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Shout Out / Leverage

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Leverage is a Spiritual Successor to Mission: Impossible, with a little bit of The A-Team, Stingray (1985) and Vengeance Unlimited thrown in. The series is so full of Shout Outs, it's practically Reference Overdosed. Here are some examples:

  • In the pilot episode Hardison has Parker posing as IT say "have you tried turning it on and off?".
  • Hardison's "I love it when a plan comes together."
  • In the "Cross my Heart Job", Hardison, undercover as a tower operator, uses the callsign "Leverage Airlines 1701" to when radioing the team's walkie-talkies.
  • The team's aliases have a tendency to reference Doctor Who; given that Hardison presumably arranges all their fake IDs and is canonically a fan, this is almost certainly no coincidence even in-universe.
    • In "The Mile High Job," Nate and Sophie's cover IDs are Tom and Sarah Jane Baker. Nate also mentions having ID on him for Peter Davison or Sylvester McCoy.
    • In "The Twelve Step Job," Nate uses the Tom Baker ID again, while Parker (the young blonde one) is Rose.
    • Eliot and Hardison get into a police precinct as detectives Moffat and Davies in "The Three Card Monte Job".
    • The Doctor Who references continue! In "The Frame-Up Job," Sophie introduces herself and Sterling as Agents Tennant and Smith.
    • The scene in "The Long Goodbye Job" with the body bags is eerily reminiscent of a scene in "Day of the Moon", including an Actor Allusion thanks to Mark Sheppard's presence.
    • In "The White Rabbit Job", one of Sophie's aliases is Sally Sparrow.
    • One more Doctor Who reference is the name of the law firm the client worked at in "The 10 Li'l Grifters Job": McGann, McCoy and Baker.
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    • In "The Radio Job," the Doctor Who opening theme plays when Parker speculates that Nate's dad may have traveled back in time to 1962. Immediately afterwards, Parker asks Hardison about his bow tie, and he replies "It's a bow tie. Bow ties are cool".
    • And for one last time in "The Long Goodbye Job", Parker's alias is Tennant and Nate's is Baker.
  • Hardison misses the beginning of the job in "The Mile High Job" because he's been up all night playing World of Warcraft - and cries "for the horde!" when he meets an employee of the evil corporation of the week who's also a fan.
  • And a Shout-Out of Doom in "The Snow Job", where Nate calls his con "Glengarry Glendeath".
  • In "The Beantown Bailout Job", Hardison gets an opportunity to say "Come with me if you want to live."
  • Also in "Beantown Bailout," Hardison and Parker identify themselves as "Troopers Costello and Costigan" of the Massachusetts State Police.
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  • In "The Bank Shot Job" Parker and Hardison's aliases are Agents Elmore and Leonard.
  • The premise of the film production the crew steals in "The Stork Job" sounds a bit like Dog Soldiers.
  • In "The Wedding Job" Hardison and Parker's aliases are Agent Thomas and Agent Hagen.
  • Invoked in "The Three Days of the Hunter Job"; "I control the horizontal, I control the vertical." And all work and no play makes Monica a dull girl!
    • Also, Hardison calls the fake underground bunker system "Project Destiny".
      • The soldier interrogating Hardison has the name "Kyle Abbot," the name of a Batman/Batwoman villain.
  • In "The Two-Horse Job", Parker's disdain for horses stems from an incident that happened in Camden, IL (Beth Riesgraf is Jason Lee's baby-mama, and has made a few appearances on the show).
  • In "The Two Live Crew Job", Wil Wheaton guest-stars. His hacker handle is "Cha0s", and the CIA calls him "The Kobayashi Maru". Before you start raising questions, just assume that Wesley Crusher was not played by Wheaton in the Leverage universe. Or even better, never existed at all.
    • Alternately, if you accept the tie-in novel The Con Job as canon, Wheaton and Cha0s both exist, independently of each other.
  • In "The Juror #6 Job", the bad guys' jury-monitoring setup strongly resembles the one in Runaway Jury.
  • In The "Order 23 Job" Hardison and Eliot are Officers Michaels and Crichton. (Michael Crichton is well known for his medical thrillers and helping create ER; he also wrote The Andromeda Strain, about a virulent disease that traps the main characters in a medical facility...)
    • In that same episode, Hardison sets up a system with Eliot of referencing the odd-numbered Star Trek movies when things are going well and the even-numbered ones when things are going poorly. When the job inevitably goes sideways, Hardison has the hospital PA page "Dr. Ralph O. Khan." Eliot later uses a similar system to get Hardison's attention by paging "Kirk Picard" in "The Cross My Heart Job."
  • In "The Reunion Job", Parker claims to have overheard a bunch of ladies saying that Drake McIntyre (who Nate was impersonating) was "the best they ever had".
  • In "The Inside Job", Parker gets into trouble when she tries to break into a building with a "Steranko" security system.note  Also, Sophie and Hardison give the aliases Emily Peel and Jonathan Steed when pretending to be auditors. And we're introduced to Archie Leach - "the greatest thief of all time".
  • From the same episode, we see a rather large, unshaved man in a Sailor Moon cosplay getup, which is a reference to the infamous "Sailor Bubba", a security staffer at "Anime Central", a Chicago-based convention.
  • In "The Gone Fishin' Job" Hardison and Eliot use the aliases Brody and Quint.
  • In "The Boost Job" Hardison readies an EMP device that makes the same noise as a proton pack. He then lampshades it by adding "this chick is toast", which is Bill Murray's line when the team confronts Gozer. Later in the episode, when Hardison and Parker enter a chop shop and find that it's a much bigger operation than they expected, he remarks "We're gonna need a bigger boat".
  • In "The Gone Fishin' Job," Eliot tells Hardison, "We're gonna get bloody on this one." In the same episode, Hardison is heard saying, "Science: it works." Their entire plot in that episode is an homage to the 1958 Sidney Poitier-Tony Curtis film The Defiant Ones, in which two prisoners, one white and one black, have to escape from prison and evade those trying to recapture them while handcuffed together.
  • "The Studio Job" has Alex repeatedly using the word "pitchy" regarding Eliot's singing, to Eliot's annoyance. Eliot says "I don't even think that word means what you think it means."
  • In "The Rashomon Job", Hardison's flashback ends with him making a perfect Eddie Murphy grin.
  • Also in "The Rashomon Job," Sophie's safehouse address is on Warren Road in Ellis County.
  • Hardison generally talks about his van Lucille in terms of just how innocent or well-built she is. Too bad he doesn't know a pretty blonde who could wash it for him.
    • Lucille could also be a reference to legendary blues guitarist B.B. King. King played an all black Gibson ES-335 (and later a signature model made to his specifications) called Lucille.
    • Speaking of Lucille, once she's destroyed Hardison names her replacement Lucille 2(.0).
    • Just before he blows Lucille 1 up, Hardison tells her that "I have been, and always shall be, your friend.
  • Parker's name is confirmed by Word of God to be a Shout-Out to the character from Donald Westlake's novels (under the pen name of Richard Stark), a damn good thief in his own rights.
  • In "The Rashomon Job", Hardison says "absatively, posilutely", dating back at least as far as The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat (1982) but more likely a reference to Oliver & Company (1988).
  • In "The Morning After Job," during the briefing Nate asks "who" The Mark "is gonna call" when he gets into trouble - Parker immediately comes back with "Ghostbusters!"
    Eliot: "Again?"
  • In "The Ho Ho Ho Job," the mall manager talks about losing customers to Twin Pines.
  • Eliot's setpiece in "The Big Bang Job" contains shoutouts to many things, but especially Shoot 'em Up - shooting Mooks while dodging bullets while sliding on his knees across the floor on an oil slick. In Bullet Time. Also perhaps shades of Equilibrium and Gun Kata, given his Tranquil Fury.
  • "The San Lorenzo Job" appears to be a whole-episode shout out to The Stainless Steel Rat For President.
    • According to Word of God it's inspired by a The Saint story but he wouldn't say which one. More than one commenter on John Rogers' blog thinks he's talking about "The Wonderful War".
    • The name of the country itself may be a reference to Cat's Cradle.
    • Sophie plays a beautiful first lady to a populist president. When she fakes her own assassination, the people are so heartbroken that they build a little shrine to her and put her on their money. At the end, she shows up at the shrine unseen and says "Don't cry for me, San Lorenzo."
  • A number of staff shout-outs:
    • The team frequently runs into "Glen-Reeder" safes - named after the show's "Wonder Twin" writers Melissa Glenn and Jessica Rieder.
    • The building on the docks in the "Three Strikes Job" is called Kirsch Industries, after writer's assistant and occasional episode writer Rebecca Kirsch.
    • You can see candidate posters in the background of the campaign office in "The Jailhouse Job" for writers Scott Veach (who's running for city council), Charlotte Boylan (who's running for Congress), and Geoffrey Thorne (who's running for county sheriff).
  • Eric Stoltz's character in "The Long Way Down Job" is named Alan Scott.
  • "The 10 L'il Grifters Job" includes shout-outs to all manner of detective stories:
  • In "The 15 Minutes Job," Hardison rants about the use of CGI in the Star Wars prequels.
  • As they enter a disorganized evidence room, Hardison asks Parker if she thinks they'll find the Ark of the Covenant.
  • In the "Cross My Heart Job", in order to get Hardison's attention, Eliot has the airport page for a "Kirk Picard", which is also a Call-Back to "The Order 23 Job," in which Hardison pages "Dr. Ralph O'Khan" to let Eliot know he's in danger.
    • The heart of the title is stolen by a wealthy, greedy, isolated old man. Nate gives him a snow globe instead.
      • Could also be a double shout out to something a tad more recent given it has a wealthy greedy isolated old man with a love of snow globes, which in itself was a shout out to the first shout out.
    • Also in that episode, Hardison calls the improvised computer system he's forced to use "stone knives and bearskins", referencing Spock's complaint about 1930 electronics tech in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The City on the Edge of Forever".
  • When threatening Mayor Culpepper in the "Maltese Falcon Job", Nate refers to Hardison as "Mr. Joshua," the name of Gary Busey's character in the first Lethal Weapon.
  • The jerkass frat boy — sorry, "Dustman" — in charge of a CIA torture experiment in "The Experimental Job" is named Zilgram, possibly a portmanteau of Zimbardo and Milgram. Parker later has fun with an "actual" Milgram experiment (girl loves her electricity). Sophie and the lesbian Fair Cop in the same episode might be a reference to Rizzoli & Isles.
  • If the title didn't make it obvious, "The Office Job" is one big reference to The Office (US), complete with Talking Heads interviews.
    • From the same episode, Gunter Hanzig (the documentary director) is clearly meant to be a take on Werner Herzog.
  • In "The Radio Job"
    • Invoked with Elliot's John McClane impersonation, including "Yippie-ki-yay, m--". His entire dialogue with the FBI outside is almost copy pasted from the interactions between John McClane and Sgt. Al Powell, including the agents naming him Cowboy, and Elliot explaining how he's just a "fly in the ointment, pal."
    • A Suspiciously Similar Song version of the Doctor Who theme during Parker's daydream sequence with Nate's father and the Time Machine.
      • Also doubles as an Inspector Spacetime reference, with Parker asking "Where? Don't you mean when?" prior to the daydream sequence, and Nate's father travelling to 1962 rather than 1963.
      Parker (pointing to Hardison's neck): "What is that?"
      Hardison: "It's a bow tie. Bowties are cool."
    • Foreshadowing shout-out: Parker and Hardison spend a great deal of their time in this episode in a warehouse full of strange and wonderful inventions, they later use to stage a major con. Guess who the villain turns out to be? Victor Dubenich, also known as Artie Nielsen from Warehouse 13.
  • In "The Gold Job", while following clues the Leverage team has planted, one of the marks talks about ciphers and how they sometimes use they text of a well-known document, such as the Declaration of Independence.
    • In the same episode, Hardison interacts with a computer named GLaDOS.
    • Sort of a visual shout out- the donuts the crew is eating in Portland in Hardison's van are obviously Voodoo Donuts-er-donuts. It's a shop local to Portland with lots of oddball donuts with toppings like fruit loops and cap'n crunch.
  • In "The Last Dam Job", the gang's new headquarters is explicitly compared to the Batcave, and Eliot seems to quite like the idea of having an "Eliot Signal".
    • Quinn quotes Tombstone to Eliot, who grins and responds "I love that movie!"
    • Dubenich, also known as Artie Nielsen from Warehouse 13, invites his men to break down a door by saying "Knock Knock," a phrase associated with Claudia Donovan's entrance to Warehouse 13.
  • According to John Rogers one of the extras in "The Blue Line Job" was cast due to his resemblance to the Hanson brothers. Also, the client's father's name (Craig Marko) is a shoutout to The Juggernaut.
  • "The First Contact Job" has several references to Science Fiction series and films:
    • Eliot's pseudonym is Willie Riker, which The Mark fails to recognize despite having a Will Riker action figure on his desk. According to Word of God, these were unintentional Actor Allusions, since the references were written into the episode before Jonathan Frakes was attached to direct it.
    • Parker quotes several lines from ET The Extraterrestrial.
    • Yet another Doctor Who reference: One of the reporters at Kanack's press conference is wearing the eleventh Doctor's costume.
    • Parker and Hardison pose as two of The Men in Black, complete with Parker imitating Tommy Lee Jones and Hardison saying "We make this look good".
    • Eliot's fight in the mark's lab while trying not to break the valuables contained therein was a shout-out to similar sequences in Jackie Chan's films.
    • The episode also has a shout out to real life. When Sophie holds up the sheet with all the numbers while posing as a code-breaker, one sequence is circled and "woah" written on it in red marker. This refers to the Wow! signal, likewise circled and noted in red pen.
  • "The French Connection Job" has three characters with the last names Rampone, Heath and Wambach, though the latter is Sophie's alias. All three are stars for the United States women's national soccer team. In addition, the villain is named Lampard, and three goons of the French truffle smuggler are named Patrice, Samir and Thierry. The episode's writer, Paul Guyot, is a big soccer fan.
  • Another Doctor Who reference in "The Broken Wing Job"; Parker says her pain meds make everything go "wibbly-wobbly".
    • In the same episode, one of the couples who frequents the bar is compared to Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen.
  • Parker in "The Rundown Job" (I think) wears an Æon Flux (the movie version) style Spy Cat Suit
  • In "The Carnival Job", the mark's daughter suggests Botasky and Perky as the codenames for her and Eliot.
  • Sophie's alias in "The Low Low Price Job" is Dr. Ellie Satler.
    • Sophie also gets a bunch of actors to wear Value More uniform and pose as fake workers, much like an Improv Everywhere mission only with more malice.
  • The entire episode "The White Rabbit Job" is one long shout out to Alice in Wonderland: the mark's name is Charles Dodgson, his second in command is named Mr. Carroll, and one of his employees (the one who hires the Leverage team) is named Alex Liddell.
    • The Matrix: Hardison makes his dream world using CGI screens; Dodgson is dosed with red (woozy) and blue (knock-out) patches and is convinced he's in a dream when Sophie makes a shiny metal ball float (Neo sees a boy bend a shiny metal spoon and other kids make toys float).
    • Inception: The team is pretending to hack into Dodgson's brain and change his personality at the behest of someone else; Dodgson had issues with his greedy, hard-ass dad; Sophie claimed to have done the "impossible con" but actually lied, the opposite of Cobb who claimed inception was impossible but had done it to his own wife; Dodgson is "haunted" by the death of his cousin to the point where he's destroying his career, his life, and the lives of everyone around him.
      • A few of the shots are very Inception-esque—like the shot of the staircase from the top, very much like the 'Penrose steps' shot in Inception.
      • The plot of Inception was to convince a man to split up his family's business; the plot of "The White Rabbit Job" is to convince a man to keep running it.
      • Eliot yelling at Hardison about his lack of research —> Dom yelling at Arthur about his lack of resarch.
    • Paprika: Sophie poses as a "guided dream therapist" who appears in Dodgson's "dreams" to help him with his problems; towards the end the dreamworld con collapses and Dodgson has no idea what's real or fake.
    • Dodgson makes an appearance dressed like Steve Jobs — blue jeans, black turtleneck with rolled-up sleeves, headset microphone, and Perma-Stubble.
    • As noted, one of Sophie's aliases is Sally Sparrow.
  • The very last Shout-Out in the series comes when Hardison outlines his plans for the future: "Leverage International" (which is obviously inspired by Batman, Inc.)
    • Keeping in style, one last Doctor Who reference: Parker's alias is Detective Tennant.
  • Way back in the pilot, in 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. The first seven numbers are 8675309.
  • The Phony Psychic in The Future Job is named Dalton Rand - his surname is a reference to the infamous psychic (who later became a notorious skeptic and debunker of phony psychics) James Randi.
  • Hardison, playing a vintner for a con in "The Corkscrew Job", christens himself The Grape Gatsby.
  • Elliot's line about guns in "The Big Bang Job" strongly resembles the line used by Mathew Quigley in Quigley Down Under
  • The Long Goodbye Job gives off this Sucker Punch, Fight Club, and Inception vibe where you really have to THINK about what you're watching, what they're saying, and where you are in The Plan/Heist.
  • Just before he blows up the first Lucille, Hardison says, "I am, and forever shall be, your friend."
  • In "The Grave Danger Job," the mark has two sons named Gideon and Emery.
  • Eliot quotes the mantra of Leverage's British counterpart Hustle in Series 5's "The Gimme A K Street Job", when he says to Nate that "You can't cheat an honest man."
  • In "The Gimmie A K Street Job", Sophie is pretending to be a politician, lobbying for money. She hires a temporary assistant, and at one point yells out her door for her: "Ginger!"


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