilling) to understand there is no "magic bullet" for what she has. Megan's parents obviously are pained at knowing that they will outlive one of their children (and maybe even both, with the types of risks that Walter takes on a constant basis).
    • And then there's "Little Boy Lost," in which a classmate of Ralph's with nonverbal autism wanders off without his tablet, making it harder to track him down.
  • Air-Vent Passageway:
    • In "A Cyclone" after she hears a beep, Happy bemuses the entire team by taking apart the air vent and crawling up through it. Lucky thing, because that beep she heard was a huge bomb.
    • In "Shorthanded", Happy and Toby break into the Crimson casino by crawling through the air vents. Toby ends up falling through the ceiling, which may be a reference to a similar joke in Las Vegas.
    • in "Postcards from the Edge" Happy uses this to break into Richard Elia's board meeting to explain that Walter's MIA and they need the code to the onboard GPS in the Ferrari Elia 'loaned' him. it's the only thing that lets the team get to Walter in time to get him out of the car and off the cliff.
  • The Alleged Car: Walter drives a very beat-up-looking car in "Pilot" and "Cyclone" (when Happy steals the duct tape off the seat to improvise a parabolic mike, Walter says that said duct tape is the only thing holding the seat together). It makes a couple of blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearances after that (Walter uses it to pick up Megan from jail in "Talismans", but he borrows Paige's car to take her home at the end of the ep; he also uses it to get to Paige's place at the end of "Crossroads"), but every other time they need a vehicle, they're either in Paige's Chevrolet (see Product Placement), or the Team Van.
    • In "Fish Filet", Happy observes that the drug cartel lord has a wheelchair "better than Walter's car."
    • Cabe's bought one in "Sci Hard". It takes some Car Fu just to get the cassette tape that was stuck in its player loose.
  • Almost Kiss: Toby and Happy have one when Happy gives in to their mutual feelings for each other (she didn't want to jeopardize their being best friends). They are interrupted by a schoolteacher shouting about discovering the fireworks going off right outside the school.
  • Altar the Speed: Sylvester and Megan decide rather suddenly to get married in season 2. This is done partially because Walter disagrees with Sylvester and with Megan's own opinion on whether she should undergo an extremely painful but potentially life-saving medical procedure and having Sylvester as a spouse allows him to supersede Walter's court order while Megan is incapacitated, and also because she's aware she doesn't have much time left. The actual ceremony is officiated by Ray and happens offscreen; we only learn what they were planning at the end of the episode, which is when Walter finds out.
  • Ambiguously Brown: The real O'Brien is white and Irish, but is played in the show by a British actor of partial Indian and Tunisian descent (though the character, in childhood flashbacks, is also from Callan, Ireland, and those sequences are conveniently desaturated or color-shifted so we can't quite tell his parents' skin colors). In the second episode, we learn about his sister Megan, who is portrayed as an adult by Camille Guaty, an olive-skinned Cuban/Puerto Rican actress. However, in Season 2 we finally see their parents, who are white.
    • Walter and Megan are possibly what is known as black Irish, Irish people with black hair and dark Latin complexions, possibly descended from a combination of either Spanish, Berber or Moors, and the complexions can skip a generation. This troper's uncle is olive-complexioned, but his children are pale.
  • Ambulance Chaser: Haywood Jahelpme Morris.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Apparently, Norway is close to the Bering Sea.
  • Asian and Nerdy/Brainy Brunette: Happy. Atypically for these tropes, she's also a Tank-Top Tomboy and Wrench Wench.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: In "Love Boat", Sylvester and Paige go undercover as Chaz and Allison Bonesteel.
  • Badass in Charge: Cabe is technically the man employing the Scorpion team. Whether he'll actually be able to control them is another matter.
  • Baseball Episode: "Foul Balls", in which the Scorpion members are forced to play against a team of Jerk Jock Homeland Security employees. Thanks to a bet between Cabe and his Obstructive Bureaucrat boss, if Scorpion loses they'll get no more government contracts, which would lead to the end of the team.
  • Based on a Great Big Lie: The photo of Scorpion Computer Services on its official website is actually a plagiarized photo of a German glass manufacturer. And the website contains surprisingly elementary HTML errors for something supposedly created by a supergenius hacker. Most damningly, Walter O'Brien's own LinkedIn profile lists him as working at another company during time he was supposedly running Scorpion and saving the world.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: In "Dominoes", Walter immediately starts barking orders at the cop who's on the scene with him at the rock collapse. The cop starts to obey the complete stranger before he asks who he is.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Toby and Happy get into arguments and snark at each other, but they always work together when the team splits up and both seem to have feelings for each other. They eventually get together in the last third of Season 2, though while the sexual tension is resolved, the belligerence is not.
  • Best Woman: In "Broken Wind", after Walter, Cabe, and Sylvester all pester Toby about being chosen as the best man at the wedding, Toby ultimately asks Paige to be his "best ma'am". Happy ultimately chose the three as her "dudes of honor".
  • Big Dam Plot: In "Dam Breakthrough", Scorpion receives a mission on Christmas Eve from the DWP at the Augustine Power Station on Mount Baldy, which may go critical after a 50-foot pine tree uproots and crushes the building's wall. If the transformer gets flooded and shorts, 100,000 people will lose power on Christmas Day. After they re-boot the computer and engineer the roof, they notice a mudslide spilling into the reservoir has put a crack in the nearby dam's wall following torrential rains. Now, they have to stop the dam from breaking and wiping out the town down in the valley by repairing it.
  • Blatant Lies: Anytime Walter states he "doesn't have those kind of emotions".
  • Bound and Gagged: Happens to Cabe's ex-wife Rebecca when she is kidnapped in "Rogue Element".
  • Boxed Crook:
    • Averted, barely, as part of Walter's back story. After he hacked NASA's computers as a child, the British government allowed FBI Agent Cabe to recruit him. He worked with them willingly until he was 16, when he left after their misuse of a computer program he designed caused the accidental deaths of thousands of civilians.
    • Applied to the whole team in "US vs. UN vs. UK". MI-6 bigwig Olivia Cromwell wants to assassinate ambassador-cum-arms dealer Jonas Madaky, and she wants Team Scorpion to help her. She gets them to enter the United Nations under false pretenses, films them, then threatens them with prison time if they disobey. As she tells Katherine Cooper, "Your team would never have agreed to this unless they were painted into a corner."
  • Brain Uploading: During the second season, Walter tries to figure out how to do this in a desperate attempt to preserve Megan's life when her body finally gives out.
  • British Accents: In "US vs. UN vs. UK", we learn that Ian Gleason has Hidden Depths when he drops his upper class accent in favor of his actual Cockney. As Toby puts it, "Bollocks, his accent switched from Colin Firth to Michael Caine!"
  • Call-Back: One episode includes a flashback to Walter's elementary school days. He keeps correcting his math teacher, who then gives him detention. Just as Walter's about to receive cane lashings, the fire alarm goes off. Walter soon after finds out that Megan pulled the alarm to save him from the punishment. At the end of a later episode, Walter brings up the story and tells it in an effort to start communicating better with his parents, who've never heard it.
    • In the 2016 Christmas episode "Wreck The Halls", Walter and Tim make a plan to save a hostage from a group of gunmen and Walter asks if they should go for the liver, the same advice Tim gave to Walter in "Sly and the Family Stone" when Walter fought his childhood bullies.
  • The Cameo:
  • Casino Episode/Viva Las Vegas!: "Shorthanded" has the team get mixed up in a casino robbery.
  • Character Death: Megan Dodd née O'Brien, Walter's sister.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Averted. In "Foul Balls" Scorpion is forced to play a game of baseball against Homeland Security employees, who all act like Jerk Jocks and have the team of geniuses at a major physical disadvantage. Scorpion uses several means of bending the rules to gain advantages, like slightly tampering with the balls, hacking to gain info on the opposing players and signing a one day contract with a pro player. None of this was technically cheating, which Paige checks, and Scorpion ends up winning the game.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In almost every episode, something mentioned or discussed in the beginning, often before the trouble starts, becomes useful at a critical moment later on.
    • A novelty clock Sylvester gets in the start of one episode has a part that later becomes useful in building a homemade thermal scanner to help the team escape from gunmen.
    • When the gang go to rescue a group of hikers, Happy makes one kid dump all the rocks he collected, then decides to let him keep one. The rock becomes useful twice in helping everyone escape a forest fire alive.
    • An action figure made of a rare material that Sylvester gives Ralph at the beginning of the episode is later melted to seal a soldered hole and prevent gas from escaping.
    • A wind-up racecar that Megan got Walter when they were kids in discussed in the beginning of "US vs. UN vs. UK" and is used midway through the episode to carry a lit match to some explosives.
  • Child Prodigy: All of Team Scorpion (especially Walter) in the past, Ralph in the present.
  • Citizenship Marriage: at the end of "Little Boy Lost", Toby discovers that Happy's mystery husband is Walter, whose visa had expired and was in danger of being deported back to Ireland.
  • Conflict Ball: Begins to show up in Season 3 and worsens with time, then reaches its peak in Season 4. Every time it seemed like the team was going to get along swimmingly, something had to drive a wedge between them. Tim and Florence are introduced simply to drive conflict and engineer love triangles.
  • Cool Car:
    • Cabe's 1973 Pontiac LeMans, which he's forced to use during a Chase Scene in "Rogue Element".
    • There's also the Ferrari that Richard Elias 'loans' (read: not very subtle come-work-for-me bribe) to Walter in "Cliffhanger"... that Walter promptly drives off a curve of Mulholland Drive at the end of the episode, causing the events of "Postcards from the Edge".
  • Continuity Nod: Toby loses his signature hat on the mission in Bosnia. He's very happy to get a replacement hat as a present when the gang exchange Christmas gifts.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The villains of "Shorthanded," "True Colors," and "Rogue Element."
  • Creator Cameo: The real Walter O'Brien plays one of the LAX traffic controllers in the pilot episode.
  • Crossover: Hetty Lange makes an appearance in "True Colors."
  • Cruel to Be Kind: In "Cuba Libre", Toby uses this trope (including the exact phrase) as his justification for forcing Sylvester out of his emotional comfort zone so he'll finally admit to Megan that he loves her. The episode even features the original Nick Lowe song on its soundtrack.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    • Cut short by CBS, in fact - in "Arrivals And Departures," the sound notably cuts out for a moment when Happy hears police sirens from outside the hospital they're in:
    Holy sh— - word's out! They're closing off the building.
    • In "Scorp Family Robinson," Sylvester is writing in his journal - and then his pen runs out of ink.
    Sonofa—
  • Cutting the Knot: Sylvester can only do math if all the chalk on his blackboard is ordered according to length. Paige finds a way to skip this step - she only allows him one piece at a time (a list of one is always ordered).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Toby, all the time. Happy also has some snarky moments.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Walter fights his childhood bullies in "Sly and the Family Stone" and with a little assistance from Tim easily beats them. They all depart on friendly terms promising to be nicer to each other from now on.
  • Desperate Object Catch: In "Ticker", Walter has to toss bags of a rare-type blood from the back of a transport truck to his associates, who are following the truck in a beat-up old RV. And this is after Walter's inability to throw things accurately was demonstrated early in the episode.
    • In "Toby Or Not Toby", the team is frantically cutting through Mark's dental-floss booby trap to reach Toby, who's tied up with a beaker of acid precariously tilted above his head. Realizing they won't reach him in time this way, Happy dives through the remaining strands and snatches the beaker just as it's starting to tip over.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Walter's friendship with his old pal Mark Collins in "Plutonium is Forever" involves Mark showing up and taking Walter on brain binges where they'd try to solve cancer and forget things like eating, or bathing, or the rest of the universe. It's treated exactly like Mark's a drug addict ex-boyfriend who keeps pulling recovering addict Walter back in and trying to alienate him from his friends, except the drug is intellectualism.
  • Double Meaning:
    • "Forget Me Nots" begins with Drew (Ralph's dad) giving Paige a brochure for a school for gifted children in the opposite corner of the country, to get her to consider her and Ralph moving there with him pending him getting the job he's trying for. At the end of the episode Walter finally admits he doesn't want them to move because he cares about Ralph and Paige. Ralph and Drew come in and Walter suggests he and Ralph go start up the engine they recently built, then stops and asks Paige, "unless you want to go right away?" Paige replies, "No, I don't want to go." She's clearly talking about not only leaving the garage for the day but also leaving Los Angeles. Sadly for him, Drew clearly gets it and can also see the way she's looking at Walter as she says it.
    • In "Love Boat," Toby and Happy help Ralph deal with his first crush, and while talking to him about it they are also arguing about whether or not they should get together. Toby wants a Relationship Upgrade, but although Happy likes him back she has never had a best friend like him before and doesn't want to jeopardize that. Toby asks how long "Ralph" should wait. Ralph says he's not sure what they're talking about anymore.
    • The episode title "Cliffhanger." The episode ends with Cabe and Paige leaving the team, and also ends with Walter going off a cliff.
  • Downer Ending: The series as a whole, since it was cancelled and the fourth season ended with Walter destroying Scorpion through his own selfishness, the team breaking up and turning on him, and Paige never wanting to see him again. It ends with him saying "Paige, wait!" as she walks away from him.
  • Drama Bomb:
    • "Revenge" is an unusually dark and violent episode in which Sylvester is nearly killed and spends most of the episode hospitalized. Near the end, Sylvester tells Megan that he wants to leave Scorpion because he no longer feels safe on the team, although he never follows up on this.
    • The two-part first season finale, "Cliffhanger"/"Postcards from the Edge". The team is shattered when Walter learns Cabe's Dark Secret and fires him, while Paige plans to leave when she sees Ralph emulating Walter's suicidal heroism. Then a distraught Walter drives his car off a cliff, which brings everyone together in an all-out effort to rescue him, which reminds them all how much they need each other.
    • The second-season episode "Arrivals And Departures": Megan's disease develops complications and she finally dies. Walter's EQ rock-bottoms from the shock and he is very pissed at Sylvester, who (as Megan's spouse) followed her decision to stop Walter from putting her through any more experimental procedures (thus allowing said complications to occur and finally take her) for the next couple of episodes.
    • The last episode of the last season sees Walter taking a shilling from Paige near the end for one lie he held back for too long and got caught for. If he had come clean like he planned to, things would not have gotten out of control, but that one cock-up manages to once again make Walter's EQ rear its ugly head and unravel the entire team. The series is cancelled with Scorpion now feuding with the group who quit and formed Centipede.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: In "Postcards from the Edge," Paige tells Walter that she really cares about him and then kisses him while he is unconscious in the hospital. Converse with the Unconscious is also played with here. Walter does not wake, but he later hears Paige's confession when he hacks the hospital's security camera.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Walter's team of neurotic geniuses.
    • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Toby, the team's psych genius, has a history of getting in trouble with shady people, and we first see him running from two of 'em he ticked off. He's also an abrasive, "egotistical jerk", in Happy's words, and an admitted gambling addict. In the pilot Sylvester, the team's numbers and memory genius, gets so sidetracked that he forgets to pay the bills or collect his fees.
      • Later on, Happy and Toby go to couples therapy. The taciturn Happy is all for it, while the Harvard-graduate psychiatrist insists they don't need any help.
      • Sylvester is afraid of a lot of dangers, but he's also rather overweight. Which increases health risks, especially heart disease, the number-one cause of death in the US and worldwide.
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism: A Discussed Trope in "Cuba Libre". The team travels to Cuba to capture Serbian war criminal Zoric, accompanied by Sonia Balasevic, a Nazi Hunter variant who's obsessed with getting revenge on Zoric because he murdered her family. Walter is confused when Paige criticizes him for not being emotional enough, then Sonia for being too emotional, so Paige explains to him that finding a healthy balance between logic and emotion is the best way to be a good person and live a full life.
  • Empty Quiver: In "Forget Me Nots", the Scorpion team have to recover a stolen 'nuclear football' before it can be used to launch a missile strike on Russia.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: Ray believes that both San Jose, CA, and Tallahassee (presumably FL) are mythical places that don't actually exist.
  • Evil Brit: Olivia Cromwell in "US vs. UN vs. UK," who also happens to be The Mole.
  • Evil Cripple: The villain of "Fish Filet" is a wheelchair-bound, imprisoned gangster who uses a mysterious code to communicate with his henchmen on the outside so they can commit murders for him.
  • Exact Words: In a flashback, a teacher gets mad at a young Walter for correctly answering his question as phrased. (The teacher asked which numbers on the board could be divided by four, he didn't ask which numbers could be divided evenly by four—and any number can be divided by any non-zero number if you allow for remainders.)
  • Face Your Fears: Sylvester has a lot of fears, and he has to face some of them from time to time in the course of working on a case. He is Terrified of Germs, but in "Single Point of Failure" he is forced to hide in a lab full of infectious disease samples to avoid being captured. His three biggest fears are water, small spaces, and death, and in "Dominoes" he has to face them in order to focus enough to help a kid who is trapped in a sinkhole filling with water. He hates water, and boats because they operate on water, but in "Love Boat" he has to board a cruise ship masquerading as a guest and later chooses to jump into the water to knock out the Villains of the Week who are escaping on a lifeboat. His character arc with Megan is him getting over his fear of getting close to people (which goes far enough that he marries her) and then accepting that situations like death may come around to take said people away, and he needs to move on. Ironically, Walter didn't want them close because of her sickness, but after she dies, Sylvester is the more composed of the two.
    • Similarly, Sylvester is more sanguine when they're stuck on a deserted island at the end of season three. He thinks they're all-but doomed anyway, so he just doesn't care anymore.
  • Faking the Dead:
    • Sylvester has to do this to escape from prison in "Fish Filet".
    • In "US vs. UN vs. UK", Ian Gleason fakes his own murder to help catch the episode's villain.
    • In "The Hole Truth, Scorpion fakes Paige's mother's death on T.V to help her escape from the men who are hunting her for the money she owes them.
  • Fanservice:
    • "Super Fun Guy" provides a chance for Toby and viewers to see Happy's legs when she's hooked to a drain exit by her pants and takes them off to escape, and later when her Super Fun Guy movie costume features a skirt. Also, Paige in spandex.
    • And staying with Paige, the final scene of "Scorp Family Robinson," with her Sexy Shirt Switch with nothing underneath.
    Paige (to Walter): Buckle up, nerd.
  • Faux HTML Tags: The show's title is stylized as </scorpion> To a programmer, that reads as "End Scorpion", possibly indicating how they're a team.
  • FBI Agent: Cabe Gallo is an agent of Homeland Security.
  • Fingore: In "US vs. UN vs. UK", Ian Gleason is Faking The Dead and needs to leave physical evidence behind to sell the illusion. His solution? He cuts his own finger off.
  • Flashed-Badge Hijack: Cabe and Walter pull one on the freeway after Cabe's car is totaled in "Rogue Element".
  • "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome: Played With in "Forget Me Nots". The team want to use an electronic gadget to improve the memory of a brain-damaged former Secret Service agent so he can remember what happened to the nuclear football he was guarding. Cabe uses it first to prove it's safe. Both men have their physical and mental abilities temporarily enhanced before reverting to normal.
  • For Science!: There are two different venomous snakes, one of which they need to use to create an antivenin. They only have time to use one snake, but don't know which one it is they need. Walter decides to find out by process of elimination and gets one of them to bite him to see if the symptoms match.
  • Foreshadowing: In "Charades", it turns out the spy who stole the chemicals actually did develop feelings for the guy she conned into betraying his country. Toby retroactively realizes that's why she wasn't really into pretending to make out with Walter; she was thinking of the other man. And by the end of the episode we learn that while making out with her, Walter was thinking of Paige.
  • Forgets to Eat: Walter is seen reminding Sylvester to eat and Paige has been seen reminding Walter to eat, implying that this is a real issue for the team.
    • In "Plutonium Is Forever", it's revealed that this is very normal for the members of Team Scorpion, when they get so focused on something that nothing else matters (including food, sleep, bathing, etc.). Walter used to do it intentionally with one-time colleague Mark, keeping it going for days. They called that "going down the rabbit hole".
  • Forgot to Pay the Bill: In the pilot, Happy is illegally tapping into the local power grid because Sylvester got wrapped up in his work and forgot to pay the electric bill. It's heavily implied that this is normal for them.
  • Frame-Up: The plot of "Shorthanded." A Las Vegas casino hires the Scorpion team to locate a flaw in its security—and then gets robbed while our heroes are still on the premises. When some of the missing money is planted in Walter's hotel room, he's arrested and the rest of the team falls under suspicion.
    • Clear My Name: The remaining members of team Scorpion set out to prove Walter (and themselves) innocent.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • In "A Cyclone," the team does a training mission with the military. The soldiers keep referring to the members of Team Scorpion as SMACKs — Soldiers Minus Ability, Coordination or Knowledge.
    • In "Chernobyl Intentions," Happy names the robot that the team uses to see inside the radioactive dome RANDY (Radiation And Nuclear Deployment Yeoman). Walter and Sylvester chime in, suggesting the names VIRGYL (Virtual Reality Gyroscopic Laborer) and HOWARD (Humanoid Out Wandering About Radiation Device). (Happy, seeming annoyed, insists that his name is RANDY.)
    • Toby and Happy's marital theories in Season 4. One of them even takes this literally.
  • The Gambling Addict: One of Toby's flaws, and a major plot point in "Shorthanded".
  • Game Show Appearance: In "Adaptation", after getting turned down by Jeopardy!, Sylvester is seen studying product prices in preparation to attend a taping of The Price Is Right. It culminates in the opening act of "The Fast and the Nerdiest", where he gets a perfect bid in Contestants Row, is so eager that he gets way ahead of Drew, and is so confident on his guess for Pay the Rent (an infamously hard game with a grand prize of $100,000), that he asks Drew to have all the prices revealed at once. He won! Then CBS understandably sued because they thought he was cheating. He wanted the prize money to pay for a tribute to Megan.
  • Geek Physiques: Sylvester is pretty fat nowadays, though a video of him in his past shows him to be less so.
  • Gone Horribly Right: What happens to the villain's plan in "Tech, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll". Dan Smaisle just wanted to to disrupt the opening of Richard Elia's "smart building" with a computer virus and blame it on Walter, but the virus goes further than he intended and turns the building into a deathtrap. When Smaisle is caught, he starts raving that "I swear I'm not a bad person! I didn't want anyone to get hurt!"
  • Good with Numbers: Sylvester. Walter's opening monologue describes him as a human calculator.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: The majority of the team comes up with various inoffensive expletives, the majority of which are childish-sounding (to better invoke their childish maturity levels, natch). The few times someone actually swears, it's serious business.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: In "Going South", Happy smashes a bottle and uses it to threaten the punk who kidnapped her.
  • Halloween Episode: "True Colors", sort of. Walter rejects Halloween because it's "make believe", and the B plot is about Ralph needing someone to go to his school's Halloween party with him.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: Happens in several episodes. The Scorpion team won't hesitate to steal a ride to save a few (or millions) of lives. They always apologize to the victim before taking off...briefly stating "official government business, we'll compensate you for this", etc., so as to not have a new enemy on their trail.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: In "Ice Ca-Cables" while at the nudist hot springs with Walter to collect sulfide, Paige awkwardly hugs the container close to her chest the entire time.
  • Hollywood Hacking: A major element of the series, though they try to make it seem somewhat realistic.
    • Well, at least sometimes it's realistic. It's become a bit of a Running Gag for Sylvester, Walter, or hell, even Ralph to have hacked into whatever company or government agency they'll be working with before the briefing is even over. Just about any time someone mentions getting access codes for Scorpion to use their database, they get interrupted by one of the three announcing that they're already into the system.
    • The Hacker: Everyone on the team except Paige. Walter is far and away the best, but it makes sense that he trained the others to some extent, given that Scorpion was started as a computer consultancy company.
  • Hollywood Nerd: All the Scorpion teammates except for Sylvester and Paige.
  • Hollywood Science: The series runs on it. It's best to think Scorpion takes place in a world which, looks similar to ours, but has slightly different laws of chemistry, biology, etc..
  • Hope Spot: It looks like Walter is finally going to tell Paige how he feels about her, only for him to see her with her ex-husband having dinner.
  • Hot Scientist: Paige wears this costume for the Halloween 2016 episode. That, or it's supposed to be a regular female scientist costume, but Katharine McPhee is wearing it.
  • How We Got Here:
    • "True Colors" starts with the team in evening wear (except for Sylvester, who's wearing a Fun T-Shirt with a pic of his favorite superhero), standing beside a burning sports car while a government agent berates them, then shows how they got to that point.
    • "It Isn't The Fall That Kills You" begins with Walter plunging through the sky towards the Pacific miles below, without a parachute. The story then goes back to six hours before.
  • Hydrant Geyser: In "Revenge", Happy deliberately creates a hydrant geyser by knocking the cap off a hydrant, and using the resultant jet of water to knock two fleeing bad guys off their motorcycles.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Walter carries an Idiot Ball any time he comes face to face with examples of serotonin, and other such biochemistry, in action. Despite the well-proven effects of serotonin, effects that are colloquially known as love, Walter blindly insists that no-one in the world has ever felt love, even when faced with trying to explain why else a person would act in an otherwise illogical manner. He also doesn't know what irony is, although he thinks he does. Learning to get past this is a big part of his Character Development.
      • A big example is when he's wrongfully arrested and in court, matter of factly says he has to be let go as he's promised a "Jury of his peers" and there's no way they can find 12 people as smart as him in Nevada. He's honestly surprised when the judge orders him held in jail.
    • Paige carries an Idiot Ball much more often, anytime that there is a chance to definitely solve the problem and save almost everybody, at the cost of definitely losing a small number of lives. Paige responds as though the idea of "acceptable losses" would be unthinkable to anyone other than Scorpion's genius team, even though that is explicitly Homeland Security's usual M.O. She usually insists that the team must try to save everybody, which always results in the chance of saving anybody at all dropping from certain to almost nothing. Since this is a television series on the "optimistic" end of the optimism spectrum, they always save most people anyway, and her insistence that Walter puts more lives at risk somehow convinces him to hire her to help them deal with their social problems.
      • This isn't actually all that surprising for a civilian, who hasn't been trained in the 'greater good' way of thinking that a hardened agent would, or a set of low-EQ geniuses would think naturally. It's actually an example of Paige 'thinking like a normal' - providing a 'normal' point of view is actually part of her job.
      • Paige carries another Idiot Ball, about the team and her son, although to be fair, most of the examples of this happen in the first half of S1. Since it ran more or less in real time (i.e. "True Colors" screened the last week in October; "Love Boat" screened a few days before Valentine's), Paige was still getting to know the members of Team Scorpion. In the beginning, she was surprised and offended when Walter acted like an insufferable know-it-all, when the abrasive, gambling addicted psychiatrist Toby was a jackass, when highly phobic Sylvester was too scared to help and when the aggressively defensive Happy gets angry and violent, she'd even be surprised when her genius son with visible signs of something on the autistic spectrum shows signs of being bored by something that doesn't challenge his intellect. It's not so much that she didn't know, as she was surprised at the scale of their issues.
      • In later seasons, however, Paige has been shown to just take over when it comes to dealing with people, and the rest of the team has gotten better, y'know, save Walter. Toby has been using his empathetic doctor mode with people in general, Happy tempers her aggression and Sylvester is actively fighting to do better with his phobias, becoming an alderman and a lawyer, despite having to speak publicly and deal with bullying opponents taking some of the weight off Paige. She still has to make most of the job arrangements but she is well-aware of their shortcomings (calling them her nerds) and they are well-aware of her empathy and not-genius status (now, she's mostly griping when they are surprised she when she drops the Idiot Ball and has a really good idea, because while she's above average in I.Q, and brilliant in E.Q, she's still near average on a team of geniuses)
    • Averted by Cabe, Happy, Sylvester, and Toby. Even when they don't know something, they usually admit it and defer to a team-mate who knows more about the topic. And while they may act inappropriately, they are all well aware of their own psychological failings and willing to admit them to everybody.
    • The first few episodes include numerous law enforcement agents and government officials who all carry an Idiot Ball, apparently believing that being intelligent somehow makes you less qualified. Which might explain how so many idiots got high ranking government jobs. There is, in fact, a notable lack of crime-scene investigators, forensic scientists, or medical examiners. When Walter is told that the CIA has gathered their best agents, he automatically describes them exactly like James Bond: charming people in suits who fly around the world on exciting missions. Not only is he right, when he gets shown the CIA entire computer division, it consists of no more than a dozen people, all working in a single room in the basement of the CIA at the same time.
      • However, Scorpion didn't always help in these situations often beginning the issue by disdaining laypeople as well, laypeople and insisting they could do their job better (yes, of course, they could do the technical job better, they couldn't deal with people in that job) usually making it harder in the long run by being antagonistic towards "normals" (things like berating them for inefficient methods only to find out the reason they use that method is technical redundancy to avoid the human error, to prevent a person from doing exactly what they want to do, or a more expedient thing connected to another system they hadn't been briefed on.)
    • Not only do the agents and officials act like intelligence is somehow bad thing, they also regularly act belligerent and condescending to the Scorpion team, sometimes even refusing to give them certain details about the job. Scorpion are independent contractors. Any time they don't like you, they could just not take the job, leaving the government agents fully responsible for thousands of dead civilians just because they were choosing to act even worse than the people with crippling social disorders. Season 2 dropped this element entirely, now that Scorpion has a proven track record.
  • Ill Girl:
    • Walter's sister Megan has Multiple Sclerosis, and Walter's attempts to save her are a recurring subplot.
    • "Single Point of Failure" centers on finding the cure for a targeted virus infecting several children, including the governor's daughter.
  • Impersonating an Officer:
    • In "Rogue Element", Happy borrows Cabe's ID and uses it to gain access to a crime scene by posing as a Homeland Security agent.
    • In "Cyclone", Toby "borrows" Cabe's ID and flashes it to aid in questioning a bartender.
  • Improbably High I.Q.: Walter has an IQ of 197—apparently the fourth-highest on record ever. (Poor Albert Einstein always gets used as a point of comparison, with his measly 160 IQ.) Combined with the other three geniuses on the team, their IQ is nearly 700. Of course, if you put them together, you still only get enough social skills for one normal person.
  • In Love with the Mark: In "Charades", it turns out the spy who stole the plans actually did develop feelings for the guy she conned into betraying his country. Toby points out this trope almost word for word; in psychological terms it's called "the Weismann Effect."
  • In Love with Your Carnage: A very mild version. Toby pulls a doctor away from Walter who wants to cut corners treating him for a venomous snake bite and violently threatens him. Happy later tells Toby his display of aggression was hot before kissing him hard.
  • Insufferable Genius: The whole team, but Walter and Toby take the cake.
    • The episode "Plutonium Is Forever" has the team (very reluctantly) re-recruiting a former member, a surveillance expert, Mark Collins, that was too insufferable even for them. The entire team, save Walter and Paige (because she never knew him) dread working with Collins because he's manipulative and condescending.
      Collins: Did you get smarter, Sylvester?
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: The only normal people that the team geniuses can interact with normally on a regular basis are the team non-geniuses and Walter's sister, Megan.
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: In "Young Hearts Spark Fire," Toby begins to declare his love for Happy, when he is interrupted by a fire extinguisher being sprayed in front of his face. This is also a subverted Dying Declaration of Love, as they are trapped by a forest fire and death seems imminent.
    Toby: I want my last words to have some meaning, so Happy Quinn, I am in lo— [fire extinguisher goes off in Toby's face]
  • Intimate Healing:
    • In "Chernobyl Intentions," Paige kisses Walter to provide him with oxygen so that he can pull himself up from the beam on which he is hanging.
    • In "White Out," Toby naked cuddles with Happy to prevent her from dying of hypothermia while they are trapped outside in the cold.
  • It's Personal: In "Revenge", Sylvester is critically wounded by an explosive device the villains (a murderous team of thieves called the Ghosts) leave behind, and his teammates have to keep their emotions under control while going after the Ghosts.
  • Its Pronounced Tro PAY: In "Rogue Element", Happy uses Cabe's ID to gain access to a crime scene. When the cop on duty asks her what kind of name Cabe is, Happy claims that it's pronounced "Ka-Be" and that it's Korean.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Walter has a lot of apologizing to do in 'Kill Screen', for damn good reason. But when Drew gets in Walter's face about my son, Walter is perfectly justified in pointing out that given Drew's history (he's been back in Ralph's life for approximately two months, after completely abandoning him and Paige physically, emotionally, and financially for seven years) he's not really in a position to throw his weight around as a parent.
  • Just Plane Wrong: As described in the summary above from the pilot episode, the air traffic control system at LAX is knocked out. While it is plausible to knock out ATC communications from one airport, Los Angeles approach control (aka tracon) would simply take over. If LA's Tracon were knocked out as well, LA Center could also take over. This would certainly lead to delays and diversions, but not life threatening situations.
    • Also, at the climax of the pilot, a jumbo jet's wings clip LAX's ATC tower. Something like that would almost certainly cause flight troubles, if not outright crashing the plane, as well as causing serious injuries in the tower.
  • Lack of Empathy: Walter has a low EQnote , often leading him to say hurtful things to people. He has the capability for empathy but with strangers he has trouble sympathizing. A low EQ means you have emotions, you just fail to use or understand them in practical life and often don't recognize them. Walter often states he has no emotions or empathy, which is blatantly untrue.
    • At the beginning of "Shorthanded", Walter gets a casino employee named Ronny fired—not for dishonesty or incompetence, but because his hands are too small to do the job properly.
    • Took a Level in Kindness: Later that episode, Walter and Ronny wind up in the same jail cell. After some unpleasant moments, they actually become friends, and Walter shows Ronny how to accomplish his dream of starting a bakery.
    • This becomes a plot point in "True Colors" as Paige tries to get Walter to act normal because it will help business. His ability to show empathy becomes vital as the team gets sent for psychological evaluation. They pass because the psychologist can see that, even as abrasive as they can be, the team is essentially a family and Walter does genuinely care for them. Also, his goal was to make sure the psychologist believed that the painting was destroyed in the fire.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Toby and Happy after they resolve their Belligerent Sexual Tension, which gets Lampshaded in "Broken Wind".
  • Lockdown: In "Plutonium is Forever", a lockdown traps Cabe inside a nuclear power plant when the reactor goes into meltdown.
  • Meaningful Name: Olivia Cromwell in "US vs. UN vs. UK." Oliver Cromwell was a real-life English figure whose tactics, e.g. having the king executed, aren't morally far removed from Olivia's actions.
  • More Hero Than Thou: Walter convinces Paige and Ralph that they can safely decouple a runaway train's lead car from the rest in order to save everyone aboard. Someone has to stay in the lead car to do it, but Walter lies to prevent Paige and Ralph from stopping him from making his intended Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Mr. Exposition: The whole team (apart from Paige and Cabe). All the damn time.
  • Murder by Cremation: In one episode episode Toby and his ex are captured by a mobster he owes money to from his past as a Degenerate Gambler, and this is how they plan to deal with him. They actually go into the cremation oven before the rest of Team Scorpion are able to save them.
  • Music Is Politics: Invoked in "Risky Business", which depicts the music industry as brutal enough to drive twenty-something prodigy Peyton Temple, who has created an algorithm that can produce popular songs, into retirement—and that's before his best friend is murdered by someone who used the algorithm and is trying to cover it up.
  • Mushroom Samba: Episode 3x03 has Walt launched into space and Almost Out of Oxygen - the result is a humdinger of a Mushroom Waltz.
  • My Greatest Failure: Walter may be the fourth-smartest person in history, but his talents run to computers, not medicine. As a result, he is incapable of helping his sister Megan, who has multiple sclerosis.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Walter is not pleased that Sylvester has begun dating Megan. It turns out this is for Sylvester's benefit, as Walter is very aware that Megan may die of multiple sclerosis and he knows he's not exactly equipped to handle an emotional trauma like that. This becomes a source of friction in Season 2 when Walter and Sylvester disagree on Megan's medical care, to the point where Walter gets a court order and Sylvester marries Megan in order to go over his head. The expected friction between the two of them is cut short when Megan dies; afterwards, Walter comes to view Sylvester as a brother.
  • Naked People Are Funny: When Walter and Paige having to enter a nudist hot spring together to collect hydrogen sulfide in "Ice Ca-Cabes." They awkwardly stand side by side naked in the spring trying not to look at each other while they slowly collect the sulfide.
  • Nerd Glasses: Sylvester wears them.
  • Nice Hat/Never Bareheaded: Toby is rarely seen without his porkpie hat. In fact, he once stalls the team from leaving just so he can grab his hat before they head out. He loses the hat during a military field mission in Bosnia and goes without one until he gets a replacement hat as a Christmas present, at which point he declares he had "felt naked without it." However, in later episodes he still doesn't wear it as much.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • In the pilot, Happy and Toby retrieve a Magic Floppy Disk (specifically a server) that can replace LAX's defective software... but on the car ride home, Toby puts it next to a radio speaker and the magnet therein, rendering it useless.
    • In "Father's Day", Toby sends Cabe and his soldiers to the wrong location after misreading a Morse Code signal. Fortunately, Cabe's team realize their mistake, leading to a Big Damn Heroes moment.
    • In "Shorthanded", the team has made half of what they need to pay to get Walter out of jail. Walter orders Toby to lead the team to win his bail with gambling. Toby loses a game of roulette, losing everything, leaving Walter stranded in jail.
    • In "Dominoes", Sylvester forgets to calculate the effect of the change in tides when figuring out how long the team has to rescue a boy who is trapped in a sinkhole. He blames his mistake on still being rattled from having been blown up during their last case ("Revenge").
    • In "Kill Screen", we learn that Walter has been taking Ralph to "dark web" sites so the boy can see the work of the most brilliant people on the net. Unfortunately, one of those people is the episode's villain. The villain has hacked the CIA mainframe and is selling the stolen secrets; Ralph helps him with what he thinks is a video game design, but is actually a way for a Mexican drug cartel to find a defector and the FBI agents who are guarding him.
  • Nosebleed: While sneaking into a fancy dinner party for a job, Paige instructs Walter on how to dance and keeps telling him that he needs to place his hands lower. Sylvester, listening in on them from the van, is obviously very interested... then promptly falls out of his chair. The next time we see him, he's got bloody Kleenex stuffed up his nose.
  • No Social Skills: Walter and his friends all suffer from varying degrees of this, including Toby the psychologist. To make up for this, they hire Paige to be their Only Sane Man. Walter flat-out admits they have no social skills and need her to translate them to normal people.
  • Not with the Safety on, You Won't: In "Going South", Happy is held at gunpoint by a kidnapper. She tells him his gun has no firing pin. When he turns the gun away from her to check, she jumps him.
  • A Nuclear Error: In "Forget Me Nots", the plot revolves around a "nuclear football" that was stolen during the Bill Clinton administration, which unknown bad guys are now using to try and start World War III by launching missiles. Despite the trope's prevalence in fiction, the football itself is not a launch device as the show depicts it. Any codes in it would've been switched out after it vanished (as the episode admits), but that's probably why it took sixteen years before the bad guys were able to hack into the nuclear system using it.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: In "A Cyclone", Agent Keeler seems to be one. He's actually the episode's villain.
  • Oh, Crap!: Being an action drama, it happens a lot in this series. Happy's particular catchphrase is "Not good!"
    • In "Robots," it's revealed her dad uses that expression as well.
  • Old Shame: In-universe for Happy regarding her Portuguese pop single. She needed cash.
  • One-Word Title: The series itself, plus the episodes "Pilot", "Talismans", "Revenge", "Dominoes," "Charades", "Shorthanded", "Cliffhanger", "Robots", "Fractured" and "Adaptation".
  • Only Sane Employee: Paige. Her job is to "translate" the geniuses of Scorpion to the rest of the world, but there is an unspoken assumption that she will help them deal with the parts of the real world they find confusing/frustrating. Cabe also qualifes, but as he is not technically an employee, but rather the one providing the jobs, he might better be described as as a "sane employer."
  • Only Sane Man: Paige is the only "normal" member of Walter's group. Lampshaded when Walter asks her to "translate" himself and his friends to the non-genius world, while they will help her understand their world—and "translate" her son to her.
  • Oops! I Forgot I Was Married: In the season 2 finale, Happy turns down Toby's proposal, saying only, "I can't. I'm married to someone else. I'm sorry," and then walks out of the room. Details will likely be revealed in season 3.
    • It turns out that she married Walter to get him a green card. There's a subplot early in season 3 where the two of them have to try to convince a government official that their marriage isn't a sham, but it's cleared up in episode 7.
  • Opening Narration: After the pilot, every first season episode opens with Walter briefly describing the series' premise. The narration is largely dropped in the second season, although a few episodes feature a rewritten version.
  • ...Or So I Heard: In "Kill Screen," while at a gaming convention, Happy snarks that it's the world's largest gathering of virgins. Avid gamer Sylvester says that the after-parties can get pretty filthy. Or so he heard.
  • Out-of-Character Alert:
    • In "Shorthanded", Toby tells the rest of the team they can pick him up at a location in the desert directly under Orion's Belt. He does this to tip them off that they are walking into an ambush, as they will know that that constellation is not visible in the Northern hemisphere at that time of year.
    • In "US vs. UN vs. UK", after Olivia Cromwell attempts to blackmail the team into becoming killers, they decide to help her voluntarily...or so it seems. They just pretend to cooperate with Cromwell so they can capture both her and her target. As Katherine Cooper says, "I know my team. There's no way you're going along with an assassination plot. It had to be theater for someone's benefit"—which is why she knew to remove the bullets from Cromwell's gun.
  • Photographic Memory: Happy and Sylvester. It is implied that Walter has a photographic memory, as well.
    • Toby has also claimed to have one, saying that he remembers everything from medical school and that is why he can diagnose an infectious disease even though his field of expertise is psychiatry.
    • Happy claims that this is the reason she is a realist. It is pretty hard to be an optimist when you can remember every detail about the day your father dropped you off at an orphanage when you were two.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: For a random guy Walter met in community service, Ray comes in remarkably handy during season 2.
  • Poisonous Friend: In "Plutonium Is Forever," it is revealed that Mark Collins was pretty much this for Walter. Their interacting with each other and brainstorming ideas was done to the expense of everybody else around them (it didn't help that Collins was an even bigger Insufferable Genius to the team and only respected Walter), and it got so bad that Walter had to put him in an asylum. When the team needs to race to fix a nuclear reactor (with only the information Collins has obtained from years of listening to the plant's electronic traffic to help them), Collins is quick to try to put Walter on his side and sabotages the team's efforts.
  • Power Walk:
    • In "Super Fun Guy," when the team struts out in slow motion dressed in costumes from the Super Fun Guy movie so they can infiltrate the set and get to the missile they have to wipe out.
    • This happens again in "The Old College Try", when the team acquires space suits in order to access a supercomputer chamber kept at a constant temperature of -100 degrees.
    • There's another at the end of "Foul Balls", after Team Scorpion wins the baseball game, thus ensuring that they can stay together.
  • Product Placement:
    • In "Revenge", a tender scene between Paige and Drew begins with a closeup of the Chevrolet logo on their SUV.
    • In "Dominoes", the team makes use of Skype in a critical situation. The only obtrusive part is the prominent Skype logo on the screen.
  • Punny Name: In "Ticker", when Walter gets into a fender bender, he is approached by an Ambulance Chaser who had his middle name legally changed to "Jahelpme" so his full name would be "Haywood Jahelpme Morris".
  • A Rare Sentence: Paige gives us one in "Once Bitten, Twice Die". Toby naturally points it out.
    Paige: I slipped on taco grease getting out of the van, and when I fell, the ferret with the venom got away.
    Toby: That's the first time anyone has ever said that.
  • Ready for Lovemaking: The last scene of Season 3 is Paige walking up to Walter wearing a white T-shirt and nothing else. Cue Sexy Discretion Shot.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite their Dark and Troubled Past together, Cabe reaches out to Walter and seems to really care about him. He's openly acknowledged as Walter's father figure and despite their contentious past, it's a relationship they've resumed.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Toby receives one in "The Old College Try" from Quincy Berkstead, his college nemesis, whom Toby thinks stole his fiancee Amy. Quincy calls Toby "an egomaniac and a narcissist" who can't admit that he drove Amy away with his gambling addiction. Toby later admits that Quincy was right.
    • Both Tim and Walter give each other one in "Wreck the Halls" when they finally have enough of each other and argue over Paige. Tim states he has never liked Walter because Walter never made him feel welcome to the team and Walter states Paige and Ralph should be spending time with him instead of Tim and Tim will never be a real member of Scorpion. Which is true.
    • In "Sharknerdo", Paige blames Walter for getting them stranded in the middle of the ocean because they ended up changing jobs that day due to him arguing with their point person saying their pay was "A hundred and nine thousand dollars." instead of specifically "one hundred nine thousand." Walter later states Paige is just as much to blame for abandoning him to deal with people on his own despite his low EQ and cutting him out of her life ever since Tim left the team.
  • Riddle Me This: early in season 3 when Toby was trying to find out who Happy's mystery husband was, he paid Mark Collins a visit in prison. Collins wouldn't say who it was, but gave him a riddle instead: "Water lies still, but water still lies. Add 50 and you'll have your answer." Toby solved it at the end of the episode. The Roman numeral for 50 is L, when added to the middle of "water" gives the name "Walter".
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: In Scorpion 106 Toby, being a wine connoisseur himself, believed that the art thief was using his wine cellar as a front to hide his stolen art because it was too big. Later once they got into the cellar he realized that no true connoisseur would keep their wine so cold. It turned out to be just a wine cellar
  • Rube Goldberg Device: The team creates one as a Christmas present for Ralph in "Dominoes".
  • Rubik's Cube International Genius Symbol:
    • In "A Cyclone," Walter and Sylvester have a contest over who can solve TEN cubes the fastest. Walter solves the last one behind his back.
    • In "Kill Screen," Sylvester says solving them helps him to relax.
  • Rule of Drama/Rule of Cool: The show sometimes plays fast and loose with reality, such as having government agents repeatedly disdaining the value of the team's demonstrated intelligence. Oddly enough, on some tropes they're more realistic than usual; see Wire Dilemma, below.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: Paige in "Cuba Libre" following the team's arrival, introduced in a Male Gaze moment (from Walter!). The entire team is soaked in the surf, but Paige is wearing a thin T-shirt that gets completely transparent (though she is wearing a bra underneath).
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Trying to get the team to follow standard protocol (or the law) when solving a problem is an exercise in futility.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Walter and Paige are about drowning in it. See Foreshadowing, above, and Tin Man, below.
    • Toby freely admits that he finds Happy attractive, but her feelings toward him are more ambiguous. She does Cat Smile to herself when he calls her Halloween costume something every girl does, but still hot. He also had a plan to ask her out in "Risky Business," only for Happy to ask out the Client of the Week. In "Love Boat" she admits she likes him but says she doesn't want to jeopardize their being best friends. Then they hold hands and Almost Kiss at the end of the episode.
    • Sylvester and Megan (Walter's sister) show some of it, as well, in Megan's limited screen time. It's all subtext until Sylvester gets Megan a Valentine's Day card. As of "Going South" they're an Official Ship. (as of the end of S1, the only one in the show)
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Toby is the main Shipper on Deck; he repeatedly encourages Walter to act on his feelings for Paige. In "Crossroads":
    Toby: If you don't take a risk, my man, Drew's gonna take Paige.
    Walter: Paige isn't yogurt.
    Toby: No, she's a risk, one you need to take. So you need to get in your car, drive to her house, knock on her door, and tell her how you feel.
    • Paige encourages Happy to give Toby another chance in "Crossroads."
    • In "Chernobyl Intentions," Happy tells Walter to ask Paige to go with him to a jazz festival.
    • In "Mother Load", the client who hires Scorpion turns out to be Veronica Dineen. After having only known the team for one episode, she's already come to the conclusion that Walter is a better match for her daughter than Tim.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Averted in the pilot, where a Homeland Security agent tries to do that, only for Happy to point out that a lock like that will not be affected by the bullet from his sidearm, but the bullet is likely to ricochet and hit one of them. She finds another way in.
  • Shoot the Dog: Invoked in the pilot, when Cabe and Walter are prepared to order one of the endangered planes shot down to save the others.
    • What the Hell, Hero?: This is how Paige responds. She's wrong, but fortunately, she gives Walter a Eureka Moment that helps him figure out how to save all the planes.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Sylvester is a grandmaster. The team realize that Ralph is a budding genius when he beats Sylvester; by the time Paige is alerted to what's going on, Ralph has Sylvester in checkmate in eight moves. Using sugar packets on a non-checkerboard counter top. Mark Collins is also mentioned to be good at chess, but not so much because of being good at playing the game as because he's good at mind games and forcing people into playing badly.
  • Spies in a Van: Scorpion only occasionally act as spies, but they do have a nice van equipped to support them in that function as well as others.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Collins in "Plutonium is Forever" sets up a nuclear meltdown to draw in Walter. Pretty much every exchange with Walter has either a jilted lover vibe or this. It's damn creepy.
  • Start My Own: Happens at the Cliffhanger ending of the fourth season finale, "A Lie in the Sand." Paige, Sylvester, Toby and Happy finally get fed up with Walter's mistreatment of them and quit Scorpion to form their own competing hero team, Centipede.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: MI-6 agent Ian Gleason pulls a Stealth Bye at the end of "US vs. UN vs. UK", in keeping with his image as an elite secret agent.
  • Surprise Vehicle: At the end of "Shorthanded", a helicopter rises up roaring from behind a sand dune to surprise the bad guys and deliver The Cavalry to save Walter and his team. How it could have gotten behind the sand dune without the bad guys hearing it in the first place is never addressed.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Basically, how Walter thinks of himself every single day in the world. Of course, he neglects the detail that thanks to his emotionally myopic tendencies and huge ego, when it comes to human interaction he's the idiot.
  • Take My Hand: Played With at the climax of "Revenge". Javier, the leader of the Ghosts, is about to fall off a building and begs Walter for help. Walter hesitates for a moment—after all, Javier has killed several people and almost killed Sylvester—then extends his hand, but it's too late and Javier falls to his death anyway. Later, Sylvester tells Walter that Javier's weight would have dragged him down, too.
  • Team Title
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Paige initially insists that the team not take the case in "Mother Load" when they meet the client and it turns out to be her estranged mother, a career con artist, using an alias, but is forced to go along with it when it turns out that failure to do so would result in a nuclear explosion.
  • Terrified of Germs: One of Sylvester's quirks.
    • Face Your Fears: In "Single Point of Failure", he's forced to hide in a lab full of infectious disease samples. Walter later praises him for being courageous enough to do so.
  • They Do: Walter and Paige at the end of Season 3.
  • The Grovel: Toby in "Crossroads," after he accidentally sleeps through his first date with Happy. Complete with a wrench bouquet, a box of nuts, and a singer with a harmonica. Subverted, as Happy does not accept his apology.
    Sylvester: There is zero chance that she will accept your apology.
    Toby: I'm not gonna apologize; I'm gonna grovel.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: In "Plutonium Is Forever" Cabe asks as he is trapped in a room filling up with radioactive gas while they are going off of the instructions of an ex-teammate if there is anything Walter is not telling him. Walter replies that he had said ex-teammate committed to an insane asylum.
    Cabe: Fantastic.
  • Time Skip: "The Old College Try" takes place six weeks after the previous episode, "Arrivals and Departures".
  • Tin Man: Walter emerges as one of these, especially in "True Colors", where he repeatedly insists that he doesn't feel emotions and makes decisions based strictly on logic while his actions prove otherwise. This is blatantly untrue as Walter has emotions, but often doesn't understand them. Also in that episode is him glaring at a guy dancing with Paige, and possibly deliberately prolonging the mission so he'd have more dance time. We see it again in "Charades", where he insists that (romantic) love doesn't really exist, right after he cuddled up with and read a story to Ralph. Despite being on his way out the door while he's saying this, he stops to affectionately stroke the sleeping Ralph's hair without missing a beat. And then says he likes the sound of Paige's voice.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Happy's Tomboy to Paige's Girly Girl.
  • Torture Is Ineffective: An Air Force pilot and Navy SEAL both stand up to beatings and, in the case of the flyboy, Electric Torture without giving up the password to a fighter plane's computer. Double Subverted in the same episode by Walter: he tells the Serbian gangsters he can hack the computer open to get them to stop beating up the SEAL, then promptly erases the entire hard drive.
  • Tsundere: Happy, despite her love for Toby, can be a little hostile and even intimidating towards him.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Happy, who's Asian-American, is the only clearly non-white member of the core cast, and a woman. (See also Ambiguously Brown, above.)
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Normally, whenever Scorpion explains what their plan is, usually so the viewer can understand it, something unexpected will happen that either causes it to go wrong or creates a brand new problem they need to fix too. However, the few times where the audience is unaware of what their plan actually is work out perfectly for them.
  • United Nations: "US vs. UN vs. UK" has team Scorpion infiltrating UN headquarters as part of their latest mission.
  • Vetinari Job Security: Averted in "Shorthanded." When Walter is jailed, Paige sees that the team is falling apart without him and becomes "the new Walter" for a day.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot:
    • Paige does this in the pilot episode. After her close encounter with a passenger jet in the sports car, she leans out of the car and can be heard retching.
    • It happens yet again in "Shorthanded"
  • Wardens Are Evil: Inverted in "Fish Filet", where the warden might be the only prison employee who isn't on the take.
  • Wedding Day: "Something Borrowed, Something Blew." Toby and Happy. And the plane carrying them and the rest of Team Scorpion starts to crashland into the Pacific..
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Invoked and Played With in "Shorthanded." As Toby points out at the end, everything that happened in Las Vegas was because someone (the villain, Walter, Toby himself) wanted to prove themselves to a father figure. The villain wanted to destroy her father's casino and start one of her own, Walter wanted to show Cabe that his team could do a private job without supervision, and Toby wanted to prove that Walter could count on him.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Arrivals and Departures" in which Megan dies.
    • "Little Boy Lost." Toby finds out Happy's married to Walter (for immigration reasons). Oh yeah, and she's pregnant. Although it turns out to be a false alarm.
    • "Something Borrowed, Something Blew." Walter finally tells Paige he loves her. And vice versa.
    • "A Lie in the Sand." Paige finds out about Walter's date with Florence, prompting her to break up with him and quit. Florence admits she has feelings for Walter, which causes Sylvester to quit. Toby gets tired of Walter's justifications and quits, with Happy following behind. The four then form their own team of geniuses, competing with the now three-person Scorpion 2.0.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Cabe gives Homeland Security Director Molina a very well-deserved one in "Fish Filet" because she chose not to help get Sylvester out of prison as part of the week's mission, and lost Cabe's trust as a result. They have a new Homeland Security liaison in the very next episode.
    • Walter gets a silent one from the entire team when he fires Paige, claiming her job's been done and she isn't needed any more. Even though he's arranged for her to start in a similar position for her at another firm with a higher salary, Paige is pissed. Understandably.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "True Colors" is about a team of dysfunctional geniuses who struggle to work in normal society trying to get their hands on a painting that was stolen, and two of the team members with UST for each other infiltrate a party. It also begins with a How We Got Here scene and makes heavy use of Flashbacks, including ones that reveal what really happened but which the audience wasn't shown. Y'know, much like Leverage.
    • And once again in "US vs. UN vs. UK".
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: According to Ralph in season 3, Walter said he used to be scared of snakes, though he got over it. Apparently he got over it before the series started, since it was never brought up before and in season 2, Walter had willingly let a venomous snake bite him simply to determine if it was the correct species.
    • And then there's Sylvester. Who keeps running into his many, many phobias.
  • Wire Dilemma: Subverted. When the team finds a bomb in "A Cyclone", Happy takes one look at it and declares that she'd never be able to figure out what wires to cut before it blows (in less than ten minutes). Instead, she works on a way to contain the blast somewhat while having the rest of the team evacuate the building.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The villain of "Single Point of Failure", whose "biohacking" infects the children of several prominent people (including the governor of California) with a custom-made, life-threatening virus. The bad guy turns out to be a professor who lost his daughter to a rare disease, because a successful treatment was cancelled by the company that made it in favour of a more profitable version of the project. The first three victims were children whose parents were the employees working on the project, and the final victim was the parent of the first victim, because he had been the team leader.
  • Wrench Wench: Happy is a female "mechanical prodigy."

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