Episode: Leverage 2.14 – “The Three Strikes Job”
Original Air Date: February 10, 2010
This episode sees the Leverage team seeking justice on behalf on their cop friend, Pat Bonnano. He’s the one they tip off when they need to put the cuffs on a mark. Bonnano was investigating some form of corruption that lead to his being shot and nearly killed. It turns out he was investigating the corrupt mayor, Brad Culpepper III (played by Richard Kind from Mad About You). The rest of the team think it’s a bad idea to pull a job this big, but Nate (whose drinking has definitely gotten out of hand as evidenced by his drunk dialing of Sophie) insists since Bonnano has a son who was almost made fatherless (sort of the reverse of his own situation).
In order to catch the mayor illegally using campaign money, Nate and Tara pose as a real estate mogul and PR flack (hey, I learned a new word for someone who practices Public Relations!) who donate the maximum amount possible to the mayor’s reelection so they can get his attention. Meanwhile, the rest of the team discovers that the mayor is planning on building an esplanade on the waterfront. Eliot finds Bonnano’s notes that show that the mayor has been using a company called Kirsch to buy up property on the waterfront; the city then buys the property from Kirsch so the mayor can cash in.
Nate decides to create some competition by exploiting the mayor’s love of baseball. He plans to “steal” a baseball team and make Culpepper think he’s building a baseball stadium on the waterfront. Culpepper then offers to buy the stadium, and he’s going to use campaign money to do it. Then Hardison will transfer the money to another account to make it look like he’s embezzling. That’s how they’ll get him for corruption. Unfortunately, he offers cash instead. And it turns out he’s an informant for the FBI which is how he’s been avoiding going down for corruption all those years. Nate and Tara nearly get caught by the FBI, but Hardison provides a distraction using his van (“Not Lucille. She all I got left. Don’t you do it to me. Get that look out your eye. You ain’t got to be so heavy about it, Eliot. You always had it in for my van. You always had it in for Lucille. You said she smells; she don’t stink, it’s just an odor.” It seems he’s still upset about losing his office at the end of the first season). The episode ends with Jim Sterling showing up: “James Sterling, Interpol. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?” To be continued…
This episode wasn’t quite as strong as the last few have been, and I suppose that makes it the one that I thought would happen last week. It was, however, a generally good episode that sets up the season finale for next week since that will be part two of the story. Parker and Tara had a really great scene when Parker can’t quite escape the mayor’s office quickly enough when his assistant shows up. Tara walks Parker through it like Sophie would, getting her to use her nervousness to her advantage. She pretends to be pregnant with Culpepper’s child, and for once her social awkwardness works for her. The assistant buys the whole thing and leaves to go get someone else to deal with the situation, leaving Parker free to leave. It’s worth watching since I’m not doing it justice here.
Probably the best part of the episode was Eliot posing as a catcher come in to spy on the baseball team that Nate is going to “steal” to make the stadium scheme seem more realistic. Hardison sets him up with a back story complete with a Japanese commercial for a power drink which has a very “Fruity Oaty Bar” feel to it. Although he’s never played baseball and claims to hate it, Eliot is, of course, quite good at it. It does, after all, involve what could potentially be a weapon. He can hit the ball, and he flips a player running in to home base over his head while tagging him out. Guess the strong man stuff comes in handy when you’d least expect it.
But what’s really great is how into the role he gets. He excitedly informs the rest of the team that he had a sandwich (a Reuben) named after him (“I’ll give it to you, man, the sandwich thing is pretty cool,” says Hardison, who is just as impressed as everyone else) after chastising them for leaving his game early. Later, he poses as a Homeland Security agent investigating the mayor’s security at the docks near where Culpepper supposedly spent $20 million to upgrade security (he didn’t, and it remains a mystery exactly where the money went [although it involves weapons and probably Culpepper’s security guy, Kadjic, played by Paul “Harry Dresden” Blackthorne]; I’m guessing we’ll find out in the next episode). One of the workers recognizes him as the catcher and asks for his autograph. Eliot loves it. “Man, who are you?” Hardison asks him. A complex man, that’s who.
Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars