|“||Incredibly, chance does seem to bend itself to his bizarre machinations.||”|
Nate Ford is the former leader and mastermind of the Leverage team. Good-looking and still sharp, despite the layers of insomnia and hangover damage he's inflicted on himself, he's accumulating as fast as he can.
Prior to leading the team, Nate was once an insurance investigator, an expert at recovering stolen items and apparently a legend in the criminal world until his company, I.Y.S. Insurance, refused to pay for his 8-year-old son Sam Ford's "experimental" cancer treatment.
After his son died, Nate's life fell apart. He lost his job, got divorced and became an alcoholic as a means of coping with his son's death. In the pilot, which takes place a couple of years after Sam's death, Victor Dubenich hires Nate and a team of thieves to steal airplane designs from a company insured by I.Y.S. Insurance.
When Dubenich double-crosses and tries to kill them, Nate takes the team, enlists grifter Sophie Devereaux into the team and exacts his revenge on Dubenich, who used Sam's memory to talk Nate into taking the job.
Now, Nate leads the team to right injustices, funded by their unique take on "alternate revenue streams". He has a long catch-and-release history with Sophie, who is the only team member he selected himself as all the others were chosen beforehand. After years of flirting, they developed a strong working relationship which recently turned romantic.
Nate grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. His father, Jimmy Ford, was a bookie and a fixer for several mob families. Nate spent a considerable amount of his childhood in McRory's, the pub under his apartment/former Leverage office in Boston, because his father did most of his business there. Nate wanted to be a priest and even attended seminary school but eventually dropped out and became an insurance investigator.
In the Season 5 finale, The Long Goodbye Job, Nate retires from the Leverage team for good with Parker replacing him as the team's Mastermind.
- Vast knowledge in a variety of areas, thanks to his experience as an insurance investigator:
- Can read complicated sheet music (e.g. Scheherazade)
- Roping (identifying a mark) and in turn identifying potential clients.
- Can play "The Inside Man", in a long con, often as himself; but occasionally uses an alias. Most often he plays the "Mastermind".
- Planning and Coordination (Nate is also very familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of each of the members of the Leverage Team and manages them to success).
- Minimal pick-pocketing ability.
- Good technology skills.
- Capable of defending himself whenever he gets into fights.
- Able to do decent magic tricks.
- Decent poker player.
- Better than decent chess player.
- Capable of handling firearms.
- Addictive personality
- Control issues
- Inability to emote personal feelings.
- Gets emotionally involved in cases involving children as seen in The Cross My Heart Job.
- Successfully recovered a stolen Monet painting, in Florence, saving I.Y.S. $25 million
- Successfully spoiled a huge Identity Fraud scam, saving I.Y.S. $15 million
- Caught Sophie Devereaux in Damascus
- Successfully brought down Mr. Gutman, a notorious black market dealer, in 2005.
- At one point in time chased everyone who now works on his team.
The mastermind or brains of the team, Nate Ford is a very complicated man still struggling with his grief over his son's death. He is also an alcoholic, which has sometimes compromised a con and also jeopardized the relationships he has with his team. This is due to his need for control, his habit of changing plans at the last second, and even drinking on the job.
In addition, Nate also displays some sociopathic tendencies and has no qualms over manipulating others. He has difficulty relating or even talking to other people who aren't members of the team which is seen in The Boys' Night Out Job.
Nate has also displayed a ruthless, darker side at times, the prime examples being in the Season 4 The Cross My Heart Job where he personally promises to kill the team's newest mark and also in the Season 5 premiere episode, The (Very) Big Bird Job.
Relationships with Other Characters Edit
Nate serves as a father figure to the rest of the team, with exception of Sophie. He has sometimes called them "children". Most of all, they look to him to make the major decisions.
If Nate is the father of the team, Sophie is the mother. Often the two of them disagree, but usually because of the personal issues between them a few years back.
There is an obvious romantic subtext to their relationship which began a decade before the Leverage team formed and while Nate was still married. Though Sophie states that Nate never cheated on his wife; Nate said he was tempted.
In "The Maltese Falcon Job", Nate admits, even if it is just to himself, that Sophie is his compass. It is shown throughout the series that her opinion carries a lot of influence with him and when she leaves briefly in Season 2, Nate pushes the con too far and ends up in jail.
In "The San Lorenzo Job", Nate and Sophie wake up in bed together after the job, implying they slept together. This leads to a "friends with benefits" type relationship between them which eventually turns more serious.
Season 4 further establishes the relationship. At first they try to keep it hidden from the rest of the team, in The Last Dam Job they give up trying to hide.
By the start of Season 5, the relationship with Sophie is official as Nate proposes to her in the series finale The Long Goodbye Job
Nate and Hardison often work side by side when he is not in the field with Eliot or Parker. Hardison is like a son to Nate. They fight, but Nate does have a knack for keeping Hardison focused, usually by giving him new and interesting challenges. In The Gold Job, Nate allows Hardison to be the Mastermind behind the job. Hardison manages to blow the job due to overly elaborate planning and cockiness. Nate rescues him by devising a heist, therefore robbing the marks and retrieving a stolen necklace for their client. Although Hardison felt defeated, Nate encouraged him like a father would. Nate is Hardison's mentor and is slowly teaching Hardison how to be a mastermind while trying to discourage him from following his path, and is the only person who really knows his true talent.
Like Hardison, Parker is a very child-like member of the team. However, Nate leaves the discipline of Parker to Sophie, while Nate uses Parker like a well-tuned machine. He tells her to do something and she delivers with perfect execution; sometimes at elevated risk, which worries Sophie.
In "The Inside Job", Nathan finds himself at odds with Archie Leach, as both of them are trying to be a protective father figure to Parker simultaneously, when she is trapped on the job. When the choice of fight (Nate) or flight (Archie) is presented to Parker, she sides with Nate, thus justifying their relationship. Nate usually sees Parker as a playful child. He is like a strict father to her and always reminds her not to do anything else (e.g., stabbing, burgling, freelancing) during a con other than what she has been tasked to do, but rewards her now and then. By the end of season 5, Nate is training her to be a leader on the team, making sure she will be ready to go when he leaves.
Eliot is like the oldest son. He questions Nathan the most, not out of defiance but out of concern (either because Nathan may be impaired, or the mission may be compromised.) Nathan trusts Eliot to work independently, and relies on Eliot's skills and street smarts on the con.
If Nathan had a rival, it is Sterling. Parker considers Sterling the "Evil Nate". Even at I.Y.S., the two were rivals. In "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job", the two work together again, and we see an interesting pairing. Nate is still the mastermind, but Sterling is willing to take measures that Nate will avoid.
Even after their divorce, Maggie and Nathan are still in touch. She informed him that Father Paul was attacked and injured. It is clear that Nathan still cares for her, probably because she left him, and he did not leave her. She does like the man that Nate has become, but she has a hard time trusting him.
Later, Nate brings her into the Leverage team as an ally, to take down Ian Blackpoole, their former boss.
Later, in Kiev, Nate comes to her rescue when she is set up in the theft of a Faberge Egg.
The relationship between father and son is frayed at best. In his youth, Nathan learned what it was like to be a bad guy from his father. He then tried to be a good guy, and ended up being a Gray guy (A good guy who behaves like a bad guy). In "The Three-Card Monte Job", Nate moves between nostalgia and vengeful feelings when dealing with his father. But in the end, as he runs his father out of town, his father expresses his pride in his son, who beat him at his own game.
Jimmy returns from Ireland to take on a job for Jack Latimer that Nate refused. Latimer tells Jimmy that he will kill Nate if he refuses the job and so he breaks into the US Patent office but has trouble completing the job. Nate steps in to help and the team follows him and together they all find the patent Latimer wants. Jimmy steals the patent from Nate and delivers it to Latimer's men. Nate catches on too late that Dubenich and Latimer are working together and that the drop-off is a trap. He tries to warn his father but only gets a chance to hear his father say "tell them stories about me. Tell em... Tell em.. Tell them how much Jimmy Ford loves his son" before Jimmy is blown up by Latimer's men.
- Has been in jail and can hypnotize people.
- Nathan has been shot at least four times, once by Sophie Devereaux, once by Judge Roy, once by Tony Kadjic and another time by Victor Dubenich.
- According to his browsing history which Hardison uncovered in The Mile High Job, Nathan enjoys online poker, chess, Sudoku and crossword puzzles.
- Attended Catholic Seminary with Father Paul before becoming an insurance investigator.
- On more than one occasion, Nathan's working alias is Tom Baker, which is a reference to the British television show Doctor Who.
- When he was in eighth grade, he had a crush on a classmate named Emily.
- According to his Netflix queue, Nate is a fan of The Rockford Files, Sex in the City, and Psych.
- In "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job", Nate's cell phone number is (617) 555-0156. (617 is a Boston Metro Area area code).
- His deceased mother's maiden name is Logue.
- Nathan was born August 16th 1965, according to his passport in The Lost Heir.
- In the "Homecoming Job" it is seen that he bought himself a red Tesla Roadster with money from "The Nigerian Job".
- His personal vehicle is a silver Hyundai Genesis, in Season 1. In Season 2 he drives a black one. These were provided by Hyundai as product placement. In Seasons 3 and 4, he drives a black Mercedes S class.
Books Seen in Nate's ApartmentEdit
- "Naval Operations of the Revolutionary War"
- "They Died In Vain: The Battle of White Plains"
- "The Collected Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams"