Leverage/Tropes N-S

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Hardison: Have you ever been to Kiev? The Cakemaker of Kiev kick all our asses! This is the butcher.

  • The Napoleon: The younger son in "The Snow Job" is the brains behind the operation, despite his short stature, and resents the cavalier attitude of his much taller brother.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Hardison.
  • New Old Flame: Amy for Eliot in "The Two-Horse Job".
  • Nice Hat: Nate really likes hats.
    • This actually creates a bit of an unreveal at the beginning of "The 10 Li'l Grifters Job," when a man addresses a shadowy man about a murder. The second man steps out to reveal that it's Nate, but anybody familiar with the show has already figured it out since he's wearing one of his trademark fedoras.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: A few of their cons go like this.
    • In "The Underground Job", the team tries to con a corrupt mine owner. However, their original plan backfires when the mine owner decides to pay off a corrupt attorney general by firing his workers and using their payrolls. Then he plans to destroy the mine, which would also destroy the local town's only source of employment.
    • In "The Ho Ho Ho Job", when they take down an electric plant to foil the villain's plan, they learn that his real plan relied on them doing just that.
    • And, in a longer-term one, the team's takedown of Duberman in "The Reunion Job" allowed Damien Moreau and President Rivera to get Duberman's software system Manticore and use it against Rivera's political opponents in "The San Lorenzo Job".
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Victor Dubenich, the bad guy from the first episode, he formed the team, then tried to off them when they got the job done. That gave them motive for revenge and since Good Feels Good they decided to stay at it afterwards. Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realize that compared to their lives before the pilot, they're much better off because of it.
    • This is alluded to in "The Last Dam Job" when Nate visits Dubenich in prison. Nate mentions, "my team..." and Dubenich retorts, "my team!"
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Parker is disguised as Lady Gaga Bjor-- "Don't say her name!" At one point she's worried that "she's not being weird enough". Needless to say, even with Nate reply, "Somehow, I doubt that.", she is.
    • A scare tactic-obsessed cable news anchor character who is definitely not Nancy Grace appears in "The Three Days of the Hunter Job".
    • Word of God confirms that they work to disguise the identities of all the real people they base each episode on -- mostly to avoid doing anything actionable. In the case of the villain in "The Scheherazade Job," John Rogers extended that to "Also, I did not want to get shot in the face."
  • Noodle Implements: Most of the scams -- i.e. the Cherry Pie, the Cuban Sandwich, the London Spank, the Genevan Paso Doble, etc. -- many of which the team disagrees on the exact elements of.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • We never find out exactly what happened to the people the team was helping at the end of "The Nigerian Job" or how the team helped them.
    • The Sapphire Monkey, which Eliot was supposed to steal in North Korea. In "The Two-Horse Job," we see that he failed to acquire the Monkey, since he was being interrogated by two North Koreans who demanded to know where the Monkey was. Later on, in "The Rashomon Job," Eliot is given the task of stealing the Dagger of Aqu'abi because he failed to get the Monkey.
    • In "The Bank Shot Job," we never find out the full details of the con at the beginning of the episode.
    • In "The Order 23 Job", what the actual Order 23 is.
    • What Nate did at the Russian border. (Word of God says that he "may have technically hijacked a train.")
    • Lots of the unexplained cons fit under this, like the "Apple Pie," which is a "Cherry Pie" but with lifeguards.
    • One of the other retrieval specialists that Eliot runs into in "The Van Gogh Job" owes him $27,000 for something that happened in Singapore.
    • What exactly it was the team did in Juarez.
    • The time they stole a panda, as referenced in "The Boiler Room Job." Word of God has it that the team does a lot of complicated and interesting jobs that are not included in episodes...
    • ...as we see in "The Cross My Heart Job" at the beginning, where the team is returning from a job in the Caribbean where all the earbuds and Hardison's laptop got wrecked, Hardison faked a volcanic eruption, Eliot apparently fought three combat divers with spear guns, underwater, on a shipwreck, and Sophie played a French heiress on a topless beach.
    • In that same episode, Hardison is working without his usual setup and complains when Nate pressures him that no one is asking Eliot to fight a guy with a Nerf sword. To which Eliot responds: "Damascus, 2002."
  • No Name Given:
    • Sophie, technically. By season 3, everybody but Nate (and the audience) learns her real name. Apparently, Nate learned it during their night together in "The San Lorenzo Job" but was too drunk to remember.
    • Liam's brother ("The Bottle Job") is only ever referred to as...Liam's brother.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Many times.
    • In "The Boost Job", Hardison looks quietly heartbroken that Parker's previous car-thief partner would leave her to the cops and run.
    • In "The San Lorenzo Job", Eliot and Parker plan on rescuing a general being held political prisoner, but -- only for him to decline the offer because he refuses to leave his men in prison. The general then asks Eliot whether he'd leave any of his team.
  • No Social Skills: Parker.

"I bought a plant. What does it do?"

    • Word of God says Parker has a mild case of Asperger's Syndrome.
    • My favorite:

Cindy: You don't think it makes me look fat?
Sophie: (shakes head no) Uh-uh.
Parker: Oh, definitely. I mean, why do you think I had to let out the waist, to make you look less skinny?

    • Hardison actually had to teach Parker the hand-quote motion in "The Beantown Bailout Job," and even then she wasn't confident she was doing it right.
    • Eliot mentions that he got over his fear of the dark and/or claustrophobia as a kid by locking himself in a shed for a few days. Parker says she did the same thing (cut to Parker locking herself in a trunk and having some other kids bury her alive):

Eliot: That's NOT the same thing. What's wrong with you?

    • In "The Runway Job," when Sophie asks the team to give Tara a chance, Parker seems to be trying to fit in/play along, but apparently misjudges the expected response:

Eliot: She is hot.
Hardison: Very hot.
Parker: Hot.
(Everyone stares)
Parker: Warm? Cold? Why are we staring?

    • Also, from "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job":

Parker: So, I took your advice and did the whole touristy thing. Went to the museum, and it was amazing.
Hardison: See?
Parker: Yeah. They have a Guardian T-840 Security System. I've only seen those in books. And the motion detectors--ooh, gorgeous! Six digital receptors. Six!
Hardison: What about the paintings?
Parker: What about the paintings?

    • Also also, Parker got a hug from the client at the end of "The Future Job" and clearly had no clue how to deal with it.
    • Juror #6 Job, where she keeps referring to her alias as a different person (and makes one of her first, non-criminal friends)

Parker: Aww, Alice made a friend.
Eliot: Let me tell you one more time. You made a friend. Not Alice.
Parker: Oh cool... Think she'll want to steal a painting with me?
Sophie: Start small, Parker. Try coffee.

    • As of "The Double Blind Job", Parker's actually getting jealous of Hardison showing some attention to the current client. She has a hard time dealing with it. It seems to give her feelings for... pretzels.
    • In "The Three Card Monte Job" the others are about to look up what kind of security systems three banks have when Parker casually starts talking about them (and laughing at them, of course). Cue blank stare -- "Well, what do you guys do on your weekends?" She's apparently scoped out all the banks in Boston.
    • "The Rashomon Job" shows how far she's come in two years from gleefully handing a giant knife so someone can do an impromptu tracheotomy to actually feeling sorry the head guard, who isn't a hardass tactical genius but a wuss who had feelings for Sophie's "character".
  • Not Actually the Ultimate Question: in "The Wedding Job"--see the trope page for the quote.
  • Not Just a Tournament: In "The Queen's Gambit Job", the team sets up -- and then rigs -- a blitz chess tournament as a way of distracting the mark of the week during a theft.
  • Not So Different: Nate and Sterling. Nate and Rockwell in "The 15 Minutes Job."
  • Not with the Safety On, You Won't: Eliot and Nate to Hardison, in the pilot. Though Eliot probably didn't even care.

Eliot: Did you do it? You're the only one that's ever played both sides.
Nate: Yeah, and you seem pretty relaxed for a guy with a gun pointed at him.
Eliot: Safety's on.
Hardison: Like I'm gonna fall for that.
Nate: No, no, actually he's right. The safety is on.
Hardison looks down to check, and Nate grabs the gun.

    • Sophie and Tara, when they get caught spying in the "Mark"s hotel room closet in "The Girls Night Out". Personally, I think whoever wants to truly shoot two hot babes in cocktail dresses, squashed up in a hotel room closet together, is out of his mind.
  • Nun-Too-Holy: Parker pretends to be a nun in "The Beantown Bailout Job."
    • And "Sister" Lupe in "The Boys' Night Out Job."
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job" shows that Eliot is actually much smarter and more devious than he's generally given credit for, and Nate notes that's the entire point.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Eliot and Hardison try to get Maggie out of a Ukrainian prison by forging documents to have her transferred to the US Embassy. However, the police chief refuses because he knows Maggie will go the Embassy and never reappear for trial. Tara Lampshades this by telling the duo that the police chief has spent decades cheating Soviet bureaucracy and that there's no possible way to outsmart him with paperwork.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: In "The 10 Li'l Grifters Job", The Mark is killed during his own murder mystery-themed dinner party. Nate, realizing that he would be the prime suspect, tries to pretend that the really obvious corpse on the ground is a lifelike dummy, and that the whole thing is actually all part of the game, while figuring out who actually did it.
  • Offhand Backhand: Parker does this at long range with a stun gun in "The Lost Heir Job."
  • Off the Wagon: Oh, Nate.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Parker is good at this. Eventually Lampshaded:

Eliot: How does she do that?
Nate: I don't even ask any more.

  • Oh Crap: Or rather, "oh, shiny tomato!"
  • Once an Episode:
    • A caper featuring a Plan that goes awry.
    • "Let's go steal a..."
    • Nate saying something meaningful that's ambiguous or in code and then walking offscreen dramatically.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Happens frequently. One notable example being "The Three Days of The Hunter Job": The mark for the episode, a journalist, has been steered towards a politician to ask about an alleged government project called "Destiny". The Destiny that he thinks she means is his favourite stripper.
  • One Last Job: The team promises that their job in "The Homecoming Job" will be the last one (this was before they were inflicted with Good Feels Good). Nate's father also says he's taking one last job in "The Three-Card Monte Job".
  • One of Us: John Rogers, one of the show's creators. He maintains a regular blog and has slipped a Shout-Out to Xkcd into the show. He also references tropes by name in his episode commentaries.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Nate and Sterling. They know each other really well. Unfortunately for Nate, Sterling. Never. Loses.
    • As of "The Queen's Gambit Job", this holds true for Sterling's daughter, especially when it comes to chess.
  • Only One Name: Parker. When picking up a will call ticket at a production of The Sound Of Music (starring Sophie) in "The Beantown Bailout Job," she literally says "Only One Name".
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In the episode "The Two-Horse Job," Sophie attempts what sounds like a Dixie accent. She slips into her British accent just about every other word, however.
    • In "The Ten L'il Grifters Job," the detective calls Sophie out on this after she tells him that she works for the murder mystery company, rather than a client of The Mark. She tells him she finds it's adorable that he thinks that's her real accent.
  • Open Sesame: A safe in "The Homecoming Job." The team is able to get a voice-activated safe open by being able to record every possible sound from the safe's owner by getting him to say the name of a very complicated French dish, then have him drop the F-bomb when he realizes it's raw shrimp.
  • Out of Order: According to Word of God, the order in which Season One was meant to be aired (accompanied by broadcast order number) was as follows: Nigerian (1), Homecoming (2), Wedding (7), Snow (9), Mile-High (8), Miracle (4), Two-Horse (3), Bank Shot (5), Stork (6), Juror #6 (11), 12-Step (10), First David (12), Second David (13). This leads to some... interesting jumps in continuity:
    • There are a couple references where the payoff occurs before the setup. For example, Hardison asks Eliot if he'd ever thought about getting married in "The Wedding Job," when in broadcast order Hardison had already met Eliot's ex-fiancee Amy in "The Two Horse Job."
    • In broadcast order, Taggart and McSweeten appear for the first time in The Stinger of "The Bank Shot Job" to take the credit for taking down the bank robber -- the audience was intended to meet them in their much longer appearance in "The Wedding Job," making the bit a lot funnier.
    • Nate's alcoholism gets stronger and weaker over the course of the season, and it was meant to climax with "The 12-Step Job" just before the two-part finale; the broadcast order gives us "The Juror #6 Job" as a Breather Episode before the finale instead.
    • The level of trust the team has for each other varies considerably over the season as well -- particularly noticeable in broadcast order with Nate and Hardison, who have a breakthrough moment in "The Mile-High Job" which seems out of place coming after Hardison's leadership in "The Bank Shot Job."
The Season One DVD set contains the episodes in intended order.
  • Outrun the Fireball:
    • The group tries to do this in "The Nigerian Job." They wake up in a hospital. Nate fares slightly better in the season 2 opener.
    • In "The Hot Potato Job", Parker out-slides one.
  • Overly Long Gag: In "The Tap-Out Job", Eliot explains mixed martial arts to Sophie, who doesn't believe it to be a sport, by having Parker put a submission hold on Hardison. As Nate changes the subject to discuss plans on their latest mission, Parker still hasn't stopped, and Hardison's complaints about not being able to breathe are getting weaker and more strained.
  • Pair the Spares: "The Girls Night Out Job"/"The Boys Night Out Job": apart from official couples Nate/Sophie and Parker/Hardison, we also have Eliot/Not-a-Sister Lupe, Tara/Mattingly and Hurley/Peggy.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: Played with hilariously in "The Miracle Job" when Eliot and Hardison run into some street thugs and the leader tries to intimidate them by lifting up his shirt and revealing the gun tucked into the front of his pants. Eliot just grabs the gun and flips the safety off without ever removing it from the guy's pants. It's very effective.
    • I bet the guy didn't keep his gun there any more.
  • Papa Wolf: Sterling
    • Also, Archie to an extent towards Parker. Watch the two times he confronts Chaos in "The Last Dam Job." The first time, he only looks mildly annoyed by Chaos's insults until he makes a snide comment towards Parker, and then Archie rests his cane against his neck. Later, when Archie actually does taser him, it's only after he makes yet another snide comment towards Parker.
  • Paranoia Fuel: From "The Reunion Job"

Hardison: "It's cute how you still believe in privacy."

    • Also played with in-universe with the paranoia wall in The Three Days Of The Hunter Job. Parker's not sure if all the conspiracy theories are fake or not, and Hardison and Eliot don't help.

Parker: Eliot, these conspiracies aren't real, right?
Eliot: What do you mean?
Parker: Like that one over there that says all the major wars of the past fifty years were ordered by members of the council.
Eliot: (suddenly on edge) Parker, I'm not at liberty to discuss that with you. (Walks away, looking at her suspiciously)
Parker: Wh- Well, you're not a member of the council, are you? Eliot. (To Nate) Is he? (Nate mumbles and leaves) Is he? Nate?

    • From "The Mile High Job," when Eliot has adopted the guise of an air marshall:

Sophie: What if there's another air marshall on the plane?
Eliot: There's only an air marshall on one out of every 100 flights.
Sophie: Ahhhh... I know that's good for us, but I so wish I didn't know that.


Parker: Forty-two seconds.
Hardison: What?
Parker: To rob this bank. One security guard who's never fired his gun before, two closed-circuit cameras outside, one inside, and a Glenn-Reider safe built in the '50s whose default combination is the birthdate of the manager's wife! Get in, get out, forty-two seconds.

  • Patron Saint: Saint Nicholas' other patronage (that of thieves — more accurately, repentant thieves) is mentioned in "The Miracle Job," where Sophie tells Parker (who is only aware of the Santa Claus version) that St. Nick is also the patron saint of thieves.
    • Nate is also handed a Brigid medal in "The Beantown Bailout Job."
  • Pay Evil Unto Evil: The show does a very good job of justifying this; each villain gets several Kick the Dog moments and most might arguably have crossed the Moral Event Horizon.
    • In the "The Cross My Heart Job" this is taken to a level unusual for Nate when he threathens to kill the villain of the week and further terrifies him at the end of the episode, further worsening the dying man's condition
      • Given that the dying man in question was already quite old himself, and was willing to let a young boy die just so he'd getmaybe 3-5 years more, it seems fairly justified
  • The Perfect Crime: The team's cons get close to this at times, such as during "The Beantown Bailout Job," when Detective Bonnano comments to The Mark:

"Someone tricked you into bringing a briefcase of your own crimes straight to the police? Come on, Mr Leary, nobody's that smart."

    • Although it's implied later that Bonanno realizes that's exactly what happened.
  • Period Piece: A good deal of "The Van Gogh Job" takes place in the 1940s.
  • Pet the Dog: One of the bad guys in "The Ho Ho Ho Job" seems to be genuinely happy to be handing out toys to kids, even giving a young girl a cute kiss on the nose...
  • Phoney Call: Hardison does this in "The Iceman Job," telling a mark he has to call his girlfriend, then calling Sophie and managing to signal to her that he's in trouble.
    • In "The Boys Night Out Job" Nate and Hurley, hide from Mooks in an addiction support group meeting. (A callback to Hurley's original appearance in "The 12-Step Job." After trying unsuccessfully to get a cellphone from various attendees so he can contact the team, Nate volunteers to talk next, laments about how he hurt his ex-wife, Maggie, and says "If I had a cellphone right now I would call her..." Naturally everyone in the crowd offers him their phones. Of course, Hilarity Ensues as he attempts to maintain his cover.

Hardison: "Why did Nate call me 'sweetheart?'"


Nate: "I'm sorry about the bag of drugs..."
Crowd: "Ooh..."

  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Parker turns out to have a lot of strength in her skinny little body when she grabs Tara by the throat with one hand, then holds her over the roof of a building.

"Yeah. I hang from buildings with my fingertips."


'Hardison: "Why am I looking away?"

  • Plot-Powered Stamina: Eliot claims he only sleeps 90 minutes a night.
  • Police Are Useless: The FBI and local cops are generally portrayed as being well-intentioned, but incapable of catching the episode's villain either due to ineptitude or legal procedure. Interpol, on the other hand, is quite capable and feared, and Detective Bonanno is always on top of his game.
  • Poor Man's Substitute: Subverted. They wanted someone like Timothy Hutton to play Nate -- and ended up with Timothy Hutton.
  • Porn Stash: The second season premiere plays with this when Sophie stays over at Nate's apartment to make sure he was ok after he was injured in a fight. She notes that she didn't look under his bed because she knows that's where guys keep all of their "weird kinky stuff." Nate, of course, denies that there's anything under his bed. (There is. Sophie actually looked.)
  • The Power of Acting: What Sophie brings to the table, despite being a terrible actress when not on a con.
  • Power Walk: Happens occasionally, with a nice long shot of the whole team. Most notably, in the middle of "The Carnival Job", which has the team walking out of the smoke in slow-mo. And it is awesome.
  • Product Placement:
    • A certain cable sports channel in season one.
    • Hardison's use of a MacBook in season two.
    • One of the group members drinks a Jones soda in most episodes; the logo is never facing the camera, but it's a very distinctive label.
    • Not to mention the gratuitous shots of the Hyundai Genesis in both seasons.
      • Reaches an apotheosis in "The Maltese Falcon Job". While Parker and Tara are on their way to the waterfront in a Hyundai Genesis, Tara, out of the blue, asks if they're taking the fastest way to get there. Parker replies in a voiceover, "Yeah, see? There's no traffic this way", while the camera practically makes sweet love to the car in a slow pan across the car's dashboard and front console, lovingly displaying the steering wheel options and leather interior before lingering sexily for several seconds on the built-in GPS display.
  • Properly Paranoid: Sterling in "The Second David job". This is what Nate was counting on.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Nate and company lie, cheat, steal, and inflict emotional trauma, yet they're the good guys. Somewhat justified in that (A) their victims are clearly shown to be unremitting jerkasses, and (B) what they do, they do on the behalf of people that their victims screwed over.
  • Proud to Be a Geek: Hardison is the resident hacker and very proud of his geekery, with such lines as, "Age of the geek, baby. We rule the world." He's also a fan not only of Star Wars but also of Doctor Who.
    • In the "15 Minutes Job" he complains about the use of CGI in the Star Wars prequels.
  • The Psycho Rangers: Starke's gang from "The Two Live Crew Job."
  • Put Off Their Food: Parker's attempt at social skills in "The Juror #6 Job". When told to convince Eliot to eat an orange instead of an apple, she chooses this tactic.
  • Put on a Bus: Done slightly differently. While Sophie couldn't do anymore cons halfway through season 2, due to Gina Bellman's pregnancy, Sophie is still in almost every episode, appearing in a different part of the world every time the team calls complete with regional get up and cheesy background. It's becoming apparent that while the character was Put on a Bus, she never really left.
    • Kind of amounts to Present Absence in a way at times, given that her absence is escalating Nate's behavior as well.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: "The Homecoming Job", after the previous job's walkaway, "The Second David Job", after they scatter to stay off the radar, "The Beantown Bailout Job", after the previous season finale's split up.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The team. They all worked alone before this.
  • Rashomon Style: "The Rashomon Job". Sophie, Eliot, Hardison and Parker remember a heist that happened five years ago, when they were each independently trying to steal an ancient dagger. The details of their stories can vary greatly, like Sophie's accent.
  • Real Estate Scam: One example that stands out is "The Miracle Job" -- a priest is assaulted by gang members, who were paid by a real estate mogul trying to buy up the land his church (which is in danger of closing) is on. The gang tries to prevent the church's closing by faking a miracle... which backfires, as the mogul's now going to build around the "crying statue" and turn the place into a faith-based moneymaker.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: In interviews and episode commentary, the writers take great pains to point out how few of their villains' atrocities are NOT things that actual white-collar criminals have gotten away with.
  • Real Life Relative: Aldis (Hardison) Hodge's brother Edwin guest-starred as the client in "The Jailhouse Job". His character isn't related to Hardison, but the scam relies on Hardison being able to act as a Body Double for him.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Sophie was Put on a Bus to "find herself" earlier than the showrunners had originally planned, so actress Gina Bellman could go on maternity leave.
    • The villain in "The Underground Job" has an attorney general in his pocket, since he made major campaign contributions to her. This is a direct jab at the 2010 US Supreme Court ruling rescinding campaign contribution limits for politicians.
    • At the end of "The Rashomon Job", the team decides their next target will be the British CEO of an oil company responsible for a massive oil spill. This certainly has nothing to do with the 2010 BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Reckless Pacifist: Eliot.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Jimmy Ford
  • Refuge in Audacity: Hardison any time he has to improvise in character -- throwing himself a birthday party to distract everyone in the office building in "The Mile High Job" and convincing the police that bank robbers want 25 large pizzas and the equipment to hold a tail-gate party in "The Bank Shot Job", to name but a few examples.
    • This gets him in a lot of trouble in "The Iceman Job."
  • Reliable Traitor: Nate counts on Sterling to be this to pull off his plan in "The Second David Job."
  • Retirony: Jimmy Ford kept saying he would retire after one big score. Let's just say he bit off more than he could chew in The Radio Job.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The militiamen in "The Gone Fishin' Job".
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The aforementioned Kung Fu Monkey says that the show rips plots from the headlines as much as your Law and Order or CSI does, only instead of focusing on people who get sodomized with violin bows, they focus on white-collar crime. The Madoff scandal in particular has been a gold mine for the writers. Kung Fu Monkey often uses it and the story of a man who pretended to be a DEA Agent as an example to skeptics of how outrageous and unbelievable cons do actually happen in real life, and also how gullible people in all walks of life can be.
    • Notable examples being the use of the Supreme Court's campaign finance decision in "The Underground Job."
  • Room Full of Crazy: Hardison's room as the Conspiracy Theorist mark in "The Three Days of The Hunter Job."
  • The Roper: Sophie, usually.
  • Running Gag:
    • Harlan Leverage III, AKA "Old Nate"
    • Sophie's accent in "The Rashomon Job"
    • Hardison, in the third season, overshooting the mark on numbers whenever he is required to make them increase.
    • Most of the catchphrases count -- "You're adorable," "seriously?", "Let's go steal a...", "It's a very distinctive ____," "Dammit, Hardison!"
    • "Don't stab... don't stab... don't stab..."
      • "I didn't even stab him!"
    • The destruction of Hardison's vans.
    • "For morale!"
    • How these hardened thieves are all disgusted by politics.
    • From "The Reunion Job," Hardison and Eliot are pretending to be health inspectors to get into a Iranian secret police safehouse disguised as a restaurant. With each violation ("cockroach in the shisleek," "shwarma is only lukewarm"), they say with righteous indignation and in the exact same tone of voice each time "That's going to cost ya" and "I've gotta dock ya!" Leads to a Crowning Moment of Funny later in the episode, when one of the secret policemen breaks into a locked room and is confused to find 'health inspector' Eliot there. To which Eliot shrugs and says "I've gotta dock ya again!" And then beats him up.
    • Eliot keeps running into other hitters he knows while hunting for the painting in "The Van Gogh Job."
    • In "The Boiler Room Job," either no one can remember the mark's nickname--"The Mako"--or people are deliberately misremembering it to hit his Berserk Button.

McSweeten: "What was it again?"
Hardison: "I don't know, the Blowfish, maybe?"

  • Russian Roulette: Eliot has a flashback to being tied up playing this in a Season 1 episode. He was the only one playing. Apparently it was still better than going to one of Sophie's plays.
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Parker. An incredibly talented thief who plans complicated robberies the same way normal people do crosswords, she nonetheless has serious problems interacting with people on an everyday basis. Because of an abusive childhood (during which she may or may not have blown up her foster parents) and later being raised/trained by a master thief, she comes across in non-heist situations as awkward, disturbing, or somewhere in between.
    • Word of God says she has autism, which would explain a lot of the problems she has interacting with people.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Saint Nicholas of Bari (who was part of the inspiration for Santa Claus) is the patron saint of repentant thieves (among other things), none of which feature on the cast.
    • Not in the classic sense, but the team doesn't keep anything they steal and they are trying to be better people.
  • Sand in My Eyes: Hardison, at the end of "The Snow Job."
  • Saving the Orphanage: In "The Miracle Job", the team of former crooks tries to save a church from being bought by a real estate developer. They also save actual orphans in "The Stork Job," which wasn't really an example of this trope.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: A meth dealer in Juan, Texas, after being hit by Eliot in "The Bank Shot Job."
    • Also Chaos in "The Last Dam Job" when he is thrown off of said dam.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them: The judge in "The Bank Shot Job" relies on this. It's not enough to save him due to the Leverage team.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Could be the motto of Leverage Consulting.
  • Seemingly-Profound Fool: The Chief of Security in "The Rashomon Job."
  • The Shill: As a show focusing on cons, this is a frequent part of the plot.
  • Ship Tease: Nate/Sophie since day one. Parker/Hardison here and there. Season three ramped it up (including an absolutely adorable dance at the end of "The Reunion Job") and ended with Nate and Sophie in bed together and Parker finally admitting she wants pretzels.
    • "The Rashomon Job" had enough Sophie/Eliot Ship Teases to drive even a casual 'shipper neurotic.
    • "The Two Live Crew Job" has a fair amount of it between Eliot, Parker, and their respective counterparts from Starke's crew. Nate and Hardison.... do not.
      • Though the prospect of Hardison interacting with one of the original casting choices for Chaos -- Zoe Saldana -- is intriguing.
  • Shipper on Deck: Sophie and Eliot are this for Hardison and Parker.
  • Shout-Out: Practically Reference Overdosed. See the Shout Out page here.
  • Shrouded in Myth:
    • The Leverage team themselves, in "The Two Live Crew Job". Starke mentions some of their earlier jobs, and the audience realizes that if you don't know they're the good guys, they sound like one of the best (criminal) crews ever. Also, Starke's hacker gets so panicked at the thought of Sophie being anywhere near his upcoming double-cross he promptly tries to kill her.
    • Also, Nate is so good at keeping himself and his team under the radar that the FBI has absolutely no idea who he is.
    • We also have "The Rashomon Job", in which the main characters (with the exception of Nate) all remember the Chief of Security as being...rather different then he actually was.
  • Sidetracked by the Analogy: Mrs Cox, a victim of the mark who helps out the team in "The Boiler Room Job" is informed that they will be running the "Moonwalking Bear": namely, have the mark so focused on one particular thing that he fails to notice anything else, up to a moonwalking bear. For the rest of the episode, she is worried: where is the bear? Is it going to eat her?
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids: A Word of God variant; in answering questions from fans about why the cops and the court system is so ineffective in Leverage-land, John Rogers commented that "There are times you people's faith in law enforcement is genuinely touching." Since the whole premise of the show involves (often not very altered) fictionalized versions of real-life crimes, it's not a surprising attitude to find in the show's creators.
    • In "The Second David Job" -

Maggie: You can't just make somebody do what you want them to do.
Eliot: Whoa!
(everybody starts chuckling)
Hardison: T-That's what we do. I mean...
Parker: (pets Maggie's head) You're adorable.

  • Similar Squad: The rival team in "The Two Live Crew Job", which is basically Leverage without Sophie. Their Parker is a tiny guy with a goatee (played by the show's pickpocketing consultant), their Eliot is a hot Israeli Action Girl, and their Hardison is white!Jerk!Hardison. In fact, you might even call him...The Wesley?
  • Sixth Ranger:
    • In "The Second David Job," Maggie, temporarily. And, in keeping with the trope namer, she's awesome.
    • And in "The Lost Heir Job" Tara Carlisle, the client's lawyer. Turns out it's Tara Cole, and Sophie sent her to join the team. She actually turns up from time to time as a recurring character in some Sixth Ranger capacity.
    • In "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job," Sterling was the Sixth Ranger, and he too was awesome.
    • In the Season 4 finale an entire crew of Sixth Rangers is brought in to deal with the fact that the mark in question knows all of the team's faces. They included Eliot's one time enemy, Mr. Quinn, Parker's retired mentor, Archie Leach, and Hardison's Evil Counterpart Colin "Chaos" Mason. All of them were, once again, awesome.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Between Eliot and his counterpart in "The Two Live Crew Job", not that you couldn't see it coming a mile away. It's one of the hottest scenes on the show, though it's technically more of a "Slap Slap Strip Slap Slap Strip Slap Slap Press Kiss Handcuffs".
  • Slow Clap: Eliot manufactures one for The Mark in "The 15 Minutes Job." Hardison promptly lampshades it.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Nate Ford frequently plays online chess.
    • And in "The Juror #6 Game", Earnshaw, the lawyer opposing them, also plays chess. Ford uses Chess Motifs to explain her tactics.
  • Smug Snake: Very frequently the case with the Villain Of The Week, but Ian Blackpoole (Nate's former boss) deserves special mention; his policies were a direct contributor to the death of Nate's son, but he doesn't even pretend to feel remorse or regret about it, and in fact seems almost surprised that Nate would be angry at him about such a thing.
    • The conman in "The Order 23 Job."
    • Chaos.
    • The judge in "The Bank Shot Job."
    • "The Mako," the villain of "The Boiler Room Job" who combines it with Insufferable Genius by virtue of being the son and grandson of the best con-men of their times, meaning that he knows every trick the Leverage team do, and he will not shut up about this fact.
    • Marcus Starke
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: In "The Order 23 Job", Eliot meets an abused kid and tells him that with all the cops around, the kid could go tell them what was happening with his father. The kid tells him that all the cops are friends of his father. Eliot later gets a Marshal to get the kid out for him.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: The second season opener reveals that the entire team has been suffering from a combination of this and Chronic Hero Syndrome brought on by Good Feels Good since they broke up at the end of the previous season. Parker even stole the Hope Diamond and then put it back because she was bored and didn't see any point to it.
  • Spanish Prisoner: Name-checked in "The Stork Job." The Mark is in with the Russian Mafia, and runs a version using Serbian war orphans where the prospective parents have to keep paying "overhead" costs. Sophie explicitly makes the comparison.
  • Spanner in the Works: In "The Gold Job" Hardison takes over for Nate as The Chessmaster for an episode and plans an elaborate con based on video game theory; dangling a carrot in front of the marks which he keeps pulling away at the last second to sweeten the pot as it goes on. He didn't anticipate the mark getting tired of jumping through hoops and simply quitting. In the episode's denouement Hardison receives the letter Nate sent out earlier in the episode which had three simple steps that would make a successful plan (these steps were in Hardison's plan and led to it not being a failure for the team). Nate then explained that he starts with the ugly plan and then builds it up to his elaborate plans, revealing that he anticipates Xanatos Speed Chess because he accepts that he can't plan for how the marks will react.
  • Spelling Bee: In an attempt to make a student look good in "The Fairy Godparents Job," Sophie rigged a spelling bee to give him easy words and the other students impossible ones. This backfires when the student's opponent is capable of spelling everything up past Antidisestablishmentarianism, and he is unable to spell "bicycle".
  • Spies in a Van: Hardison spends a lot of time in Lucille and later Lucille 2 and Lucille 3, often with Nate or whoever else isn't needed for a particular segment of the job.
    • The FBI surveillance team does this in "The Wedding Job." They're pretty noticeable.
  • Spit Take: The gang cons a reporter into covering a fake story about the U.S. water supply being poisoned in "The Three Days of The Hunter Job." When the reporter announces it on the air, a studio employee with a water bottle does a Spit Take.
    • Eliot has one after Parker tells him she put a razor blade in his apple during Sophie's persuasion tactics lessons in "The Juror Number Six Job."
  • Spoiled Brat: The mark's daughter in "The 10 L'il Grifters Job."
  • Spotting the Thread: Maggie is tipped off that Eliot is working for Nate in "The Second David Job" when she sees that he is wearing the button camera she gave Nate for his birthday.
  • Spy Catsuit: Parker makes frequent use of these, cementing her role as Fetish Fuel Station Attendant.
  • Squee: Parker actually uses the phrase as part of her Honey Trap for The Mark in "The 15 Minutes Job."
  • Staged Shooting: Used twice in "The Beantown Bailout Job." First, "gunshots" were fired at a Corrupt Corporate Executive to convince him that he had hitmen after him, and he should go to the cops. Then, when that plan backfired spectacularly, Sophie "shoots" Eliot so that he could play dead, since the villains of the episode were actually going to shoot him.
  • Stairs Are Faster: In an effort to delay Sterling, who's taking the elevator, Nate runs up the stairs and pushes all the elevator call buttons, causing Sterling's elevator to stop at every floor.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Charlie!Hardison and Dorothy!Parker in "The Van Gogh Job."
  • Star Trek Movie Curse: Referenced in "The Order 23 Job"; Hardison says he'll say the name of an even-numbered Star Trek movie over a hospital intercom for bad news, and an odd-numbered one for good news. Shortly after, a "Dr. Ralph O. Khan" gets paged...
  • Stealth Hi Bye: Parker is really good at vanishing at a second's notice, so much so that Hardison ends up just planting a GPS locator on her. Even Nate and Hardison manage one in "The Stork Job." It gets lampshaded in "The Mile High Job".

Eliot: How does she do that?
Nate: I don't even ask anymore.

  • Stealth Insult: "I'll bet you're very good with your hands."
    • "We're moving in on someone. You see, most thieves aren't as smart or good looking as they think they are."
  • Straw Hypocrite: The episode with the anti-IRS militia (because the IRS impinges on personal freedom and STEALS our hard earned money) has the group drawn in because the militia's leader/financial backer has been scamming people with massive IRS debts by extorting them for all their credit card information and then stealing their identities.
  • Stuck on a Ski Lift: Invoked in "The Snow Job"; the gang intentionally stops the lift while Parker is on it in order to distract the mark.
  • Stylistic Suck: Sophie's stage acting.

Parker: Is she injured? In the head?

    • The Mark's over-the-top clichéd country music video in "The Studio Job".

Sophie: I say we take him down for that alone.

  • Suddenly Always Knew That: Every once in a while, a character (Parker especially) will pull some hitherto unknown skill from the ether, which is usually just Handwaved as being something that they picked up over a long career of professional theft.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Tara Cole for Sophie, as invoked by Sophie herself.
    • Lucille also has one of these. Or two.
  • Swapped Roles: The team tries this in a few episodes, most notably in "The Three Days of The Hunter Job," when Sophie masterminds, Parker and Hardison grift and Eliot hacks.
    • Deliberately invoked in their second encounter with Sterling. Sterling knows exactly how Sophie and Nate think, so the only way they are able to beat him is by thinking "What would Parker/Hardison (respectively) do?"
  • Sword Sparks: Eliot and a Russian mob thug generate sparks while fighting with crowbars in "The Three Card Monte Job".
  • Sympathetic Criminal: The protagonists themselves; they also encounter another group of Sympathetic Criminals in "The Bank Job".
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Played with with Sterling. He almost never looks foolish and the protagonists never manage to humiliate him, even when they get away, because he always manages somehow to get promoted after every encounter with them. Their best encounter with Sterling was in "The Second David Job," when they specifically made helping Sterling get a promotion part of the plan.
    • Sterling is also an interesting example because he doesn't actually care all that much about capturing Team Leverage unless it somehow serves his own purposes and ambitions. Most of the time, he just leaves them alone.
    • Eliot did pummel him brutally at the beginning of one of their encounters, so he does get a little humiliation just not within his field.