Leverage: The Hidden Gem of Nerd Culture


By: Angela Russo (@NerdGirlForever)

If you’re looking for an unexpectedly nerd-worthy show, Leverage is an optimal candidate. The series follows a team of former criminals led by an honest man. Each episode, Leverage takes on a client with a problem the law can’t fix — often a family or individual in a battle against a powerful executive, company, or criminal organization. In order to restore order, the team plans a custom heist or con that brings the perpetrator to justice. When you think of nerd culture shows, Leverage may not be the first to come to mind. However, the series is chock full of nerd-tastic flavor.

“Age of the Geek, Baby” – Alec Hardison

The rise of Nerdom has only recently started gaining momentum. In 2008, Leverage Hacker Alec Hardison was way ahead of the game. He knew nerds would take the world by storm and proudly struck out on the first wave of the Nerdolution. Hardison championed a variety of nerd cultures from technology and gaming, to iconic science fiction classics like Star Trek, Star Wars, and Ghostbusters. Over the course of the series, the hacker dropped numerous quotes, frequently utilized Doctor Who character names as aliases on con missions, and referenced The Wrath of Khan as a code for danger. Not every member of the Leverage team is a classic nerd, but at heart, they’re all nerds of a feather because of their shared passion for putting their underworld skill sets to work for the common good.

Nerdoms of Team Leverage:

Nathan Ford (Timothy Hutton)
Team Leader: Mastermind and champion of justice. Ford is a jack-of-all-trades, but his true passion is to put away the bad guy whatever the challenge.

Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman)
Lead Grifter: This con-woman is known for her passion for all things theatrical. Between missions, she frequently takes on stage roles and “collects” a variety of priceless antiquities.

Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge)
Resident Hacker and tech specialist: Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. Hardison’s role on the team truly embraces this adage. The lovable nerd finds a way to integrate all his sci-fi/gamer passion into every aspect of the job.

Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane)
Combat specialist and former hitman: When he’s not protecting the team, smooth-talking cowboy Spencer enjoys playing the guitar and exercising his skills as a master chef.

Parker (Beth Riesgraf)
High-class thief extraordinaire and talented gymnast: In and out of missions, Parker is a classic adrenaline junkie. There’s not a rooftop on earth that she wouldn’t love to base-jump.

Together this diverse group becomes a special family that supports each other in their personal and professional lives. Leverage is funny, quirky, action-packed, and heartwarming. If you love The Librarians, you may find Leverage bears some striking similarities. This comes as no surprise considering Dean Devlin was one of the executive producers and a top director for both TNT series. Fans of The Librarians will also recognize Riesgraf, Kane, and numerous other familiar faces on Leverage.

Nerd Culture Guest Stars

Leverage further tips its hat to nerd culture through its diverse cast of prominent guest stars.

Mark Sheppard
This actor has been seen on a plethora of fan-favorites like Chuck, Supernatural, Firefly, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek Voyager, and so many more. On Leverage, Sheppard plays the recurring role of James Sterling, a nemesis to the Leverage team. He technically works for the good guys at Interpol, but since Leverage works outside the law and has members with less than honorable pasts, he makes it his goal to take them down.

Wil Wheaton
Star Trek The Next Generation fans will recognize Wil Wheaton from his role as Wesley Crusher. On Leverage, he appears multiple times as Colin Mason, a rival hacker known as Chaos. The CIA has nicknamed him “the Kobayashi Maru” of hackers.

Brent Spiner
Also from Star Trek TNG, Spiner guest starred on Leverage as an unethical CEO. Seeing him outside his role as the mild-mannered intellectual android Data is definitely an unusual change of pace. Amusingly enough, Jonathan Frakes, (Commander William T. Riker) was the director of that particular episode.

Jeri Ryan
Known for her role as Seven of Nine on Star Trek Voyager, Jeri Ryan plays an extended guest-starring role as Tara, a con artist who temporarily replaces Sophie Devereaux as the lead grifter.

Adam Baldwin
The Chuck and Firefly alum only appears in two episodes, but his presence simply cannot be overlooked. Baldwin plays a colonel who is friends with Leverage’s in-house combat specialist Eliot Spencer. The two are seen embarking on covert missions that Colonel John Casey would be envious of.

“The world doesn’t work this way…So change the world.” – Nathan Ford

Leverage is an excellent show that has a natural progression for all the characters, and stays firmly to its premise from pilot to finale. The series has a lot of heart, balancing out the inequality of the world by helping the little guy beat Goliath through Robin Hood-style methods. The team itself is quite an unusual mix of talents and personalities, and the writers do a wonderful job of depicting people who learn to embrace every oddity with a passion that truly deserves the title of Nerd. Although it may not be your standard everyday example of nerd culture, it certainly played a role in furthering the rise of Nerdom. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, it’s definitely worth the watch.


  1. JesJune 20th, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Great show. I’ve binge-watched the whole series twice.

  2. Jack NastJune 20th, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Right on in your nerd-nalysis.

  3. neighbourskidJune 20th, 2017 at 2:25 pm


  4. Lisa RoloffJune 20th, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    LOL Hidden Gem my over ample ass! LOL nothing hidden about this one. There are far more fans of this show still running around and throwing quotes as we watch like it was Rocky Horror Picture show than you are aware of. The show cornered the market on lovely wonderful attractive as all hell men with the slow southern charm and protective nature of Christian Kane (not to mention the incredibly expressive eyes and rough voice he uses to best advantage whether singing or speaking), the incredible Aldis Hodge (Seriously, Geeks/Nerds just flat don’t look like that in real life. I mean, Damn! Lovely warm brown eyes and a body that the costume staff don’t seem the least bit interested in hiding like they do Christian Kane’s. I mean, do they have stock in flannel or something?) and then there is teen/child actor Timothy Hutton all grown up and looking just so…. For the gents you have Gina Bellman and her wonderful stylish classic beauty and soft caress of an English accent and then Beth Riesgraf and her adrenaline junkie, girl next door good looks. How can you beat a crew of modern day Robin Hoods like this.

  5. Cathy Rogers SarabiaJune 20th, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    This show is loaded with awesome sauce – I have binge-watched all 5 seasons twice, and will be starting on my third trip with the Team very soon. It never gets old!

  6. Catharina JohnsonJune 20th, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    Leverage has been my go to comfort show fo many years. t makes you laugh with its whimsy and comedy, warms you with the love and protection the team shows each other, and pleases the eye with handsome Christian Kane and Aldis Hodge, not to forget, for the mature among us, the ever-sexy Timothy Hutton. Gina Bellman and Beth Riesgraf carry the banner for beauty. . The writing is clever and witty and all the actors present it well. An intelligent show with intelligent actors, written for intelligent fans. A must see for all Kaniaics(as if they haven’t)!

  7. Mary E BrewerJune 21st, 2017 at 7:00 am

    Best show ever!! Leverage is a timeless show. Should have never been cancelled. The best cast, characters, storyline of any show I have ever seen! Many of Christian Kane’s fans first saw him there and are now lifelong #Kaniacs!

  8. Louise ShiveJune 21st, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Best TV series ever! Great writers and actors keep the stories moving, and the amazing chemistry among the actors is spellbinding. The issues raised about the rich and powerful are even more timely today. You can watch any episode, and season without having seen those prior.

  9. Mr Kriss JohnsonJune 21st, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Hidden gem…“you just keep telling yourself that”-Elliot Spencer

  10. Liz MabelJune 21st, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Best show ever!!! My family owns all the seasons and watch them constantly!!! Parker makes me smile…Elliott is super hot! But truly they are all spectacular actors!

  11. LanaJune 21st, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Best. Show. Ever.

  12. CarmenJune 21st, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    I love this show. It’s funny because I’m actually watching it now when I saw this article. I love the Robin Hood nature of the show, the family aspect of the show and the fact that it was was mainly filmed in my hometown. This is maybe my fourth or fifth time watching it. Currently on episode 3 of season 2. I was sad to see it go but ALWAYS hopeful for a revival or maybe a movie or two. Leverage will ALWAYS live on forever in my heart. I’ve become fans of the team. 🙂 Thanks for this article. Will definitely share.

  13. BeverleyJune 21st, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    Love this show. Almost as much as The Librarians. This show introduced me to Christian Kane, SUCH a good thing.

  14. StaceyJune 21st, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    Adam Baldwin was also in an episode of Angel with Christian Kane.

  15. MalindaJune 21st, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    Honestly one of my all time favorite shows. It is definitely something to watch. I use some of the series famous lines quite a bit.

  16. 3 MalonesJune 21st, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    We love this show, we have binge watched it a few times… It never gets old. I appreciate how clean the show is, handsome & actors beautiful actresses all stay clothed… We love the closeness if the team even though they are so very different from each other.
    Love that the blonde gets with a colored guy.. 🙂
    Love how they help the underdog & correct it for numerous people in the process.
    Great show, wish there was 10 seasons…

  17. MaryAnne WilsonJune 22nd, 2017 at 3:48 am

    Have the whole series on DVD and watch it frequently. The director and writer stories on the dvds are entertaining and informative. Very good show Dean Devlin keeps promising a few for fans and the actors are on board hoping it’s true and a Leverage movie will be forthcoming

  18. Terry sheaJune 22nd, 2017 at 4:03 am

    Love it. Watch it over and over again. The go to show on netflix

  19. LynnJune 22nd, 2017 at 6:01 am

    Talk about a show with something for everyone…top notch stories, intelligent acting…I am STILL mourning its demise!! I don’t even have favorite episodes…they are ALL my favorite!! I also love The Librarians, but would deeply appreciate a LEVERAGE movie or two…PLEASE???

  20. Leah Marie ToshJune 22nd, 2017 at 6:06 am


  21. Cielito ManalangJune 22nd, 2017 at 6:30 am

    In my opinion, Leverage is even better than The Librarians. I started watching The Librarians because of Kane…it eventually started getting better. Leverage, on the other hand, has been a GREAT show from the pilot episode and maintained its greatness until the series finale. My two girls (who are now 18 & 13) have been hooked on this show for years just as I am…and we’ve binge-watched this show for at least 4 times…and each episode still feels fresh, as if it’s the first time we’ve seen it. Still awaiting on any word of a Leverage movie, as any of the tons of fans are doing. Also waiting on a boxed set of the show. Thanks for the article!

  22. JJJune 22nd, 2017 at 7:21 am

    You forgot Paul Blackthorne (Dresden Files and Arrow) appearing in two episodes as a Russian mobster, and Saul Rubinek (Warehouse 13) in three episodes.

  23. Susan MasonJune 22nd, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Best show ever. Should never have been cacelled.

  24. JennyJune 22nd, 2017 at 8:06 am

    I loved this show. One of my all time favorites. Wish they would make more. Guess I will just have to watch them all again.

  25. KAREN J DOUGLASJune 22nd, 2017 at 8:17 am

    I even bought the shirt! White polo shirt with “Let’s go Steal A Miracle” over left front pocket……found it online…..had to have it. When I wear it, people ask if it’s my “work” shirt because I do a lot of volunteering……LOL STILL waiting for the darn movie!

  26. Fran WebbJune 22nd, 2017 at 8:23 am

    This is one of my favorite shows and I was heartbroken when it ended. So thankful I can watch the reruns!

  27. Dale KraemerJune 22nd, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Leverage was the best series ever, wish they would bring it back, either season six or a Leverage movie. Final episode was best series-ending episode of all time. I have the entire five seasons on DVD, and am wearing them out!

  28. Karen BurghardJune 22nd, 2017 at 8:44 am

    I so wish this show never ended. I got my family hooked on it right as I found out it was canceled. so now I have to watch it in reruns.

  29. ChrisJune 22nd, 2017 at 9:02 am

    Great show loved watching it. Can’t understand why it was cancelled

  30. Tim MahoneyJune 22nd, 2017 at 10:27 am

    I loved Leverage from day one and have all five seasons on DVD. Was seriously pissed when the bean counters at TNT canceled it prematurely after only 5 years with so many other “junk” series still running. Also have all the “Librarian” DVDs and all three seasons of “The Librarians” downloaded. Seriously miss “Leverage”.

  31. Sherry RobinettJune 22nd, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I LOVE Leverage. So sad it was cancelled. It is one of my absolute favorites. Love the actors.

  32. Eydie LambertJune 22nd, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Oh my gosh!!!! My favorite show on 🌎!!!!

  33. ChloeJune 22nd, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    LOVE this show! Continually watch it on Netflix…..gotta get my Leverage “fix”.

  34. CathyJune 22nd, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    One of my favorite shows ever. I was hooked on the first commercial and couldn’t wait for episode 1. I was gone from the beginning and devastated when it ended. The characters were written so well and portrayed perfectly. I have the series on dvd and still watch often. There is absolutely nothing on now that compares. I’ve been hoping for a movie or two and I would have loved to see another season with Hardison, Eliot and Parker.

  35. Anna MartinezJune 22nd, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Love this show, stumbled on it by accident on Netflix. Was bum it only was so short. After reading this I need to start again.

  36. C. ReillyJune 22nd, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    A stellar show. It is greatly missed and fans would be ecstatic to have it back on the air.

  37. Ann RyceJune 22nd, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Leverage has been my favorite show since it first aired. Not only have I watched it on TV but own all 5 seasons. This show is so different than other shows and I miss it as do all the fans. Christian Kane really did a great job being Eliot Spencer, everyone was great! Kaniacs and Leverage fans are still asking Dean Devlin for Leverage movie or movies.

  38. BeckyJune 22nd, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Love, love, love this show!

  39. LynnJune 22nd, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Didn’t think I would like it and enjoyed all the characters specially Parker (Beth Riesgraf) she was super silly which made watching her funny. Loved the show and always loved Timothy Hutton in anything. Wish they would bring it back it would do good!

  40. Dj AleveJune 22nd, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Probably have seen each episode over 10 times easily. Wish it wasn’t cancelled.

  41. MicheleJune 22nd, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    Many people arent aware of this show but its heen my fav for years! Thanks for writing this. Maybrme now more people will watch it and the knowledge of Christian Kane and his many talents will spread!!

  42. SkipJune 22nd, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Ditto to all the accolades and hold-out hopes for a reprisal or movie. I’ll add that the stunt work of Jessie Graff for Beth’s character is top notch, and if you want to see a precursor of Kane’s work as Eliot, watch “Secondhand Lion” and see him in a flashback of Duvall’s character, Hub. I miss the Sunday replay binges on ION….

  43. MariaJune 22nd, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    I love leverage the whole team is awesome and they all have very good sense of humors I just like to know I’m I missing the show now is it back on Tv!!!

  44. Catherine HaynesJune 22nd, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Missed some of this show when it started but soon caught up and watched every episode since. Its better than Castle and Bones,although I enjoyed them I love the characters in Leverage more. Have a rethink and pick it up and develop it. Forget the reality shows and bet on talented actors and good writers.

  45. Shelley old lady EchtleJune 22nd, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Oh, I can binge watch this as many times as I have E.R. And Monk! Love the characters, storylines so relatable, and who doesn’t love Robinhood, unless you’re a Texan and it’s the Robinhood act for school money! Love, ❤️, love this show! And Christian Kane– yummy!

  46. Trude P.June 22nd, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Still my Go To Show….willl watch it over and over, and still laugh….Best thing to watch…When there is nothing else to watch….Age of the Geek…..Damn it Hardison…Gloria Panderbilt….Chaos….you comin in pitchy.. Will root for the nazi’s…..Only true Leverage fans will understand

  47. MarilynJune 22nd, 2017 at 11:16 pm

    I loved this program and I adore Christian.

  48. Thomas FloydJune 23rd, 2017 at 12:08 am

    Dammit, Hardison!

  49. Ludvig RammstienJune 23rd, 2017 at 1:05 am

    I feel like the show really embraces the “nerd culture” when they move to Portland. Missed captain banana but loved the cultural move.

  50. Jacquie WallisJune 23rd, 2017 at 3:19 am

    My favourite show EVER. I only discovered the show 3 months before it was canceled. I miss that there are no new episodes to air, but at least I have DVD’s to all 5 seasons to watch over & over again. And then, there’s the Leverage movie we keep being ‘teased’ about’ 😉

  51. Greg RJune 23rd, 2017 at 4:33 am

    Can we all agree that this series is just a non-super-powered Thunderbolts, original team? Follow me here:

    Team of crooks who find life is better helping people.

    Ford: Strategist like Baron Zemo, but Coach and Rehabilitator like Hawkeye.
    Sophie: Moonstone without the Ph.D. as a psychiatrist.
    Eliot: Atlas. The Backbone of the team, and the Protector.
    Parker: Songbird. Thin, young, and the most psychologically damaged. Similar childhoods.
    Hardison: Mix of Techno and Mach-1 with the tech skills, and like Mach-1 gets Songbird. 😉

    This should qualify it for All-Time Nerd Hall of Fame.

  52. Shirley AndexlerJune 23rd, 2017 at 8:31 am

    I just started re watching Leverage again! Loved the cast and storyline. Why are all the good shows gone?

  53. RhadeJune 23rd, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Further back Adam Baldwin was in s5 of Angel as the Senior Partner’s agent Marcus Hamilton working with Christian Kane’s Lindsey to defeat Angel. And Sam Anderson who played Lindsey’s boss also guested.

  54. ClarikeJune 23rd, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Still LoveLoveLove this show!! Christian Kane wa the reason to watch in the first place, but soon the whole team got stuck in my heart.
    And it is pretty awesome that a cancelled show STILL makes new fans from all over the world!!

  55. NancyJune 23rd, 2017 at 10:15 am

    I love this show….The little guy always wins in the end:) Dean Devlin created one of the best series ever….and the whole cast plays their parts so well that it is hard to differentiate them from their character!… (Christian Kane is phenomenal, btw)

  56. Sue binderJune 23rd, 2017 at 11:14 am

    I probably miss this show more than any other I’ve enjoyed in my life. Wish it had continued with the rest of cast but I do love those reruns

  57. SueJune 23rd, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Love this show. Christian Kane is HOT The acting is first rate and the storylines are great. It should have never been canceled.

  58. cecileJune 23rd, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    There was finally great viewing on TV that did not insult your intelligence and some jerk put an end to it.
    Love Leverage ! ! !

  59. DonnaJune 23rd, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    I loved this show, what a shame it ended. It was a show the whole family could enjoy, and the only one that had one an award after it was canceled

  60. JohnJune 23rd, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Bought every season on DVD. Can you wear out a DVD? I’ll let you know! 😀

  61. Lannie abbottJune 23rd, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    One of the very best, i miss it so much thank you for mentioning it love love love it and every person but especially christian Kane 💞 would love it if they would bring it back 😘

  62. MegJune 24th, 2017 at 12:49 am

    Ummm BEST SHOW EVER! We were All shocked.and disappointed that it ended so soon. Leverage has the best fans (Kaniacs) ever.. we watch leverage over and over because of the amazing cast that made it feel like a family. 100% feel that it should still be running today. Even as it ended the fans showed the network our passion by gwtting leverage a win on people’s choice awards. We still support each actor and actress till this day ! Amazing chemistry and directing by Dean Devlin and John Rogers.

  63. YvetteJune 24th, 2017 at 4:54 am

    This is an awesome show, everyone would love it! This is my most frequent binge watched show, and I never missed an episode. While the cast is perfect, #ChristianKane is my favorite and the reason I waited for months for Season 1 Episode 1 to premier. Then were tons of story lines that could have been fleshed out for at least another 5 seasons. #Leverage

  64. MaricarJune 24th, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    I think I’m on my fifth binge of this show. I kid you not. After the third binge, i just let it run in the background. Once you take the whole show, you’d realize that these actors are the best in the biz. Imagine taking on a different persona each week. While still maintaining that which makes them distinct, they truly are incredible. My hats off to the writers and directors of this tremendous show. I wish it’ll come back. Just like Doctor Who did.

  65. PamJune 24th, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Really a good show. Loved watching. Especially the murder mystery where they dressed up as detectives. Nathan Ford was Ellery Queen a nice tribute to Timothy Hutton’s father who played the TV sleuth.

  66. Deanna DickerJune 25th, 2017 at 5:59 am

    I miss leverage, it was an awesomely epic one of a kind show with A Class actors. Fantastic writing of the episodes.

  67. mike pSeptember 7th, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    this one of my alltime fav. shows. i stream it on netflix in the background. i have watched each ep prob 1000 times. never grts olf never gets boring. i would LOVE to see a movie or to see a network pick it up where it left off, with parket running the show, and havr them bring in two new team members. would makr my yeat.

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