Ever wondered what a mashup of Ocean’s Eleven and Robin Hood would be like? Have no fear, Leverage is the show for you.
Leverage aired from 2008 to 2012 for a total of 5 seasons and 77 episodes. The show follows a grifter, a hacker, a hitter, a thief, and an ex-insurance investigator who use their combined skills to fight corporate America in order to help ordinary citizens.
Let’s meet the team:
Nathan “Nate” Ford (The Mastermind/The Brains): Former insurance fraud investigator who loses his job and wife after his son dies due to the insurance company (the same one he works for) refusing to cover medical treatment. This leads him into using alcohol as a coping mechanism, and he refers to himself as a functioning alcohol throughout the whole series (the rest of the team just calls him an alcoholic). He has personally tracked down each of the team members in one way or another while working for the insurance company, and it is this knowledge that leads him to know how to use their skills in each con.
Sophie Devereaux (The Grifter): An accomplished con artist with a talent for art theft and a dream of becoming an actress. The only downside is that she is only a good actress when she is running a con; put her on stage during a play and she is a hot mess. Sophie has a long list of aliases, including Sophie Devereaux. One unanswered question from the series is her real name.
Alec Hardison (The Hacker): A self-proclaimed geek (“age of the geek, baby”), whose first large scale crime was making the country of Iceland responsible for his Nana’s medical bills. He runs all of the electronics for the team, and designed the computer/video systems used at headquarters as well as the com system used during cons. He is also in charge of making legitimate aliases for the team, often using science fiction characters for the names (Dr. Who in particular). Hardison is one of the best actors on the team, and can talk himself out of almost every situation.
Eliot Spencer (The Hitter): An Oklahoma native who is highly skilled at martial arts, a weapons specialist, and a former black ops soldier who hates when guns are brought into a fight. His main responsibility is playing supporting roles in the con while acting as a bodyguard for the team. He is presumed by most as a muscleman, but in reality he has a subtle intelligence (such as being able to distinguish gun shots, shoes, hairstyles, or styles of fighting) that relies on others underestimating him. In later episodes he works alongside Sophie as a grifter.
Parker (The Thief): A cat-burglar, pickpocket, safe-cracker, and expert thief who comes from an abusive background in foster care. She is “20 pounds of crazy in a five pound bag”, has no understanding of social norms, and lives solely off of cereal. Parker loves money, not stuff, and her favorite present is non-sequential bills. She once stole the Hope diamond and put it back because she was bored. While most see her as naive and childlike, she is next to Nate on being able to see several steps ahead and make contingency plans.
Each episode follows the same setup: the team meets the victim, runs surveillance on the villain, and then an elaborate con is run. The show uses flashbacks to show how seemingly devastating complications were actually anticipated, or how a random scene was a clue to how the entire plan worked. One thing that separates Leverage from other shows is that the characters are at the top of their field and the story lines and complications reflect it. The crew doesn’t hit a snag because somebody dropped the ball, they hit a snag because somebody sold the con too well.
While the show focuses on taking down corporate America (let’s be honest, who doesn’t love that?), it is the team’s personality, character growth, and relationship with each other that draws viewers in. Even during the first episode you can tell that they are already forming a family.
As the characters are a family, so too is the fandom. This fandom has steadily grown after cancellation thanks to Netflix and Hulu, and is welcoming of all ships. Whether you ship Hardison/Parker, or Hardison/Parker/Eliot, the fandom has a place for you and no ship wars occur. It is one of the friendliest fandoms out there.
Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Ion Television airs marathons every Sunday (Watch the trailer)