Leverage Review: "The 10 Li'l Grifters Job"

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Nate and his team were faced with clearing Nate’s name when he was accused of a real murder at a murder mystery party during an assignment on "The 10 Li'l Grifters Job."

This episode should have been a slam dunk, built around the classic formula of a "who-done-it." Sadly, instead, it reminded me that there is no such thing as a sure thing."

Undercover Duo

There were many things I liked here: the nod to classic and modern literature, with costume requirements (Parker was a cute Nancy Drew); the house having secret passages; giving us a reason the power blinks off regularly; and several suspects in the murder, just to name a few.  

However, none of those items could get me past the feeling that the episode was written backwards from the idea: What if Nate and his team were stuck in a game of Clue? Allow me to give you a clue to a few of the things that failed in this episode:

We never got the clients name: While it’s not uncommon for us to meet the client after the meeting with Nate starts, he normally gives the other person from the team meeting the client with him background on the client so that we, the audience, also get that information at the same time.

We had no knowledge of Nate’s history with Beck: Until Hammond confronted Nate in the last 10 minutes, we had no reason to suspect Nate. This caused me to be out of sync with the story. I also couldn't understand why each member of the team appeared to suspect Nate might have killed Beck at some point.  

Using recognizable talent: We did get several suspects; however, when I recognized the actor playing Ray Hammond (Steven Flynn) and the actress playing Hayley Beck (Johanna Braddy) and none of the actors playing the other suspects, it wasn’t hard to figure out they would come into play. 

Uninformative reveal: For the first time ever, the end of episode reveal didn’t actually reveal anything to me. They showed the same scenes we saw the first time and I was left scratching my head. Someone apparently missed some days in “How to Write a Who-Done-It 101.

I had hoped the episode was going to turn around right at the end when Nate called Detective Bonanno (who we last saw in "The Jailhouse Job"), as that was a great nod to last season. Sadly, my hopes were short lived when Nate sulking and drinking because he doesn’t think anyone on the team trusts him. 

Boo Hoo! You want the team to trust you Nate? Open up to them! It’s just that easy! 

After last week’s episode started us on the path to the team being more of a family, this one felt more like a step backwards. We had some problems last year and I hope we can recover from this stumble this season.

Review

Editor Rating: 3.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (26 Votes)

Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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You missed one of the greatest nods to TV mystery pop culture in the episode. Nate was dressed as Ellery Queen. That was the character his father played (Jim Hutton) in the 1970's TV series. Jim Hutton died at the very young age of 45 from liver cancer. Despite my initial enthusiasm, this was a really disappointing episode. I thought I missed something, but obviously I'm not the only one that thought this was very disjointed. From reading your review, I think you graded this one way too kindly.

Realdiehl

Episode did leave a lot to be desired. There were some bright spots. The first shot of Hardison in a letterman's sweater and bow-tie made me laugh. As did Eliot's chagrine at being dressed in a "Howdy Doody" outfit. Also, as we've seen in other episodes, I enjoyed seeing Sophie in a situation where she must use her acting skills in a crowd-control capacity. We all know how much she loves being in the spot light with all attentioned focused on her.

Jimg

Nice Catch Rory, I did not catch it, but there were so many nods in that aspect that I was already really happy with them! Gislef, my point exactly, I should not need to turn on the CC to know the name of "the client".

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The client's name was Judy. You could only tell by the closed-captioning when they showed Nate while having her talking off-screen.

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I really liked the subtle homage that Tim Hutton who plays Nate made to his real life father James Hutton (who starred as Ellery Queen in his own tv show in the '60s)when he represented the character Ellery Queen at the costume party. Did anyone else notice this?

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I saw the killers face in one of the flashbacks about half way through. I didn't pause it or anything If you look you can see his face.

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I agree with you. It was a very fun episode but I felt like the writing was a little sub par for what we have come to expect from a Leverage con. When I was watching it I was surprised that I was 45 mins in and the story didn't really go any where. Then the ending kind of fell flat.

Fortyseven

I have to agree with the review.

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Leverage Season 4 Episode 2 (The 10 Li'l Grifters job)
http://bit.ly/m4V22X

Leverage Season 4 Episode 2 Quotes

Hardison: Nate killed someone?
Eliot: Nate didn't kill anyone.
Parker: But you would tell us though, wouldn't you?
Nate: Yes Parker, I would tell you if I murdered the mark.

Eliot: This is a bad idea; the way I normally get information out of guys is messy
Nate: Tonight you are a grifter, adapt.

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