Episode: Leverage 2.05 – “The Three Days of the Hunter Job”
Original Air Date: August 12, 2009
In this episode, the daughter of a bus driver hires the team after her father is accused of causing an accident involving his bus. He was found innocent in an investigation, but Monica Hunter, a TV pundit, intimates that he was on drugs for PTSD from the first Gulf War. She uses her “investigative” techniques (i.e., she asks a bunch of deliberately leading questions to make it look like something is going on) to destroy his reputation as well as his self-esteem. His daughter doesn’t want money, just his reputation and self-esteem restored.
On this con, Sophie wants to run things. Her idea is to sell Hunter a fake news story that, when reported, will ruin Hunter’s reputation and call into question every story she’s ever done. Since Sophie is playing Nate, it’s up to Parker to set the hook for Hunter. She plays a cub reporter who has a story that will “bring down the President of the United States.” There are secret prisons all over the US, and Hardison has the photographic proof. Unfortunately, she doesn’t think the story will cause fear in her viewers, which means she won’t run the story.
But wait! The underground bunkers aren’t prisons after all; they’re actually safe houses for the rich and powerful because a virus has been released into the water (“It’s in the water. Once it’s in the condensation cycle it starts gettin’ in rain clouds and raindrops… They keep fallin’, man. It’s not rainin’ men, man, it’s rainin’ death,” Hardison tells Hunter. He really plays the conspiracy nut well). Nate helps convince Hunter by playing a general who seems to want to do the right thing by informing the public about “Project Destiny” (Destiny, as it turns out, is also the name of a stripper that a senator contact of Hunter’s has had improper relationships with. When Hunter asks him about Project Destiny, he freaks out, which helps convince her that Hardison’s story is true).
Hunter, convinced that it’s all true, breaks into her TV studio during a broadcast and attempts to run her story. She sounds completely crazy, and it is discovered that she’s taking anti-psychotics (which Nate told her were anti-virals). This destroys her reputation and calls into question every story she’s ever run, including the bus driver’s. His name is cleared and the client gets her wish.
The best parts of this episode definitely had to do with Hardison as the conspiracy nut. He pulls it off a little too well, and he and Eliot have a great time convincing Parker that all kinds of conspiracies are really true. It’s hard to tell if they are serious or not, but it makes for some fun scenes. One of my favorites is the moon conspiracy. “We totally went to the moon,” Parker says. “Movie sets. I’ve seen ’em,” Eliot replies, then continues, “They’re outside of Albuquerque.” Parker asks a reasonable question, “Why would there still be sets there?” And Eliot has an equally reasonable answer: “Because they’re gonna reuse ’em for the Mars mission, repaint it all red.” I could totally see Phil Plait rolling his eyes at this one.
As a personal aside, I really can’t stand the kind of “journalism” practiced by Hunter and her ilk. And I really can’t understand why in the world anyone would actually believe it! Just because someone poses a seemingly meaningful question doesn’t actually prove that what they are saying is true! This season has had some great social commentary, and it’s nice to see people like Hunter brought down, even if it doesn’t happen often enough in real life.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars