Episode 1.06 : The Stork Job

  • Leverage
    • Episode Premiere : January 06, 2009
    • Distributor : TNT
    • Genre : Drama, Thriller, Action
    • Seasons : 1
    • Show Period : 2008 - 2012
    • Production Company: Electric Entertainment
    • Official Site : http://www.tnt.tv/series/leverage/

Cast and Crew

The Story

In Belgrade, Serbia, Dana and Joe Morton confront a group of people-two men, one woman-in a parking garage. The couple wants to know where Luka is. When the trio doesn't say a word, they push for more information, but the two men push back even harder and Joe is left unconscious on the ground.

At Leverage headquarters, Dana speaks with Nathan about the situation. Joe is still in physical therapy after the brutal attack in Belgrade. The situation arose because the couple was trying to adopt a boy named Luka. Irina, the woman in the parking garage, promised to set this up-if they gave her money to cover "administrative fees." After a few months, they were still without the boy and out a good deal of money, so they flew to Serbia. That's when Irina introduced them Luka, an innocent-looking blond-haired boy pictured in the file Nathan holds. He stayed with them for a week before a car came to take him away. Since then, they haven't seen him, yet they continued to fulfill Irina's demands for more money until they forked over a total of $120,000. They still have yet to be granted custody. Nathan assures Dana that he can get her the money back, but that's not what her and her husband are after-the Mortons just want Luka.

The crew meets to discuss the job. They're hesitant to take it because, while they know they can steal money, jewels, paintings-and quite deftly at that-but swiping a kid? That's new territory that could lead to a whole lot of repercussions, most of them not so bright. Plus, it'll be pretty difficult to find one child in a country of millions. After video the Mortons shot of Luka, however, they feel the pull on their heartstrings (especially Parker) and, on cue, Hardison begins to debrief the crew on who Irena exactly is...

Irina Larenko is a former Russian model that enjoyed some success in the ‘80s. After working some runways in Paris and appearing in a couple of movies, which the boys seem to be familiar with, she fell in with some Russian mobsters and ended up in Belgrade. Then came the adoption scam. She linked herself on a legitimate adoption website where interested parties can look at photos of orphans. When people contact her, she pulls exactly what she did to the Mortons-strings them along, then takes their money until they empty their bank accounts or pick up on the scam. How is she getting the orphans like Luka? After the Kosovo War, there were hundreds of thousands of children left without parents looking for homes. It's not exactly clear where she is currently, as she closed her office in Belgrade after the incident with the Mortons, but she did show up on a guest list to a party at the American Embassy next week. With that, Nathan says it best-"Pack your bags. We're going to Belgrade."

As Parker roams the room at the American Embassy and serves drinks, Eliot entertains a group of striking ladies with stories from the gridiron. Whether he actually played football or not is no matter-they're hooked. It's a good thing he's got his game working because he's going to need it. It's his job to pick up Irina, a professional grifter, without her realizing that he's conning her. Thankfully, he'll have the crew's own personal grifter in his ear to help him out-Sophie. At the same time, Parker is going to have to pickpocket the man Irena is with, who happens to be one of the thugs that attacked the Mortons. Hardison recognizes him as the driver in the video of Luka getting picked up from his week with the Mortons.

Luckily, Eliot and Parker don't have to separate Irena and her companion. It seems that the thug, who introduces himself as Nicholas Obrovic, has taken an interest in Parker, much to her dismay. For as good as she is at stealing, she's just as bad at playing a con, even with Nathan coaching her. She manages to blurt out an introduction-to Nicholas, her name is Hardison-and says she's an exchange student.

Meanwhile, Eliot sidles up to Irina, who gives him a cold shoulder that could freeze the Volga in July. With Sophie coaching in his ear, Eliot manages to save face. While flirting his pants off, but not gratuitously so, he tells her that he's not really one for formal events and feels much more comfortable on his ranch in Texas. She eats this up like a bowl of borscht.

Parker, on the other hand, isn't as smooth. When Nathan suggests a few cities that she could tell Obrovic she's from, she ends up telling him that she comes from a place called Pittsburghdetroitatlanta. She also lets him know that sleeping is one of her hobbies.

With Sophie giving away some of her secrets in helping Eliot, Nathan realizes something-she might've manipulated him into feeling the way he did about her in the past. The two of them engage in a bit of a spat about this, which ends when Hardison finds some information on Obrovic. He has organized crime ties from when he was a smuggler, but went legit five years ago when he took over a government agency that relocates and takes in families broken apart by the Kosovo War. This explains how Irina gets the orphans. Nathan does some quick thinking to try and get some info out of Obrovic, but it doesn't turn out well. He tells Parker, who as an orphan herself has a personal connection to this job, to talk about how far Serbia has come since the war, but mention the existence of the scars of the torn families. Obrovic, in essence, says the strong survive and not everyone is worth saving, which is not something Parker wants to hear. So, she stabs him the chest with a fork and makes a quick escape. He's not fatally wounded, but angry nonetheless. Parker disappears and Hardison can't track her because she took her ear bud out, but eventually meets back up with the group later, no worse for wear.

Back at the party, when he senses that they might be losing Irina, Nathan reels her back in. He tells Eliot to tell Irina that he has to leave the party because he has an early call time in the morning. As it turns out, he's in Belgrade producing a film and has roles still left to fill. Irina comes through and does exactly as Nathan assumed she would-excitedly, she lets Eliot know that she used to act and would be interested in being in his film. Eliot will have a car pick her up in the morning, but first, the crew must now steal a movie...

...and they'll do that by hijacking an indie flick being produced by an American studio. All this will take is pushing the director and producer off of the project, which they accomplish by the best means possible-trickery. Miraculously, the director receives an offer to do a more glamorous film in Hollywood-something he can't refuse. Hardison then works his magic and drains the film's bank account, which has the producer on a plane back to LA before his soy latté gets cold.

Who's the new director? Nathan, of course. Eliot, aka Dale, introduces Irina to the film's fearless leader, who immediately casts her as "the mother." Parker, aka Klinka, is the production assistant in charge of getting Irina scripts and drinks. While not happy about it, she understands why she's playing this role: Nathan needs to know that he can still trust her on this job.

Now for the "revised" script that Sophie was in charge of writing. Much to the crew's dismay, but not really surprise, Sophie extended the original two-page fake scene for Irina and she's written herself into it. Clearly, she doesn't want to pass up her chance to be in a movie.

Unbelievably, Sophie breaks from the norm and actually gives a good performance. The crew is shocked-this isn't the type of acting they're used to seeing from Sophie. Her name could end up in lights if she imagined herself working a con every time she's onstage.

Now it's Irina's turn, but, uh-oh, the boy who was cast to play her son didn't show up for work. Or so that's what she's told by Eliot/Dale. Nathan, as the director, begins flipping out Hollywood style. No son=no mother-Irina's part is going to have to be cut so the project can move on in a timely matter, unless someone somewhere can find a blond kid with almond eyes by tomorrow...

Irina, desperate to get her face onscreen, says she can get a kid like that and promises to have him on set by tomorrow. She rushes off, and Parker and Hardison follow her...

...to a warehouse with "Mount Carmel Orphanage" on the door. Inside, it's far from kid-friendly. Armed guards patrol the outer rooms while the orphans occupy a dark, cold room strewn with mattresses, blankets, and rickety bunks. As Parker walks through the kids' room, showing Hardison what she sees through a small video camera she wears on her head, scores of children look up at her with sad disinterest in their eyes, as if completely broken by harsh treatment. She hides under one of the bunks when Irina and Obrovic storm in, yelling out commands. They call for Luka, who silently rises from his bed and is thrust out the door by Irina, who follows him. Obrovic stays behind for a moment with two other thugs, who lift and remove a large crate from the room. Parker, follows despite Hardison's warnings, and arrives in another room just in time to see Irina shove Luka into a car and Nicholas open the crate for two new players. One of them sees what's inside, nods in approval, and the group walks out. When Parker walks over to check it out, both her and Hardison are less than pleased with what the container holds-a large cache of guns. The orphanage is being used as a cover by arms dealers...

Parker and Hardison share a moment when she says she wants to abort the mission. It's just one more shoddy orphanage in a country, in a world, with many many shoddy orphanages. Clearly, she's speaking from the experience of an orphan. Hardison counters with a secret: he didn't grow up with his grandmother-he grew up with a woman that he came to call "Nana." She was his foster mother and she, along with many foster parents out there, are good people who give children great homes. Parker isn't sold. In an emotional moment, she reveals that she believes, if they put the children into the foster care system, they'll turn out just like her. Hardison, a great friend, tells her that he likes the way she turned out.

Back on the movie set that night, Nathan talks to the crew about what he knows about gun running in the region. During the war, arms dealers would hide guns in hospitals and other public facilities while NATO bombing was going on. Now that the war is over, they're using places like the orphanage to evade the police while making a little cash on the side. Hardison lets them know that the men Obrovic dealt with in the orphanage that day were Chechnyan separatists and very bad dudes. He also translated what they talked about with Obrovic-they expect the arms deal to go down tomorrow.

As Nathan points out, this doesn't affect their plan. Irina is bringing Luka to the set tomorrow, they'll grab him, and go. Game over. They leave Obrovic out of it. Or maybe not...Hardison asks about all of the other orphans, hoping to get Nathan to change his mind, but to no avail. After all, the dealers have weapons, manpower and possible hostages; all they have is a prop truck. When Hardison looks to Parker for support, she gives none and agrees with Nathan. The best he can offer is a promise they'll come up with a real working plan and come back to Belgrade after they get Luka back to States with the Mortons. The crew realizes he's right, but none of them like it, especially Hardison.

The following day, Nathan explains Irina and Luka's "scene." They will be running through the woods from werewolves and flee into a large cabin. To protect her "son," Irina will put him in a closet in the room, run back out to fight, and die a horrifically bloody death at the hands of a werewolf. The scene plays out and, upon dying, Irina looks up waiting for some direction. When she sees that the director, Eliot/Dale, and other key members of the crew are missing, she becomes a bit confused. She rushes over to the closet and opens it. Luka has disappeared! Her death scene was just a big ruse to separate her from the boy long enough to get him out of the building.

Outside, Nathan pulls up in a van to meet Sophie, Eliot, and Hardison. He lets Luka out, who seems a bit out of sorts...until he sees the Mortons. He smiles before Dana takes him in her arms. Even Eliot admits that he feels pretty good about this. Nathan once again promises to come back for the rest of the orphans, but wait. Someone's missing. Where's Parker? Hardison checks his equipment, but she's not wearing her ear bud. She is, however, wearing the shoes he put gps in just in case they lost track of her again, like when she disappeared after stabbing Obrovic. It's showing that she's heading back to the orphanage. The crew rushes off...

While the arms deal goes down at the orphanage-Obrovic waits for his money as the Chechnyans check the guns-Parker sneaks into the children's' room. Struggling to speak Serbian with the use of a translation book, she finally convinces the kids to follow her out of the room by saying "Häagen-Dazs." Unfortunately, this took to long-Parker is met at the door by Obrovic. He recognizes her as "Hardison," the girl who stabbed him, so he takes a swing at her-and misses! She pushes him out the door and closes it behind her, leaving the kids in there to watch the fight through holes in the wall.

And what a fight it is. Even though she has a chance to escape, Parker sticks around to stick it to Obrovic-and whoop his ass, quite frankly-thus getting the orphans out of the room. Getting them out of the building is a different story, however, because guards are patrolling everywhere. With the help of Sophie and Eliot, who show up on the scene, they manage to get the kids out and loaded onto an old school bus, driven by Nathan. They pull away from the orphanage with Parker hanging off the back of the bus, no worse for wear...until it stalls!

Obrovic storms out of the building with his Chechnyan pals, all armed with the guns he intends to sell them. This situation actually presents a good test for them, as Parker is a sitting duck on the back of the bus. They begin firing...

...but no bullets come out, only smoke and sparks. What the hell?

As it turns out, while Parker was busy rounding up the orphans, Eliot and Nathan were busy replacing the arms deal guns with prop guns from the aforementioned prop truck the crew had access to.

Just as the realization of the fake guns hits Obrovic, Hardison steps in and blows up the orphanage. Miraculously, the bus restarts and all escape, unscathed.

The same can't be said for Obrovic, who's left to face some angry Chechnyans. They'd like their money back if all they're going to get is prop guns. Unfortunately, perhaps more for Obrovic than them, their money rains down as burning clumps of useless paper...

In an empty warehouse, Nathan tells the crew the new plan. They'll drive over the border and drop the orphans off at the World Health Organization, which, thanks to a call he made, is expecting them.

But what about Irina?

Well, remember the movie production bank account Hardison drained that had the producer all up in a tizzy? After some more deft maneuvers by everyone's favorite computer whiz, that same producer received an email from the Central Bank of Belgrade providing an account number of the account to which the stolen funds were transferred. After the authorities are contacted, they discover that it's Irina's. She was picked up by the police soon thereafter.

When Sophie asks about the movie scene she appeared in, wanting to make sure that she gets a copy of it so she can ad it to her sample reel, Nathan attempts to dodge the question. Then Eliot drops the bad news-there was never any film in the camera. In light of this news, Sophie makes a demand: they're stopping in Paris on the way home so she can spend a good deal of money on-and a good deal of time looking at-clothes.

Before leaving, Parker and Hardison share another moment. She has Hardison to thank for having the wherewithal to know she'd need help at the orphanage. After all, he says, they're a team now-they don't work alone anymore. Parker, though, does him one better by saying, "We're a little more than a team."

Then, jumping on the bus, Parker tells Nathan they have one stop to make before they head for the border-at Häagen-Dazs. All of the orphans cheer because, after all, ice cream is the universal language.






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