Episode: Leverage 1.11 – “The Juror #6 Job”
Original Air Date: February 10, 2009
Different from any previous episode, no one actually hires the Leverage team for a job. This time, the job comes to them via snail mail — Parker, as one of her aliases, Alice White, gets called for jury duty. Since she didn’t play nice with the others on the team on their last job, Nate insists that she actually go so she can learn to socialize. When she does, she finds a conspiracy involving the defendant, William Quint (an aging hippie played brilliantly by Brent “Old Yellow Eyes” Spiner), and Toby Earnshaw, who wants to buy his company from him.
Ernesto Vargas’s widow is suing Quint’s company over wrongful death involving one of his “energy supplements,” FastLife. Earnshaw, however, has invested millions in Quint’s company and can’t afford to lose it. She has rigged the courtroom with cameras and microphones so she can manipulate things (“She’s gonna buy the jury,” Eliot remarks after discovering she’s bribed the jury foreman). This doesn’t sit well with the Leverage team, who decide they will help Vargas’s widow (“Not if we… steal it first,” Nate replies to Eliot).
Basically, things play out like a game of chess (which both Earnshaw and Nate play). Earnshaw takes one of Nate’s “pieces” away; Nate moves another in its place. For example, she buys off the Vargases’ lawyer, so Hardison takes over as a “court-appointed” attorney. Similarly, Sophie poses as a representative of Mumbai International, a company that wants to take over Quint’s company. Earnshaw just buys the real Mumbai International (who have no idea what’s going on, but go with it since it means lots of money for them). It looks like things are going to go Earnshaw’s way when she sees the jury voting in favor of Quint in the jury room. She then toys with Quint, offering him a more than reasonable offer for his company, assuming that she had already won. He accepts, assuming that he is going to lose.
Unfortunately for Earnshaw, Hardison has edited the feed that she received so that it looks like the jury has voted for Quint, but in actuality they were just voting on who wanted pizza. Their actual vote goes to Mrs. Vargas, meaning that Earnshaw has just opened herself up to far more wrongful death suits. Not to mention the money she will have to pay to Mrs. Vargas.
Hardison gets to shine as a faux attorney. His attempts to stall the trial so Sophie can buy Quint’s company (see below for details) plumb new depths of boring, although the judge doesn’t let him get away with as much as he’d like. Probably the best part is when he cross-examines an “expert” witness (played by Armin “Quark / Principal Snyder” Shimerman), a doctor who claims that FastLife had nothing to do with Vargas’s death. Hardison hacked the “no fly” list and found that he was put on it (Hardison insists on calling it the “terrorist” list, pointing out that Osama Bin Laden is also on it) for “drunken, grab-assy” behavior, the best of which involves the drunken doctor taking his pants off and singing about being a “sexy monkey” (yeah, picture Principal Snyder (or Quark) doing that… sorry, I had the image put in my head so you’re stuck with it, too!).
Brent Spiner is just awesome in this episode. His aging hippie is spot on. When Sophie poses as a half-Indian, half-British representative of Mumbai International, his obvious attempts to impress her with his spirituality are really fun, especially when he points out that he has a Zen garden (um, last I checked, Zen was Japanese, not Hindu…). And, of course, the obvious reference to his time as Data in the form of round, yellow-lensed glasses was a brilliant touch (the episode was directed by Jonathan Frakes — I wonder if that was his idea). His inclusion, along with Armin Shimerman and his real-life wife, Kitty Swink (who plays the judge and was in a couple of episodes of Star Trek) make this episode a true Trek reunion.
Probably the best part of this episode, though, is Parker trying to play “Alice White.” She never really learned to be social, so when she tries to win the rest of the jury over to her position, she has some trouble doing so. For example, while looking at pictures of one juror’s grandchildren, she remarks, “Aw, that one’s really cute. What’s wrong with that one? It looks like a dog in a baby suit.” After this failure, Sophie, with the help of Eliot, tries to teach her to win friends and influence people, but the lessons don’t quite go over as planned. Trying to convince Eliot to give her his apple (a scenario set up by Sophie), she tells him she put razor blades in it. But he can have this nice orange, instead. Yeah, not quite what Sophie was looking for. Despite her lack of social graces, “Alice” is the nicest one on the jury, so she is nominated to Foreman when the old one is dismissed for stealing from the other jurors (of course, that was actually Parker’s doing). At the end of the episode, “Alice” gets a call from one of the other jurors asking her to coffee. “Think she’ll want to steal a painting with me?” Parker asks the team. “Start small, Parker, try coffee,” Sophie suggests. Good idea, that!
Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars