Leverage Series Finale Recap: The Con Goes On

Leverage Series Finale RecapThe other night, I found myself watching Ocean’s Thirteen for, to be conservative, the 11teenth time. I love heist films. Likewise, I embraced the likes of TV’s (short-lived) Thief and even (the short-lived) Smith. But TNT’s Leverage, arriving when it did, really took the baton from Danny Ocean, offering a small-screen version of that stylized spin on modern-day Robin Hoods, burglars with a cause.

I’d be lying if I said that Leverage never ebbed in quality. In fact, this past season’s Inception-like second episode I frankly couldn’t finish, it had veered so far from the series’ original construct and slightest whiff of plausibility.

But man, did the show manage to go out with a final bang this Tuesday night, delivering one of its best, smartest riffs on the Ocean’s-like “What you think happened, didn’t — but this did” formula.

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Most “simply” recounted… the caper drama’s very final hour opened with Nate, looking a bit worse for wear, being held somewhere and questioned about a bungled job, one that left several of his friends dead. As related by the mastermind, he and his team set out to breach the well-secured Highpoint Tower, to secure a trial drug that would help a patient of the pediatrician that once cared for Nate’s ill-fated son. To do so, Parker went in through the roof, only to get pinned down in an elevator shaft with Hardison (who had come in through the lobby posing as an alarm service tech). As Parker took a bullet from a cop who saw through their ruse, Hardison plummeted several stories, breaking his leg and busting up his insides. Eliot did his best to fend off other burly obstacles, but even he, on his dash for the getaway van, took a bullet straight through the back. Nate and Sophie, in the front seat, did their best to dodge a police blockade and were last seen about to leap an opening drawbridge. It was all extremely grim stuff that, as directed and presented on-screen, had you wondering if the con was very much no longer on for this band of bandits.

But as Alcatraz‘s Emerson Hauser would say, “That’s not what happened. Not at all.” Instead — as promised by Aldis Hodge back in July — we were finally made privy to the real reason Nate relocated their operation to Portland for Season 5.
Pictured: TIMOTHY HUTTON as nate, ALDIS HODGE as ALEC HARDISON, CHRISTIAN KANE as ELIOT, BETH RIESGRAF as PARKER, GINA BELLMAN as SOPHIE, Guest stars: MARK SHEPARD as Sterling, CATHERINE DENT as CASEY.The woman interviewing Nate in the “hospital” — revealed to be Interpol agent Casey (played by The Shield‘s Catherine Dent) — saw holes in his story, and gleaned that Parker in fact had entered Highpoint through a tunnel that connected to a theater where Sophie was staging/starring in MacBeth. Secondly, Parker never was after a trial drug but an Internet server room. When Casey’s investigation suggested that Parker was still cowered inside that room, waiting for their target — an incendiary file known as “The Black Book” — to pass through the pipes prime for pinching, the Interpol agent’s boss, none other than Jim Sterling (Hi, Mark Sheppard!), keyed her and a team of agents in to conduct a search. But Parker, along with Hardison and Eliot, had embedded themselves within that team, then stayed behind after Casey turned up nothing. They then grabbed the needed hard drive and exited back through the tunnel, losing themselves amid the cast of Sophie’s play. (Eliot’s “shooting,” meanwhile? All staged for the security camera, with Nate playing the “cop.”)

Nate later got led to a prison transfer vehicle, his fate seemingly sealed in the wake of the confirmed robbery and the discovery of dummy corpses he had used to fake a heist-gone-bad. But with Casey none the wiser, Sterling did his longtime frenemy a solid and wished him well, knowing that Sophie was behind the wheel. (When did Sterling get wise, though? Because Nate purposely distracted him when Parker et al sneaked into the server room.) Later, the team reconvened to celebrate their grand theft and watch as Nate proposed to… “Laura” (not Sophie’s real name). And with those two lovebirds now out of the game, the final scene gave us sleek-and-steely Parker, flanked by Eliot and Hardison, explaining to a new oppressed client how they could provide… leverage.

All told and as promised by show boss Dean Devlin, who suspected this could be (and in fact was) it, the season finale played perfectly as a series-ender, delivering a memorable combo of sleight-of-hand and misdirection, serving up a bit of romantic closure and calling in an old “friend,” but also planting a seed to show us how the con ostensibly would go on.

What did you think of the Leverage series finale?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Daisy says:

    As much as I’m gonna miss the show, the finale could not have been better. By far the best episode of the season and one of the series’ best. And it gave us closure. Thank you Dean Devlin, giving us the best series finale possible.

    • Annie says:

      I agree. I’ve never been what you’d call a fan, but have caught it on occasion when nothing else was on – enough to appreciate the twists and turns and callbacks to earlier episodes. I especially loved how they set up Nate passing the baton to Parker in the beginning (“You’ve been including me on the planning …”) and her take on the “We provide … leverage” monologue. All in all: Well played, Leverage. Well played.

      • John says:

        The problem is that it doesn’t make very much sense. Even with Parker acting as the mastermind, which is doubtful, a Leverage team cannot exist without the crucial grifter role. Sophie has been the main character of the show so many times. Even Nate, didn’t just mastermind, he filled the older gentleman role required for experts, CEO’s etc. In short Leverage was one of the best shows on television, even though this season was not the best season at all. I think it just shows how dumb the American public is that they can’t appreciate a show that relies on mind tricks and requires THINKING.

        • warpspeed says:

          You are missing the point of the finale, with the team now possessing the “black book” they no longer need to instigate a complicated con, they have secret information to make a more direct approach to the perpetrator thus negating the need for “a grifter” and a “procedural mastermind”.

          In short they will use a subtler form of blackmail…………….leverage.

        • Daniel says:

          Eh, such anger… Indeed thinking, and yet without comprehension one can still miss the clues, obviously leading to the conclusion so adequate explained by ‘warpspeed’ (post below). Loyalty, love, friendship, mentor and student, family drama, personal growth and discovery, satisfaction and teamwork… all very well presented in an endeering and proper package.

          Makes one wonder why “Firefly” didn´t get the same courtesy? Anyone? Nevermind, water under the bridge…

          Alea Iacta Est! …I must insist: “Leverage” with its great chemistry and storyline, has earned its cheers! Bravo!

      • Lacey says:

        Parker has always been my favorite character and the past couple of seasons she’s really grown as a character. So it made me happy to see Parker’s new role in the team.

    • Thru Da Roof says:

      Right the finale was amazing. They went out with a bang. I am wondering if there is going to be a spin off with Parker in Charge. It seems like Nate was training her to take over.

  2. Nichole says:

    If you haven’t already, check out the British show Hustle, it’s finished now, but would be well worth going back and watching, especially the first two seasons :)

    • Carolyn says:

      I loved Hustle, which lead me to Leverage. That show’s last episode, too, was a gift to its fans and brought closure which was much appreciated.

    • Elaine Forrest says:

      I tried to watch The Hustle but the characters were so much less likeable than those of Leverage and I also preferred the altruistic nature of the Leverage cons as opposed to the self-serving nature of the hustle’s.

  3. spdavid says:

    Yes the series went out well.If you’re going to pull the plug on a show like this,this was the way to do it.I was especially glad everyone “rode off into the sunset”.No losses no casualties.I hate to see a show of this quality go,but if it has to go this is the way to show em how it’s done.Not that this would happen,but the door was left open enough for another network to take over even if it was just Hardison,Parker and Elliot.But it won’t happen though I’d love to see the characters,especially Parker,turn up somewhere else.

  4. Melody Paris says:

    I will miss Leverage Inc, so wish I could have gotten a better glimpse of Leverage International. Although I found most of the finale to be predictable, I have fond memories of the show in general.

  5. Brad says:

    A perfect ending to a perfect show that should have not ended. Hustle is also a great show.

  6. Jay says:

    Best episode they’ve done in a while. Definitely the best one to go out on.

  7. Monica242 says:

    It ended perfectly for me. It’s great to see the “family business” handed down to the “kids” in this case.

  8. marcia says:

    I will really miss this show… I have loved it from the very beginning and will enjoy my DVDs for years to come!

  9. Joan says:

    Dean Devlin and John Rogers promised the fans closure and they delivered. Although I hate the idea of Leverage ending, this episode was a s perfect as it could have been. Thank you to the cast and crew for allowing us to come along for a fantastic ride.

    • Daniel says:

      Yup, you nailed it there: Thx to the cast, crew, writers and those who “masterminded” this awesome series. Keep up the good work!

  10. Absolutely LOVED it. #Leverage had a good run if a short 1 IMO. Still hoping they decide 2 revisit the show via mini series or TV movie but if they don’t I’m good. Sad but good.

  11. mentdijinn says:

    Leverage is the best most original show on tv. can’t believe TNT cancelled but i am so hoping another network picks it up! it comes with a large fanbase of #KANIACS and #GRIFTERS !! THE LONG GOODBYE JOB was the BEST CON EVER!! loved it..with such amazing writers and cast i just can’t believe TNT cancelled!

    • SteveC says:

      My sentiments exactly!!!

    • Elaine Forrest says:

      Me too. I can’t believe that not only are we losing the show, which is bad enough but that the 5th season won’t be released on dvd. A bitter blow when we in the U.K are still waiting for, and clearly won’t get season 4.

  12. Sandy M. says:

    I loved the Long Goodbye although I am sad it was the last episode. It is my hope the show will get picked up by another network, and that somehow, Nate & Sophie will miss the cons and return to the group. The Long Goodbye might just be the best episode Leverage has ever done. Goodbye my dear Leverage.

  13. Jeannean says:

    The series finale of Leverage was absolutely brilliant. It created the whole range of emotions. The entire cast was amazing as they always are. There is nothing they cannot do. My family loved the show. My friends loved the show. We are just in denial that TNT will not renew such a fantastic show when there is so much trash on TV. This is a show the whole family can watch from your kids to your grandma. I am still hoping for a Christmas miracle with another network picking up Leverage. ♥

  14. Jeanne says:

    Loved the finale! Will miss the “crew” but glad to know that they live on doing the “con” for the underdog!

  15. nightstorm5364 says:

    watched with mixed emotions not knowing what would happen,it has been a final the series deserved. Shame it’s (probably) over…… I Will miss them

  16. Roberta Adkind says:

    LAST NIGHTS EPISODE OF LEVERAGE WAS EVERYTHING A TV DRAMA SHOULD BE! UNFORTUNATELY IT IS THE LAST. TNT has cancelled a wonderful show to promote a handful of lesser quality shows. DEAN DEVLIN and the Wonderful CAST,Tim Hutton,Gina Bellman,Christian Kane,Beth Reisgraft,and Aldis Hodge, gave us,the fans,talent,excitement,emotion, and escape, for one hour every week of its season. This show will we missed.It was quality show, entertainment at its best. Not a great Christmas present for a faithful following.

  17. Susie Francoeur says:

    I love watching Leverage and am sad to see it go. But, what a brilliant ending to this amazing show! John Rogers and Chris Downey wrote it brilliantly and Dean Devlin is an utter genius!! I am hoping they use the end as a spin off but if not, Leverage will live on being watched on DVDs, DVRs, downloads and the like. The fans will always be fans, NO MATTER WHAT! Thank you cast and crew for 5 amazing roller coaster years….Bravo and Well done!!

  18. Ann Ryce says:

    I loved it and still hoping for more! There is a posibility of a spinoff which would be good and if TNT doesn’t pick it up and run with it we, the fans, will. We have been really busy contacting USA network hoping they will pick it up. Dean Devlin said if we find a home, they will continue with it. So don’t give up, LET’S GO STEAL A NETWORK!

  19. Didi says:

    My son and I watched the finale last night together. I will miss this show terribly but Dean Devlin, cast and crew gave me a wonderful gift of the show. Thank you to all involved!

    I still wish it would be picked up by USA or another network. It’s an awesome family show and there aren’t enough of them.

  20. Nema says:

    Leverage is getting better and better with every new episode, and they cancelled it? WTF; TNT??!!

  21. Jennifer says:

    I’ve watched every episode since season 1 and I honestly think this episode ended with a cliffhanger and I wish with all my heart there was more because it would be nice to see Parker Elliot and hardeson work alone together I mean like they did in season 5 episide 10 mid season finale

  22. Ethel says:

    Great finale and closure for the fans. Of course, we now want the spin-off series.

  23. Connie says:

    Would not have missed this for the world! Great episode! Really going to miss this show.TNT made a big mistake not keeping Leverage! It was the only show I watched Christmas day.Leverage was a one of a kind show with no spinoff. It was great and will be missed. Hope it will come back some where else. I will watch it were ever it goes.

  24. Anna says:

    Can I have a Eliot/Parker/Hardison Spinoff now? Pretty please?

  25. mac says:

    “I’d say call if you need anything but you never needed anything”
    “No, I did” *looks to Hardison and Parker* “but thanks to you I did find it”

    damn! This show was amazing and ended on the highest possible note =D
    They need to do a Spinn-off tough, this show can be SO MUCH MORE =D

  26. scg10 says:

    I’d give it an A++. Tears, laughter, what more can you ask for from a series finale!? Knew they had to come out on top, they always do! :) I’ll miss the cast coming into my living room every week. The cast/crew/writers, anyone who had a hand in it… thanks! And now it’s being pushed out for yet another ‘medical’ drama…?? Bah humbug….

  27. Jen says:

    so eliot never reconciles with his father? i hate that they left that storyline unfinished. but otherwise i thought that was an awesome finale. very intense and exciting episode. i just hate that its over. i loved this series so much. i looked forward to seeing these characters each week on my tv.

  28. Belinda Jane says:

    AMAAAZZZING Finale! I am truly going to miss Leverage. This who’s was my weekly dose of mystery, action, comedy, romance and so much more! I would LOVE to see all five of the talented actors come together again for another epic show! Thank you to the cast, crew and Mr. Dean Devlin for such outstanding entertainment!

  29. Carm says:

    That was an awesome finale. I loved, loved, loved the ending. Especially the parts where Eliot said he got what he needed and with Parker, Hardison and Eliot providing ‘LEVERAGE’. Perfect.

  30. mentdijinn says:

    AWESOMENESS! BRILLIANT! with the amazing writing and actors that #Leverage has i can’t understand how TNT could cancel.. this is the most original show on tv.. one that the whole family can enjoy.. hopefully there is a network out there looking for a great show for their network.. Well LEVERAGE is it! ♥

  31. diane says:

    Loved it. Cried. Cheered for Nate. Loved Elliot’s words. The con goes on with my favorite trio.

  32. Justin says:

    OMG, this series finale was awesome from beginning to end!!! It really had me going in the beginning with Nate being distraught over what had happened. Then seeing Eliot, Parker and Hardison dead in the back and the Van go over the bridge?!! Damn they scared me lol!!! The ending was perfect. I never saw it coming, which made it that much better. Nate PROPOSING to Sophie (aka Laura, not her real name)? Loved it! Eliot, Parker and Hardison (my favorite character) moving on with Leverage “International”? LOVED it!! The con itself? Loved it!! There were so many parts that had to go exactly right that it was downright scary at times! Now I’ve watched every episode and seen them pull a lot of good cons over the years, but this one goes down as the best one ever to me.

    Thank you, Dean Devlin, cast and crew for bringing Leverage to us. It’s been on my top 10 list of best shows on television since it began. When I saw the pilot episode, I immediately thought better than Oceans 12 and 13 combined. I just had that special swagger to me and never stopped. I hated to see it go, but I loved how it left.

  33. PPPG says:

    I saw the con within a con from the start, but I still loved this episode. Basically on word: MOVIE ….. Be it TV or big screen

  34. Kelly says:

    A phenomenal episode. The con was incredible and kept me guessing. I loved the call backs to the pilot (Sophie’s horrible acting, Parker being 20 pounds of crazy,etc). Sterling was perfect to have back. I loved the Nate/Parker moment and Hardison/Elliot brother moment and the focus on the band of thieves as a family. I really hate to see this show go.

  35. James R. says:

    I want a Spinoff.. Leverage International gogo.

  36. tvdiva says:

    The finale was as good as the pilot. I am so happy the Leverage producers got to end the show as they desired. I wish the entire Leverage family a prosperous new year and a fun new ride in each of their careers.

  37. Quinn Mallory says:

    Love the finale, even if there was really no build up in previous episodes for Parker to take over the con (rather than Hardison, for example). I’ve said this before, but Leverage suffered from how good the team has been that it’s hard for them to have a formidable opponent every week (thus the wild fluctuation in quality in recent seasons). I don’t think it will happen, but I would love to have Leverage back as a miniseries (3 90 minutes episodes ala Sherlock) in some form.

    • Jenn says:

      If you think about it there was a build up, you just didn’t realize it until the finale.. Remember at the end of episode 1 this season when Nate told Hardison not to tell anyone, especially Parker.. Everyone assumed that it was because of a mole or a backstabber on the team. Never in a million years would we have thought Nate would turn the team over to her. Pretty brilliant move huh :)

      • Ace says:

        Plus the episode where Parker ran her own con in the restaurant while everyone was out of town proved she could be the mastermind as well.

    • Lacey says:

      I think the buildup was in the growing of Parker’s character. Season 1 Parker would never have survived as the leader of the group.

  38. hazel says:

    LOVED the finale. Pitch perfect for the crew and the fans! I will miss my fav show, but at least I have the DVD’s!

  39. Charles says:

    Matt, Sterling was ALWAYS involved in the con. He owed Nate a favor from the time when Nate helped him find his daughter. Tha’ts why he wrote that they were “even” on the paper/book/file that he gave Nate when they put him in the van.

  40. John Moshier says:

    the way they ended it it could come back

  41. Missy Kelly says:

    When does the spin-off start – Hardison, Elliot, & Parker could easily have more adventures I would want to see

  42. Vicky says:

    The was certainly the best show of late. Timothy Hutton has a knack for picking great roles and the rest of the team enhanced what was original and a pleasure to watch. Thank you Dean Devlin for this piece of creativity – it was phenominal. It will be missed and I will keep my eye out for each of your future endeavors. My sis and I love you all!!!!!!

  43. Jasmine says:

    This has always been one of my favorite shows. So sorry it has been cancelled. Please someone else pick it up.

  44. Jenn says:

    That was far and away the best finale EVER!!! My jaw was on the floor when you thought the gang had all died (thank god they didn’t) and OMG the humor and winks to Season 1 was freaking brilliant! They could not have ended this any better. How many canceled shows actually get to end the way they wanted? Dean & John and all the actors and everyone else involved with the finale way outdid themselves! I was disappointed TNT canceled it but I wasn’t surprised. And to those that think it’s going to be scooped up by another network it’s just not going to happen. I honestly think we should all just sit back and be thankful that we got 5 wonderful seasons and the best ending any one of us could have even imagined! I plan on watching this one over and over and over!!!

  45. As much as I hate to see leverage gone I love the fact that they didnt take any risk and did this epi as the season and now series ending. I loved it and am happy that we got this perfect last episode (also with a proposal – yeay!). Couldnt have asked for more. Thank you to cast and crew for not taking risks, rewarding the fans in the end and five wonderful and awesome years of TV!

  46. jbc says:

    A+ for this Wonderful series finale. Leverage International could be a possibility, that would be nice!
    Love the great cast on this show. This is what chemistry looks like. They seem to really flow. Thanks to Dean and John and all the creative writing staff keeping us entertained. Look forward to seeing all these fine actors on my tv in the future, either with a spin off or on other shows.

  47. JAO says:

    Stellar finish to a great show. I will miss everyone, especially Timothy Hutton. He is a great actor with his subtleties. Loved him since Falcon & The Snowman.

  48. Tiff says:

    I still wished we had learned Sophie real name.

  49. Aileen says:

    I just saw the final episode last night. OMG I was crying thinking they died in the van. I loved everything about this episode and love that Parker is in charge. I do hope USA considers picking it up and see’s what a great show it is and how much their fans love it. Thank you for the excellent writing and to all the actors- BRAVO- APPLAUSE!

  50. Kristina says:

    It was a great ending. I’m so glad the writers planned for possible cancellation with their ending. They gave us the fans a wonderful gift. It was very sweetly done, and I loved the way the show went out. I will miss it, and hope to see the actors pop up on other shows soon. They did something great here!