Since I just started my spring semester and I want to keep writing, I’m going to resume daily ficlets, starting with an except from chapter two of The Empire Job.
Sophie hovered around a painting of Queen Amidala on the day she had liberated Naboo from the Trade Federation and began the peace between the Nubians and the Gungans. It was a forgery, of course; the actual painting managed to give Amidala a hint of a challenge to her expression, a dare to test her might, while the one hanging in the ballroom just looked regal. The real one had been painted by a young painter named Palo, supposedly an old friend of Amidala’s, soon after the momentous occasion. Sophie had just begun her career as an art thief after a stint as a muse, and it had been one of the first paintings she had ever stolen. It still held a place of honor in her collection.
alright buckle up motherfuckers, i’m about to school y’all about this wonderful show called Leverage.
let’s start with the premise: they’re a bunch of criminals who come together to work as a team and to “pick up where the law leaves off.” aka: they do illegal shit to legally take out the bad guys, i.e. framing/ruining the reputation of/revealing actual law-breaking by embezzling rich politicians, dirty cops, corporations doing secret shit on the down-low, etc.
each episode is a different bad guy they need to take down for doing something terrible, and each episode they come up with a different scheme to take them out. the team consists of: the hacker, the hitter, the grifter, the thief, and the mastermind behind all their plots. they’re all thieves at one point or another, they all grift, and they all contribute to the plan, but these are their Roles. i’ll go more in-depth on the characters in a sec.
now, i know what you’re thinking already: “wow bruh this show must be edgy af, being about actual criminals doing super illegal shit???” bUT NO. THIS SHOW COULD HAVE BEEN SO DARK BASED ON THE CONCEPT, BUT IT’S LITERALLY THE NICEST, MOST ENJOYABLE SHOW EVER.
it’s also SERIOUSLY unproblematic????? like to unrealistic levels. like Nate’s alcoholism is treated with respect and not just something he “gets over,” but despite his issues, he’s held accountable for when he’s a dick, Parker is pretty clearly neurodivergent and she’s never!! forced to be anything else!!!! anyway i could go on and on.
so let’s meet the gang.
this is Nate Ford:
he’s the mastermind, he’s brilliant and the genius behind each of their convoluted plans. he’s a jerk sometimes, and grouchy, but he’s got good reason, and he NEVER crosses over into “angsty white man justifies his assholery because of his Issues.” he used to work for an insurance company tracking down criminals and thieves before A Thing happened and he became the Dad of a group of them. he makes bad life choices, so i relate. also his son died and he has a rad ex-wife and he struggles with alcoholism. we love him.
this is Sophie Devereaux:
she’s the grifter. she’s a great actress but only when she’s breaking the law it’s a running gag. she’s terrible on an actual stage l m a o. she’s the Mom of the group, and she and Nate are lowkey flirting the entire show. she tells it like it is, but is v compassionate. sassy af. british af. would probably console you about your husband leaving you before stealing your rare artifacts. high-class which shows in the fact that she was primarily an art thief before joining the team. i wouldn’t trust her with my jewelry, but i’d tell her all my secrets, and tbh that’s the best summary of her character that you’ll get.
this is Eliot Spencer:
hooooooooooo boy. where do i begin to describe Eliot Spencer? wel, for starters, he’s the “hitter” of the group aka he beats people up when they can’t sneak their way in or out of a place. or when things go wrong. he’s super fucking badass oh my god??? like i’m pretty sure there’s maybe only one or two times in the ENTIRE. SHOW. that he can’t win a fight?? he also has a Super Secret Dark Past bc he used to be a hitman for hire, which he regrets deeply and is happy to have changed bUT AGAIN!! IT’S NOT A WHITE MALE ANGST THING. he isn’t obsessed with attoning for his actions and his scenes aren’t eaten up with Angst and Melodrama. he also has anger issues, but again, it’s not the same stereotype that you’re used to. he controls it, and he never takes it on on anybody who doesn’t deserve it (aka the bad guys). he gets around with women but he’s not sexist?? he cares about his partners.
also he’s a hardcore chef and will Fite You about food. anyway Eliot is basically the Broody White Man With Dark Past trope turned on it’s head. he’s lovable and sarcastic and could kill a man but would prefer to make you an Omelette Du Fromage or some shit.
this is Alec Hardison, aka My Son:
this is my baby. he’s a nerd and a geek and I Would Die For Him. he’s basically everything that’s good and pure in the world. the epitome of a cinnamon roll. he’s sweet and gentle and wouldn’t hurt a fly–unless that fly is a corrupt ceo personally doing dirty business, in which case that motherfucker is going down with the help of his epic hacking skills. btw did i mention he’s the hacker? yeah. he’s super fucking smart and his sense of humor could rival the sahara desert in dryness. he always makes star trek references and he has a gr8 fashion style and he irritates Eliot to no end, lmao. #platoniclifepartners, tbh. did i mention he’s the sweetest person ever? no? he is.
this is Parker:
she’s the thief, and predictably, she loves money and expensive things. tbh she’d probably stab you faster than anybody else on the team would (and has) but also she is smol and needs to be protected. she’s a killer rabbit. she’s an oddball and in the beginning, most of the others don’t know what to make of her, but they grow used to her. she’s nd af, probably autistic, and Does Not Understand Socialization. same, Parker, same. guess what? she’s never forced into acting like somebody she’s not!! when she has to be the grifter for the con job and interact with people, she’s patiently coached by Sophie, who never belittles or mocks her, and explains it in ways she can understand. she’s weird and i love her.
did i mention how unproblematic this show is? i did? well too fucking bad because i’m gonna say it again: this show is so unproblematic. like what i already said with Nate’s addiction and Parker’s neurodivergence, but wAIT! THERE’S MORE.
Eliot hates guns–detests them–and won’t use them, he’s like constantly grabbing the mooks’ guns and unloading them and tossing them somewhere and it’s basically a huge trigger for him. and it’s always respected. also there’s scenes where like in the middle of a job Parker has to change into a costume and neither of men who are attracted to her–Eliot and Hardison–sneak a peak at her. they both look away during that shit and there is like, never any gross sexist jokes about it. or other things. i love it. also any romantic relationship that develops takes season of growth and shit. there’s nothing particularly Gay, but while heterosexual, it’s not Het.
the recurring antagonist is played by Mark Sheppard, a character called Sterling, who is basically a lawful good Crowley.
also one time they stole an entire country.
Leverage is fucking rad, and the concept is amazing and it coulda been so edgy and shit, but it’s literally so pure and sweet and friggin hilarious and about a bunch of people becoming a family and you need to watch it, my friend. now.
like immediately go google a page to watch it i’m not fucking kidding do it.
-”Hi, I’m Beth Riesgraf.” -”Charles you’re on the wrong show.” -*Intern finds Beth and Aldis secretly hiding behind some shit* Aldis: Get out of here, what the shit? Privacy. -*Intern finds Beth, Aldis, and Christian all hiding in various states of undress.* Aldis: GET OUT OF HERE, WHAT THE SHIT! PRIVACY -Literally like, they all know about the Ot3 and they love it. -Beth: *in the middle of a crowded mall* SHIT. Oh SHIT. I’m sorry to all the parents and children. *Hiding her face in shame.* -”IM ARRESTING MYSELF.” -”What are we going to do, Nate?” “We’re going to convince him that you’re a lying greedy bitch.” -Gina hitting Tim a lot. -Gina cleaning a table with money she’s holding in between her toes. -Gina sneezing. -”It’s a dick in a box.” -”Why yes my- my- my- my-” -”Oh fucky ducky.” -”You’ve spent a disproportional amount of your life in air ducts.” “I’m sorry.” -”Mr. Travers I am Agent…………….” -Client: Isn’t…What you guys do help people when no one else will? Tim: No. -BETH FALLING IN THE GRAVEYARD -”You callin me a liar? Cause I’ll get on this fuckin plane and leave right now.” -”There’s a subdivision of other buildins up above. You’re gonna- I’m gonna- You’re lookin at another take from me cause I just fucked up.” -(Blooper from the WWII episode.) Beth: Oh, Charlie. Aldis: Sup boo how you livin? -The entire cast fixing their hair in the camera at some point. -Chair spinning. -Aldis: We looked everywhere, but the f-farm- p- p- fuck.” -Dancing. -The team skipping out of a cloud of smoke while holding hands
in your ot3, who leaps off the top of an elevator with only a single rope for safety, who’s clipped onto the OTHER end of the rope and gets stuck to the ceiling hatch, and who just sits on the floor laughing their ass off without helping