Friday, November 20, 2015

WBI: Nate Ford

If Leverage has a main-er main character than the other main characters, then it is probably Nate Ford. His history, his haint, his hurt—it's because of his initiative we have a TV show about a career felon with an alcohol problem. Isn’t he the best?

Grieving the death of a son who was denied treatment by his employer, a large insurance company, Nate Ford begins a trajectory of retribution against the rich and powerful around the world. He decides to provide leverage, and it all goes down from there.

WBI Profile

Classification :: A023578$#*&
Role :: Alpha (plotting and idealistic mastermind)
Motivation :: chaos (dissolution of corporations, etc.), idealism (high social/moral standards), insanity/psychology (alcoholism), lifestyle (alcoholism, revenge business), personal/material gain (revenge), power/influence (over injustice)
Bonus :: money (alternate revenue stream), minions (Leverage crew), lair (Leverage HQ), family ties (Leverage crew)


A Study

grieving—Nate’s son Sam was eight when he died; I’ve heard it said you never get over the loss of a child, you just learn to find a new normal, which Nate semi-successfully pulls off

mastermind—Nate plans and guides the cons, so while he occasionally fills in a roll, usually he just uses his big brain to pin the bad guys

rooted—unlike certain others on the crew, Nate has a deep-set sense of morality which contributes to his demand for justice; he never wonders what is right, he just struggles to get there sometimes

outcast—after descending into alcoholism, losing his family, and withdrawing from his former life, Nate never really opens up again, making him emotionally and physically distant from even his best friends

determined—Nate rarely lets his emotions get in the way of what he wants, and when he does he refuses to acknowledge it

repressive—many times, he ignores his alcoholism, his feelings, his own suffering because he gets through it by helping other people; it drives him mad, but it is also necessary

detail-oriented—he not only pays attention to every detail, but he makes plans for multiple eventualities, so that whatever may come, there’s always something he can do about it

well-rounded—Nate’s worked airport security and insurance and many other jobs, so even if he isn’t an experienced thief, he knows the world and how people function inside of it

teacher—especially with Parker, who has been cut off from her humanity for a long time, Nate provides a voice of reason, moral council, and reassurance to other characters who need a little extra guidance

misfit—Nate doesn’t belong in the average world, and yet, despite being such a successful mastermind, it seems he doesn’t really belong in the world of crime, either

father—if Sophie is the mother of the crew, then Nate is the father, who guides, teaches, leads, and drives the team into effective, good people who have a reason to steal


Big Idea

starting over—this series deals with Nate and his demons, for he must reconcile who he was with the entirely different person he is. This is a man who drank himself out of his job, his house, his marriage. To make the Leverage business work, he has to find a new self and control it. It’s a story of hitting rock bottom, and the climb back out to something more.

always right—Nate tends to take his decisions personally. He always wants to be right, he always wants to win, and he always wants things to come out on top, on his terms. He can be competitive and even put the con in danger because his ego doesn’t take bruises lightly. It’s dangerous, but that need for rightness also contributes to his determination, detail-orientation, and morality. He wouldn’t be Nate without it.

father knows best—Nate guides the rest of the team in a fatherly fashion, even if in some cases the age difference doesn’t make sense. He’s an honest man, and that means that he can give Parker guidance as she explores humanity, Hardison training as he reaches for maturity, and Eliot support as he reinvents himself. In the end, everything he does is for their benefit, and doesn’t give that final gift to them until he’s positive they will be okay.

And, I think I will share a version of his most famous line, from one of my favorite episodes.

“Let’s go steal the future.” –Nate Ford, "The Future Job"

Have you watched Leverage? What do you think of Nate as a villain? Would you ever write a mastermind character like him?


  1. Nate Nate Nate Nate Nate. I love him. Little stereotypical, in my opinion, but I love him anyways. I think I would probably write a character like him. The whole "one honest man" part... I like how you described it as rooted. Yes.

    1. He is a little stereotypical, I think, but our lives are built on top of stereotype, are they not? Or maybe we just call that tradition now. Anyway, yes, he is still a good character. <3


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