Beth Riesgraf Teases Leverage's Girls' Night Out: Parker Has a 'Sweet' Realization About Hardison

This Sunday at 9/8c, TNT’s Leverage presents “The Girls’ Night Out Job” aka one half of a split-narrative story that concludes next week with – you guessed it — “The Boys’ Night Out Job.” In the distaff side of the story, Parker and Sophie hit the bars with gal pals to get away from the “office,” only to get caught up in a caper. Along the way, Parker phones-a-hacker-friend, Hardison, paving the way for some fun, flirty and jealous moments.

TVLine invited Beth Riesgraf to preview the girls’ big night, share her wish for a bit more ‘Harker’ romance, and look ahead to the guest star-studded, “dam” fun season finale.

TVLINE | What was reaction when you first heard of the plan for this “Girls’ Night Out”/”Boys’ Night Out” two-parter?
I was excited, like, ‘Woo-hoo! We’ve never done this before!” I also wondered, what sort of girly circumstances is Parker going to find herself in? I always love those awkward social moments when she’s trying to be sexy or flirty and it goes terribly wrong. Also, Jeri Ryan coming back (as grifter Tara) was amazing.

TVLINE | What circumstances split the girls away from the boys?
We decide that everybody needs night of fun – it’s been work, work, work – and Sophie (played by Gina Bellman) wants to meet up with Tara, go out, meet some men and have a good time. Parker makes plans with her friend Peggy (The Groundlings’ Lisa Schurga) to have a drink, but Parker, never fully able to get out of work mode, smells something fish about Peggy’s date. The cool part is that she starts calling Hardison (Aldis Hodge) because she needs him to look stuff up for her, and he’s out with the guys who give him s–t for answering the phone and stuff. It’s a dynamic you’ve never seen before between the two of us, and it’s kind of cute.

TVLINE | Do we see any of Hardison’s side of the story this week, or just Parker’s?
You’ll see snippets of him, but the bits and pieces will make total sense next week when you see the guys’ episode unfold. It’s hysterical. Aldis and all those guys (Timothy Hutton, Christian Kane) have really funny bits, and the guest stars on “The Boys’ Night Out” were fantastic as well. The fans will get a kick out of putting the clues together.

TVLINE | Aldis told me that he, Tim and Christian regressed about 10 years during their shoot.
Oh my god, it was ridiculous. The girls were like, “It’s so nice to have a break from the boys,” and the boys were like, “All right! It’s guy time!” So classic. And they were night shoots, so everybody was extra-loopy.

TVLINE | Now remind us, who’s Peggy?
Parker actually met Peggy during Season 1, on “The Juror #6 Job.” I love that they brought her back because it’s nice to see that they’ve continued this friendship — though Peggy still doesn’t know what Parker does for a living. At one point she’s like, “Alice, I know your secret – you’re a spy!” [Laughs] Parker realizes that friendship means a lot to her, and in the end, in a weird way, she realizes more about how she feels about Hardison. It’s very sweet.

TVLINE | Do either you or Aldis wish your characters could have, like, 5 percent more on the romance front at this point?
The fans are definitely ready. People have said to me, “If you two don’t get together pretty soon, we’re gonna get mad!” [Laughs] I do think it’s time that we start giving them a little more, and I am excited because I have some ideas I want to talk to the writers about. Because I think there’s a way to have a lot of fun with their relationship, because they’re totally not like any other couple and they’re never going to be. The way they fight and the things they disagree on are so different. I don’t ever want to see them holding hands and stuff, but I’d love to see that relationship fleshed out.

TVLINE | I asked Aldis what people would be interested to know about you, and he talked about your photography and writing. In the spirit of “Girls’ Night Out,” what do you think people may be interested to know about Gina Bellman?
Gina is incredibly wonderful, in many ways. She’s sexy, smart, she has a kick-ass sense of humor… She’s got this incredible ability to help other people. She has this massive heart, and she really cares about what people are going through all over the world. Gina’s also an incredible writer. I want her to do more of that, because she’s so good at it.

TVLINE | Before we go, is there anything you’d like to preview about the season finale, “The Last Dam Job” (airing Jan. 15)?
The season finale is fantastic, as always, thanks to [executive producer] Dean Devlin with his Independence Day touch and flair, and amazing explosions. We have a huge group of guest stars that come in and just bring it. The team actually has to call on some people we haven’t ever wanted to contact before, because we need to join forces, so I loved that episode. It also had one of my favorite locations that we’ve ever shot in. It’s basically a cave actually located under a dam, so that was amazing.

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20 Comments
  1. Iily says:

    I can’t wait for this episode! So glad they brought back Peggy … hopefully Parker will remember that her name is Alice this time.

  2. mandy says:

    Great interview! I am happy to see Jeri Ryan back! I love Sophie dont get me wrong, but I think Jeri Ryan was fantastic filling in when she was out. Really excited to see next weeks boys episode!

  3. Fido says:

    Perfect opportunity to give out my fav line from the show – “What would Parker do” :)

  4. Justin says:

    Sounds good to me. Jeri Ryan did great as Tara filling in for Sophie. Looking forward to both episodes!

  5. Splum says:

    Why Jeri Ryan? She nearly ruined the show. Hopefully it’s a one show deal.

    • Dan says:

      Why? Jeri Ryan is pure sophisticated sex on legs! I would have loved to have her as a regular.

    • Marceline says:

      I respectfully disagree. I hated the idea of Tara when she first came on but grew to love her. I’m happy to see that she’s back but of course YMMV.

    • Rain says:

      So glad someone feels the same way about Jeri Ryan – almost stopped watching Leverage because of her. I’m so annoyed they brought her back!

  6. steve says:

    i say nooooooooooooooo!! to putting parker/hardison together itll ruin the show imo.

  7. Daisy says:

    These two episodes sound like a lot of fun. As a non-Office fan, lat weeks episode was not fun to watch, so I’m glad they’re back to their old selves.

  8. Dan says:

    You can never have enough of Jeri Ryan on any show so really looking forward to her return. I started watching Leverage because she was on.

    As for Parker/Hardison I say go for it already! Putting them together will only make the show better. There are so many other things going on anyway, it’s not like the show is only focused on that pairing. Keep teasing and pulling them apart and soon the show will become annoying instead.

  9. Babygate says:

    I cannot wait to see these episodes. They sound like a blast. It will be so good to see Jeri back. I thought she had incredible chemistry with the entire cast and it will be fun to see Tara and Sophie do their thing. I think this is one of the most underrated shows on tv. It is a blast every time. It’s kind of hard to pick a favorite character but Parker is a little bit ahead of the pack because she’s so darn quirky and socially awkward. I hope ‘Harker’ becomes a reality soon…

  10. Carrie says:

    I love this show and I love Parker and Hardison! They don’t have to be in full-on couple mode all the time, but it would be nice to see a little romance between them every now and again.

    • mondatorylol says:

      like the actress said herself they’re not your usual tv lovebirds, nobody is expecting them walking around parks holding hands, they have their own way of showing how much they care, like that little dispute they had during the college campus centric episode.

      it won’t ruin the show, anybody who’s been watchin since the pilot, knows what’s goin on between the two of them, it’s not like it’s something the writters are trying to force on us because they’re oput of ideas, parker/hardisson was there from season1 till now so if they flsh out the romantic part of that dynamic it won’t ruin the show

  11. Jenn says:

    I am so looking forward to this episode and next weeks!!!! I will admit I didn’t care of Parker at the beginning but wow has she grown on me! I actually love her and the sweet relationship she and Hardison has is too adorable!!! This show really is one of the best on TV!!! Great chemistry between the 5 core characters and Jeri fits right in. Can it be Sunday night yet???

  12. Walter says:

    I agree that it could doom the show for Parker and Hardison to “hook up”. Seen it so often (Moonlight, Beauty and the Beast, …) that it’s become a pattern.To me it signals that the writers are getting bored or lazy and running out of ideas. After they play that ace they have nothing left and the show tanks. Don’t do it!

    • Dan says:

      The Moonlightning curse is a myth that bugs me every time someone mentions it. The real reason that show tanked was the actors hating each other, no chemistry anymore, paternity leave and the writers simply sucked at their jobs. That show was tanking long before they got together.

      Something far worse for shows now is “the BONES CURSE” when you keep the main characters apart and dragging out the will they/won’t they for too long without finding good and beliavable reason for it. Lazy and bad writing kills shows, period.
      Leverage is not a show centered around one pairing and could easily survive a bit of Parker/Hardison romance as long as the writers do their job and keep them in character.

  13. Walter says:

    Moderator: I wrote “Moonlighting” in my last post but didn’t notice the $&*@& spell-check ‘fixed’ it for me. I can’t edit it so could you correct that please?

  14. John says:

    Man, I was really hoping for Parker/Nate, sigh.

  15. Walter says:

    Dan. Bones curse? Bones was still going strong before the main characters slept together. I suspect it will survive even that since they already have a couple on the show with a baby.