Leverage/Tropes T-Z

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Eliot: I had court-side seats, tell Hardison if he makes it out alive I'm going to snap him in half!
Nate: Eliot says "Hi."

  • Take That: There's a very subtle one in "The San Lorenzo Job" where the politician that Nate is helping asks what's worse than a sex scandal. The Answer Cut tells us it's dog fighting.
    • In the same episode, Nate says that they ran an American campaign by declaring victory and pushing it regardless of what the actual results are. Bush v. Gore, anyone?
  • Take a Third Option: In the Finale of Season 4, Nate is holding Latimer and Dubenich at gun point at the edge of a concrete platform at a dam. If he shoots either one, the other gets away with it. Nate does have five bullets, but he's also having a bit of a moral dilemma on being a killer. He points out that he could just shoot both of them. Since Dubenich and Latimer are pretty pissed at each other, Nate puts the gun at the edge of the platform and walks away. The two criminals then try to go after the gun to try to kill the other, but the ensuing struggle causes them both to fall off the platform to their deaths.
  • Tap on the Head: Done all the time by Eliot, both as a one-hit punch in the midst of combat and also as a casual way to knock people out, sometimes innocents totally uninvolved in the crime. No side effects ever seem to appear from this.
  • Team Chef: Eliot.
  • Team Dad: Part of Nate's Character Development is his growth from mere Mission Control to a true team leader. (This isn't obvious since the episodes weren't shown in the order that the jobs happened.)
  • Team Mom: Sophie is similarly growing into this role, most obviously in "The Stork Job" when she talks Eliot through how to scam someone. Confirmed after the team fakes Sophie's death in "The Two Live Crew Job":

Hardison: (to Sophie) We trust Nate to make sure the plan works. We trust you to make sure we're all OK."

  • Tears From a Stone: In "The Miracle Job," the team fakes a miracle by creating a statue that cries when it's touched by smoke from the candles. However, the statue isn't made of stone and the liquid it produces isn't tears, meaning that when the Vatican investigative team shows up to ascertain the veracity of the miracle, they would be found out almost immediately.
  • Techno Wizard: Hardison
  • That Poor Car: This is played with by Hardison, to provide a distraction.
  • The Bus Came Back: Several for the two-part season four finale: Victor Dubenich, Chaos, Archie Leech, Quinn and Maggie.
    • Tara in "The Girls' Night Out Job".
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: The team members have done some amazing things that few people will ever know about.
  • Themed Aliases: The team tends to use Doctor Who-themed aliases (probably because they're all arranged by Hardison the uber-geek).
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Sterling does this in "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job". He's playing hero in front of a bunch of news cameras, so it actually makes sense.
    • Eliot does it in "The Big Bang Job" to get them into the meeting with Moreau. Makes sense, since Eliot used to be a much feared employee of Moreau's.
  • There Are No Good Executives: The show pretty much runs on this trope. Many if not most of the episodes are about some evil executive(s) or entire corporations abusing their power.
  • They Have the Scent: A militia group uses hunting dogs to pursue Eliot and Hardison in "The Gone-Fishin' Job".
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Parker actually uses the exact phrase in "The Nigerian Job," just before sticking her fingers down her throat to force herself to throw up so the doctor will come so she can pickpocket his phone.
  • This Trope Is Bleep: "The Office Job" features a blurred-out greeting card several times.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: The Irish hitmen in "The Boys Night Out Job."
  • Those Two Guys: FBI Special Agents Taggart and McSweeten from "The Wedding Job" show up again from time to time. They even cross over into Heterosexual Life Partners at one point. In "The Fairy Godparents Job," there's an exchange about "[seeing] other partners."
  • A Threesome Is Hot: Hayley Beck offers to let Parker join in when she's caught making out with her boyfriend in the pantry in "The 10 L'il Grifters Job."
  • Throwing the Fight: In "The Tap Out Job," the team is exposed as conmen and Eliot agrees to take the dive in the upcoming prize fight. (Thanks to some Xanatos Speed Chess, this still works out in the team's favor in the end.)
  • They Do: Apparently, Parker and Hardison as of "The Long Way Down Job."
  • Time for Plan B: And occasionally Plan C.

Hardison: Going to Plan B?
Nate: Technically that would be Plan G.
Hardison: How many plans do we have? Is there like a Plan M?
Nate: Yeah. Hardison dies in Plan M.
Eliot: I like Plan M.

    • Word of God has it that things are badly out of whack when Nate gets past G in the alphabet.
    • As of "The Queen's Gambit Job", Hardison dies in Plans C, F, and M through Q.
    • Eliot also gets a trendy eye scar in one of the plans.
  • Title Drop: Nate drops the show title at the very end of the pilot, and the team takes the name "Leverage Consulting & Associates" as a corporate identity in the following episode. Occasionally someone outside the team will use the word "leverage," and all the nearby team members will glance at each other meaningfully.
    • From the 3rd season opening sequence -- "The rich and powerful take what they want. We steal it back for you. Sometimes bad guys make the best good guys. We provide . . . leverage."
    • Eliot also uses the word "leverage" while explaining the grappling aspect of mixed martial arts to Sophie, while talking Parker through how to beat the snot out of Hardison.
    • And the judge in "The Bank Shot Job" uses it while holding people hostage.
    • The season 3 opener, "The Jailhouse Job", features Nate explaining that "they" now have the leverage, referring to the shadowy interests that the Italian represents, and that the team has to "take it back from them."
    • Also used in "The Long Way Down Job". Upon discovering that a bug has been planted in the HQ, Nate points out that they are at the top of the list of enemies for many people he then states; "When you're at the top, it's a long way down."
  • Token Good Teammate: Nate Ford to the rest of the team. He was specifically hired to be the "one honest man" on a crew of thieves. However, the distinction gets fuzzier as time goes by, as Nate begins to relish his role of criminal mastermind and the rest of the team discovers they enjoy using their skills to help people
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Parker and Sophie definitely qualify, but it's justified as Sophie's specialty is conning people, often by seducing them, and Parker's specialty is breaking into high-security vaults.
  • Took a Level in Badass: As of the second season's premiere, Sophie throws a mean headbutt. This troper doesn't remember her getting any fight scenes at all in the first season. In "The "Wedding Job", she was knocked down by a bitchy housewife hitting her with a handbag.
    • Hardison also learns how to handle himself more as the series goes on. Eliot has presumably been giving them pointers. In "The Tap-Out Job" he asks Parker to demonstrate the choke hold he showed her.
      • In "The Maltese Falcon Job (Part 2)" Parker dangling Tara over the ledge of a building for a presumed betrayal of the team.
    • In "The Hot Potato Job" Sophie punches Hardison to sell a con... Eliot's really proud.

Eliot: She popped you, huh? I've been teaching her a couple things.
Hardison: Nah man I had to help her out. I had to really sell it.
Eliot: She got you man. You got a little blood right there!
Hardison: Yea man she got a right hook like a freight train.
Eliot: She put her hips into it? That's my girl!
Hardison: Stop- don't teach people how to do that!!

    • Victor Dubenich would be a villainous example.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Many of the marks ultimately prove to be this -- the judge in "The Bank Shot Job," who ends up taking a bank full of people hostage to get back the money he was paying under the table to Nate, is a good example.
  • Too Many Belts: This is the distinctive marker of the mark's clothing line in "The Runway Job."
  • Toplessness From the Back: Parker's done this a couple times. Strangely, Hardison is almost always present.
  • Tracking Device: Hardison plants one on Parker in "The Stork Job."
    • In an Easter Egg, if you look close you'll notice that the team's phones all have a feature that gives the exact coordinates of each team member at all times.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Hardison and orange soda (and later, gummi frogs). His counterpart in "The Two Live Crew Job" likes strawberry soda.
    • Parker seems to like cereals, in just about any episode we see her eating some. She even hides her emergency funds in one of her numerous cereal boxes.
    • In another episode we also see her eating a doughnut covered in cereal.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The "Automated Phone Recording" ads for season 2.5 spoil the ending of "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job".
    • Also, the ending of "The Lost Heir Job" was spoiled by a TNT promo that aired right before the last segment when the uptight lawyer revealed that she was actually Tara Cole and had been putting one over on the team as her "audition". (Not a surprise to anyone who reads John Rogers' blog, but still.)
  • Tranquil Fury: Eliot goes into this a few times. In "The Order 23 Job," he nearly topples a man down several flights of stairs, speaking softly and calmly all the while, because he takes issue with people who beat up kids. In "The Jailhouse Job," he quietly informs Nate as to his typical handling of people who run a con on their own team while holding a running dental drill in one hand. In short, if angry!Eliot is looking at you with an even expression, it's best to back away slowly. If he's smirking, run away very fast at right angles to him. If he laughs...
    • Nate also gets his moments. When talking to the villain of "The Cross My Heart Job", who was a terminally ill CEO willing to literally steal a child's heart to survive, Nate slowly and calmly describes how he will methodically destroy him, his company, and everything he owns. It's also one of the few times where he outright threatens to actually kill the villain.
    • Subverted with Sterling in "The Maltese Falcon" job. He goes into the Mayor's hotel room (after he was kidnapped by the team), goes out and looks calmly at the guards.

Sterling: You name's Bob, right?
Bob: Yes, sir.
Sterling: And you've been here the whole time. No one's gone in or out.
Bob: No, sir.
Sterling: Then would you mind telling me WHERE THE HELL THE MAYOR IS?!


"As I've said before -- you say 'trope', I say 'well-honed narrative tool.'"

  • Troubled Child: Parker was one. Luka in "The Stork Job" is another.
  • True Companions: They're "a little more than a team."
    • Parker: It's okay -- I wouldn't have fit in with a real family.
      Archie Leach: You didn't need it anyhow. You went out and made your own.
    • Amy: (to Eliot) I'm glad you found a family. I'm just sorry it couldn't be me.
  • True Meaning of Christmas: In "The Ho Ho Ho Job", Chaos is arrested by FBI agents and has the following exchange with Hardison:

Chaos: You have to admit, it was a good plan.
Hardison: It was, but there was one thing you didn't count on.
Chaos: Aw, no.
Hardison: You forgot...
Chaos: No, no, no...
Hardison: ...about the true meaning...
Chaos: Don't you say it!
Hardison: ...of Christmas.
Chaos: Gah, come on man, that barely applies here!

  • Two-Teacher School: Eliot and Sophie seem to be the only teachers at the mark's stepson's school in "The Fairy Godparents Job."
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Used towards the end of "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job", after Maggie kisses Nate, only to be interrupted by Parker dropping in to get the bomb that was about to kill them. When she returns, Maggie, Nate, and Maggie's boyfriend have clearly been standing around awkwardly.
  • Undercover As Lovers: Surprisingly for a show in which the main characters adopt new identities in every episode, Leverage does this rarely; however, in "The Mile High Job", Nate and Sophie pretended to be a couple while boarding an airplane, and then got into an argument over their past history while working on their cover story.
    • Hardison and Parker have also posed as a couple a couple of times. Most notably in "The First David Job" where they make out to cover for opening a door. Then there's "The Ice Man Job" where she's the girlfriend to his diamond merchant (the titular "Ice Man"), and finally "The Fairy God Parents" where they pose as newly-weds when looking at an apartment.
    • Hardison and Eliot also posed as a couple to get in and see Nate in "The 12-Step Job". Eliot was less than pleased.
  • Undisclosed Funds: Subverted in "The Juror #6 Job" when Sophie writes $100,000,000 in the sand of the target's Zen garden.
  • Unflinching Walk: Happens occasionally, but perhaps most notable Parker's from her introductory flashback. The one that takes place when she was six.
  • Unorthodox Reload: In "The Big Bang Job" Eliot secures the magazines of his twin pistols by pressing them against his hips and pulls back the slides by holding one pistol upside down over the other so he can hook the rear sights together and pulls the pistols in opposite directions. This example is made even more interesting by the fact that Eliot doesn't like guns.
    • To quote Quigley: "I said I don't like 'em; never said I couldn't use one."
  • The Unintelligible: Sam from "The Twelve Step Job." Sophie from a pre-True Companions Parker's POV in "The Rashomon Job".
  • The Unpronounceable: Hardison tries (and fails) to pronounce a few Scottish towns in "The King George Job".

"I'm not even gonna try and pronounce man, it's just a random bunch of g's and n's.

  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: If you hear a plan, you can bet it's actually the fake-out plan. Especially if the spoken plan goes to hell in the final 15 minutes.
  • UST: Nate and Sophie, Parker and Hardison, and to a lesser extent divorced couple Nate and Maggie.
    • You could even say Nate and Maggie are really a case of UUUST.
      • Looks like you can take the U out of Nate and Sophie as of the end of "The San Lorenzo Job."
      • And seemingly out of Parker and Hardison as of the end of "The Long Way Down Job."
  • Unwitting Pawn: The team frequently makes use of these.
    • The team itself becomes one of these in "The Ho Ho Ho Job." They think that Chaos is trying to pull off a massive case of identity fraud by boosting credit card numbers from a mall. So they shut off the Internet connection from the trunk line to the mall... only to realize too late that that part of the trunk line goes to the Federal Bank Depository as well, leaving Chaos and his crew free to pick it without worrying about triggering any security he can't hack.
  • V-Formation Team Shot
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: Everything electronic, ever. Including giant alerts for things like "WORM UPLOAD COMPLETE".
  • Villain of the Week: Basic format of the show.
  • Villain Protagonist: Word of God frequently reminds people that this is the case.
  • Violin Scam: Used often, and explicitly named in "The Studio Job."
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Eliot and Hardison, though whether or not they're really "best buds" is debatable. At least until the end of "The Gone Fishin' Job," when they become openly friendly with each other. Word of God says that events in this episode "did more to cement their friendship than anything else in the last two years. Although, again, neither would admit it."- Of course, the vitriol remains.
    • Even before this moment, they do seem to spend a fair amount of time together -- they find the client in "The Double Blind Job" when she literally runs into them out getting coffee together, which Word of God says they do more often then they'd admit. They're also paired throughout "The Gone Fishin' Job" because Eliot insists on taking Hardison fishing with him.
    • Arguably, the interaction between Nate and Sterling smacks of both this and Worthy Opponent.
    • Sophie and Tara in "The Girls Night Out Job", although they come off more like sisters than anything. To note, each mimicking each other childishly, disagreeing on just about everything, stealing each others ideas, and so on.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Hardison, often.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Luckily Parker ducks just out of view after sticking her fingers down her throat to force herself to vomit (she needed to get a doctor's attention so she could steal his phone) in "The Nigerian Job."
  • Waif Fu: Parker normally avoids combat, but cracks open a case of waif fu to fight a Serbian gangster in "The Stork Job." As per the trope, when he gets a grip on her she's in serious trouble, but when she breaks free she's able to use her greater speed and agility to knock the crap out of him.
  • We Do Not Know Each Other: Many times, the team must do this as part of a con.
  • We Help the Helpless: By screwing over the people that hurt them.
  • We Interrupt This Program: The climax of "The Three Days of the Hunter Job." The news show is in the middle of the stock report when the mark, reporter Monica Hunter, bursts in and demands that they interrupt the broadcast so she can deliver an emergency bulletin. When she finds that her evidence is gone and starts raving about a government cover-up, the anchorwoman whose broadcast was interrupted turns to the camera and reports the breaking news that Monica Hunter has just had a nervous breakdown right there in the studio.
  • Weirdness Censor: The folks at the bar in which the team meets with the client. Eliot beats someone down there on a regular basis, and people just go back to their drinks.
    • "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job" addresses this. When Sterling comes into the bar and Eliot starts beating the crap out of him, the camera pans over to the bar, where Hardison hands the bartender a wad of cash to look the other way. Considering how much money the team has, I'm sure they're capable of making the bartender ignore the fights quite often.
    • "The Bottle Job" also provides an explanation: it's a thief bar. It's also owned by a friend of Nate's father -- and later by his daughter, who Nate describes as like a niece to him.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Nate has quite a few issues with his father, Jimmy Ford, and is quite eager to prove that he's better than the old man.
  • We Need a Distraction: In "The Nigerian Job," Nate starts smashing car windows outside the building, intentionally drawing the attention of all the security guards, who go running out the door. Everybody in the lobby, including the mark, becomes curious what's going on and stops what they were doing to look out the window.
  • We Work Well Together: The team, made up of one honest man and four criminals who had previously worked on their own, makes this discovery after they work together in the pilot.
  • Wham! Episode: "The Radio Job", where Nate's father is killed and the first episode villain Victor Dubenich returns to take revenge on the team.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Howl Force
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In "The Scheherazade Job", Nate hypnotizes Hardison into thinking he's a violin prodigy so that he can pull off a perfect performance during the concert. Hardison, upon finding out, does not take the news well.

You hypnotize marks, not your own crew.

  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: This is Sophie's reaction to the attempts of the others to do her accent in "The Rashomon Job".
  • What Would X Do?: In "The First David Job," Nate and Sophie realize that their main problem is that Sterling knows how they think. Their solution, of course, is to think like someone else -- i.e. Hardison and Parker.
  • When She Smiles: Parker.
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: At one point, Eliot apparently got beat up at a lesbian bar, presumably for hitting on one of the women there.
  • Where I Was Born and Razed: Parker, who blew up her foster parents' house after they hit her and took away her favorite toy. No word yet on whether they were in it at the time.
  • White Collar Crime: The point of the series is getting revenge for this.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Referenced in "The Fairy Godparents Job" with Widmark.
  • Why Did It Have To Be Horses?: Parker's great fear is horses, as revealed in "The Two Horse Job" -- she saw one kill a clown when she was a child. (It was actually a guy in a horse suit.) She ends up having to spend time in a stable with one as part of the job.
  • Why Won't You Die?: In "The First David Job", Sterling's thug demands to know why Eliot won't go down. Eliot laughs. And kicks the crap out of him.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Featured often with Sophie. Lampshaded and almost subverted in "The Rashomon Job" when a museum head of security notes that a duchess in the main hall bears a striking resemblance to one of the lab girls (both are Sophie's acts, one in a slinky evening gown with her usual accent, and the other in a white lab coat with what sounds like a Jersey accent) and almost seems to make the connection.
  • Would Hit a Girl: From "The Two Live Crew Job," Eliot's Evil Counterpart is an Israeli woman, who asks "You wouldn't hit a girl, would you?" He responds in Hebrew "Not unless she hits me first." When she does, he says "That counts" and they fight, with a lot of Clothing Damage on both sides.
  • Wrench Wench: Parker is apparently quite handy with engines as a result of a few years spent as a car thief when she was a teenager. Also, Josie, from the same episode where that's revealed.
  • Written-In Infirmity: Due to Christian Kane's insistence on doing his own stunts whenever possible (and not always getting them right), his character occasionally has to explain away the actor's injuries. Since Eliot is the team's fighter, it doesn't distract from the plot -- or from the hilarity.

Eliot: "Well, how was I supposed to know it was a lesbian bar?"


Parker: Hardison, you have to make it through this. Because you're my friend. And I need you. Do you hear me, Alec?!

  • You Can Always Tell a Liar: Played for laughs between Eliot and Hardison in "The Snow Job." Eliot then pulls it off again in "The Gone Fishin' Job."

Eliot: You have a tell.
Hardison: I have a tell?
Eliot: Yes.
Hardison: I have a tell for Rock Paper Scissors?

Eliot: Yes!

  • You Can Panic Now: What the mark in "The Three Days of the Hunter Job" does for a living on her news show. She actually turned down a fake story they fed her about secret terrorist prisons in the US because she didn't think it would scare her viewers enough.
  • You Fail Physics Forever: Let's just say that this is not a show you watch for the special effects.
  • You Killed My Father, Prepare to Die: In "The Last Dam Job" Nate seems to be all set to shoot Dubenich and Latimer with his father's gun after the evil duo double-crossed Nate's dad and blew him up, but he lets them fight over the gun at the edge of a steep drop instead.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: In "The Gone Fishin' Job", a group of militiamen claim to be 'anti-government freedom fighters', which gives them the right to kill two IRS agents as enemy combatants. Later they are revealed to be making a bomb to blow up a civilian target.
  • You Were Trying Too Hard: The Häagen-Dazs sequence. Again.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: "You're more ruthless than me, crueler than me... Maybe you are better than me. I'm proud of you, son."
  • Zip Me Up: Parker to Hardison in "The Wedding Job". Sophie to Narrative Device!Nate in "The Rashomon Job". Both straight-up instances of UST.