In my more spiteful moods, I will bellow at Filthy Assistant: "What is a Bottle Show?"
Snappy as the shiny writer-soldier she is, she answers right back: "Sir! A Bottle Show is an episode of serialized television shot solely on existing sets using very little guest cast in order to save money and production time, sir!" Then she will hand me my Bushmills and add another entry to her now-legendary WGA grievance letter.
A Bottle Show is the Holy Grail of episodic television. However, they tend to suck. They tend to be very, very talky, and static as hell. A non-sucky Bottle Show is a triumph. A good one is a miracle. A great one -- and "The Bottle Job" is, for my money, one of our best episodes in two years -- is a bloody miracle.
Boylan was up on the set shooting "Iceman" while we were breaking "Zanzibar." That episode, as I believe I've mentioned in the past, was that surly bastard episode that just would not break. But the awful script-devouring train does not care that you are behind, however, and it was thundering down at us. Day One of prep started on the next episode later that week, and we were nowhere close to having a solve. Berg, the Wonder Twins and I were elbow-deep in orange cards and expletives when Boylan returned from the magical land that is Portland. ( Even though Downey was in and out of the room, writing "Lost Heir", he came up with a bunch of crucial bits for "Bottle". Albert was up north, shooting "Runway Job".)
"Got an idea for a bottle show," Boylan said. "Irish wake in the bar, and they have to do the con during the wake." She even had a villain, based on some research she'd done into loan sharks. (Doesn't hurt that she's the only other writer who gets into the Irish during the day.)
At which point we put down "Zanzibar", broke/outlined/wrote "The Bottle Job" in 72 hours, and then dove right back into "Zanzibar". Welcome to television, you arty bastards. That perfect spec you took four months to write won't save you now!
We'd been meaning to explain the significance of McRory's Bar -- and Nate's background -- for a while. The idea that Nate became a rigidly law-and-order asshole in rebellion to a criminal father seemed a nice twist on the usual TV backstory, and very ... well, for the lack of a better term, Irish. I'm one generation down from the town of Roscommon in County Roscommon, and all those father/son/identity waters can get very deep indeed. McRory's is a combination of the joint I used to drink at in Montreal and the bar where Tim Hutton went as a kid. It's now as much a character on the show as the actors, and probably more beloved by the writers than either last year's offices or Nate's loft, as well-designed as they may be.
We also needed Nate to go off the wagon again. We'd just resolved the Sophie arc, and were in the middle of introducing Tara ... a lot of balls in the air. Giving Nate a good reason to start drinking again, the sort of self-justifying reason a self-righteous bastard like Nate Ford would accept, that was crucial.
We got very, very lucky that the scheduled director was Jonathan Frakes. Frakes was one of our first directors, and knows our sets -- and their limits -- like the back of his hand. He and our DP created the snowy, dim atmosphere for the bar, and he managed to keep the camera moving in ridiculously tight spaces.
At the same time, the constraints of the Bottle Show forced us to cut out every piece of pipe and fat. I'd always wanted to do a crushed version of the Wire, the classic con at the center of The Sting. Some con shows spend an entire episode doing the Wire --
-- oh, and they don't tell the audience where they're stealing it from. Ahem.
Anyway, we got positively manic in the writers' room. The more impossible the plot structure, the giddier we got and the more determined we were to make it work. (I was also drinking in the room. A lot.) That combination of fat-free writing and Frakes' constantly moving camera makes "The Bottle Job" fly along at a pace we may never match again in the show's run. A constant refrain in the writers' room is "Constrain the team in time and space." This episode was the epitome of that idea.
The fact we got insanely lucky on the casting didn't hurt. I mean, I'd watch a Jeri Ryan/Alan Smyth show for five seasons.
All this -- miracle-speed conception, character-heavy plot, multiple cons in a tiny show, drinking Nate, and the very act of being a non-sucking Bottle Show -- combine to make this one of my favorites of the run,
Our one regret was that we didn't get to use the "addiction cycle" research Downey had done for another unproduced episode. We intended to show how the team was quite scientifically tweaking the mark's win/loss ratio to work his gambling jones up into a frenzy. But NO TIME! We're FLYING HERE! (insert sound of Bushmills gurgling into the glass which only moments before held paperclips) Berg even offered to contact Jonah Lehrer for us. How selfless.
I'm sure your questions will cover most of this ep, so we'll jump in. Remember, if I don't answer your questions, it's probably because it doubled up somewhere else, or would involve a spoiler in the answer.:
@Fiona: Well obviously I haven't seen the episode, mostly because I live in Ireland. So I'm guessing you can figure out where I'm going with this. ^_^ I do however watch the short clips they show on TNT though. I saw on tonights clip people trying to do Irish accents. (shakes head) To be fair, the main guys Irish accent isn't too bad, when compared to the guy who has the brother liam. It's still bad though. We really don't speak like that but alas I have accepted that all American shows (and Americans) make us sound like we have taken some helium and say "top of the morning to ya" all the time.
Alan Smyth is, of course, Irish.
I only tease because this is the perfect echo if "They don't sell chicken friend steak in Nebraska!! ... except, of course, in the two dozen restaurants where they DO" kerfuffle. I know, we're American TV. We MUST suck.
@Ryuu: Okay, not about this episode, but I ended up watching "The Two Live Crew Job" twice more-- once on my way to Israel and then again on the way back. Which made me wonder: will we be seeing anymore of Mikel Dayan/Noa Tishby? I have to admit, I love seeing her because not only is it nice to see a real Israeli cast as a Mossad agent, but you weren't asking me to accept that someone who looked the size of my arm could throw a punch that would knock Eliot down.
I don't think you've seen the last of any of that team.
@Shelley: I'd really like to see Leverage get some awards notice. Did you ever find out if you submit material for consideration or if it's the network?
It's a combination, and we have people handle that stuff full-time. A lot of politics goers into that sort of thing. Frankly, it would be nice, but I don't care. We're just happy to be on the damn airwaves.
@Sammie323: If Gina hadn't gotten pregnant, would Sophie have played the roles Tara is playing? For instance, would Sophie had been the fashion designer in The Runway Job?
Yes and no. We probably wouldn't have written the lawyer role into "Lost Heir", or handled the season finale in quite the same way, and the conflict with the team would have been different in "Runway ..." generally, the Tara eps were all broken and written once we had Jeri, so they're different animals, right from conception, than they would have been if developed with Gina in mind.
@Roy: Why don't any of them just pay the 15,000 out of their vast store of wealth from the first episode?
Your other Commenters tackled this -- try getting cash at that hour, inside of an hour. I actually challenged a network person to do so in the middle of the day, to prove this was a legitimate problem.
@zvi: Am I really supposed to believe that Liam's parents just stopped naming their children after Liam was born? What's up? Why is he introduced as Liam's brother instead of Sean or Patrick or whatever.
No, you're not supposed to believe that. That would be crazy.
@Sherri: 1.) am I making things up in my head (entirely possible) or is there a subtext/theme about fathers a touch left over from last season and going on? (I'm thinking specifically about 2nd David commentary about Nate watching the others getting into the museum plans like a father watching his kids, among other little things.) 2.) You use a writing team for the show -- do you keep a "bible" to keep your facts straight? Do different writers take the lead on different episodes? Is it a huge collaboration or a matter of one person drafts, other people refine? The bits and pieces you've revealed about the writing process fascinate me.
1.) This is a show about a broken family. That vibe is always going to be there. 2.) We have a script coordinator, the charming KGlover, who creates long documents tracking such "bible"-y things. But generally we handle it in the room.
Generally, one writing entity (team or individual) pitches the idea on the show, and then regardless of how much help they receive in breaking and/or outlining it, they take finish up on the script and production. Some episodes barely leave a writer's hands, and some wind up with a lot of contributors. But one writer, the originator of the idea, is on point.
@CanadianSarah: 1.) So...being, you know, NOT a stupid person, I'm going to go out on a limb and just say it. Tara is/was a spy...right? 2.) Also, I think this episode was both the strongest of the season and the weakest. Other than the Tara=spy revelation, I don't feel like we grew as people. Yes the timeline was tight, but I didn't feel it. The mounting tension was washed out by Nate drinking, though I do admit to LOVING the way the team reacted. I also felt like Christian was grossly underused in this episode. He hit some people and can throw darts like a crazy professional. Wow. Someone break out in applause. I love this show. Since The West Wing was canceled there had not been a show that commanded my attention and devotion until Leverage. From things that you have said here on the blog I sense big, amazing things are coming...bring them soon!! We need something to rock the boat, shake the status quot...we need the characters to grow as people...and all we got this week was Nate regressing. I am vaguely underwhelmed and that makes me cry in my special Leverage place.
1.) Maybe. Lots of people are trained in crypto. 2.) I hate West Wing. There, I said it.
Kidding aside, not all of them are going to be big emo. Some of them are going to be offspeed, and the series is built to be a standalone-style show. You need the offspeeds to set up the big ones. Otherwise you get soap-opera bullshit. I despise shows structured like that.
@workworkwork (and others): I could have sworn I heard them talking about Nate's Dad in the present tense in the final bar scene. So, is Big Jimmy Ford still alive and when can we start the fantasy casting call?
Oh, he's alive. Tick. Tick. Tick.
@marga templeton: i like dark nate. any hints as to whether we might see nate flat out lose his temper with the team either this season or next? i don't mean disgruntled, frustrated, or annoyed (annoyed eliot is hysterical, btw). i want to see nate open the anger floodgates. breaking some bones in 'the bottle job' was a nice shadow on nate's character.
Nate Ford is a very angry man. He's rapidly losing his ability to control it.
@Jennifer: Do you know if/when The Leverage Soundtrack will be made available via itunes or the Amazon Mp3 Store.
Available now. With some spoilers in there ...
@DaveMB: So this was The Sting backwards, with the wire as the setup for the poker game. Was that deliberate?
I think we stumbled into it, and then somebody in the room noticed we'd flipped the movie. I honestly can't recall.
@alikitty619: 1.) Is there a safe Parker can't break into? Like a nemesis safe that she's tried and failed to crack? 2.) Also, does Parker still have her bunny?
1.) No, but there ones that give her the hives and she can't crack within X time frame. 2.) You'll soon see.
@Barbara: I've gotta go back and watch again. Was that Nate's dad Parker was talking with at the end? It looked like the empty stool in the zoom was the same one he was sitting on. Hmmm...
Nope, Nate's dad does not come back to McRory's.
@MelodyAnne88: 1)Thank you for Shirtless Hardison. It is very much appreciated. 2)First step is ADMITTING you have a problem, not necisarily stopping. Nate knows what an Ass he is now... so baby steps. 3)How cool was it to shoot in a pub?! (Even a not completely real one. lol) Any parties on set? 4) I love this show.
Boylan was on set, I dinged her for this one: "We really felt like we got to live on those sets and use every corner. In spite of the Great Portland Heat Wave of 2009, there was a convivial atmosphere throughout the short shoot. Frakes runs an efficient yet ebullient set, and between takes the cast, guest stars and extras would laugh and crowd around the a/c units telling stories. While we didn't drink during the day at McRory's, Leverage certainly provides patronage to the fine Portland establishments on nights and weekends."
You can tell she's a playwright. She uses "convivial."
@tbill63: 2) If Hardison bought the building, why was the barkeep indebted to a loan shark? It's not like Hardison would dun him for the rent and set him up to run to a loan shark.
The building and the row of stores/bars below them are separate entities, much like the old apartment building my friend and writing partner Rick Jenkins crashed in on Huntington, back in the day.
@briddie: Will we get to know Tara's real history, since her story doesn't have to carry over to next season (and beyond, please, TNT!)
No. Although if you guys really dig her, we do have a shiny spin-off idea ... (and who says you won't see Tara S3?)
@Brooke: Q1 - Were those fight scenes cut really oddly, or am I ... crazy/stoopid/high? Q2 - Assuming the fight scenes were different than usual... WHY? Q3 - Not related to this ep but, I must know, why does EW magazine hate you?
I don't think those scene were shot any differently. Choreographed a little faster than most, maybe, but I liked the final stick-fight in particular. And as far as I know EW, doesn't hate us. It's just, you know, we're cable. Ugh.
@Lindsey: My question is with Nate slipping like he is are the other members of the team losing respect for him or beginning to question his judgement. Example being Eliot's disapproving glare when Nate started drinking and then calling him on the secondary con later. Will this potentially cause him to later be removed as the leader of the group either due to his own issues or for the safety of the team.
I think when Nate Ford loses control of the team, it won't be under his own ... never mind.
@Keith DeCondido: Question: I know that was a traditional Irish song being played over the final scene between Nate and McRory's daughter, but I couldn't place it, to my chagrin. What was it?
I'm pretty sure that was Joe Loduca, our composer, writing in the classic style.
@Cailtin: How does a kid who's dad "Runs numbers" and who grew up in a bar end up almost being a priest, and become an insurance investigator?
Wait'll you meet his sister, now she's a piece of work.
@Ryan: 1) I was confused by the ending...why was Hardison trying to get the other people to stay at the bar with him? Reception at school is not great, so maybe I just missed some of the dialogue. 2) Will we ever seen Eliot beaten? And I mean seriously loosing a fight. We've seen him get thrown around in the first David Job and the Tap Out Job, but he always pops right back up after. I guess I'm wondering if we'll ever see what it takes to keep Eliot down (you know, besides Nate telling him to.)
1.) Hardison needs some time to un-destroy Nate's apartment. 2.) Wow, he got his ass handed to him in "First David". Worse than that? Time will tell, I guess ...
@msd: .that all the security systems, safes, etc. are "Glenn Reeder" which I believe is the same name as the writing team from the "Two-Horse Job". (I believe they were introduced as the "baby writers" last year in the commentaries) and I think her name is actually spelled Rieder. Inside joke?
Yes, much like Lawrence Block created the unbreakable Rabb lock for his "The Burglar Who ..." series, we grabbed the Glenn-Reeder reference in "The Bank Shot Job" and extended it out to be the ultimate locks in the Leverage-verse.
@Cat: My question was re: Kane's dart skills, but I see someone has already asked it above.
Yeah, Kane hit the shots. We gussied them with CG to make sure they read on camera.
@Calla: But now for my question: I understand that, unlike Sophie (or anyone else on the team), Tara gets paid no matter what, but is it significant that there have now been two cons in a row that have resulted in zero profit for the team? And what ramifications will come from Nate being the only one paying her her "cut"?
The team's definitely hitting a dry spell. But no, the interesting thing isn't Nate paying Tara, it's watching Tara's evolving relationship with those envelopes.
@Coren: That song from the poker game sounded pretty familiar. Is it something I'd know, or is it another original like the 12 step job song from last year (and if so, can we expect a whole album of that?) ... Actually, come to think of it, this IS the song from 12 Step Job isn't it?
Yes, it's on the Leverage soundtrack album.
@Rebecca (and others): The plan was for Doyle to first win in the card game and then for Nate to win all of his money back. But if Tara started sending the wrong signals, surely Doyle would not have continued to play. So, if Doyle had not recognized his own money, how was Nate going to win the later hands? Finally I don't understand why they couldn't just let Doyle be arrested and put in a Boston jail. Why was it better for him to just leave town?
A lot of this goes to both real criminal culture and TV tropes of criminal culture. But yes, the idea was to clean the guy out with a slow-play con, with the bonus of having him chatter about his criminal genius -- he is, after all, an insecure braggart, and Nate basically cold-read that he'd want to impress any heavy-hitters in the room.
Arresting Doyle opens a giant can of worms for Nate. It means he's basically declaring war on Doyle's father, and dragging law enforcement into his "family's" business. He was relying on the longstanding tradition of local law enforcement to want to solve a problem with the minimum amount of fuss. If you are not the type of person who has lived the type of life to have seen police walk away from a problem after it's been solved to their satisfaction, I can't convince you that it happens. But if you've, say, worked nightclubs and comedy clubs for a decade, you've seen plenty of cops turn blind eyes to problems solved with rough justice and quick hands.
Other commenters discuss this in length, better than I do.
@Michael Clear: Great episode. The only thing I didn't like was Timothy Hutton's fake American accent. Also, I'm pretty sure Jeri Ryan used a fake woman accent.
:: slow clap::
@Rob Pugh: Question - what kind of knife did Elliot have/use when he was cutting up the chair for the emergency fund? What's our resident Batman/Midnighter/Superhero's carry knife of choice?
He has several. I think that's the one he took off the Uzbeki guy back in '05 ...
@Rob Pugh: Personally, I hope we see more of 'functional alcoholic Nate.' Because honestly, he's a more interesting, dynamic and exciting character. Somebody holding it together just on the edge is far more interesting than 'in-denial Catholic guy.' Just like Vicodin-gobbling House is superior to "Drugs are bad, mmkay?" House. And honestly, whiskey as the big-bad is kinda made mockery of by the single malt soaked commentaries. And to quote a great man - "What’s the one thing this show has taught you as a writer? John Rogers: It’s okay to drink in the room. There’s no shame in opening up a bottle of Irish whiskey during the day."
I think we can all see that Nate is not handling this sober thing very well.
@Improper Bostonian: "Back to you Chet". I know I'm stretching, but when I heard that I heard a shout out to Ch.5's Chet Curtis....but I guess that would be a huge Boston stretch!
Nope, that was a Chet Curtis reference.
@Toni: My silly question is, did they do something with the lighting in this ep, or did everyone's eyes just get much brighter? No really, all those blue, blue eyes pretty much popped out of the TV at me. Even Aldis' dark brown eyes seemed a brighter shade of dark brown. I thought maybe it was the lighting for that particular set.
I think it's a combination of two things: a.) the set was lit differently, for night. We don't usually light an entire show for night. b.) we got a new chip build for the Red Cameras, and they definitely juice the color template a little.
@scooter5203249: What were Nate and Cora tossing back at the end? I couldn't make out the label and the bottle wasn't square so I don't think it was Bushmills. Midleton maybe?
All alcoholic beverage on TV shows, absent a deal, tend to be greeked fake brands.
@Caitlin: 1) Is Nate going to be a violent drunk now that he's drinking again? 2) Is Eliot more worried or ticked that Nate is drinking again, he seemed to be a bit of both. 3) Are the others [Eliot, Parker, Hardison and Tara] going to be calling Sophie to tell her that Nate has again hit the bottle?
1.) No. He is, however, a man with a capacity for violence who is drinking. 2.) Both. He will explain in detail later this season. 3.) Not calling her, no.
@Aimsame: I see that the 'Newhart' reference has been mentioned. 'Hi. I'm Darrell, this is my brother Darrell...'Glad I wasn't the only one who caught it.My question is was that intentionally written in or just something that happened to be a humorous by product?
I think that was mine. Among the various disreputables I've been friends with, there are always a few who are just described as "So-and-So's brother". The Newhart joke was a coincidence.
@hmobius: Will we ever see an episode where one of the team disappears and they pull a job to get them back? (I'm think a la Global Frequency when Miranda Zero is kidnapped). A job in real-time perhaps?
You saw it in "Zanzibar", and there's a little something we're cooking up for S3.
@L: (1.) Since we learned about Nate's father in this episode, will we ever find anything out about his mother? (2.) I know you and the other writers have a penchant for using some real cons in the show and making some up. So, is the wire an actual con, or a product of the writers room? (3.) I know we are Sophie-lite in this batch of episodes because Gina was/is on maternity leave, so was it a deliberate decision to not have Sophie show up in the ep and save her scenes for the other episodes, or did it just not make sense to have her appear because the team was under a time crunch and had too much else going on? (4.) Who's idea was it to not give Liam's brother a name, and to have Liam basically speak for both of them-I loved it! lol (5.) How long has the team had "emergency funds" stashed around the apartment? And can I say I was just as shocked and horrified as Parker when Hardison took the knife or whatever to the portrait of Old Nate?? The picture better go right back up on the wall! (6.) I felt for the team and how disappointed they were in Nate when he took the drink. Does this mean he's officially off the wagon, or is be back to being cold turkey sober after this?
2.) The Wire was made famous in The Sting and is described in The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man. Mandatory reading.
3.) Time crunch. No time to find Sophie and call for help/research.
4.) See above.
5.) They've always had emergency funds stashed around the apartment. If not for the heavy snow and time crunch, they could've gotten their hands on a lot more.
6.) Off the wagon, as you've no doubt seen in the following eps.
@Puspa: Question: Any chance Eliot might be throwing a knife and/or using a cross-bow anytime in S3? Not at any body, mind you, more a necessity for an escape.
We're working on one where Eliot has to go a little ... back-country. We'll see.
@SueN: So, does Cora know what the team does (and, by extension, what they are), or does she just know they help people? She seems too sharp not to suspect *something*.
Back to Boylan: ... Odessa Rae played Cora and brought a fiery spirit and fascinating personal backstory to the part. We’d love to have her back when she’s available. Working in THAT bar, Cora knows a little bit of everyone’s business and has the virtue of not judging them for it.
@DaveMB (and thanks for answering upthread questions, Dave): 1) Assuming the thugs in the warehouse were Doyle's employees, isn't there a worry that they would call Doyle's cel phone and tell him the warehouse is being robbed? Did they disable incoming calls on the cel phone when they had it, or just sufficiently immobilize the defeated thugs? 2) Doyle's fingers are all through the neighborhood but he doesn't recognize three important cops? 3) Mark Doyle versus Doyle Lonnegan -- another shoutout to The Sting or just a really common Irish name?
1.) Eliot disabled the thugs rather thoroughly. 2.) They're detectives working all over Boston, not just neighborhood cops. 3.) Common name that cleared.
@USRaider: 1.) First, when Doyle was getting Tara (Jeri) to set up the poker game, he was using the term "pocket pair". I do remember him saying, "If he has pocket Aces, you..." and Tara giving the right signal. The game, however, was Five Card Stud. Five Card Stud does not use hole cards, which the term "pocket" is used for (as a poker writer, got to know these things!). Was it just a slip? 2.) Will we see an episode that just goes terribly awry? While our fantastic dysfunctional family is great at what they do, there has to be some point where they fail or, perhaps more realistically, they meet the objective but the end result isn't beneficial for whom they were working for. Is that going to occur?
1.) Doyle didn't know what they were playing back there yet. 2.) Oh, oh yes. But to be fair, people watch this show for fun. I am not big on the angsty bullshit.
@24jg13: my question is when will we be hearing/seeing Christian sing on the show? I love his music and he has mentioned that he hoped to be doing some singing in his storyline.
@Sean: 1) Would it be fair to say that Tara is closer to a more mercenary version of Michael Weston then she is to the Michael Stone/Sophie type? 2) Is there a possibility of Tara sticking around WITH Sophie moving forward through Seasons yet to come?
1.) Not a bad guess. 2.) Nope. One grifter per team. A visit, however, is all but assured.
@Anonymous: Wow... I love Leverage, but what was the point of all the anti-Irish crap this week? I couldn't tell whether the writers were being malicious, or are just really ignorant. It's the 21st century, here, guys. Can we get past the stereotypes and the Brit propaganda? Go raibh mile maith agaibh.
Yes, in my long time working in bars and nightclubs, I have never, ever, ever encountered an Irish criminal or anyone associated with an organized Irish criminal enterprise.
All joking aside, we take down Americans, Russians, Europeans ... there are bad guys in every culture. We're not making a statement about a group based one one character.
@Jimbo: Are we going to find out what Hardison did to the apartment? Or was it cut for time and to feature on the DVD? I did assume it was just creating a mess when ransacking Nate's wardrobe for the weather scene/using the jigsaw on the cable duct, but I wonder if it was anything more.
Nope, slicing a hole through the man's wall, dragging out all the cabling into his living room, cuting up[ his furniture and ransacking his bedroom were enough.
@Joan: 1) Is this the episode where you had to pretend it was winter when actually it was very hot in Portland? How did you, the cast and crew cope with that? 2) Spinning of from ChelseaNH's comment, Eliot is (or was) described as a 'retrieval specialist' but he has done hardly any on screen retrieving. Will we at some point see him retrieve something, maybe an artifact or even a person, or is he now (only) the 'hitter' and the failsafe?
1.) I was in LA. The cast and crew huddled by giant AC units. it was, indeed, 107 degrees on the set all during filming. The 1st AD, giving the safety talk, actually said "Please remember never to turn off the air conditioning. Because we could, ah, die."
2.) "Zanzibar Job". And he retrieves things all the time. People just keep getting in his way ...
@Rebecca: Is the show getting a lot of feedback from the audience at some official e-mail or snail mail address? I know that a lot of shows get fan mail, but I've never been tempted send anything like that.
Digital is fine. TNT pays attention to this site, Twitter, and the TNT forums. Posting that you dig an episode over on the TNT forums never hurts.
@Greer: I know Eliot called Nate on being drunk after that first glass of scotch, but the thing that stuck in my mind was that Nate's an alcoholic. I assume he can sort of hold his liquor. Was he actually drunk off that glass of scotch, or was Eliot just gearing up because he knew Nate was going to continue drinking?
Time-cut. Nate was drinking during the entire betting cycle, and drinking hard.
@Nikki: 1) Was Nate's dad run out of town? 2) Has the crew (other than Tara) made any money off their heists since the Nigerian Job, excluding outside revenue (like the skimmer)? 3) Will Tara's departure at the end of the season (if she leaves entirely) be a voluntary choice?
1.) He ... absented himself. 2.) They skim off the top to cover expenses. Nate is very strict about side projects, but the team probably cheats a little, too. 3.) It will be a choice, but under stressful circumstances.
@Dylan: this is not really connected to the ep but.. who really drew the "OLD NATE" painting?? =)
Pretty sure that was our first year PD, Lauren Crasco. If you go back through the blog archives, I think we answered this somewhere.
@Becky: Will we be getting more shirtless Hardison this season?
S3. We have to dole it out slowly.
@RichardJensen: Slightly off topic. Today's SCOTUS ruling on Corporations. How much of that is going to make it into Season 3?
Hey, they're the highest court int he land. Who are we to doubt -- oh FUCK yes, that's going in next season.
@midnight-malaga: 1) We know Sophie's real name isn't Sophie, and Parker's might be Parker but that can't be all. Nathan Ford is definitely a real name though, which leaves me curious about Hardison and Eliot (and to a lesser extent Tara). Are they operating under pseudonyms too, or are they using their original identities?
Both are using their real names, although both have a multitude of aliases. Part of the Leverage Crime World is rep maintenance, however, and to have a rep you need a call-sign.
@peaseblossom: I feel like the sexiness quotient of the show has been ratcheted up just a few notches since Tara joined (in fact, immediately on joining, with the whole 'sexy librarian' thing). ... Is that intentional? And if so, is it intentional in a 'we need to sex up the show' way, or in a 'this is Tara's energy affecting the team' way, or maybe even a 'this is what happens when you remove Sophie's inhibiting presence' way?
Tara just has a different energy. We're not getting any notes to sex up the joint from the network or anything. Because we have good-looking actor humans, we will occasionally err on the side of making them attractive. But no, no intentional change.
@Nato: Also, is it REALLY a bottle show if you went and filmed in that giant warehouse? Or is that another part of your soundstages?
Adjacent warehouse. I believe that was rolled up recycled newsprint.
@Nina May: If I hadn't read "Eliot was the most stung by Sophie's betrayal" over and over, I wouldn't feel compelled to get a ruling from you! ... So which is it, ref? Is (Eliot) really the Woobie With The Waggiest Tail, or has he just been taken captive by the unending fangirl appetite for specious h/c? Sorry. We just want to know ALL! And you are very gracious with us.
You really had to be there the day I explained hurt/comfort to Chris Downey.
Eliot trusts Sophie as much as he's going to trust her, and that's a.) not very far and c.) far enough for him. He doesn't hold a grudge against her. He just knows her.
@Red: Speaking of Tara, how long will she stay and how will her relationship with Nate progress? Nate's got complicated feelings for Maggie and Sophie, and now Tara? If he starts getting interested in Parker, though, I'm leaving.
As you've seen, the relationship with Tara is professional. And hell, I think we all have complicated feelings for Maggie.
@LivLife: 1) Was the use of his dad's name for the character deliberate? Or just instinctive, given what he was doing and the memories that were grabbing for him? 2.) So far this season, we've seen an emphasis on Sophie being the "mother" of the group. I've never really seen that. At the end of the first season they were all a little untrusting of each other and willing to go their separate ways. Yes, she did bring them back together, but I've never really felt that she weighed more heavily than any member of the group, except in Nate's eyes. So my question is does "Sophie as mother figure" come from Nate's perspective--as they all seem to mildly trust him and look to him? Or is it gearing up to something? Or did I miss something? Or, was this simply a plot device used once you (all of you) knew that Gina was leaving for maternity leave and you needed a story that would keep her on the fringes?
1.) Both instinctive and deliberate. He needed to assume a con role, and his Dad was the perfect role for the moment. In order to save the bar, he had to become his father.
2.) The team sees her as the "emotional compass" rather than "mother."
@Macie: When Nate told Tara that he 'knows he's not okay' when he's drinking again, did he say that to appease her, or does he actually believe that?
He knows he's not okay. He just doesn't care.
@melissa: 1.)They know they are on a very limited time frame. When they call Tara – how close is she? And how do they know? Do they ALL have condos in Hardison’s building? 2.) Why did it take so long to think of “Emergency Fund” – and how did he know they ALL had a stash there? (I am assuming like others that they have cash stashed in assorted locations) 3.) Did Kane really thrown some darts blind and where did they actually land?
1.) She mentioned where she'd be. If she were too far away, they would have adapted. 2.) It just took them a few minutes, in the chaos of preparing the Wire. 3.) It took him a few to get the range, but yeah, he dropped them in there.
@mooandserpent: How much of (Nate's) protests in S1 about his being the straight-man riding herd on a bunch of crooks was legit and how much of it was his trying to convince himself that he wasn't just as bad as the rest?
Helllloooo Season 3.
@Anonymous: Will we ever see more awesome pickpocketing scenes like the ones in the Homecoming and Miracle Jobs? It kind of bothered me when Parker mentioned that she had stolen multiple items from the two guys when all we saw was a slap in the ass (each).
Not a lot of room to move the cameras in there, but yes, we have some complicated switch-offs coming up.
@Zara: When will we get some serious Hardison-centered episodes?
He carries some pretty heavy freight in the season finale, and he's already big in the first few of Season 3.
@Isaac: This episode had a lot of subtle interactions between the cast, which got me thinking about something: Did you give the actors some leeway in deciding on their character's backstory, such as how their pasts intersected (especially everyone's past with Nate)? Have these interpretations ever caused any disagreement between writers, directors, and actors? You've mentioned how "Beth is the keeper of all things Parker", but what if you and her were to diagree? For example: Eliot's relationship with Nate has been of special interest in this episode; did Kane and Hutton sit down at some point and discuss the finer details and how to portray them, or are those choices entirely up to someone else?
So far, there's never been any disagreement, because we don't tend to rely on backstory. You're watching these characters interact right now. The few times we've decided to define some backstory, we work it out with the actors.
The character relationships are a feedback loop. We write how we feel the characters should relate; we watch and see which relationships ping or sound true; we adjust. We now definitely write to certain dynamics.
@Dave Anderson: This is something that I hope gets addressed in Season 3 -- The Boston Irish Mob, the Triads, the other high end con crews etc. all know about the Leverage crew, and some of their names/faces. How exactly does the Leverage crew keep OpSec when they have a known gathering point (McCrary's Tavern), and at least in Season 2, a fairly limited geographic range of operation?
It does indeed start getting tricky in S3. But remember, criminal gangs operate out of one geographical area for decades. It's all about rep. And as far as law enforcement goes ... well, we'll get to that.
@wcbrooks: You know what would be cool? If Team Leverage worked with legendary thief/spy ALEXANDER (Robert Wagner) MUNDY (IT TAKES A THIEF). I could see Parker, Sophie, Elliot with a healthy case of "hero awe/respect".Talk about fun!What do you say Mr. Rogers?
Sadly, Mundy is owned by a different corporate overlord. We did name-check him in "Zanzibar", however. Or at least, name-steal.
Whew. All right, next up is "Zanzibar", but not before part one of the season finale, "The Three Strikes Job." Tell your friends, steal cable, and make sure to watch, because this is where it all goes to hell.