The team infiltrates the mystery murder gala of their latest mark (William Russ), only to have the man killed in the middle of the party. When the storm momentarily knocks out the light someone attacks and throws the businessman from the balcony. As Nate (Timothy Hutton) is a prime suspect (he was the only one on the balcony when the lights came back on) the team not only has to complete the con by breaking into the man’s safe, but convince the entire gathering the “murder” is all part of the show and enlist their help in discovering the identity of the murderer.
Although it’s a nice change of pace, as both an episode of Leverage and a whodunit “The 10 Lil’l Grifters Job” feels a little off in spots. The murder, secret rooms, and ultimate reveal (without the slight of hand we normally are give) feel almost like another show completely.
I’m also concerned with the dark turn Nate seems to take at the end of the episode as he deals with the team actually thinking he might have committed the murder. Been there, done that, and this isn’t a road I really want the show to go back down.
That doesn’t mean their isn’t fun to be had including Elliot’s (Christian Kane) violent attempts to grift at the party and the costumes each wears to the event (especially Parker and Hardison). And seeing the team work on entire con on the fly also adds something to the episode (although there isn’t as much of these scenes as I’d like).
I’ll give credit to the writers for trying something different in this episode, even if it doesn’t quite work, and I’ll admit I might appreciate it more the second time around knowing what to expect.