"Leverage" The Ho Ho Ho Job (TV Episode 2010) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • Parker loves Christmas and tries to spread cheer amongst her grumpy team members as she waits for snow. When Santa Claus is wrongfully terminated by Eben Dooley, Jr., Nate does not take him or the job he offers seriously. Before long, instead of two steps ahead, Nate is five steps behind the mischief afoot. There will be a lot of coal in a lot of stockings if the team fails to vanquish the Bad Santas... led by a very naughty old foe.

  • To restore Santa's reputation, the team infiltrates a mall on Christmas Eve and uncovers a nefarious scheme perpetrated by an old nemesis.

  • The team runs into trouble while recovering Christmas gifts for a charity when an old enemy returns.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • A festive Parker mopes about there being no snow for Christmas. She tells Hardison to get on it.

    At the bar downstairs, there's a Christmas party in full swing. Nate spikes his egg nog. A client is there to see them: it's Santa.

    Two Days Earlier A Santa listens to kids' wishes in a mall until the mall owner announces he's fired and says he found liquor on him. The boss replaces him with a younger fake-bearded Santa.

    Back in the bar, Santa explains that the mall owner Dooley (Dave Foley) framed him to get rid of him. He's been getting rid of all the old Santas and replacing them with young guys who he thinks looks like criminals. The video of Santa Frank getting hauled off is on the internet. He just wants his reputation back. Nate says they'll think about it.

    With Santa Frank gone, Parker makes a pitch to help him.

    At the Santa stand in the mall, Hardison takes photos of the fill-in Santa. Nate approaches Dooley as a retail consultant. Eliot wheels a cart full of gifts into Dooley's office and flirts up his secretary. Parker sneaks into his office and finds empty liquor bottles. He framed Santa with his own Scotch.

    Back at HQ, Hardison gives the rundown on Evan Dooley Jr., who inherited his father's company and is running it into the ground. The mall is almost bankrupt and Dooley has huge gambling debts. He has a flight booked Christmas Eve to San Lorenzo and facial recognition shows the fill-in Santas are ex-cons.

    At condo HQ, Parker plays Christmas music, trims the tree with stolen baubles and presents Eliot with a gingerbread house.

    Nate thinks Dooley is running an insurance scam, flying away as an alibi. Sophie's supposed to stop him and they need someone on the inside.

    Cut to Eliot as a fill-in Santa, somewhat lacking in the jolly department. A kid notices the Santa stand is in a new location from previous years.

    Sophie follows Dooley as he pops anti-anxiety pills. She's dressed as his driver and Nate gives her the go ahead to go off script if she wants. Hardison delays the real driver with his EMP blaster, disabling the car with the man inside.

    In the car on the way to the airport, Sophie drops key words and phrases like crime, caught and cooked goose, prompting Dooley to call someone to review the plan. Eliot reports that the fake Santas aren't on their phones.

    Sophie checks her seatbelt and crashes her town car.

    Eliot gets the stink eye from the other santas. He tells them Dooley brought him in. They give him a bell to ring. Someone watches him on surveillance.

    Dooley wakes up in the hospital with Sophie at his bedside.

    Hardison visits Eliot and finds a radio frequency near him and at every exit. They notice a credit card machine on every donation kettle. They're taking credit card info. They'll have enough to overwhelm the company's fraud detectors.

    Sophie reports to Nate that she thinks Dooley's conscience is bothering him and she can turn Dooley and get him to call it off.

    Sophie calls someone to come to the hospital.

    Sophie pumps Dooley's morphine drip as Santa Frank comes in with presents for him. He mentions credit card fraud, and says Santa knows everything. In his haze, Dooley thinks he's the real Santa.

    Dooley's hacker calls and Dooley calls it off. The person on the other end asks to talk to Sophie. It's Chaos (Wil Wheaton), the hacker who blew up Sophie's apartment.

    Chaos talks to the team through their earbuds, taunting them. Eliot checks on the Santas and realizes they're gone. We see that Chaos is sitting in Hardison's van, Lucille. He toasts it with the EMP.

    The team regroups.

    Hardison checks the frequency and finds that the scam is already underway. To stop it they have to shut off the trunk line at the Yakamoto building. Nate announces they're pulling an "Edward Albee."

    Cut to the building, and Nate and Sophie crashing a car into it. They act like a couple of drunks as Nate sticks something in the door to keep it open. Parker and Hardison rappel down the elevator shaft. Sophie argues with Nate through the guard, swiping his ID. He gives it to Eliot as Eliot goes for the servers. He knocks a security guard out with a sleeper hold, wishing him a Merry Christmas.

    In the server room, Hardison uploads a worm to the system and tries to narrow it to the mall.

    Back at Leverage HQ, they celebrate as Nate worries as he watches the law enforcement response. The US Treasury is on the scene. He checks the map, the US Federal Bank depository is near the mall and is now un-armed. Nate announces they got played.

    Chaos and the Santas prepare to take the Fed.

    Nate takes responsibility, saying he should have seen the credit card set up was a scam.

    Cut to the Santas and Chaos climbing under the Santa stand and under the mall. Chaos gloats, saying all he had to do was set up the dominoes.

    Flashback to him selling Dooley on the credit card scam and then referring Santa Frank to the Leveragers.

    Nate says he didn't take the job seriously. He apologizes to the team.

    Chaos leads the bad Santas to the Fed, disabling motion sensors.

    As the team watches the Fed with no sign of Chaos and his crew, they realize he must be underground. Eliot remembers a kid saying the Santa stand was in a different place than usual.

    Back in the mall, they find Dooley and Santa Frank organizing a last minute toy giveaway for kids.

    Eliot goes down in the tunnel and finds Chaos and the bad Santas. Chaos leaves as they have a Santa throwdown.

    Nate makes a call about the attack on the trunk lines.

    The bad Santas bust a steam pipe and get away from Eliot, back to the mall. They come up through the Santa stand with their bags of loot and are immediately besieged by kids expecting toys.

    Cops pull up outside and Feds come in.

    The bad Santas are surprised to find their bags full of wrapped presents instead of money.

    Flash back to the team packing bags with presents and swapping out the money in the tunnels as Eliot kept the Santas occupied fighting.

    Parker, as FBI agent Hannigan, tells the Feds where to find the stolen cash, but asks for them to wait for the kids to leave. The bad Santas decide to stay in character, distributing toys to the kids.

    Dooley gives Santa Frank his job back.

    "You are high on the holiday spirits," Santa tells him.

    "Yes I am, and pills mixed with morphine -- I can't believe you let me drive here," Dooley says.

    Back in the tunnel, Chaos emerges and is greeted by Hardison and the FBI.

    Back at HQ, the team celebrates with a toast. Nate tells the team that, even though they all agreed not to exchange gifts, he and Sophie "obtained" gifts for the team. Eliot gets a Hanzo samurai sword. Hardison gets a fancy electronic prototype of something. Parker gets an envelope full of cash. "How did you know? Non-sequential serial numbers! My favorite!" she says, smelling the cash.

    Nate gives Sophie her gift: a bracelet that says "Your Name Here."

    Sophie writes something on a piece of paper for him.

    Parker notices that it's started snowing.

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