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Leverage

Episode 1.04 : The Miracle Job

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TV Info


Episode Premiere

December 23, 2008

Distributor

TNT

Genre

Drama, Thriller, Action

Show Period

2008 - 2012

Production Company

Electric Entertainment

Cast and Crew


Director

Arvin Brown

Screenwriter

Christine Boylan

Main Cast


Additional Cast

  • Jaime Zevallos
  • Norma Jean Riddick
  • Hollie Overton
  • Andres Saenz-Hudson
  • D.B. Sweeney
  • Luis Fernando Moncada

Synopsis


Walking with a parishioner on a downtown street, Father Paul rehearses the speech he will be giving to the city council in an attempt to save his parish, St. Nicholas Church, from being torn down in a few days. This is the fourth occasion on which he's gone to the city officials to save his church from being sold to a company that wants to demolish it and, thus far, has been unsuccessful in changing their minds. As he recites the plea he will put forth, a group of men attack and brutally beat him...

At Leverage headquarters, the crew does its best to tell Sophie they enjoyed seeing her act in Death of a Salesman the previous night, but it's clear that she remains one of the worst stage actors known to man. Still, her new-found friends do a decent job of covering up their true feelings, even though her role as Biff Loman leaves much to be desired. Then, Nathan receives a call from Maggie, his ex-wife...

Father Paul lies in a hospital bed when Nathan walks in. They exchange the pleasantries of men who've known each other for a long time, but haven't seen each other in a while. Father Paul asks if Nathan talks to Maggie often-a question that goes ignored. Nathan is more interested in if Father Paul thinks it was a coincidence that he was attacked on the afternoon he was supposed to argue his case before the city council. He does not, yet doesn't have the resources to delay the sale of the church and its imminent destruction. When he says he's giving one last mass on Sunday, Father Paul is told otherwise-Nathan is going to "move God's plans along."

The crew visits St. Nicholas and, to Nathan's pleasant surprise, they agree to take the case with no qualms or arguments. After all, it's pretty much right up their alley-an activist priest has been taken out by a big bad corporation-Kennedy Corp., to be exact. Thanks to Hardison's background check, they know that the company bought the church through a few cover subsidiaries, which seems to have taken a lot more work than necessary. Nathan then hands out their responsibilities: Parker will be checking out all of the realty companies that dealt with Kennedy, and Eliot and Hardison will be looking into the local muscle that attacked Father Paul. This case hits home for Nathan, who not only feels as though he owes it Father Paul, but has a deep personal connection with the church. Among other memories, it's where his son, Sam, was baptized.

Amid the grumblings of Hardison saying he "doesn't do gangs," he and Eliot hit the streets in search of information on the thugs that jumped Father Paul. Lucky for them, walking through gang territory puts them face-to-face with some bad dudes. The group of hoodlums bristles after being accused of attacking a priest, but after a bit of "coaxing" from Eliot and quick thinking by Hardison, they identify one of the attackers due to his dislocated shoulder-something Father Paul managed to deliver before he was knocked out. Much to the surprise of his fellow gang bangers, he reveals that he was one of the guys that jumped Father Paul, although he doesn't know who hired him. All he received was a phone call to set up the attack and some money for his services afterwards. He does, however, have a phone number, which Hardison can use to track whoever wanted Father Paul out of the way.

Unfortunately, the number leads Hardison to a payphone, but, fortunately, this payphone is located outside of a luxury condominium complex owned by Andrew Grant, an extremely wealthy land developer. While Hardison has no evidence that proves he owns Kennedy Corp. or any of the shell companies that bought St. Nicholas, it's pretty clear that he's the one that got the ball rolling. The crew also gets some other background information on Grant-he's a media whore (he's gone through nine publicists in the past year) who has also survived a helicopter crash, a memory that has him popping scores of anti-anxiety pills on a regular basis. Based on this information, Nathan starts to put together a plan that involves accessing Grant through his publicist because, like a priest, they know all of their clients' deep dirty secrets.

The following day, Grant is doing the ribbon cutting at a new building currently under construction and Sophie attempts to get some face time with him acting as Kristi Connelly, a reporter. Grant brushes her off rather coolly, but is almost immediately knocked out by a couple of two-by-fours being carried by one of the construction workers-Parker-which creates just enough of a diversion so she can easily take the bottle of anti-anxiety pills out of his pocket and replace it with another one filled with God knows what. After his assistant, Thomas, is run over by a wheelbarrow by another worker-Eliot-Grant finds himself on a construction elevator alone with Sophie/Kristi. When the elevator suddenly, and unexpectedly, stops, then starts, then stops again, he begins to freak out. When he discovers that his cell phone has no service, he really starts to flip. Pacing back and forth, and popping pills, a visibly shaken Grant tells Sophie/Kristi that he's taking Xanax, which isn't true at all. The bottle Parker slipped into his pocket was full of caffeine pills-"with a dash of dextramphetamine.' Basically, she's given him a large dose of speed, the effects of which he feels immediately. Everybody within 200 feet of the elevator shaft can hear him yelling like a maniac, which isn't doing much for his image, seeing how most of those people within earshot are from the press. Just before he gets to his breaking point, Sophie tells Hardison to get the elevator moving again, then Sophie/Kristi advises Grant on how to save his image given the situation. When he bursts out of the elevator, Grant carries her over his shoulder, as if she passed on the ride down. As he calls over medical staff and tends to her to appear as the hero, he quietly grants her an exclusive interview. Mission accomplished...

...or maybe not. As soon as Grant, Sophie/Kristi, and Thomas enter a private room, Grant ends the interview before it starts out of suspicion. How did she know what to do in the elevator situation? After some quick talking, Sophie/Kristi assures him that she knew the press would eat up his heroics because it's an easy story to report. Seemingly pleased, Grant still does not want her to interview him. Instead, he wants her to be his new publicist. She accepts his offer wholeheartedly, on one condition-that he shares everything with her and keeps no secrets. Done and done.

Back at Leverage headquarters, Sophie reports what Grant has told her about his plans for St. Nicholas. He's going to use the land for a new "lifestyles center"-aka a mall on steroids. Things aren't looking good for the crew because of the short amount of time they have. In three days, Grant will own the church and it'll be game over. They have to somehow stall the sale, which, according to Eliot, will take a miracle. So, as Nathan puts it, they're going to steal a miracle.

As Nathan tells all that he knows about the Catholic Church's view of miracles-acts of God enacted through saints, usually to make believers out of doubters-he also reveals that he went to seminary school with Father Paul before dropping out to become an insurance investigator. Perhaps this empowers him to feel okay with what he's suggesting. He wants the crew to fake a miracle. Sophie gets his plan: If the St. Nicholas is the site of a miracle, then there's no way its destruction will be allowed to happen. They'll need three things to make it work. One, the actual miracle. Two, a lot of publicity. Three, Father Paul's complete absence throughout all of this. It'll be Sophie's job to use Grant as bait to get the reporters who ceaselessly follow him around to cover the miracle story. Parker will stay with Father Paul and keep him from leaving the hospital at all costs. Eliot will help Hardison with whatever he needs when he figures out how to fake a miracle...

The following day, a news story appears regarding Grant's secret operation to raze St. Nicholas and build a mall where it currently stands. This piece ran thanks to Sophie leaking it to the press, knowing full well it will have a lot of people calling for Grant's head, which in turn puts him all up in a tizzy. It's the perfect situation for Sophie/Kristi to swoop in and make him feel all better. She does exactly this by telling him to give the press the other half of the story-the better half. The lifestyles center is going in to rebuild a neighborhood ravaged by gangs and desolation. She suggests making an official announcement at the church itself, so all of the mystery and ill feelings will dissipate in light of his bright new vision. Grant eats this up and agrees.

Meanwhile, at the hospital, Father Paul's tests are coming back with some strange results. For one, it seems pretty unlikely that he's pregnant. Perhaps it has something to do with Parker posing as a nurse...nonetheless, just as he's about to make his exit, he's told that he has to stay until things get straightened out.

At Leverage headquarters, Hardison is trying to put together a miracle. Unfortunately, instead of bleeding tears, his fake statue has bleeding ears. He still has some work to do...

A bit later, Nathan and Sophie briefly talk about their past, as it relates to him speaking with his ex-wife for the first time in a while. He says he feels guilty, and not just over Sam's passing. It seems as though Sophie might have had more to do with Nathan's divorce than she realizes, or more than she wants to admit. The time he spent chasing her while he was an insurance investigator might not have just been out of professional interest. While it's good that Nathan now has the opportunity to figure out where everything stands in his new life, Sophie advises him to not take too long in doing so...

The next day, Grant's press conference on the stairs of St. Nicholas, where he's speaking of urban and lifestyle renewal, is interrupted by a miracle inside of the church. Or Hardison's miracle, rather. It seems as though the statue of St. Nicholas is crying real tears, thanks to a chemical reaction involving the material the statue is made out of and lit church candles.

But the ruse might have worked too well...the crew is made nervous by the huge amount of attention the "miracle" receives. What if the fact that the miracle is a fake is discovered? Despite Nathan's reassurances, the crew isn't feeling so hot about this, when, as if almost on cue, Father Paul shows up to have a private word with him.

The honest priest obviously isn't okay with the fact that Nathan is staging a miracle in his church, regardless of his intentions. There's nothing Father Paul can do now that the ball is rolling, so Nathan tells him to stand back and promises everything will turn out just fine.

In light of the miracle, Grant's firm is in spin mode attempting to do anything it can to save face. When Sophie/Kristi begins talking to Grant about the next steps, she's initially relieved. Grant says he's completely rethought what he's going to do with the land and the St. Nicholas will remain intact-the statue that is. Much to Sophie/Kristi's horror, Grant now plans to turn the church's land into "Bibletopia": a religious-themed lifestyle and recreation center. He'll be knocking down most of the church and building shops and food courts around the crying statue. Not even the sea that will surround the mall and part every thirty minutes makes her feel better. Nor the St. Nicholas bobbleheads. When she questions his intentions, he reveals that he doesn't really think the miracle is real, so he's going to take it to Father Paul, whom he believes is behind the whole thing. He'll rake in millions on a ruse that a priest thought would ruin him.

As if all of this wasn't enough on the crew's plate, the Vatican shows up. Apostolic visitation occurs when the Pope sends some of his men in to investigate the authenticity of miracles. As soon as the Vatican's men discover that the miracle is a hoax, Father Paul will be implicated and defrocked, and his church will be shut down. Nathan is going to have to undo his con somehow.

When Nathan tries to explain how he's going to get everything straightened out, Father Paul coaxes him into Confession. Nathan admits that he was wrong-he didn't realize that the miracle was going to get so much attention-but he did it hoping to save St. Nicholas. Father Paul doesn't see it that way. He sees it as one big lie, regardless of Nathan's intentions.

Grant then shows up at the church, happy as a lark. He knows if the Vatican finds the miracle to be legit, Bibletopia will go up as planned; if it finds it to be a fraud, Grant will look like a hero in closing down a church steeped in deceit. As Grants schmoozes with the Vatican's men, Thomas, his assistant from earlier who now looks rather torn now that the church he grew up attending will surely be razed, goes to Confession.

Meanwhile, the crew's hands are tied. The Vatican's men are about to find out that the statue is a fake, but it can't be stolen before it gets to that because then it'll look like Father Paul is trying to cover up a fraud. Of course, Nathan has another option up his sleeve-the statue is going to miraculously disappear during the mass the following morning...

...and that's exactly what happens. Right after Father Paul delivers a scathing sermon that relates a story from the Bible to the current situation at St. Nicholas, Parker is lowered down at the back of the church and is hoisted back up with the statue in her arms. This happens while everybody has their heads bowed in prayer, so nobody notices until moments after she disappears when Father Paul glances at the back of the church. However, the statue she lifted was a fake-a far cry from the extremely heavy St. Nick that resided in the church until the previous night when Hardison, Eliot, and Nathan replaced it. Nonetheless, the statue's disappearance causes quite a stir.

Father Paul, not believing that another miracle has occurred, sees Parker standing near a van outside. He rushes to it, finds the statue inside, and is told the registration inside the van says it belongs to Grant. Eliot, a plant in the growing crowd outside, stirs the pot by asking what kind of land developer fakes a miracle, then attempts to cover it up? Grant, quick to defend himself, says he's simply going to fix-up the neighborhood and looks to Thomas for support. He doesn't receive any, however. Thomas has had enough with his boss's devious ways and announces to anyone listening that Grant gains his land, including that on which St. Nicholas stands, through threats, violence, and treachery. He goes on: Grant hired a bunch of thugs to jump Father Paul to prevent him from going to the city council. This is what Thomas admitted in the Confession he took the previous afternoon, but it was not Father Paul who heard him. It was Nathan, who suggested Thomas "do the right thing" when it came to revealing what he knows. That's when the cops show up to arrest Grant and take him away. St. Nicholas is saved and will stand to see many more masses.

Perhaps this ending was inevitable-after all, St. Nicholas is the patron saint of thieves.

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