Friday, July 8, 2016

WBI: Alec Hardison

Hardison’s life of crime begins when he steals from Iceland to pay for his Nana’s medical treatment. He grows into an unparalleled hacker who uses his powers for good on Nate Ford’s Leverage crew. He learns the ropes and hopes to one day run his own crew as well.

WBI Profile

Classification :: Π245789*&
Role :: Technician (tech master)
Motivation :: idealism (revenge), insubordination (Nate’s employee), lifestyle (career criminal), personal/material gain (revenge, respect, etc.), power/influence (within industry), wealth (thief)
Bonus :: lair (Lucille, Leverage HQ), family ties (Leverage crew)


His Significance To…

the crew—Hardison’s duties mainly involve bypassing technological forms of security and sometimes turning it to their own advantage. On occasion, he also forges props needed for a con.

Nate—the books confirm that more than anyone, Nate considers Hardison his protégé, and episodes like “The Gold Job” demonstrate the mentorship dynamic present between these two characters.

Parker—though she came from a troubled background, Hardison always went the extra mile to understand Parker, and that is why they eventually become pretzels to one another.

Eliot—Hardison’s playful nature leads to plenty of tension between these two, but as many times as Eliot says, “Damn it, Hardison!” by the end of the series, they are bound brothers in arms.

Cha0s—this rival hacker is Hardison’s “nemesis,” who the crew runs up against in his less-than-savory dealings. That Cha0s is a better hacker reveals some of Hardison’s professional weaknesses, but that Cha0s is a slimy person shows us that Hardison is of stronger character, and that is why we love him.


Notable Actions

building the tech—whether it’s earbuds to make communication during a con possible or a forged diary, Hardison often builds all of the materials the crew needs and even names them, much to Eliot’s annoyance.

maturing as a villain—despite his easygoing nature, being a part of the Leverage crew increases Hardison’s skill as a hacker, his accountability, his teamwork, his ability to reach out. We watch his story and he comes out better in the end because of Leverage.

adding social awareness—Hardison doesn’t shy away from pointing out his disadvantages as a black man, nor is he afraid of pulling the “race card” (often in a humorous way, like claiming he’s Jewish) to delay a sticky situation.


Big Idea

“Age of the geek, baby!”—this is Hardison’s catchphrase. So many times, we see people who love computers and fandoms and those other “unpopular” things and think of a person less for it. But as a hacker and a nerd and a geek, Hardison owns the titles and finds empowerment in a job he clearly loves to do. I’d want every aspiring nerd to look up to him.

that family dynamic—where Nate is the father of the Leverage crew and Sophie the mother, Hardison is the middle child. He’s different than the other team members, but in an important way. The team couldn’t function without his expertise, and the people on it would suffer a lot more if Hardison wasn’t there to watch their backs. But, at the same time, Hardison wouldn’t be the same if he didn’t have the mentorship or companionship that his crew members provide.

privilege exists, even among villains—though Hardison is one of the guys on the Leverage crew, he reminds us that in the outside world, that isn’t always true. He never had the opportunity to go to college. He is very familiar with poverty. And as he says in “The Three Days of the Hunter Job,” “I am a black man caught on an army base with a video camera. I am going to jail FOR-E-VER!” He has a distinct disadvantage compared to the rest of his crew mates. Even if he does an equal share of the work, he might take a greater share of the fall. Racism isn’t dead, and justice can be cruel and scary to someone like Hardison.

In the beginning, when Hardison was just a poor kid with a computer, I think he began hacking as a way to fight back. If Iceland had to take the fall for his Nana’s health, so be it. He needed the money more. And as he kept fighting against a system, it made him stronger. Joining the Leverage crew, however, made for a bigger step in his career: he started fighting for people. Yes, the system remained corrupt and Hardison could still fight back against that system. But rather than doing it for his own gain, it was to help ordinary people gain leverage against entities that no normal individual could ever hope to take down on their own.

Hardison was always about growing up into something greater, but I think Nate helps him see that he can grow into someone for something greater, too. And still kick some ass at the same time. Ass-kicking is mandatory.

Leverage doesn’t really have any villain songs, but I love this clip of Hardison and Eliot singing. Enjoy it.

Also, this quote sums up who Hardison is very well.

“See, while you are well-versed in dead guy art, I myself am not. My entire criminal career is built on technology built after 1981, so I am riveted. Quite so. Please, do go on.” –Alec Hardison, “The First David Job,” Leverage 1x12

Hardison is one of my favorite geeks. Who is one of yours?


  1. Leverage is so underrated.. It should have had more seasons :(

    1. Yes, I wish more people knew about it! It was good while it lasted, though.


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