Episode 1.08 : The Mile High Job

  • Leverage
    • Episode Premiere : January 20, 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

At Leverage headquarters, a married couple, Stacey and Mark Jameson, speak to the crew about the circumstances surrounding their daughter, Ashley's, death. It was caused by water contaminated by fertilizer but, when they went to Genogrow Industries, the company that makes the fertilizer, they were laughed out of the office. There is nothing they can do to compensate them because Ashley had a "pre-existing condition." This condition however, had to do with her thyroid, not her heart or lungs-where large masses developed and eventually killed her. When taken to court, Ashley's doctor testified these facts, but Genogrow's lawyers paid off "experts" to say otherwise and they backed it up with proof. At this point, the Jameson's attorney doesn't believe they can win without a smoking gun-evidence that Genogrow knew what their product would do to people if it got into the water supply-but Genogrow's attorneys have stonewalled them from getting it. They say that disclosing information like this would reveal tricks of the trade, which would be damaging to their company. The Leverage crew knows this is just a ruse to stall for time-Genogrow has something to hide.

During the wee hours of the morning at Genogrow's headquarters in Los Angeles, Sophie, decked out in party wear and using a thick French accent, asks the two front desk security guards about the rave party happening in the building. When they tell her she's got the wrong place, she asks them to help her fix her handheld gps. They're totally willing to help the sultry vixen and forget about doing their job. While the guards are distracted from the security cameras, Nathan, Parker and Eliot sneak in and head to the 30th floor where the CEO of Genogrow, Allen Haldeman's, office is located. They get into an elevator, but it's locked down for the night and they won't be able to get it started again without a keycard. When Eliot begins to suggest a person who could easily solve this problem, Nathan cuts him off and tells him to not even mention that person's name. Instead, they'll take the stairs. Interestingly enough, Hardison seems to be absent from the proceedings. . .

When they finally get to the top panting, sweating and grumbling, they find that 30th floor is only accessible by keycard. With more words of contempt for Hardison, who is clearly the object of their disdain, they set an explosive next to the keycard swipe.

Back at headquarters, Hardison microwaves a Hot Pocket and waters the plants. . .he doesn't seem to realize the crew is in the middle of some pretty serious business.

In Haldeman's office, Nathan and Parker search files looking for a paper trail proving Genogrow had knowledge of the fact that their fertilizer was a health danger prior to releasing it. Eliot stands guard.

Hardison finally realizes he's forgotten about the crew and jumps to attention. He logs into his computer and puts in his ear bud. While he makes up excuses for his tardiness with Nathan admonishing him and Eliot threatening to beat him senseless, Haldeman gets off of the elevator. Uh-oh.

Quickly, the crew in LA finds hiding places in the office while Hardison hacks into the building's security system. Haldeman walks in the door talking on the phone about preventing EPA subpoenas from being executed and causing him to lose the company. He reveals that all of the assets involved in the case being brought against him, the same monetary assets the Jamesons are fighting for, are on a flight 1209 leaving for the Cayman Islands in an hour. He needs someone to make sure they're properly taken care of once the plane lands -the person on the other end of the line is that someone.

Nathan recaps the situation: With all of the assets headed to the Caymans, Haldeman is planning on liquidating the agricultural division of Genogrow. That department will go bankrupt, meaning the company won't be able to pay out any of the plaintiffs in the civil suit-the Jamesons won't get their money. The Leverage crew has to get on that flight, but how? It leaves in an hour and the airport is across town. They jump on an elevator, which Hardison has so kindly allowed them to access, grab Sophie, and rush to the airport.

Upon arrival, Hardison gets them two seats in first class-Nathan and Sophie will take these as Tom and Mary Jane Baker, a married couple. Eliot has an air marshal's badge, so he won't need a seat. When Sophie brings up the fact that their might already be another air marshal on their flight, Eliot gives a little inside information: there's only one of them stationed on a plane per 100 flights. The odds are with them in this case. Hardison finagles Parker a spot as a flight attendant and she has no trouble swiping a real flight attendant's suitcase, complete with uniform, with Eliot's help.

Nathan tells Hardison, who he catches looking through his internet history in his office, to finish the job they started at Genogrow and find the smoking gun. When Hardison starts to argue the fact that the money they're about to steal off of the plane can be used to pay the Jamesons without them ever having to go to court, Nathan tells him the extent of his plan: they're not only going to bankrupt the agriculture wing of Genogrow. They're going to take down the whole company.

After getting settled into her seat, Sophie suggests that she and Nathan discuss the backstory behind their happy life as a married couple. Nathan, of course, wants to keep it simple. He suggests using the same timeline for their fictional life as their real one. When he says they met eight years ago in Paris, Sophie becomes annoyed. They actually met ten years ago in Tuscany and Nathan doesn't remember it. When he asks if she's going to make it into a thing, she gives him the silent treatment. Nathan just can't seem to get it right with her. . .

At the same time, Parker gives the pre-flight safety announcement but, true to form, ends up freaking the passengers out by being a little too realistic on what would happen should the plane crash. . .

Nathan then tells everybody what the crew has to accomplish. They need to figure out where the money is located, who has it, steal it, and get it off of the plane without anybody noticing before the plane lands in five and a half hours.

After the flight takes off, Nathan orders an orange juice...with a splash of vodka. Sophie is none-too-pleased. Eliot deals with a dude who fell asleep on his shoulder and Parker completely fails at customer service when she brushes off an ill passenger who asks for a drink to settle her stomach.

Meanwhile, at Genogrow, Hardison strides in the door dressed as a maintenance man carrying what looks like pool cleaning equipment. He begins speaking to the security guard at the front desk in quick Spanish. The guard doesn't understand the words coming out of his mouth, but he picks up on the fact that this guy is in a hurry. Something about dead fish. Before he can put him through the proper protocol, Hardison is past the security desk and on his way up to the offices. The guard doesn't give him any trouble.

Hardison gets onto the elevator dressed as the maintenance guy, but gets off in a suit.

On the plane, the crew discusses the likely candidates holding the money. After ruling out the elderly, people with kids, and people under the age of 25, they're left with 14 possible perps in coach and six in first class. They agree that the money probably isn't in checked baggage because the courier wouldn't want to part with it, so they'll be looking at carry-on luggage. Nathan tells them that what they're looking for could be in any of various forms including cash, traveler's checks, and bearer bonds.

Eliot and Parker being looking through baggage in coach as inconspicuously as they care to attempt-Eliot doesn't do much to hide the fact that he's looking through people's stuff-while Sophie "accidentally" knocks into a guy in first class to knock his bag from his hands. While she apologizes, Nathan looks into it and doesn't find what he's looking for. When Sophie sits down and Nathan says that little game just reminded him of Paris, she bristles. They pulled that sort of thing in Tuscany, not Paris. Now, much to Nathan's dismay, it's a thing.

At Genogrow, Hardison is loitering around the break room waiting for his chance to get into Haldeman's office. As he does so, a female employee complains of a coworker and makes reference to Worlds of Warcraft. Hardison is immediately interested. He asks if she got the new expansion pack because he played all night. Nathan, thanks to the ear bud, hears all of this and finally understand why he punked out on them at the beginning of the mission: he was up playing a video game. Knowing that Nathan is still unhappy with him, Hardison notices a couple of discarded graphs and pie charts in the garbage can and comes up with a way to prove his worth.

He pokes his head into Haldeman's office to tell him the meeting is about to start. Haldeman has no idea what he's talking about, but leaves his office anyway to find out what the deal is. He soon finds himself in a presentation put on by "Dave" (Hardison) that discusses repurposing the company to bring it into the new century. A few minutes after he begins, Hardison/Dave feigns sickness and tells an unsuspecting "coworker" to take over while he goes to the restroom. He, of course, doesn't go to the restroom, but sneaks into Haldeman's office and jumps on his computer.

On the plane, the crew is waiting for a break. They've searched through countless bags and have found large amounts of stolen goods but none of it belongs to Genogrow. Ah, the Caymans-a thieves' holiday. As Nathan puts it, "Go for the tan, stay for the tax shelter." Then, Hardison finds something after cross-checking Genogrow's company roster and the flight manifesto. Two of the company's employees are on the flight: Dan Erlick, head of security, and Marissa Devins, an accountant. The weird thing is they're not seated together. Erlick is in first class and Devins is in coach. Could be a coincidence that they're on the same flight, but the fact that the two tickets were paid for by the same corporate credit card at the same exact time makes that seem less likely. They split up the work-Nathan and Sophie will check out Erlick, who Nathan thinks is the more likely target, and Parker will have a look at Devins, even though she's hesitant to do so. . .

As it turns out, Devins is the ill passenger Parker blew off before. A newly-sweet Parker arrives at her seat to make sure she's okay, and then proceeds to work her for information. Devins freely admits she's on business for Genogrow and says she didn't know of any other Genogrow employees on the flight, but that's not out of the ordinary-the company doesn't tell her much.

In first class, Sophie/Mary Jane and Nathan/Tom stage an argument in front of Erlick, who sits at the plane's bar. When Nathan/Tom storms off, Erlick offers to buy her a drink. She obliges, quite flirtatiously.

Hardison tells Nathan that Erlick called Haldeman shortly before takeoff, so his theory works, but he thinks there's a catch. He peeks into Devins' office and sees two men rummaging through boxes of her stuff. Hardison suspects that the accountant knows more than she lets off and Nathan fills in the rest-the "asset" Haldeman might want dumped in the Caymans might not be money or another type of currency. It might be a person and that person might be Marissa Devins.

After Nathan tells the crew the situation, Sophie thinks they should tell Devins the situation. Parker doesn't-the woman is already sick enough. After a moment of contemplation, Nathan agrees with Sophie, but tells Eliot to tell Devins. He's got a badge, so the story will seem more credible coming from him.

Eliot then questions Devins for information on Genogrow. Why did Haldeman send her to the Caymans? To audit Genogrow's offshore accounts and fix the account irregularities she found in the Agricultural Chemistry division. What irregularities? When she looked into the account, she found that checks were cut to the Safety Studies Department, but no confirmation that tests were run on a new fertilizer was included with the paperwork. Plus, some of the payments to the researchers were abnormally high. At the time she found them, Haldeman told her it was a processing error and sent her to the Caymans to fix them. After hearing this, Eliot drops the bomb on her. The money that was paid to the researchers was hush money. Haldeman paid them off so they wouldn't testify in the civil suit. Devins begins freaking out when Parker arrives to drop another bomb: the man seated in 1D wants to kill her.

Nathan gets Eliot's opinion on how he thinks Erlick plans to off Devins. One man on the plane to make sure she gets off, two on the ground waiting to pick her up and do the deed.

Nathans tells Hardison to get Haldeman's hard drive and get out of the office. This is going to be more difficult than he thinks-Hardison had a hard enough time getting him out of there once. He'll have to get creative, and he starts out by telling a couple of employees that it's his birthday.

Meanwhile, Sophie takes a visibly nervous Devins for a walk to the back of the plane to calm her down, fully knowing Erlick will follow closely behind. When he does just this, WHAM! Eliot jumps out from a bathroom stalls and shoves him in. They fight in the enclosed space and Erlick holds his own for a while, but in the end, he doesn't have a chance. Eliot, a bit bloodied, leaves his unconscious adversary sitting on the toilet and Parker places an "out of order" on the door.

Hardison checks in. Having successfully distracted the office into a makeshift party by saying it was his birthday, he found Haldeman's laptop in a secret desk compartment. What he's finds on there doesn't mesh with the picture they all have of what they're facing. A few hours ago, Haldeman put a stop payment on a check written to Erlick and got in direct contact with someone in the Caymans. This doesn't make sense if Erlick is the guy in charge of killing Devins. Perhaps there's more than one person on this flight Haldeman intends to off. . .but that doesn't make sense, either. Why would he want to kill Erlick, too? Nathan, as usual, has the answer. Not only will the smoking gun be taken out of the equation, but the guy who knows about it will be, as well. Erlick is a pro, though-an ex-Navy S.E.A.L.-he'd sniff out a plot against him a mile away. Unless Haldeman planned to take him out in-transit, as in bombing the plane on which the crew currently finds itself.


Should they tell the pilot and crew? Nathan says no-they need to figure out what they're up against first. How could a bomb get onto the plane? If it was put into the cargo hold, post-screening. Probably in Erlick's bag or Devins' luggage.

They need to talk to Erlick, so Nathan and Eliot go to the bathroom to attempt to wake him up, but to no avail-he's out cold. They do, however, succeed in getting his baggage claim tags so they can identify his luggage in cargo.

Parker unscrews a panel in the cabin to access the cargo hold and goes in, but finds nothing out of the ordinary in either Devins' or Erlick's bags. Then Hardison chimes in. He tells Parker to look for a computer interface hooked up to the plane's electrical system. She finds it and he walks her through hooking up her cell phone to the system. In doing this, Hardison now has access to the electrical system from 3000 miles away. A feat, he tells Parker, that would turn her on if she was a geek. When he starts reading into things, he sees an electrical spike going on somewhere in the plane. By guiding Parker to look for various gadgets and hook ups, he finds out that whoever sabotaged the plane also tapped into the plane's black box recorder, so when the flight crashes, there will be no evidence of tampering. They also find out that the same people have control of the navigation system-there's no bomb after all. They're just going to bring the plane down the old-fashioned way: by crashing it into the ground.

That's when things start going haywire rather quickly. . .

Eliot bursts into the cockpit as the air marshal with Nathan/Tom, who is apparently an engineering specialist with the TSA. Before than can explain any further, the plane's autopilot engages all by itself and puts the flight into a steep descent!

Nathan/Tom tells the pilot the situation and then asks Hardison to save their asses. He tells them the pilots have to reboot the electrical system after he overrides what the saboteurs did, but. . .

. . .Hardison doesn't know a thing about that or aeronautical navigation systems, and doesn't think he can fix this one in time.

Nathan tells Hardison that, yes, he can. He completely trusts him because, no matter how much he goofs around or screws up, he always comes through in the clutch. Hearing this is just the confidence boost Hardison needs.

He takes it from there. . .

He tells Parker to cut all of the wires connecting the saboteurs' device to the electrical system as the plane falls below 10,000 feet. . .

Code continues to run on the rogue device, but when that code stops, Parker needs to snip the last wire. . .

9000 feet. . .

Finally, Parker is able to cut it and the autopilot is disengaged. . .

6000. . .

The pilots can now reboot the electrical system. . .

5000. . .

The regain control of the plane, but it's descending too steeply to safely pull out. . .

4000. . .

They need a runway and, miraculously, a bridge appears through the lowest deck of clouds. The crew takes their seats as Hardison watches the plane's altimeter readouts from Haldeman's office. Nathan checks in to make sure Sophie is okay right before the pilot attempts a landing. . .

The plane's landing gear is lowered and hits the concrete once, but the pilot has to pull up to avoid traffic. He tries again and. . .

. . .sticks the landing! The plane comes to a screeching halt on the bridge. Disaster averted.

Hardison celebrates-Age of the Geek, baby!-then checks in with the crew. They're all okay.

Nathan tells Eliot to get Devins off the plane immediately and advises Hardison to get out of the office pronto-Haldeman is about to find out his smoking gun is still alive.

On the makeshift runaway, Devins apologizes for not being able to hand them evidence of Haldeman's wrongdoing, but it's all in her office. Nathan reassures her that not all of it was there. Some of it was on Haldeman's computer and Hardison took the hard drive out of it. There is something that she can do, however-testify.

Later, back at headquarters, the crew watches as Haldeman is hauled off to jail after having been indicted on conspiracy and attempted murder charges. Hardison is still getting the silent treatment for selling everyone else out for Worlds of Warcraft despite his most recent heroics. Parker and Eliot storm out of the room to avoid conflict, and Hardison follows suit in the other direction. That leaves Sophie and Nathan alone in the room. . .

Nathan takes the opportunity to apologize for his lack of memory on the plane ...sort of. Ten years ago, he admits that the saw each other for the first time in Prague while she was stealing a Degas from a collection there. She ran, he chased. Two years after that, he caught her in Damascus, she turned around, and introduced her. So, they actually met for the first time eight years ago, just as he said on the plane. It'll be their official eight-year anniversary next month.

"Well played," Sophie says, and it seems that's the only answer she'll be able to justify, except she goes on. "I still don't understand how you can mix up Paris and Tuscany."

Nope, Nathan really can't get it right with her. . .






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