Leverage

Season 2 Episode 5

The Three Days of the Hunter Job

2
Aired Tuesday 10:00 PM Aug 12, 2009 on TNT

Episode Recap

Television news reporter Monica Hunter runs a report on Ray Pennington, a bus driver who she claims caused a major accident. She announces that Ray was driving while being treated for severe mental illness. At the Pennington home, Ray's daughter Sarah comes in and finds the television on. She realizes that her father has gone out to the garage to try to kill himself and saves him just in time.

Some time later, Sarah meets with Nate and explains that the authorities cleared her father in the accident. While he was taking anti-depressants after he returned from the first Gulf War, he hasn't used them in 14 years. Nate says they can get her and her father to cover the medical bills and save their house, but Sarah insists that what they want is Ray's good name back. Sophie, touched, assures her that they'll do it. Once Sarah leaves, Sophie tells Nate that she wants to mastermind the operation. He suggests that she's upset after her breakup and trying to find something to control, but Sophie disagrees and points out that they've spent a year dealing with Nate's obsession with businessmen like the ones responsible for his son's death. Nate concedes she has a point and agrees to let her mastermind the job.

At the team briefing, everyone else is surprised to learn that Sophie is taking Nate's place. She explains that they're going to get the network to issue an apology by discrediting Monica. Once she's ruined, all the people she ruined with her stories will be cleared. Eliot isn't convinced that Sophie should be leading, given that the last time she did, she got their LA headquarters blown up. Despite that, they go ahead and Hardison explains that Monica uses incriminating documents, embarrassing footage, and expert testimony to ruin the lives of innocent people. Sophie explains that they'll set Monica up with a fake story, and Hardison figures they can offer her a chance at a major news story since she wants recognition and serious journalists consider her a joke. Sophie figures they can do it and tells everyone to rally and head for DC. She leads the way, just like Nate does...and ends up walking into the closet.

Monica is finishing her newest broadcast and discovers Parker in her office, deliberately trying to get caught. Parker claims she's a rival newscaster and leaves, but Monica goes after her and forces her to reveal that she's on a hot story concerning the Pentagon. To get in, Parker was going to steal Monica's pass. Monica wants more details and Parker tells her that she has a story that will bring down the President.

Intrigued, Monica goes with Parker to see her source. It's Hardison, holed up in a cheap apartment surrounded by conspiracy newspaper clippings. Monica figures it's a bogus theory, but as she goes she sees Eliot lurking in the hallway, pretending to be a government agent. Convinced, she asks for more details and Hardison explains that the government is building secret underground prisons at military bases across the country, so they have a place to put terrorists when they close Guantanamo Bay. Parker says that she has a general in the Pentagon that can confirm their story. Monica agrees to use her own team to confront the general. She calls her producer Steve and tells him to get a camera crew ready. Once they have the story, they'll drop Parker. Meanwhile, the team meets in the apartment and Sophie tries to rally the group by saying they have to steal a General. Parker is more concerned with whether all the conspiracies clippings are real, and Eliot insists they are.

The team now needs a General. Eliot meets General Mark Chesler after a subcommittee meeting, claims to be a Senator's aide, and gets Chesler and his secretary out of Chesler's office. Nate, dressed as a General, then goes in posing as Chesler. When Monica arrives with her camera crew, she spots Eliot watching them and figures she's on the right track. She confronts Nate, who indignantly denies any underground prisons and walks away. Once he's gone, Monica sneaks into the office and finds construction memos confirming the story. She agrees to have Parker bring Hardison in and put him on the air as her expert.

Later, Parker and Hardison arrive at the studio but are surprised to learn that Monica is going with a different scare story. After the broadcast, she explains that the public aren't interested in feel-good stories where the government makes them safe, even if there is a conspiracy involved. She wants a story that will frighten her viewers and bring in ratings. Sophie figures that if Monica wants fear, they'll give her fear. As Sophie starts taking it personally, Nate watches her carefully.

Later, Parker calls Monica from outside the studio and tells her to look outside. She says that Nate has called her with new evidence. As Monica watches, Eliot stages a hit-and-run and "kills" Parker, then takes a red file off of her body and drives away. When Monica comes out, Hardison gets her away while wearing a mailman's uniform to blend in. He tells Monica that Nate has decided to testify out of guilt and they're going to get him. Once Hardison gets Monica away, Parker gets up and goes.

Nate meets Monica at private spot and informs her that his superiors are cleaning up all of the loose ends. Three weeks ago, there was a breech at a weapons research lab outside of DC. An experimental nerve gas that replicates like a virus was released into the water table, and it takes about three weeks to reach toxic levels. The "prisons" are actually shelters being built for the country's elite. When Monica wonders why when only a few thousand people in the DC area will suffer, Hardison explains that once the nerve gas gets into the water supply, it will become part of the water cycle and spread across the country. Nate tells her that the proof she needs to take the story public is in the red file that Eliot took from Parker. When she admits she doesn't have it, Nate tells her to go to her contacts and asks them about Project Destiny.

Back at the apartment, Hardison keeps taunting Parker with conspiracy stories, while Sophie becomes increasingly righteous about bringing Monica down. Hardison tracks down all of Monica's limited pool of regular sources, and narrows it down to the four people that she goes to for political information. When Monica tries to call and email them, Hardison intercepts all of her calls to three of them, forcing her to talk to the fourth, Congressman Calloway. Monica approaches him in person and asks him about Destiny. She's unaware that Destiny is a stripper that he frequent. Fearing the political scandal, Calloway warns her never to talk about Destiny and runs away.

Monica figures that the entire story is true and goes back to the studio, where she nervously watches people using water. Hardison hacks the studio surveillance cameras and Sophie watches in satisfaction, but Nate suggests that they might be pushing the reporter too far. They're interrupted when Monica comes to the apartment. Everyone hides and Hardison lets Monica in. She insists that she needs video proof and hauls him away to find a military base with a shelter.

Acting on the fly, Nate finds an Army reserve base with a repair depot that they can pass off as the shelter. Nate, still wearing his general's uniform, drives after them. Before he can arrive, Monica insists that Hardison sneak her into the base and help her take footage. Hardison has no choice but to agree rather than blow the con. They climb over and the soldiers immediately arrest them.

Monica and Hardison are interrogated separately. Captain Carpenter interrogates Monica, and has no idea what she's talking about. Hardison tries to claim to Lt. Abbot that he picked up Monica in a bar and thought they were going to the gated community where she lives. When Abbot takes a break, Hardison begs Sophie to get him out. However, Nate is still five minutes away and they can't risk Monica seeing Parker and Eliot. Sophie tells Hardison to stall, and Hardison has Eliot use the computer to pull up the files on Abbot. When Abbot returns to interrogate Hardison, Hardison uses the knowledge Eliot is feeding him to claim he knows everything about the lieutenant and claim he's a military inspector.

Nate bluffs his way onto the place and tells Carpenter and Abbot that the whole thing is a special on security at military bases. He gets Hardison and Monica released, and suggests that they split up. Hardison goes to the apartment and Nate takes Monica there separately. He gives her a bottle of pills that he claims are a partial antidote against the nerve gas, and they get off the base just as Carpenter realizes that Nate is using Cresler's stolen ID. They have no idea who Hardison is, but confirm Monica's ID.

When Nate and Monica return to the apartment, Monica is shocked to discover that Hardison is gone and all of his files have disappeared. The only thing left is the red file. Eliot comes in and claims he killed Hardison, and Nate explains that he's been working with Eliot to clean up all the loose ends, and now Monica is the only one left. She sprays Nate with mace and easily "escapes."

When the panicking Monica arrives at the studio, she tells Steve to put her on the air. He refuses without an explanation, and she goes on anyway, interrupting the broadcast to tell everyone that their water is poisonous. As a panic starts, Steve tries to shut down the broadcast but Hardison intercepts the controls and keeps Monica on the air. Monica brings out her "proof," the red file, but it's filled with pages of gibberish. The security guards get Monica off stage, and Steve searches her and finds the bottle of antidote pills: actually anti-psychotics. The studio has no choice but to announce that Monica has had a complete breakdown.

Later, Ray is cleared and goes on the air to do an interview saying how satisfied he is that he and others have had their reputations restored. At the condo, the team watches and Eliot and Hardison tease Parker by bantering about conspiracies. Nate wonders if Sophie had fun, and she admits that being a mastermind isn't for her and that she's lost now that her relationship has ended. Nate tells her that she stood by him when he was drunk, and he'll do the same for her.
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