"Leverage" The Nigerian Job (TV Episode 2008) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • When Nathan Ford, a former insurance company investigator, is approached by a man asking him to help retrieve some stolen property, he is dubious. When he finds out that the job requires him to supervise and maintain control of three known thieves that he himself caught in the course of his insurance investigations, he's more than dubious. However, the job offers him the opportunity to get some of his own back from the insurance company that allowed his son to die, so he takes it despite his misgivings. When his doubts prove to be well-founded, he persuades his reluctant colleagues to unite once more to reach a more "equitable" settlement.

  • Bering Airspace CEO Victor Dubenich approaches Nate Ford, a hard drinking ex-IYS insurance investigator, to oversee a crew he assembled: Hardison, Parker and Spencer, to retrieve stolen property. When the job goes awry, Nate calls his favorite grifter, Sophie Devereaux, and the new 5-man crew introduces Victor Dubenich to some Nigerians.

  • Nathan Ford worked for one of the most respected Insurance companies in America, where he investigated (often bogus) claims and met no end of scammers, thieves and ne'er-do-wells along the way. When that same insurance company refused to pay for treatment of his terminally-ill son, he quit the business and has been freelancing ever since, investigating and traversing the globe while collecting a paycheck and trying unsuccessfully to deal with the unspeakable loss of both his son, and his wife. On one such stop, he is approached by one Victor Dubenich, who tells Nathan how he feels for Nathan's late son and late wife, and doesn't he wish he could get even with those big, uncaring corporations? Victor tells of the designs for a state-of-the-art luxury airliner, that have been stolen by a rival company, and how Nathan is the only man who has the contacts to recover them. Nathan hesitantly agrees, and recruits some of the best criminals in the business (the lone wolf mercenary, the uber-geek hacker, the clinically insane cat burglar and the world's worst stage actress)... all to settle the score for Victor, and by extension, Nathan too. The problem is that every last one of them - including Nathan - is used to working as a solo act. But with their unique skills, and in spite of inherent personality conflicts, they discover they work pretty well together. And they might even be having fun.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Nathan Ford, ex-insurance investigator, drinks alone at a bar. A man comes up to him, saying he knows that he saved his company $20 million by finding a painting. He knows what they did to his family. Ford cuts him off, warning him they're coming to the part where he punches him in the neck nine or ten times. The man wants to offer Ford a job. Someone stole his airplane designs. He wants Ford to steal them back.

    Pierson Avionics. Ford and three people meet outside. Flashback to the guy telling Ford that his engineer went missing and then his plans turned up at the competitor's. He has a share-holders meeting coming up and needs them back ASAP. He shows Ford the team he's assembled: people Ford has chased at one time or another. A team of thieves. Ford would be the one honest man to look after them. Ford tells him all those people work alone, but the man says for $300,000 each they'll do it. Ford gets double. As a bonus, Pierson is insured by Ford's former insurance company. "Mr. Ford, how badly do you want to screw the insurance company that let your son die?" the man asks.

    Cut to scenes of the job. We meet Alec Hardison, caught for internet and computer fraud. Flash to five years ago, and Alec getting busted using Mick Jagger's credit card at a hotel.

    We meet Eliot Spencer: Retrieval specialist. Alec questions what Spencer does. Flash to three years ago, Serbia. Eliot walks into a bar full of toughs, at least a dozen, saying he's there for the merchandise. They all draw guns. He sips his coffee. Cut to outside, dozens of guns going off. Back inside, only Eliot and the boss man remain. He gives Eliot what he came for.

    A blonde drops in. Her name is Parker (who Ford earlier called insane), and she's a thief. Flash to 19 years ago, a scene of her dad hitting her mom and yelling that she can't have her stuffed animal unless she's a good girl or a better thief. Little Parker walks out of her house with her bunny... the house explodes.

    They suit up before the job, using ear pieces to communicate. Parker takes off before Ford says go, leaping, tethered to a rope, down the side of the skyscraper. Eliot and Alec climb down inside from the roof as Parker cuts a hole in the glass and, with a gymnast's skill, moves in.

    She hooks into the elevator controls, moving it with Alec and Eliot on top. From nearby, Ford tracks the security guards as Alec works the electronic keypad. But the guards are doing their walk-through an hour early -- so they can watch the playoffs, Nate figures.

    Nate tells Eliot to scoot and use Alec as bait. Alec stands at a door, with a keypad working to solve the code. He waits for the key decoder to do its thing when five guys come around the corner with guns drawn. He drops his bag and before it hits the floor Eliot takes them all out, Van Damme-style. That's what he does.

    The secure door opens. Alec downloads the info, erasing the hard drive. Parker, monitoring the security system, says they reset the security and they can't go up. The team quibbles as Ford says he has a plan. They head to the elevator and change into business clothes. Parker is extremely un-selfconscious as she strips in front of Alec and Eliot. Both guys uncomfortably avert their eyes. Ford says that's plan G (plan M is if Hardison dies).

    Alec paints fake blood on Parker's face and puts a leg brace on her. She hobbles out on the ground floor as the guard apologizes. They hop into Ford's waiting car.

    Outside, Alec sends the plans. Ford says the money will be in their accounts later. Alec thought it was fun being on the same side. Ford says they're not on the same side. They all walk away in different directions.

    Ford, in bed amid mini liquor bottles, gets a call. The man saying he never got the designs and he's freezing the payments. He says he'll text Nate the address of a warehouse where he should meet him in an hour.

    At the warehouse, Nate finds Alec with a gun on Eliot, they're accusing each other of stealing the plans. Parker shows up, armed as well, wanting her money. Nate takes the guns and realizes they're all there because they didn't get paid. He starts to laugh. The only way to get them all in the same place at the same time is to tell them they're not getting paid.

    They all run from the empty warehouse. They barely make it out before it blows to pieces.

    Nate wakes up cuffed to a hospital bed, with Eliot sitting, cuffed, in a chair nearby. Through a vent, Parker tells them the cops got there just as they were waking up. They've been processed. They've got about 10 minutes to escape before the cops figure out who they are and they all go to jail. Nate tells Parker to get him a phone while they take turns distrusting each other. Nate says he's the only one who knows what they all can do, so that makes him the one with a plan. They trust him.

    Parker makes herself puke. The doctor checks on her as she lays sweetly in bed. With the room emptied again, Parker and Alec compare the stuff they lifted, keys and phone. Nate says the cops are expecting a phone call. The deputy outside in the lobby get a call from accented Eliot who transfers him to Ford, who tells him one of the men they've got is FBI, deep cover.

    Alec leads a handcuffed Eliot away just as the nurse comes out to tell the deputy he has a call from the state police.

    Freed and at Nate's loft, they plot revenge. Eliot's more upset he tried to kill them, while Parker is peeved he didn't pay them.

    Alec goes over the plans they stole, which he wasn't supposed to copy but of course did. The time stamp proves they were old plans, Pierson's all along. They realize they've been double-crossed. They start to plan their escapes.

    But Nate wants to run a game on him. The guy's greedy and thinks he's smart; the best kind of mark. They all want a combination of money and payback. Nate's mad he used his son. They go get Sophie.

    Watching a woman on stage in a small theater, Sophie turns out to be a terrible actress. But Nate tells them it's not her stage. They need her because Dubenich knows them. They meet her outside. Sophie Devereaux: a grifter.

    Seven years ago in Paris, Nate caught her. She shoots him, he shoots her, very politely. She tells him she's an honest citizen now. He's not. She's in.

    "Alright, let's go break the law just one more time," Nate rallies.

    Alec presents a dossier on Victor Dubenich, with Berring aerospace. Nate sees Pierson is his rival. He's thinking Nigerians.

    Victor arrives at work. Sophie waits for him, as Anna Gunschtock, with the African Commercial Trade and Transport Initiative (with a nifty South African accent). She's with a private company, creating jobs and trade in Africa. Victor's not interested, but she entices him out of the office. Meanwhile, Alec makes the secretary's computer crash. She calls IT, which is Parker in a crawlspace on a headset. They've got someone on the floor already, Eliot dressed in plaid and horn-rims. Sophie pitches Victor outside.

    While Eliot distracts the secretary, Parker sneaks into Victor's office and does something to his computer and plants a bug under his desk.

    Sophie tries her final pitch, wanting to make sure they'll get the contract. Victor says no. But Sophie says, that's ok, she'll just take it to Pierson. Victor agrees to take the meeting.

    Later that night, Alec has all the financials and passwords off Victor's hard drive. They hang out.

    Over a game of pool, Eliot says he's sorry about Nate's kid. He asks how the insurance company justified not paying for his treatment. They claimed it was experimental. Eliot keeps chatting and Nate, bothered, tells him they're not friends.

    Sophie comes to Nate for help fitting her earpiece. They share a moment.

    The next day, downtown, Victor pulls up outside a building, early. Sophie's not ready. Nate points out if she doesn't get down to meet him in the lobby, Victor will go to the building directory and see they're not in there. Because they're fake offices. Nate's going to create a distraction while Parker has 10 seconds to get Sophie to the lobby. Parker hands her a harness in the stairwell. Outside, Nate goes nuts, smashing out car windows with a club. People in the lobby go running and Victor walks away from the directory to check out the hubbub. Upstairs, Eliot puts up fake office signs and Parker and Sophie whiz down a zip line to the lobby.

    Sophie meets up with Victor and takes him upstairs. She tells him the people in her government will expect some form of compensation, a finder's fee. She introduces Victor to a group of Nigerian men. Sophie mentions the other matter. One Nigerian slips her an envelope. She picks it up and walks over to Victor, handing it to him. It says $1,000,000. He thinks they can work something out.

    Nate guarantees the plan is going to work.

    Back in Victor's office, Victor shows someone the bug he found under his desk. He has surveillance photos of the team. And he's checked: there's no office of African Transport. He's sure what they're doing. They want to make him pay. He laughs at the simplicity of it. Nigerians! Just like the fake emails scams. Who the hell do they think he is? He swears they're going to find out how wrong they are.

    The team preps. Victor meets his shareholders. They applaud his presentation. The Nigerians pull up to meet Sophie. The shareholders gather for cocktails outside Bering as Victor collects his accolades. He mentions the stock went up 15 points. Sophie arrives with the Nigerians. Victor's eager to get a move on.

    He shows them into a conference room as Sophie looks nervous. One Nigerian checks that Victor understands the terms of the agreement. He smugly says he does and presses his intercom. The FBI come in. But they come for Victor, not the Nigerians. An FBI man tells Victor he's under arrest for soliciting a bribe from these actual Nigerian government officials. One tells Victor his woman knew who they were when she contacted them last week. Victor looks for Anna/Sophie, but she has disappeared. Victor begins to panic. The Nigerians say that Anna told them she worked for Victor at Bering. They don't have an office in the city. The Nigerian says they met him at his other office (flash to Eliot changing the sign to Bering for the Nigerians).

    Victor thinks of the shareholders just in time to see dozens of FBI agents pulling up and working their way through the shareholders. Victor tries to calm them as the FBI asks if anyone else was involved in the bribe. The Nigerian says he handed Victor a cashiers check for $200,000. Victor starts to protest that he wasn't handed anything, but he remembers Sophie passing him the envelope with $1,000,000 written inside (flash to her sleight-of-hand swapping them as she walked to him).

    The FBI searches Berring files as the agent in charge reminds Victor that Bering has government contracts, which have very specific rules about contact with foreign officials. Four people in FBI coats stride out holding files: Nate and his team, triumphant.

    Nate meets with Mr. Pierson, alone. He tells him he has complete copies along with proof they were on Berring computers. Pierson agrees not to press charges against Nate or his people in exchange for the return of his plans. Pierson asks if Nate wants money, but he tells him this particular project has a different revenue stream.

    Cut to a news report on Berring, saying the stock plummeted 33 percent due to a government investigation. Victor watches it. His phone rings. Nate tells him he should have just paid them. Victor sputters that he found the transmitter. He found the one with the blinking red light that they wanted him to find. Victor thinks he's in the clear because he didn't actually take any money. Behind him, agents find stacks of bills in his desk.

    The team meets as Nate explains to Victor how to short stock, that you can make a shattering amount of money if you know a stock is going to tank. Alec hands them each an envelope, the figures inside take their breath away. "It's go legit and buy an island money," Alec says. They talk about retirement and walk away...and then back together, trying to convince Nate they should stay at it. Sophie tells them he can pick the jobs. Nate says his job is helping people. She tells him to find them.

    Cut to a crying couple, the mom saying "she was 17 and they killed her." They said it was an accident, but that company killed her. She wants them hurt. But they can't pay.

    Nate explains that corporations like that have all the power. They're suffering under an enormous weight. They'll provide...leverage.

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