Sunday, November 18, 2012

LEVERAGE #507 "The Real Fake Car Job" Post-game

Hey, you nominated us for a People's Choice Award.  I suppose the least I can do is get off my ass and wrap up these post-games.

The trick, of course, is that hiatus is when all the things you promise you'll do when the show is no longer eating your life come due.  This year those promises wound up being four (gak) pilots on various timelines, a brand new company under my banner, an animated movie ready for concept art and digging in on Thrillbent.  Oh, and some RPG stuff -- I wrote a setting for Robin Laws' great new story-style DramaSystem game called Hillfolk,  and I'm working on a companion for a ... fate-ful system.

Better problems to have than not.  But I hate to think you loyal Grifters are paying the price for the inevitable between-seasons shiver of "Finally fucking DONE" which afflicts every showrunner on the season wrap.

Checking my notes, Josh came into the writer's room first week with this story.  We'd discussed using antique cars in the room after we shot "The Boost Job" at the Portland International Raceway.  While we were scouting that episode the nice folks at the raceway told us about how the weekends at the joint were jammed with privately-owned classic cars being taken out for a spin by their owners.  We managed to get those cars for our episode in almost the exact same way Hardison scores them for the con in-story -- we asked.  And they showed up.  As they do.

The episode changed very little over its evolution but for a slight tweaking of the emotional arc.  The Mob originally showed up much earlier, where the Mob Boss was obsessed with the car.  In the end The Boss reveals he was chasing the car, not the guy, as his family was persecuted by Mussolini, and he'd believed he tore the damn thing apart ten years ago.  It was more about fathers and heritage, and tied in nicely with Nate's sketchy background and his desire to build something better in his life. It was also a much better story for the Mob Boss than it was for the rest fo the Leverage team.  FWIW this is one of the challenges of Leverage -- the villain balance.  

I was really fascinated by the first season of Justified, when often Raylon would just drop out of the episode and we'd follow the misadventures of the villains.  That's particular approach is very true to the Elmore Leonard novel structure from which the show sprang.

Now, flip around to most police procedurals, like Castle or most other procedurals.  The villain is unknown.  When the protagonists are interacting with the guest cast, they're usually in a power-positive position and the motives of the characters they encounter are hidden -- and without an understandable objective (scene OR story), it's almost impossible to emotionally connect with a character. (re: the three questions of drama: 1.) "Who wants what?" 2.) "Why can't they have it." 3.) "Why do I give a shit?")  The entire emotional and motivational freight of the story is on the protagonists who are acting, to a great degree, into a vacuum. This is one of the reason serial killer stories work so well, BTW, which is a post for another time.  Another thing to think about is that one show which broke this paradigm quite handily was Law & Order, but only in its second half.  In most episodes of L&O by the second half the villain is revealed and the show becomes move/countermove.  This probably extended its life span, as I believe there's a natural limit on how long you can stretch out the journey of relatively static heroes.

Con shows don't work unless you have a good sense of the villain, because a good con is tailored to that villain's weakness (or strength).  You can try to solve a murder in a vacuum, but you can't con an unknown Mark.  This means Leverage has to balance 5 regular cast members and the Mark.  Oy.  You can then actually go back through five season of Leverage and notice that when the villain is more generic, that's often because the challenge has become the system out guys are dealing with or some internal character issue. Emotional real estate in 50 pages is very valuable.

The best Leverage episodes -- and I am more than willing to admit that over 77 there are some ones we're very proud of, and ones where we think "Okay, wish we'd had a little more time on THAT" -- is when the villain, world and team emotional plotlines balance perfectly.  

Often that doesn't happen at script stage, or at least it's something we can't anticipate until we're filming or even editing.  "The Grave Danger Job" is my favorite example of this.  The villainous funeral director was an interesting character, but we couldn't imagine her being a real threat to our guys, so we brought in the Escalating Threat of the Mexican Identity Thieves.  Anne-Marie Johnson was so great as Darlene Wickett, though, she just filled out that role in ways we didn't anticipate.  I found myself in the edit thinking "Shit, I wish we could go back and rewrite this script so we can finish out the whole show with her."

All this to say "The Real Fake Car Job" is one of those boilerplate, "we got it right" episodes.  Josh swung the emotional focus of the show around from the Mob Boss to the Mark, and how his dilemma could be used as a mirror for the team.  I've written before how a show can't help but reflect the emotional issues of the people making it, and the question "What comes next?" is uppermost in the minds of any production staff in season 5.  Once you're past Season 4 in serial television, each year becomes statistically more likely to be your last, and that curve rises exponentially.  That may vary a bit according to the marketplace,  but not much.

Lillard was great, as was Ion Overman, and the simple act (this was Downey's idea) of anchoring them in a dysfunctional pseudo-marriage gave the actors something very fun to work with.  This gave every scene with them sort of an ... over-mood to play out their conflict in.  It even provided one of my favorite Nate bits, the "marriage counselor" attitude he played from the chair, which is far more interesting than the straight "hostage/playing them off each other" vibe you'd wind up with in most stories. 

And that is, indeed, Matthew Lillard diving out of the damn way of the damn car Tim is driving, might I add.  Kane's infectious.  Probably showing off as he knoew that warehosue was the same one we filmed the big Season Three Kane shootout. 

In one of those weird "Good research makes you look psychic" moments, shortly after we wrapped production on the episode, a man reputedly bought a Hitler fleet car on the internet.  

Okay, I'm sure you got lots of questions about the character beats, so I'll skip discussing those and get to the good stuff ...

@Aaron Button: Just one observation: a banana peel in the garbage? The Mark's been in Portland for ten months and he wasn't given one of those little compost bins from the city?

He got one, but he threw it out.  That's JUST HOW EVIL HE IS.

@PartyGirl: Thank you for the funniest episode since like the Rashomon Job :)One question though: How did the phone get into the bag with the money? Last we see it, it is lying next to the bag on the floor of the warehouse when Erickson stumbles over the bag as the mob guys show up. When Parker, Hardison and Nate run past, the phone is nowhere to be seen, so it wasn't one of them who put it in there (which could have been explained by a missing flashback)

Nate drops it in -- indeed, missing flashback.  We were just so stacked with flashbacks, we dropped it in the cut.

@Calla: I really enjoyed Eliot & Sophie playing a very obvious "Mr & Mrs Smith." We so rarely get Eliot & Sophie working together, just the two of them ... 
1.) Why is Sophie taking such an interest in Eliot this season? Is it because she needs something - a hobby, a mystery, a challenge, a Rubix Cube - to fill the void that Parker left when she started dating Hardison and Nate is no longer such a train wreck? 
2.) Also, why does Eliot feel that he has to keep the brewery from going under (at the sacrifice of his own dream to own his own resturant)? It's not like the brewery failing will bankrupt Hardison; and why wouldn't Eliot think it's just a temporary hobby for Hardison before they relocate again?

1.) To a great degree, if you're going to talk about aftermaths, pairing up the two members of the team who've actually come to regret their actions is the natural conversation.  Nate, Hardison and Parker are in their primary transformation over the course of the show.  Eliot quit killing people not long before the show started, and Sophie's testing life as a citizen when we meet her in the pilot.  They're also a lovely contrast in how people process their lives and work around self-image. Just felt like a nice combination.

To be honest, some of it is just actor availability.  It's hard to convey just how much tighter our budget is than most other cable TV Dramas, and how much more we try to do with it.  As a result, episodes often block shoot and overlap to save money for the big adventure blowouts, which menas actors are running between scenes of different episodes on the same day.  In this case we wound up with Christian and Gina pairing up the best in small scenes, and that reinforced our development of that storyline.

2.) I don't think Eliot's giving up his dream of running his own restaurant.  But now that he's doing it with Hardison, well ...  He's not the type to admit it, but listen to the phrasing on that plan he has.  He's backing into a situation where he does the thing he loves with the people he's come to love.  He's just too emotionally shut down to admit he'd love doing it.

@LindaS: I have a general question. Is there a reason we haven't seen the portrait of Old Nate all season? I know you've said it made the trip to Portland. Just wondering.

You know, I went on set and checked after the first time this question was asked, because I wasn't sure -- it's in Nate's cubbyhole, but on the wall opposite Hardison's workstation.  That's just a weird place to point the camera, as there's nothing else over in that area.  I believe you get a good look at it in #508.

@Anonymous: Does Sophie really think she'd cope with retirement better than the others? If so, what makes her think that?
I believe Sophie is confident that she can handle anything.  However, I think I'd look at that conversation as Sophie talking herself into it.  If I were a betting man, I'd wager on Eliot's assessments of his team members over their own.

@KAae: 1.)Nate hasn't learned to slip cuffs yet? Or wear lock pick cuff links? I love to see an opportunity for Parker to breeze through a lock, but I would have thought a problem as common as handcuffs would be in his arsenal by now.  
2.) Loved all the guest stars in this one. Especially when Eliot and Sophie were freaking out the Marshall. Is it just me or does everyone kind of relish pretending to be an inept or obvious criminal? So long as it's not in their own Role. We know Parker hates having to get caught stealing things.

1.) Nope, and neither can Hardison or Eliot.  There are reasons within the fiction why not, but I also like to make sure there's a decent bit of "niche protection" in the show.  FWIW I picked up that phrase from the RPG Mutants & Masterminds ...
2.) The actors' joy in playing those particular parts bleeds over to enthusiasm for the characters, and I think that's okay.  Our characters are manipulative power-trippers, after all, and tricking people that way is a nice fix for that jones.

@Anonymous: What do you have to say to people who download your show illegally? Every week there's a torrent on the pirate bay with thousands of leechers and seeders. That's thousands of potential consumers not watching advertisements thus risking the security of your program. Does that piss you off or are you more zen about it like Nine Inch Nails?

I would PREFER you buy the show legally.  However, I am one of those capitalists who doesn't blame the market for my failings.  The market is the market.  The market does not give a shit what's fair.  Torrenting is to a great degree a mismatch of delivery systems to audience.  When we get better at digital delivery, piracy will decrease.  It'll never go away, but being angry at piracy is like being angry at the weather -- in a digital economy, you're gonna have to live with some rain, and if you've built your house correctly it won't wash you away.

@Anonymous: Why did Sophie and Eliot feel the need to run from the cops? They didn't do anything illegal except for maybe digging that hole on public property.

Marshall Rose fed the cops a story, and frankly if you've ben tumbled and the cops are coming with the lights on, you don't want to stand around and see how well your cover ID holds up.

@Izzie: So your answer to Sophie's question: Who would cope the best living a normal life without going crazy? Is it Eliot? What were his reasons for saying himself?

It is indeed Eliot.  Eliot has very little intentional subtext.

@oppyu: 1: Did you have a mafia guy as a non-villain character who gets away free from law enforcement? That seems... counter-intuitive. Supposedly noble stated intentions aside, the mafia are generally believed to be involved with things like violent crime.
2: Can we have a Hardison/Parker spin-off? They won't be able to run cons anymore, but together they can steal just about anything. 
3: Also, can we have an Eliot spin-off as well? Less with the stealing, more with the punching, kicking and hurting. Like the 'Human Target' show that was on Fox a couple of years ago.
4: Aaaaaaand we may as well have a Sophie/Nate spin-off while we're at it. Make this one more of a DomCom, just for the hell of it.

1.) Organized crime fits a very specific spot in the Leverage CrimeWorld -- it's environmental in context. (Huh, see piracy, above.) Anyway, the original sin is Lillard's, and so that's who we punish.  Trying to rope in an institutional bad guy liket he Mob Boss seemed like egg on egg.
2.-4.) But spin-offs would mean the show wasn't on any more.  Don't you want Leverage?  Okay, fine, we'll cancel the show.  But when it happens, I hope everyone knows to blame you and your insatiable desire for spin-offs.

@Susy: 1:Will we only be getting another Nate/Sophie kiss in The Frame-Up Job or not even in that one ??
2:When will we know if Leverage is renewed for a sixth season?

1.) Multiple kisses and physical and emotional intimacy!  You Nophie fans will CHOKE on the bounty we deliver this year!
2.) Not until quite late, for various contractual and netwrok scheduling reasons.  Do not take the delay as indicative of the chances of renewal one way or another.

what exactly is a “Parking Lot” Scam if I had to guess it involved charging people money to park in a lot that is actually free to park in but I just want to be sure that's correct. Also how did our mark's version of it work, were people really foolish enough not to be able to tell a wifi network that was not password protected from one that was?

Yes, that's exactly what the Parking Lot Scam is.  There's a famous urban legend version of the true scam detailed here.  As to the second question -- your faith in people's technical know-how is touching. And remember, of there is one damn useful thing you can take away from this show: People are wired to obey authority.  

@OOna: Hee! I'm still giggling about this episode! LOVED the marshal going all crazy on Nate twice. LOVED Christian Kane's line read on "No, it's me." (JR NOTE: Me too.  One of my top five Kane acting moments in the season.) LOVED Aldis Hodge's on the rant in the warehouse and the quick "OK, I'm in!"  And I especially loved Tim Hutton's line read on the "get here as soon as you possibly can" and really, the chair was a genius idea. The sliding forward and then back when the gun came out, the crossing of the legs while he was stalling like he was having an ordinary conversation. Too funny ...
QUESTION 1: Who's idea was the rolling chair and how much of that was scripted?
QUESTION 2: I'm guessing that Nate, once he's made up his mind and decided to do it, will adapt to reitrement much better than Sophie - am I right?
QUESTION 3: What's your take on the deal with the mobster at the end?
QUESTION 4: When did Lillard injure himself?

1.) The rolling chair was one of several choices provided by production design, and as soon as they saw it Josh and director John Harrison began tweaking the scene to incorporate it. Then once Tim sat down, he took over and used it at his discretion.  The leg cross was an on-set idea by Josh, actually.
2.) You know what?  I'm not sure about that. He'll always need something to occupy that mind of his, and crosswords ain't gonna do it.
3.) Noted above.  
4.)  He actually hurt himself out at dinner with Kane.  Got a phone call, stepped out of the restaurant to take the call -- and BAMMED into a sliding glass door.

@PurpleOps: You sure fooled me on this episode! I'd been thinking it was very much a "By The Numbers" show (con somewhat like the Very Big Bird job, etc.)... and then that flip with the Marshal which I should have seen coming, but didn't. Nice work!
1. How did they drive the car out of a building at the moment that was "surrounded" by the police and not get stopped?? (All I can think of is the line from the Spike Jones song "Wild Bill Hiccup", with the Marshal talking to his somewhat wide girlfriend: "I'll sneak in and you surround the house!")
2. When Sophie said, "They'll always throw out the cake but they keep the tray", who is the "they" she's talking about? Marshals? Recipients of housewarming gifts? Seems an odd generality.
3. The mobster at the end refers to Nate as "Mr. Ford". So much for lying low in Portland! How can Nate continue to use his real name?
4. It almost seemed as though SOPHIE doesn't want to commit to the relationship with Nate, given her "With me or without me" line. It wound up turning around nicely, but it seemed unusual coming from her. Nate's look after that line was priceless, though. And then the turnaround later - thanks!
5. I was hard on Aldis last week, but this week he really shone as the Artiste (or "Mad Artist", as someone else called him). Beautifully subtle but wonderfully funny. Great work!
6. Sophie's Italian answering machine riff - che bella!
7. You need to add another star to the opening credits list - ORANGE SODA! "It's not just for Hardison anymore!"
And I have completely used up my quote of exclamation points.

1.) The geography of the warehouse actually works quite well for that.  The real-world warehouse has a fenced-in front area and several loading bays out the back.  The cops came in the front, the mob came in the side, and our guys all escaped out the back, as the mob guys also got out through one of the side doors.

Two problems we ran into. a.) The warehouse is a working warehouse, and we could never get a the clear high-and-wide around all the materials inside to establish the geography. b.) Not only was the geography hard to establish from outside without revealing the warehouses' relatively rural real-world location, it was raining like a SONOVABITCH that day.  So most of the outside establishers went away.

2.) People in general.  And she's right -- perceived value, if the tray is nice enough.
3.) Nate in this case has to trade on his CrimeWorld rep to get the deal he wants, so he has to use his name.  Don't worry, Nate's fully aware there's a timer running on how long they can stay anonymous inPortland, as you see in #509.
4.) No, Sophie was being emotionally mature.  She WANTS for them to wind up together, but she cares for Nate enough that she'll settle for him being in a good place even if that means being without her.  This is giant growth on Sophie's part, and we slid it right under most people's radar.
5.) Aldis is always great.
6.) Niche protection -- always nice to show off Sophie's language skills.  
7.) At the very least, we should be selling branded Orange Soda by now ...

@antisocialbutterflie: 1) How difficult was it to track down all those vintage cars for the shoot or did you put up a Craig's list ad for real? 
2) In the past you have indicated that Eliot has a "don't s**t where you eat" mentality when it comes to relationships. From that view it seems counterintuitive for him to be helping the romantic relationships, first in the Lonely Hearts Job with the flowers and now with the Hardison/Parker retirement conversation. Has his desire for his teammates to be happy outweighed this personal philosophy? 

1.) As noted, ridiculously easy.  Most of our scams are pretty close to do-able, to tell the truth, as most of them come from research on real-world crimes.
2.) Eliot has his framework, but he doesn't expect other people to live by it.  Hell, Batman doesn't tell Superman how to live his life.  Usually.

@Moberemk: 1) The mob boss from a whole different part of the country actually seemed somewhat scared of Nate. Just how legendary is the team by this point anyways?
2) How many weapons are hidden throughout the bar anyways? Or was that just a bluff on Sophie's part?

1.) I think the team's transitioned to legendary status, while before everyone in the team was considered the best at what they do.
2.) As I said on the podcast, I think six.  Based on how many we stowed in various bars I worked in during my kick-around days.

@SueN: I also admit that I'm feeling far less worried about where Nate's taking the team. Please don't say anything to ruin that. Let me enjoy my happiness until you shatter it in the finale. (JR note: I apologize in advance)
1) Just how often do the others go to Eliot for "relationship advice"? Is it just Hardison and Parker, or does Sophie also bend his ear when Nate's being … Nate?
2) Eliot and retirement … As you've said, Eliot made his "big change" pre-team, when he decided to leave wet work and go into retrievals. And from his talk with Sophie (wanting to start a restaurant), it seems obvious he's given some thought to what comes next. So … is retirement really something he considers a possibility, or is it just a wistful pipedream? That moment had a nice "gunfighter pondering hanging up his guns" vibe, and, well, I've watched enough Westerns in my life to know that rarely goes as planned. Does our resident "gunfighter" really believe he can just walk away? And just how ready to do that is he?

1.) The Sophie/Eliot relationship is one we never get to as much as I like -- we were starting to explore it in Season Two, with "Tap Out", but Gina's pregnancy kind of reset a lot of our plans.  After that we wound up following the Eliot/Hardison and Eliot/Parker arcs much more closely.  I know a lot fo showrunners have their show worked out in their head and the actors are there to execute it, but on Leverage we often find ourselves following the emotional flow the actors fall into.  You'll see some lovely beats of the that relationship this season, though.
2.) Eliot thinks he'd do well at retirement, but is honest enough to know he probably won't get the chance.  For one reason or another.

@allyone: Programming question. How did this one end up over the Labor Day weekend?  When you're setting the order of episodes, is that ever anything that enters the thought process, like 'We know this one is going to be a tough night, so we're either going to put a really great episode out and hope for the best or or we're going to burn an episode that's good but maybe not great'?  Or do you just order them the way that makes sense for the narrative and then let the network decide from there? I thought this was one of the best of the season so far, def. one of my two favorites so far, but it seems like a lot of people STILL haven't seen it on Tuesday, esp. with iTunes not updating.

It's pretty much up to our production cycle and the network.  Some scripts take longer to develop, some need to be shot in certain spots due to physical limitations or actor availabilities, some take longer in post-production.  It's usually a coincidence what night a particular episode falls on.

@Sabine: 1.) Is it me or do we see less of Eliot fighting this season? If you say it's me, I might not believe you. If you say it's not me, why is there less?
2. I'm wishy-washy on whether I think Eliot might like to retire from retrieval because I'm not clear on what he's getting out of it. Other than paid, I mean. If he's doing it out of guilt, well, you said he's not looking for redemption because he knows it's hopeless. So then there's no end in sight other than death in the sense of feeling like he's paid for what he's done and can move on. If he's doing it for altruism or thrills or camaraderie, I guess I hadn't until this episode's talk with Sophie ever thought he was tired of those things, but if you say so, I can believe he would want something else or more out of life. But which is it? Can you explain exactly (exactly, in this sentence, means please use small words and simple emotional concepts; pretend I'm Parker) why Eliot still works in retrieval? And why Nate's team specifically? What does he get out of being on Nate's team that he can't get by going on exciting massively secret military jobs with his army bffs? 

1.) Not sure there's less fighting.  Big fight in 501, 502, small in 503, BIG in 504, none in 505, none in 506 (special case), and a tiny bit in 507 ... I think it's just the last few are light.
2.) Eliot's regret is an accumulation of small and large sins.He finds an accumulation of small virtues more satisfying than the big slam-bang hero stuff, particularly as he is painfully aware there's often some nasty shit going on behind those jobs.  Also, he's seeing his value as part of a family, which he didn't have before.  He did not see himself as valuable in that way.

@Suzy Q: Will we be seeing the mob boss again?

Maybe.  I thought local actor Scott Michael Morgan gave us a nice non-traditional read on that role.

@ChelseaNH: Is this the first time Hardison hasn't oversold the con?

I think he came veeerrrrry close.  But yeah, pulled this one off. 

@Hollie Meyer: Question: Who painted the old-Nate painting that hangs in their office (no matter their office is)?
Question: When Leverage is over (which I hope will not be for a long time), will you or a member of the cast or crew get the painting?

I believe our first season Production Designer Lauren Crasco painted it.  As to who gets the painting when the show eventually wraps ... I think that one goes to Dean or Tim.  I've got the French roadsign from "The Van Gogh Job" and one of the Davids from "The First/Second David Job", and I'm not one for stuff.  

@ChelseaNH: [...] So, the theory: Nate doesn't want to just avenge the wronged, he wants to help preventwrong. Not quite sure how he'd do that, but I can see it being a problem he'd want to tackle.

Hmm, about half-right.  I think his issues and scale are a bit more personal.  And, to tell the truth, he's still a mean SOB.

@Anonymous: 1.) Why did Erikson take money to meet Ford? That was the money to buy the car, so shouldn't he have left it with Parker? 
2.) When Hardison was estimating how much money is in the duffel, wouldn't that be heavily dependent on the denominations inside? There was $150,000 in 5's, which was about what Hardison guessed. But if Erikson had used 20's, Erikson would have been at $600,000, Eliot's guess, and if he'd used hundred dollar bills, Erikson would have been carting around three million.
3.) At the end, the crew took the car (and, presumably, the hidden money in the Caymens), so what was there left to incriminate Erikson? The agent took his duffel of money, but it looked like it was the wifi money (it was 5's in the scene at the end), which didn't come from Erikson's accounts. Was it just that he had a gun?

1.) He was acting as her agent, and she was supposed to show up in a bit to lock down the sale.  Dialogue cut for time.
2.) Exact argument in dialogue, cut for time.  That three-way edit was a bear.
3.) Erikson violated his deal with the Feds, and committed crimes while he was in the protection program.  Not to mention the awkward questions about his marshall.  All that happened was that his original plea bargain deal was revoked.

@Anonymous: In season 1, Eliot mentioned a nephew, (S1E4) which would mean at least one brother or sister, who have never been mentioned since. Any plans?

Nope.  As you'll see in the winter episodes, Eliot has a complicated relationship with his family.  I will say that although the shows are canonically fictional in each others universes, in my mind Shawn Spencer from Psych is Eliot's cousin.

@Antaeus Feldspar: 
Just one question: Sophie called attention to the fact that the marshal dumped the fruitcake and kept the tray; I expected we'd find out the tray was bugged or something similar, but if they revealed any purpose to the tray, I missed it! What was the reason? Was it something that got cut in editing?

Oh it is bugged, you can see the bug on the push-in. It's intentionally made to blend with the tray,t hough, so it's super-easy to miss.

@ljmckay: How does the team think about the time before the pilot? "Pre-crew"? "Pre-Leverage"? "Pre-Nate"? Just curious. :)
"Pre-Leverage" which is the same as pre-crew. All of them knew Nate from before the team formed.

 Nate has been having his crisis about only ever tearing things down but never creating anything. Does that tie into how focused and determined he is not to just steal a car show but to create his own? In the scene when he decides that they need to make a car show, he seems to have some of the same desperation about him that he has when he is lamenting his constant destruction. I was just wondering if any of this is related at all.

I wouldn't say that's the reason for that scene, but it's a very insightful look at what's going on in Nate's head right now.  Besides the tumor, of course.  Oh, wait, have you goys seen that episode -- never mind.

@allyone: General question for you - I see that there was this interesting little survey that appeared to be put out by TNT going around, asking stuff about which characters you wanted to see more of, which characters were featured too much, etc. etc. etc.   Now, I know you've always said that TNT doesn't pressure you guys on what to write. That survey made me wonder if that might be changing at all, assuming there's a Season 6? What do networks do with that nonsense if not try to use it to influence the direction of the show's storylines? 

Never saw that survey, but a lot of time they bank that info for development. "Our audience wants to see more female characters, etc" whether they're drawing the correct inferences form their data, well, that's the art of it, eh?  But honestly we couldn't have more supportive, less interfering network partners.

@Anonymous: So Nate appears to be prepping the team for... whatever secret stuff he has planned. Testing them, making sure they can work alone (or have the confidence to work without him)... everyone except Sophie. Did I miss something/will there be something in future episodes or is Sophie the only team member that doesn't need that from him? I may be wrong about what he's doing with the team but I do notice he's pushing them in a way he's not pushing Sophie. Will that be explained or are we to assume she's more on his level?

Heh ..


As always, a pleasure to hear from the Grifters.  Check back later this week as the #508 post goes up.  At the very least, you'll be caught up on Seaosn Five before the winter episodes start.  Take care!


antisocialbutterflie said...

"I will say that although the shows are canonically fictional in each others universes, in my mind Shawn Spencer from Psych is Eliot's cousin."

That made day. I can definitely see that, though less for Shawn the kooky cousin and more because I can perfectly picture Corbin Bernsen as Eliot's grizzled cop uncle. That would be a casting made in heaven.

"Besides the tumor, of course."

This however may have ruined the day. Dammit I knew he was sick. I had done a decent job of convincing myself I was imagining things up until this point. I hope you won't mind if I try to burn this from my memory, at least until the winter season starts.

Thanks again John. We appreciate the time you take to do all of this.

tet said...

Thanks again for answering the questions John. And yes, this was a great episode and was fun to watch. :)

Now, we busy ourselves in getting you guys a PCA and hopefully the season 6 renewal is not that far away as well. I let out a sigh of relief when you said that the delay of renewal doesn't make any changes in the chances of the renewal and the reason for the delay is something contractual and network scheduling. I hope it gets sorted out soon and that they give the show at least another season. That way, we can monitor the development of Nate's tumor :D

LindaS said...

Dear John, Thank you. Love, The Grifters.

Anonymous said...

I'm assuming you're joking about the tumor, but please, please don't pull a Michael Scofield/Prison Break!

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allyone said...

Thanks for the comments, and let me just say, this:

The best Leverage episodes . . .is when the villain, world and team emotional plotlines balance perfectly.

is so true. I was trying to pinpoint what are my favorite episodes, and a strong villain is always a component. And of course, that doesn't necessarily mean pure nasty. Hurley was an amazing villain-turned-not-villain.

This was a super eppy.

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