For once we had a pretty good idea of what we were going to do if we came back. We knew we were getting Nate out of jail. We wanted to do a high-concept, heisty show to reset the characters a.) for a new night and b.) to enjoy having Sophie back in the fold. I have no problem admitting I, personally, am far happier with this season opener than last. Dean directed the hell out of both, but I think I did a better job writing this one.
We went back and forth about Nate being on the run --- and to our surprise, it kind of all boiled down to the bar. Weirdly, a set that was always meant to be our secondary location had become an integral part of the mythology of the show. We'd have to build another goddam bar anyway, set in some other city, and we were juuuust starting to scratch the surface of Nate's identity ... which was, of course, very bound up in that neighborhood and that bar. So hell. Let's stay in Boston.
That intersected with the idea of opening up the show a little and exploring the mythical Crime World. The characters in Leverage are pulp, and in theory there's a whole six-inches-off-the-ground fictional universe out there where bored Thieves steal the Hope Diamond for fun and Hitters wipe out gangs of armed thugs with four hit points. (Or, rather, Extras if you're using Savage Worlds, or mooks if Feng Sui). The network had given us the go-ahead to do a weak arc. Not serialized, but a connected thread, a lite version of the Burn Notice conspiracy structure.
We turned the question "Just how much influence would be needed to keep Nate a free man in Boston?" into a teaser of "Jesus, just what kind of people can throw around the level of influence needed to keep Nate a free man in Boston?" Those are probably not people you actually want to be friends with. Sterling, agent of Interpol, floated up for a while, but let's face it -- that partnership would never last. Nope, it had to be a new player. And so the Italian was born.
The Italian is our mysterious gateway to the upper echelons of Crime World, which maps directly on to our Real World's international wild west. By this point we've done a lot of research on oligarchs and villains for the show, and I'd done a fair bit more for a stab I took at the Thomas Crown sequel. There are players out there kids, real human beings, who are way, way outside the law. Damien Moreau is based on two or three real people. I wouldn't go so far as to say there's a parallel world government, as that would imply intent and organization. But there is a parallel system out there. It's really just a matter of taking the out-of-control, unaccountable villains of our series and scaling up.
At the same time, we're not about to change the fundamental, relate-able Robin Hood premise of the show. So we split the difference. The team would maintain its cover, doing their usual good deeds, using them as a smokescreen to investigate uber-bad guy Damien Moreau. That way, when they take down a piece of Moreau's organization to find a way in, it can look like the guy was just collateral damage in a separate, non-Moreau-oriented scam. (Anyone who's read Cryptonomicon knows what we're riffing on here) The question, of course, is at what point Moreau will become suspicious, at what point the signal to noise ratio shifts.
This seemed to give us maximum flexibility. It allowed us to do the working class v. suited jackhole stories we so love (oh, there's a mining episode coming, trust us), and also explore some of the Crime World cases we found interesting during our research but could never fit into the smaller tone of seasons one and two. You know, here's the kicker about globalization: it both expands our horizons, and brings all sorts of hinky international shit to our front doors.
One of my favorite moments concerning 301 was when we were screening the episode, and I was sitting next to a very conservative friend. (Yes, I have those.) When the corporate prison pay-for-prisoners scam was explained in the episode, he threw a sidelong glance at me. I shrugged. "We didn't change that much from the real case, sadly."
A beat. "Wait, that really happened?"
"A little tweaked, but yeah."
A longer beat. "In America?"
And there you kind of have it, in a nutshell. I think the sincerely well-intentioned liberal ideal that good government can rein in the excesses of corporate culture is somewhat naive, since the social system was hacked a long time ago. And I think the sincerely well-intentioned conservative belief that rational markets will rein in the excesses of corporate culture is naive, because ... well, as legendary game designer Flint Dille recently reminded me, there's a great quote in The Big Sleep. To paraphrase: "A large enough amount of money takes on a life of its own."
Falling in the cynical middle ... is probably why I write a Robin Hood show.
This one was on the cards from last year. A high school reunion is all about people who know each other but wouldn't necessarily recognize each other. Perfect breeding ground for a con.
Last year it was originally pitched as a surprise/stall. The team was breaking into an underground vault, and using a defunct school's basement for access. The reunion occurred while they were heisting; they had to establish covers within the party to continue their original job. We went pretty far down the road on that pitch, developing the complication of a senator coming to his reunion to add threat from security ... and it just petered out. All this despite the fact that the last image -- Nate and Sophie dancing on the floor, while Hardison and Parker danced in the rafters -- was seared into our brains.
This year two of our new writers, Colton & Aboud saw the card, and it intrigued them. They broke a totally different story, where the high school reunion was a crucial part of the plot -- which, of course, was right. We had a lot of fun figuring out what the perfect age for our villain was and what we'd be trying to get out of him. After all, if the con is always a way to get access to something the villain has, what do you access at a reunion? Trust, and memories. Passwords seemed to be the best match for personal information. The lads then spot-welded the idea "What if Google were Evil" with the very fresh idea of exploring the Twitter effect on the then-recent Iranian demonstrations. You know, getting yourself some Harvard boys isn't a bad idea. I'm not generally in favor of encouraging that sort of thing, but they're certainly as hell working out.
The room was tickled that we finally got to use some of the cool Derren Brown hacks we'd grown to love. Crucial to this episode, of course, is the following clip ... (no embed, sorry, but DEFINITELY watch) My only major contribution to the episode was the Roman Room. I annoy the writers room constantly with my little hobbies; I'd been screwing around with memory techniques for the last couple years. For once, my ability to spool off all of Shakespeare's plays based on locations in my old high school gym came in handy. (I'm thinking the knight's tour is next ...)
All right, let's answer questions segregated bout by 301 and 302. Unless there's an explicit question or bit of confusion, if you don't mind, I won't respond to every post. I am pleased, by the way, that some of you guys now know the show well enough, you're answering most of these questions for me in the Comments. Soon I will be perfectly, blissfully superfluous.
As always, I haven't read ahead. I'm answering these in real time. If I run into something I don't know, I'll have the boys drop by in an EDIT/UPDATE
@Anonymous: Any chance for Eliot to develop feelings for Parker this seasons?
They make a great team (they have a great Wolverine/Kitty beat in mine, #303), but they're not emotionally suited to romance. At least in canon. Do whatever unspeakable things thou wilt on your livejournals.
@Dawn: For season 3, do you have an episode planned involving an apple pie scam? If so, will Nate, Eliot and/or Hardison be the lifeguards?
You kids and your shirtless requests.
@Richard Jensen: Will there still be instant streaming Via Netflix?
I do not know, and I'm still trying to figure it out. S2 was yanked because it's being offered as part of Time-Warner's TV Anywhere initiative. Not sure if S3 is under the same deal. You can still always catch it on real DVD, on TNT and on Amazon and iTunes. We also rerun like a sonuvabitch.
@Ed: And is that Aldis's brother in the prison?
Edwin Hodge, who is so funny, charming and handsome he is the only actor I can use to threaten Aldis with replacement and actually get the young man to take me seriously. He really does highlight how a great victim adds to the show.
@Jennifer: Was the helicopter in 301 the "Deancake" of the episode?
That little bastard was a lot trickier to shoot than we anticipated. No, I think an ENTIRE UNUSED PRISON was the Deancake ...
@Jen_An_W: I've been sitting here trying to figure out what's different about Parker... I think it's the eye makeup. It makes her look darker, less the goofy-naive Parker from before. Was that a conscious decision?
You know, I'm a writer-guy, so I hadn't even noticed. Beth and the makeup team probably just decided to vary it up. They are spending 14 hours a day in Portland together ... There's also a difference in the Red camera this year, and I know we tweaked some other hair and makeup issues. Whichever, not a conscious decision on the part of the producers.
@Aud_Arrt: Maybe I was distracted by the italian accent. Why don't the cops come pick Nate up after he breaks out of jail? I mean, he just...went home. I know they had plans to get out of the country, and the italian stopped them, but is she keeping the cops at bay? I know she said she would if they did the job they asked.
We'll tackle this one as representative of all the similar questions.
First, I'll admit -- he went home because we had to schedule around that set. But honestly, it hasn't been his home for six months. It's now, in every legal sense, just the office Hardison has listed under a shell corporation. And they were just ther eto bug out. Nate wouldn't have gone anywhere near it if he saw cops. And so yes, ther'es a reaosn he didn't see the other guys ...
Second -- people are indeed running interference. Bonanno's not super invested in chasing Nate Ford. He knows Nate brought down the guy s who shot him up, and if you're Irish or Italian from Boston, you do not let that just slide. Also, the Italian exerted her considerable influence to keep everybody off him. That is a clue to just how powerful she is.
Third -- there are time you people's faith in law enforcement is genuinely touching.
@Anonymous: I didn't have a question, I just wanted to share this with you: It's Nate Ford's Netflix queue http://yfrog.com/f/1getkj/
@Anonymous: Yah. Banano made Captain!
You know, it's amazing how much the fans love that character. Robert Blanche has really made him something special.
@joey C: Wikipedia says "John Rogers" is directing Episode Three. Is this you, another John Rogers, or someone thinking it was a funny prank?
@Mandi: 1.) Love how the question of Sophie's real name is being handled - is that ever going to be revealed on screen, or will it continue to torture Nate indefinitely or until he exhausts every name in existence? (I'm not going to bother asking what it is, of course. I know better.) 2.) Also, how much time passed between "The Three Strikes Job" and "The Jailhouse Job?" How long have the rest of the team known Sophie's real name - Parker acted like she hadn't used that name in forever, but this is Parker, after all.
1.) She will torture Nate for as long as it amuses her. And us. 2.) Roughly six months. And yeah,that's just Parker. She lives in a binary world.
@Lisa: Are we to assume that Bonnano would be looking into Billy's case and getting him out of jail since he had to go back? It was great to see him again, btw, and to know that he got promoted!
Yes, Billy's case --and all the others -- will be reviewed and he will be sprung imminently. That's why Nate left everything in Bonanno's hands. he trusts him.
@G: Also, does Bonnano actually believe Ford is a "very bad man" or he just being all dramatic?
Oh, he's enjoying that moment.
@G: Will we have more Psych/Burn Notice references? (e.g. a client is from SB and tried the police, even tried to find a local psychic detective, but unfortunately him and his buddy have been off [doing crazy things] and [deadline to prevent bad things from happening] is in a week.)
Sadly, the TNT/USA universes are fictional in each others frame of reference. Now, if we coudl establish a bridging reality ...
@Nicole: llet's see if I can pull myself out of utter glee and come up with a few questions... 1: Was Parker using the name "Fiona" a subtle shout out to Burn Notice? (Especially since you gave solid nods to Rockford Files and Psych.) 2: Why are there two episodes being run for two weeks in a row? I can understand an extended premier, and that you've got an extra episode... but as you'd imagine some of us want how may weeks of Leverage we get to be as many as possible
1.) Coincidence. Psych is our only cable boyfriend. We don't cheat. 2.) answered above.
@Vanessa: 1.) Newspaper folded 8 times . . . ledger or orange box? 2.) How did Parker figure out the combo to the judge's safe? 3.) Is Rockford prison a homage to Rockford Files? 4.) What happened when Nate & Billy split up? 5.) How did The Italian get into Nate's apt w/o the team knowing?
1.) Well, you can't fold past seven, so ... ledger-y, but pretty good. 2.) She just straight out cracked it 3.) Ironically, it was the only name that cleared. 4.) Billy went bakc to his cell and lay low, while Hardison, in prison gear, intercepted Nate and steppeind into camera frame and the van with him. This is why Hardison was in the Van. A fair number of people missed that the second guy was Hardison. 5.) She is spooky. Like, "works with people who used to hire Eliot" spooky.
@Kris: Did Nate actually end up going through the heating area like Parker suggested?
No, that was the refridgerator exchange system. It cooled him enough, with the wet tarp, to fool the body heat sensor.
@Shaheen Shine: 1.)How come the guards in Jailhouse Job attack Elliot one-at-a-time? This has happened in several episodes. Can't he fight several people at once? 2.) and how did Sophie talk to Nate through the jail phones?? aren't they wired so that the officers can hear ? unless Hardison wired them... 3.) how is it that Sophie got past the guards with the kielbasa? don`t they have a luggage scanner type thing that checks for spikes like (ear coms,knives,guns)?
1.) Well, first off, Eliot tends to place himself in controlled acccess situations, forcing guys into that approach. Go back and when you see multiple opponents watch how many are in doorways or on stairs. ("Bank Shot" is a good example of controlling fight space) Eliot's job is to win, not look flashy. Second, multiple guys attacking tend to just get in each others' way. The multiple guy advantage is not as spiffy as you think.
2.) We show you, Hardison spoofs the phones in the prison with the Spanish soap opera.
3.) The buds don't show up in scanners or x-rays. ceramic.
@jarodrussell: If Interpol is Leverage-verse's SHIELD, who does this Italian woman work for? Spear? Hydra?
S.W.O.R.D. That's right,the show is taking a giant left turn ...
@briddle: I think the most striking thing is that the team has matured since last season. Was that intentional, or just a by-product of the actors becoming even more comfortable working together?
A lot of it is actor chemistry and having Gina back, but it is intentional. They are now much more Nate's peers.
@Kristin: are we ever going to learn what Sophie did during her time away as well as what she learned? I know its been about 6 months between season 2 and 3 so the team probably talked about that stuff already, but will the viewers be privvy to Sophie's self-discovery? If Tara hadn't called Sophie to come back to help the team, would she have come back already? Did she "figure herself out?"
Nope. Sophie's not a sharer. But she got her shit together. With one big hanging loose end ...
@Anonymous: Has Nate already testified in the Kadjic/Culpepper trail or was that pending during his escape?
He's testified, but the Feds particularly Special Agent Nevins, are not fond of him, and are bouncing him around from facility to facility while the hold his hearings (habeus and otherwise).
@Matt in Wyoming: 1) When Eliot leaned over Billy and told him he was going to gt him out alive, I had a major flashback to every Navy SEAL scene I've seen in movies about hostage extractions. "We're Americans, we're here to take you home." I thought he was about to choke up right there. Thoughts about Elliot's extraction history, and who on the writer's staff decided to have him deliver the news that way? It really hit me. 2) Minor gaff - Sophie reading off the account number from the checkbook, it's really the bank routing number - identifies the bank, not the account. Like I say, minor, but as a guy with some banking experience, it stood out for me. Routing on the left, account on the right, third number's the check number.
1.) Eliot learned to retrieve from somewhere. I personally enjoy writing hyper-competent Eliot, and Christian really landed it. 2.) Really? Could've sworn she read the account. Well, most people wouldn't know how to read that number, but you blew it. Nice. Now when people are ripped off, I can direct them to Matt in Wyoming.
@Miranda: 1.) Eliot as the 5th wheel? Hope this doesn't lead to an Eliot-The Italian hookup since she's the only other woman around. 2.) As for The Italian, it sounds like she works for the Illuminati or something. This arc reminds me of season 5 of The A-Team when the team has to go to work for General Stockwell. A lot of people think that's when the A-Team jumped the shark. Hope Leverage wraps this up quickly and next season it's back to our favorite thieves having all of the leverage. 3.) When will we see Taggert and McSweeten again? I love those guys. 4.) And why is the team so upset about Nate going to prison for them? He was true to his nature and they should have seen that coming. Sophie got the offices blown up in season 1 and the team forgave her rather quickly compared to what Nate's going through.
1.) Eliot doesn't shit where he eats. He has outside interests. 2.) You know the team's power levels really were going too easily unchallenged. We need to set them up against someone who could knock them for a loop. Don't worry, the relationship with the Italian oscillates between hostile and murderous. 3.) Soon. 4.) Sophie lied through a sin of omission, and back when they were all just adjusting to be honest. Nate lied during a con ABOUT the con, in order to get them out of a situation he put them in because he was a.) drunk and b.) didn't listen. He then chose the solution that salved his own conscience, but really, when you look at it, endangered the rest of the team. Not to mention, he was pretty holier than thou for two years, even rejecting themat the start of the episode 301.
@Chris Ayers: Loved the premiere(s). I noticed that when Parker was posing for the photos she was, shall we say, very comfortable in her own skin. Will this come into play in later episodes or is it a one-time quirk of her personality?
She's suddenly aware (and comfortable) of her effect on Hardison this year, and you'll see that evolve.
@Crescent: While I love the loft over the bar, why would the team go back there after breaking Nate out of prison? Sterling (ie Interpol) and the Feds know about the place and I would be surprised if Bonano didn't know. Wouldn't a new HQ be better?
They were just there to bug out. if not for the Italian, they'd be long gone.
@Your Obedient Serpent: I know that many (if not all) of your Corporate Corruption plotlines are "Ripped From the Headlines", as the Tropers say. Please, tell us about the real-world inspirations for the Privatized Prison Rip-Off!
It's drawn from a couple stories (Hardison's in-character crack about the failure of private prisons in Britain is accurate) but of course, a chunk of it was inspired by this. Kudos to commenter @Medrawt for spotting that.
Bonus points, the case Sophie and Parker are pretending to argue about as Judge and clerk is Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad. Sophie believes that was poorly decided.
@Nato: I've only seen 301 thus far, but I'd love to know where you guys shot the episode. That looked like a very believable prison, and I'd be surprised if too many such facilities were just sitting around empty for TV shows to film in. I expect I'll be proven wrong in this assumption, in highly educational fashion.
Nope, it's an actual empty prison.
@tgvcomic: One other question. I noticed when Elliot brought up the info on Adam Worth in the Prison Dentist room, the screen seemed to say that Adam Worth is "Father to Dalton Rand." So, the corrupt Warden is the father of the corrupt fake psychic (is there any other kind) in The Future Job?
No, that was just our computer guy having a bit of fun.
@Kris: What's the state of their finances? In my head Parker spent the least amount of money after the Nigerian job, and Hardison the most. But is there a team fund they all contribute to? In 301 did they use Nate's personal accounts to set up the warden because they were otherwise near broke or because they didn't want to part with their own money unless they had to?
They're all fine. They used Nate's money to tie him to the warden for the frame-up.
@Anonymous: In the opener, Elliot sure beat down those two FBI agents - even tossing one in front of a moving vehicle. Would he have fought like that for Nate's escape if the team really had enacted "Sophie's" plan? And why was it so hard for Elliot to dispatch the two Iranian's in the Reunion Job? Were they especially tough or should we continue to blame his new eyeglasses?
Sophie was being dramatic in setting up the breakout. And those Iranians were not short order cooks. They were they guys you keep on staff to deal with people like Eliot.
@Anonymous: So, Nate escaped from prison, and is able to just...stay in his neighborhood bar? How did the US Marshalls not find him and put him back in prison? Does he wear Groucho glasses when he goes outside?
Again, your faith in the Marshall's service is touhing. But as stated, the Italian's shielding him.
@Winona: The question: What led to the decision of Parker only having one name? I guess she has either a first name or a last name that she doesn't use, but how did you and the LEVERAGE creative team decide that she would only have one?
Parker is (probably) neither her first nor last name. She's just Parker. We wanted to lay some of the hard-boiled tropes on the more unexpected character.
It's a pretty blatant Westlake shout-out. He's the man.
@alikatkaniac: 1. Did someone get Billy out of jail? 2. Who's decision was it to make Nate drink again? Is it going to be a problem this season because it's a little disheartening to think he didn't realize how much it screwed up the team in the past. 3. Hardison seemed the most bitter and serious in these two episode especially about Nate going to jail for them. As well as not being very amused by Eliot and Nate teasing him. Is this a case of Hardison was let down so he's built up walls where Nate is concerned or he'll be over it by next episodes? 4. I'm thrilled to see how Sophie is bonding with the team again especially her and Eliot. Did they forgive her for running out on them before she came back or was this something they hashed out while Nate was in prison? 5. Parker seems to have grown more relaxed and closer to everyone. Is this due to the fact she feels more like part of a family at long last? 6. One question I've always wondered - with Hardison being the hacker he is, why can't he destroy all evidence against the team and their finger prints from the federal/international agencies?
1.) Bonanno will. 2.) Dean and I decided. They tend to leave Nate's drinking to me ... 3.) Hardison and Nate's relationship is becoming much more mentor/prodigy this year, with all the emotional complications that entails. You drive your prize student hardest. 4.) They understood why she took off. She was talking to all of them off and on, remember? 5.) Yes. 6.) He scrubs a lot of shit clean, but they have counter-hackers, and there are place she just can't go. At the very least he moitors local law enforcement databases and emails, and spikes any investigations or warrants that come their way. its how he cleaned out the evidence in last year's finale.
@ANonymous: Alright, I'm just laying this out there: Parker and Hardison have no romantic chemistry and never have. They look great standing next to each other, and they can be kind of touching when they connect as friends, but I just don't see any sparkling chemistry between them as a couple. Not to mention that Parker's sudden willingness to engage in coupledom is coming straight out of left field.
First, you're high. Kidding, kidding. To be fair, the first kiss in "First David" was intentionally the worst kiss we could get them to do. Second, she's not willing to jump into coupledom. They haven't even really kissed. What she's doing is engaging in flirting for really the first genuine time in her life. but she will have to deal with the fact that with genuine emotions comes genuine, ah, misery ...
@StacyB: 1. How did Eliot get out of the prison? 2. How did Billy get back into the prison, and how did he get out in order to be seen on the camera in the first place?
Worth repeating. he didn't. That's Hardison getting into the van, which you can see if you freeze-frame. We cut the reveal shot for time, and in retrospect we shouldn't have.
@Aviva: At the end of the Jailhouse Job, Eliot moves to fight a a group men with guns already drawn and trained on him and the team, but Nathan stops him. It's very similar to the scene at the end of the Maltese Falcon Job. Could Eliot really win that fight? Because he's starting to come off a little suicidal...
With a doorway? Yeah, he could at least slow them down.
@Sarah: My one question, because I've always wondered and I don't think I've ever seen anything posted about it, is Eliot meant to be nearsighted or farsighted? Just curious.
We always treated them like reading glasses. If one or the other, I'd say he's a bit nearsighted.
@David Hunt: I'm going to post my guess as to what Sophie's real name is, just because: It's Annie Croix. I think that she went back to her original real self to run the Beantown Bailout and Maltese Falcon Cons.
Nope, although it is ... no never mind that, spoiler. Anyway, she was in the role for so long, it's arguably as real as her past life. Annie Kroy would pass a lot of tests to see if she's real.
@Anonymous: Moreau isn't someone we've already met, right?
Ahhhhhhhhnd ... no, that would be cruel to lie. No.
@Courtney: This may have been asked and answered before, but does Beth do the gymnastics in those episodes where she's flipping out of an air vent or while dodging lasers in a vault, or does she have a double?
Beth does almost all her own rigging work and a fair bit of the crawling around and flipping, but her trusty double does the crazy break-your-neck stuff.
@Sherri: 1.) was that a TANDY? It looked a lot like a freakin' Tandy, only white and not the ugly brown/beige/putty color I remember. 2.) THANK you for the Elliot flashback!
1.) I am not sure what we gacked up. It may have been an old DEC, but I know we had to cobble it together and then greek any identifiers. 2.) Hey, he had to learn knifework from somewhere.
@antisocialbutterflies: Only one question from me. Is there any particular reason that TNT is burning through two episodes at a time? Not that I am complaining but I know you guys only make 15 episodes per season and I'm a deferred gratification kinda gal. I'd hate for them to burn through this half of the season in a month and be stuck Leverage-less until January.
I believe it's so we can eventize and lock in Sunday nights, which is a new night for TNT (we have, at this point, opened 3 nights for them). We will go to single eps after July 4, and then do 3 eps in December. Including our first Christmas ep.
@pdljmpr6: Okay, first off, AWESOME eps. Both of them. Awesome. Now 1) Where is Nate living now that they've turned his apt into their office? 2) flashbacks were awesome for Hardsion and Eliot, will there be more from when they were teens? 3) Parker didn't go to high school? where was she 4) Nate and Sophie both had fights, are all the cast getting more physical this season? 5) Why was Nate's title changed to 'Brains'? It seems to imply that the others have none & therefore need him, which they obviously do because they're all the best at what they do. 6) Eliot seemed upset with his 5th wheel status @ end of Reunion, IS THIS GOING TO BE ADDRESSED?? Are you gonna let the man have some lovin'??
1.) Nate is living in his old bedroom upstairs, which has both his furniture and crap Hardison is storing. You see it before the end of the season. 2.) You see Teen Parker this next week. 3.) She was doing mad crimez, yo 4.) if you call "nate ambushing a dude with a pillowcase" a fight, I guess so. No, air order coincidence. 5.) Because there's no "M" in"Leverage" to build the "Mastermind" for the new credit sequence. Watch how the words slide.. 6.) Eliot is just generally annoyed that everybody else got a nice night at a party. Annoyed Eliot is funny, and don't you worry, he ain't lonely. He is particularly not lonely in ep 306.
@Rick: Who's idea was it for the 80's Synthesizer Musical Cue" at the office reveal? Because that person deserves a bonus.
Our show composer Joe Loduca, who has just knocked it out of the park this year. I would note, however, that the musice everyone is dancing to (because clearing music is a pain in the ass) is from Dean Devlin's actual, real life band he had in the 80's, "Nervous Service".
Hey, there's YouTube footage of me doing standup out there. Let him live with skeletons out of his closet.
@Liz: One thing I liked in particular was how we got a real sense that time has passed since we last saw the team. Which leads to my question: will we get to see some of what the team was up to before Nate's rescue?
We're saving that for the tie-ins. Although in one episode you do get to see what they were all doing before they hooked up with Nate. It's really one long flashback ...
@LISA: ... 1.) Is it a stretch to assume that the Eliot home ec flashback is referencing what he said to Nate when he was the caterer during The Wedding Job? And the Hardison flashback is referencing to Second David Job when Sterling mentioned Hardison being wanted in Iceland? 2.) How did they figure out who Duberman's nemesis was in high school? 3.) Was it hard to track down the 80s computer equipment since it's so obsolete? 4.) Sorry if I missed it, but has Hardison named his new van? 5.) How long has Sophie been using the neurolinguistics thing on the team without them realizing it? And when will we find out the new name she's using?
1.) Got both of them. Nice catch. 2.) Drake had a lean and hungry look. 3.) It was tricky, but we have great prop people. 4.) He has. You didn't miss it. He says it a bit later in the season. 5.) She uses it pretty much every day, almost unconsciously. But she doesn't screw with them unless they, say, mock her fear of roaches.
@Anonymous: 1.) How did Gina like her first full fledged fight scene on the show, and did Christian give her any tips 2.) How exactly did Eliot become familiar with the secret police? 3.) Why did Parker pretend to know what a Roman Room was when she didn't? To try to fit in? And how did the Roman Room concept come about?
1.) She had a ton of fun, worked her ass off with Kevin Jackson, our stunt coordinator. Christian was kind of busy planning a three-way fight. 2.) He retrieved some people from them. 3.) You see Parker do that sometimes. She's a little insecure about not knowing some cons. her con knowledge, versus her thief knowledge, is not as thorough as everyone else's. The origin of the Roman Room is explained above.
@G: 1.) What meme is the kielbasa in reference to? Or just thought it was funny? 2.) Also, will we see more awkward Parker Hardison moments?
1.) Kielbasa is just a very funny word. 2.) Ohhh yes. Although they are getting progressively less awkward.
@Vanessa: How/why did Paul Bernard play Schmitty? Good part for him :-)
Our line producer Paul Bernard did a great job as Schmitty. Dean and I have both done cameos, and as our original 1st AD and now line producer, we thought it woudl be fun. Also, he may have wanted to chintz out on the day player. I would not put it past him.
@Nicole: Was any part of generating the Reunion Job inspired by Gross Point Blank? Assassins at school reunions... (And why is it they go so well together?) 4: Was that amazing 80's music cue Devlin's band?
1.) No, not inspired, although perhaps unconsciously. I'll ask the lads. 2.) I am absolutely goddam terrified you knew Dean Devlin had an 80's band.
@Kris: The rapid-fire flashback sequence for hacking Duberman was awesome. Also scary. But mostly awesome. Did any particular recent literature or news inspire that, or was it something you'd wanted to do for awhile?
As noted, Derren Brown is a good start. Just spend the day on Youtube, and order his DVD's.
@Penguin on the Telly: what are your plans for Parker and Hardison this seasons?
Confusion, but not cruelty.
@Shelly: 1.) know it has to somehow, but what kind of role does Nate's alcoholism play in this season? 2.) I loved the boy's flashbacks! Hardison's made the entire living room of people just squeal with happy. Do we get any for either of the girls next week? How about Nate? 3.) Also, we were wondering, did you guys write the episode first and then retool the dialogue in 302 to have the neurolinguistics keywords in people's lines, or did you guys write them in place the first draft through? We all thought it would be easier to write it and then put them in throughout the dialogue but as I said, we were curious about the order of the writing process on that.
1.) Nate's a functioning alcoholic, like House is a functioning addict. I personally despise the recovery drama of US television. It's worth noting that he is more sober, and has a better sense of just how much he needs to keep the edge on. 2.) Parker coming up, and Nate later in the season. I don't think you'll ever see a flashback of Sophie younger than an adult. Although you do learn an awful lot about one of her personas in #310. As in, maybe it's a bit closer to home than you expect ... 3.) Colton & Aboud knew how they wanted to proceed, and wrote the dialogue around the Badger 85 clue.
@Anonymous: who is the actor that played Larry Duberman and what else did he play in? He used to be in something and it's really bugging me that I can't think of it...doh!!!
Arye Gross. And he was in everything.
@Calla: 1.) I would like to know how you came up with the name Manticore - I can't stop thinking of the secret organization of the same name that was so important to the James Cameron 'Dark Angel' series. 2.) I'm sure people are all incredulous about the old school computer running that big Manticore program - but I say poo poo! I used to work at a company that ran non-networked, flop-disk-driven, 32K computers with programs written in visual basic to synthesize DNA, much of which played a large role in the mapping of the human genone, among other things.
1.) Manticore is a myth of Persian origin. It seemed appropriate. 2.) To be fair, Duberman is using his old computer for just the front end top level access to Manticore. Although I am fond of reminding people that those old trash 80's had more computing power than what we used to send men to the fucking moon.
@Nathan: 1) Tivo listed the episode numbers as 301 and 303. Are they being shown out of the intended order for some reason? Next week also showed up as 305 and 302. 2) For the first time with this show, I was disappointed with one of the liberties taken with reality. There is no way that computer can handle anything like what it would need to run something like Manticore. You couldn't even fit the traffic needed through that tiny little wire in the back of the computer with current gen fiber optics, much less whatever network it had ... etc.
1.) Shoot order is slightly different from air order this year, but that was based primarily on actor avails -- we moved an ep forward to get Clancy Brown, for example, and another to fit Elizabetta's schedule. The exception is mine, which the network moved up because they thought it was a good second Sunday opener. 2.) Addressed above, but a.) there's a couple ways you can rig that computer to acts as the superuser rig b.) the cables are modified, if you watch when Hardison fiddles with the back c.) we could have gone into more detail, but basically only people like you, me and writer Scott Veach give a shit. At this point, the joke that I will "answer the emails' is a standard part of episode prep ...
@Gordon: In the yearbook, was that Noah Hutton's picture they used for McIntire's? You could see the resemblance to both Tim Hutton and Debra Winger.
I do not believe so. I think it was a random cleared pic. I'll check.
@scooter5203249: Quick observation/question before heading off to work: Elliot's computer skills have come a long way since The Homecoming Job (I think it was the homecoming job when Hardison prepped him to steal files). Are the new skills all thanks to Hardison, or has Elliot been dating a computer wiz?
Hardison. And soon, they have a very disappointing setback.
@evening-shadow: Question, though, why was Parker in her rig at the end of the Reunion Job?
In the original script she had rig-work, which we cut. But we so loved the floaty dance, we left that bit in. I will sacrifice a lot for floaty dance.
@Anna: 1. I assume we'll be learning Sophie's real name sometime later in the season? Will it be incorporated in? I noticed in 302, Eliot still called her "Sophie". 2. Was there was a back-up plan for the password if the brainhacking of Larry Duberman didn't work out? Like, did Hardison have some brute force program working in the background?
1.) Don't assume. 2.) Terrifyingly, that was the backup plan.
@Rebecca: Hardison mentioned what was on Nate's netflix queue. What would be on Sophie, Parker, Eliot and Hardison's netflix queue?
I leave that up to the Commenters. Eliot, however, defintely has Zulu on there.
@Odie: It seemed like there were an awful lot of shots where the camera circled around (the people, the action, the room) in 'Reunion'. Was this supposed to signify something
Stylistic signature of the show, usually indicating the world is "turning" at that plot point. You see it quite a bit in the previous seasons.
@SueN: Something has been nagging at me, and I finally realized what it was. How is it that our lovely English Sophie knows so much about the American high school food chain? I must admit, as a former band nerd, her antipathy toward cheerleaders made me smile. ;-)
She may not have grown up with cheerleaders, but she knows their type.
@jarodrussell: Wherein I go for the Leverage No-Prize... To the people concerned/complaining about the retro-computing in 302, I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that it wasn't hosting Manticore so much as acting as the primary node for Manticore. A system designed to track and monitor an entire country requires a *LOT* of processing power, in the form of voice recognition systems, network equipment to monitor packets, etc. What we were shown was likely just the brains of Manticore, the keystone if you will. It could be accessed via a web server (like Dubenech used to change the password on his phone), but because it was a web server specifically programmed for that computer (probably written in assembly), none of Hardison's typical IIS or Apache hacks could get to it. You could never run Manticore on such a machine, but you could build Manticore so that only that machine could issue updates, issue authentication keys, and the like. That's why *EVERYONE* wanted it.
Your No-Prize is in the mail.
@Livlife: 1.) Was it just me or did Eliot seem in better humor in 302 (I mean in better humor than ever before)? Joking, having fun, kidding with the gang...was that a conscious choice? Was Christian just having fun on that particular shoot? Or is this a demonstration of him finally developing trust with the gang and showing his true self? 2.) Is the "big bad" (as Hardison called it and was that a Whedon/Buffy reference?) going to be an ongoing theme? So when we're in the tenth or so season of Leverage will we be seeing a major target each season that they're working toward, or is that specific to this season? And if this season, then why? Why change the single-ep storyline to an over-arching, season-long con? (Not complaining...I really like the idea, I see fun possibilities, just curious). 3.) And why the decision to make Eliot a former HS jock/QB? I never read him that way at all. Which leads me to wonder, if he really was the all-American kid, what happened to turn him into our beloved Eliot--and will that be explored A) EVER? and B) this season?
1.) The theme of this year is how the team's finally acknowledged that they are afamily, they just have no idea how to go about being one. So yes, eliot, is more comfortable. Also, he likes a good snappy team. 2.) Yes, Hardison made an intentional Whedon reference. We just wanted to change things up, see how the arc works. TV is a living medium. Got to keep things fresh. It's not a season-long con. More "1 in 4", although the careful viewer will see us setting up a couple things. 3.) Christian has a backstory for Eliot. That's part of it. And yeah, something fairly awful must have happened ...
@Elizabeth: 1.) Are we going to see more NLP from Sophie? At some point she must have told everyone she was doing that, since Parker and Eliot both knew she'd been "brainwashing" him. When did she tell them, and why? 2.) Was Doucherman (hahaha... why do I imagine Nate was actually kinda like that in HS?) based on a real person, or a real case? The prison case is totally evil enough to be real. 3.) How much of the background story, about Iran and a Manticore-like computer program, was true? I'm afraid to hear that it all was.
1.) It's more like how I wind Downey up about the coming apocalypse. He knows I'm winding him up, but he can't help himself, and forgives me afterwards. usually. 2.) Duberman's an amalgam of rich people who may be very litigious. 3.) You know there's a record of your IP address for every site you've ever visited, right? Anyway, Manticore itself is fictional, but its methodology is the result of a discussion I had with some online friends. I then tossed what I knew into the lads' research, and they boiled it down with the prodigious work they'd already done. Social media is a pain in the ass for totalitarian states, and it's only a matter of time before they get serious about subverting it.
@LisaS: 1) Emily Weston - running for Atty General in 301 and coming to the reunion in 302. Someone you know, or just an obscure shout out to "Empty Nest"? 2) Was the reference to "Psych" an air kiss to their writers, since they referenced/air-kissed "Leverage" in their season 4 ep. 15 last spring?
1.) Gotta love a pre-cleared name. 2.) They are our brothers on another network.
@Ryuu: y question, though! I loved when you cast Noa Tishby as a hitter because she looks like she can hurt people, but the actress cast as "Nikki" was a skinny little thing who really didn't look like she could hurt anyone if she was disarmed. What's up with that casting?
Nikki's job is shooting people. Although I assure you, Kari Wuhrer works out and could certainly kick my ass.
@kausngkayn: Question - who thought of the idea of having Eliot subtly trained by Sophie? That was the funniest thing in the entire two episodes. Seriously.
Colton & Aboud, as a way of setting up the pipe for the bit. Adroitly done.
@Miranda: I didn't think Duberman was all that evil. I think the whole high school bullying thing softened him up for me. So, if you don't mind, I have a few requests for future evil villains: evil weatherman, evil librarian, evil mortician (that's an actual current news story with the military dead in DC), evil member of the stock car racing community (want to see Eliot drive fast cars, but it would be better if it was Parker), and evil school lunch lady (in Season 1, Eliot said he had a nephew. The nephew could ask for the team's help).
You actually get one of those this season.
@jGroah: Glad you guys are back John. Alright, rights and license fee aside, what would've been your first choice for the 80s song at the end of 302?
"Don't You Forget About Me."
@ps: Why didn't the police pick up Nate after he broke out of prison? I mean the FBI was at the reunion, and he was right there dancing with "Sophie."
Already addressed, but they were also distracted by the yahoo with the gun.
Jesus Murphy. That's all I got. I look forward to even more craziness after the giant Parker backstory dump in #303 and the mind-blowing Act Four of #304. As always, thaks for your time, and go out and convert your friends! Don't watch alone!