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?


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89 Comments
  1. ozi says:

    Now alec/hardison is free to take over from that guy who is cast as eddie murphy’s son on beverly hills cop tv edition

  2. Don says:

    A very satisfying end to the show. (Although I’m really bummed it’s not coming back.) The only criticism I would make is that the episode seemed a little “rushed” trying to pack it all in. I think it could have been an outstanding two hour series finale.

  3. Linda says:

    I think the CW should pick it up. Hell, most of these characters are already in the ‘Supernatural RPS’ fanfic fandom.

  4. Madison Reed says:

    Now that is how a series finale should be done. From beginning to end it was just beautifully brillant. Love the homage to the pilot episode, the leverage team will be missed but will always live on through dvds and the internet. Bravo to the cast and crew of Leverage.

  5. theresa ambrose says:

    Leverage is or now was the best and will be greatly missed. my Tuesday nights are not going to be the same because I always looked forward to seeing my favorite program. Well I guess I’ll be watching the reruns until they are no more. Leverage was not the norm. it was not the same old same old. That’s why I enjoy it so much!:(

  6. Kate says:

    I am a huge fan of this show and even at its worst it was still better than a lot of other crap on TV today. To end this show at all is criminal. I hope they do bring it back and I don’t care how it gets done. As long at Vampire Diaries and Honey Boo Boo are on the air there is NO reason on God’s green Earth to cancel a brilliant show like Leverage!

  7. Sheldon W. says:

    The Long Goodbye Job was one of the most appropriate series finales I’ve ever seen – though I would have loved to see Leverage MKII. Nate has been training Parker to takeover all season; Hardison has picked up some hitter skills, and Elliot has learned a bit about cons and acting, so the new team would have had most of the core required abilities to go on – but I expect a couple of new team members could have been required either as recurring and rotating characters (a la Bones’ squinterns) or as regulars to carry the show on (I’d have loved the former and not minded the latter).

    Even though the show has gone to the Great Primetime in the Sky, there’s still one more thing to wait for – the final season DVD set. I hope we get a couple commentaries on the finale (writer, director and producer; cast and director). That could be a lot of fun.

  8. Darlene says:

    As perfect an ending as anyone could ask. Warm, witty, emotional, smart, and wonderful. Thank you cast, crew, writers and creators for one of the great shows, series, and finales. Boos to TNT because they moved the show too many times and didn’t know gold-or drama-when they had it. This was a series!

  9. Cass says:

    The finale was great, the idae the Parker, Elliott & Hardison could do jobs as a team was confirmed earlier when they were in DC while Nate and Sophie were in Japan. …Still the ending left open the possibility that the team would continue. I would love to see a movie on the big screen. Perhaps Nate & Sophie would need some help from the team when their wedding plans go haywire or something.

  10. KATHY WARNER says:

    please don’t let this be the end for Leverage! i love this show! PLEASE KEEP LEVERAGE ON TV!!!!!!

  11. Lindsey says:

    I can’t believe I didn’t even know it was canceled. How sad.

  12. mike says:

    I think that this was one of tnt’s biggest mistakes! Hopefully another net work will pick it up.

  13. david corbett says:

    david from down under wonderfull show watched from start to the long goodbye bring it back make a season 6 it would be awsome

  14. LEVERAGE FAN says:

    WOW i think that they need another season

  15. Lorelei S says:

    Leverage wasn’t a bad show but it was always a painfully dumbed down version of the BBC’s excellent Hustle. Adding guns and explosions instead of clever cons and plotting, cause Americans presumably couldn’t follow it the other way and they need those big fire balls and bullets. Not to mention hitting everyone over the head with how terrible the bad guys are and how they really deserved to be conned. (The UK original, the con men openly do it for the money. The victim’s deserve it but they don’t give away the proceeds.) It’s fun, not painfully trying to excuse itself to a presumably puritanical audience.

    This show thought Americans were dumb, and the people who lapped it up sadly showed how low the bar is on this side of the pond.

  16. dg says:

    One of my favorite shows. I was glad Nate and “Laura” (not her real name) were finally getting married. Nate could be happy again. Parker really grew into her character in the last couple of years. Still crazy, but much more capable of emotion and sharing her feelings. She became real. Hated to see it end, but it ended well. Now, I watch the reruns to catch any episodes I may have missed.

  17. Margo Carter says:

    I don’t know why you took it off. It was awesome. I really miss it.

  18. Barbara says:

    I hope it cones back on i really enjoyed the show. Guess i will havr to watch reruns.

  19. Linda says:

    Need to bring the series back on for a trial basis. One of the best shows on at the time. Can you consider the return something maybe how they had returned 24 with Jack Bauer

  20. Without a doubt the best show on TV ever, next to White Collar and Burn Notice. Just fell in love with all of these character’s! This was the best season finale ever, and I mean that, it ended just the way you would want it to and it left you feeling content and satisfied! Love, Love, Loved! Leverage!!!

  21. Gaylle Gregory says:

    I love this show and the actors who protray the charcters wondefully. I hate to see 1 of the best shows on television go away. Why take all the good off and put junk reality shows on no one wants to watch.