Yeah, you should have just paid us.

Nathan Ford

Series premiere. Financially strapped aerospace CEO Victor Dubenich asks Nathan Ford, a former insurance investigator who once specialized in recovering stolen goods worth millions, to lead a team of expert thieves (Alec Hardison, Eliot Spencer and Parker) as they recover stolen airplane designs from a rival company. But there's a twist: the designs were never the CEO's to begin with, and he's cheated them all. Now, the honest man he hired must convince the band of criminals to do the right thing and steal the plans back with the help of a gifted grifter named Sophie Devereaux. What the team doesn't expect is that they will develop a taste for doing good, and one job may not be enough.

The ClientEdit

  • Victor Dubenich, CEO of Bering Aviation. Dubenich approaches Nate in a bar and asks him to supervise a team of thieves he has hired to recover plans for an innovative new medium-range passenger jet.
  • Pierson Aviation, after the team realise they've been duped they plan to get revenge on Dubenich and return the plane designs to Pierson Aviation.

The MarkEdit

  • Victor Dubenich. After Nate and his team of thieves discover they've been duped into stealing the plans, the team plans a new scam designed to recover the plans and discredit Dubenich with his shareholders.

The ConEdit

Victor Dubenich approaches Nathan Ford, an alcoholic former insurance investigator, in a bar. Dubenich wants Nate to lead a team to steal plane designs from Pierson Aviation; Nate recognises all three thieves, Alec Hardison, Eliot Spencer and Parker (who he calls insane) from his time with IYS. Dubenich uses the idea of hurting IYS, who are the policy holders on Pierson Aviation's intellectual property rights, to get him to agree; it is established that Nate's son was sick and his former company, IYS, refused to pay for treatments.

Parker breaks into Pierson through a window while Hardison and Eliot enter through the roof. Parker hot wires the elevator system and Hardison and Eliot ride on top of an elevator. Hardison uses a mechanism to get through a key pad, but the guards are doing their walk-through early so they can watch the play-offs. Eliot uses Hardison as bait and takes out the four guards on the walk-through; Parker has squelched the radios to stop them from calling for backup. Hardison steals the plane's designs from the system and spikes it. The guards have reset the alarms and so Parker, Eliot and Hardison go to The Burn Scam, Parker strapped and using a crutch as if crippled. Hardison sends the plans to Dubenich and the team part ways.

Nate gets awoken from his drunken stupor by Dubenich who claims not to have received the plans and says he has cancelled the payment. Nate agrees to go to a old aircraft facility to sort it out. At the facility Parker, Hardison and Eliot are arguing over who ruined the plan. When Nate realises they are all there to get paid he get them out of the building moments before it explodes.

They wake up in the county hospital handcuffed to their hospital beds. They escape as a team. Parker and Hardison lift phones. Eliot pretends to be state police and Nate pretends to be a FBI deputy director, he claims Hardison is a deepcover agent. Hardison uses his phone to send a fax. Hardison pretends to be taking the team under arrest and they leave just as the real state police call.

Nate takes the team to a performance of Macbeth. Sophie Devereaux is playing (badly) Lady Macbeth. Nate recruits her and she poses as Anna Gunschtot from the African Commercial Transport and Trade Initiative. She says she wants to start a new airline and build the planes. Dubenich declines but Sophie says she'll go to Pierson and he gives in.

Eliot poses as an IT consultant to distract Dubenich's assistant. Parker removes the plane designs and plants an obvious bug under Dubenich's desk.

Dubenich and Sophie meet with a group of Nigerians and they give Dubenich an envelope with an amount that is the proposed bribe amount. Dubenich sees through the scam and calls the FBI to report the "Nigerians".

The RevealEdit

Sophie as Anna Gunschtot presented herself as an assistant to Victor Dubenich to a group of Nigerians from the real African Commercial Transport and Trade Initiative. She solicited a 200,000 bribe from them and switched the envelope containing the check with one containing a piece of paper with "$1,000,000" printed on it. Dubenich believed the Nigerians were asking for money, while the Nigerians believed Dubenich was taking money.

Eliot is shown placing a sign that says "Bering Aerospace" and then taking it down to place the "African Commercial Transport and Trade Initiative" sign which Dubenich saw.

The Nigerians reported Dubenich to the FBI and he is arrested for soliciting a bribe. Boxes of paperwork are removed from Bering Aerospace in full view of the reporters gathered for the shareholders meeting.

Nate goes to return the stolen plane designs back to its rightful owner, Pierson. As part of the deal, he drops all charges of the original theft, then asks if Nate wanted money. He replies that his work runs in a "different revenue".

At Bering, the FBI continues to empty out the building, confiscating everything for investigation as Dubenich is slumped at seeing his stock price fall. He then gets a call from Nate, who mockingly tells him that he should've just paid them, otherwise Dubenich wouldn't be in the situation he's in now. Nate tells him that he just wanted to destroy his company for setting him and the others up, and that Dubenich going to jail is just a bonus. He also cryptically warns Dubenich that if he ever crosses them again, they won't be as merciful.

Nate has had Hardison short sell Bering Aerospace stock, making the five a lot of money. At that point it seems to be their last job since they've all gotten huge payouts that practically have them set for life. As they all go their separate ways as in the beginning, Nate is soon followed by the others, who admit that they enjoy this new line of work, and suggest to keep on going, with Nate finding clients.


  • Anna Gunschtot (Sophie)
  • FBI Deputy Director McCumber (Nate)
  • Detective Lieutenant Carter, Illinois State Police (Eliot)
  • Unnamed "deep cover" FBI agent (Hardison)

Episode NotesEdit

  • The pilot was filmed in Chicago, the only episode filmed there. Locations included Fidelity Plaza, near the Michigan Avenue bridge.
  • The foundation of the team's scam was the Nigerian e-mail scam.

Major EventsEdit


  • The payout checks at the end of the episode are funded by Credit Dauphine, a Swiss bank. Each check is made out for $32,761,349.05. Credit Dauphine is a fictional bank, created in the J.J. Abrams series Alias as the secret headquarters of SD-6.
  • The play in which Sophie Devereaux appears is Shakespeare's Macbeth.
  • Nathan is described as the black king and white knight, pieces on the chess board that represent the contrast between good and evil.
  • When Parker pretends to be answering the phones for IT, she uses the phrase "Have you tried turning it on and off again?" a reference to The IT Crowd. Also, Eliot's IT attire (beige slacks, checkered shirt, striped tie, and thick-rimmed glasses) closely matches that of the character Maurice Moss from the show. [1]
  • Eliot uses a Star Trek reference while pretending to be an IT Tech.
  • This episode introduces use of an overhead shot of the team formed in a circle, then turning to walk away from each other. It was used throughout the first season to symbolize their increasingly reluctant separations. After the final scene in The Second David Job, where they separated for the last time, the overhead shot was retired until the series finale.
  • In the scene where Victor is about to meet the Nigerians, there is a street side billboard advertising "The Librarian", another of Dean Devlin's TNT projects.
  • Short selling is a trading method. The trader sells stock shares they do not own with the requirement of repurchasing the stock at a later date in order to return it to the lender. This trading method is profitable to the trader when the repurchase price of the stock is less than the original selling price. Nate calls this method of profiting from the con the "alternative revenue stream." Even though it is never explicitly stated, Nate mentions the term "alternative revenue stream" in future episodes, implying that the team continues to profit from betting against the marks in the stock market.
  • This episode marks the first of many instances in which Nate warns Parker not to do anything else other than what she is tasked to do ("Parker, no freelancing.")
  • Deputy Burns says "Seriously?", which becomes a recurring phrase in the series.
  • The 10 key password to the server room is "8675309764," the first 7 numbers a reference to the Tommy Tutone song "867-5309/Jenny."