|“||What kind of guy names a toilet after himself?||”|
The team cons a thieving scientist by convincing him that he's made contact with aliens from another planet.
Orin Metz, the developer of a hybrid jet engine designed to save costs and fuel on commercial jets. Metz was employed by Kanack, who promised to share credit for his research, only to have his work stolen, after which Kanack arranged for him to be discredited. Metz is now unable to work, with a reputation for being unstable.
James Kanack, the self-aggrandizing president of Kanack Industries. Kanack began as a small-time inventor of high-concept consumer products, such as washing machines and toilets, all named for himself. He's recently moved into higher-value products, usually developed by stealing the work of younger researchers and designers in his employ. Kanack uses the head of his legal team, Kip, to shield himself from scrutiny.
- Director Jonathan Frakes starred on Star Trek: Next Generation as Commander William T. Riker, second in command of the Enterprise.
This episode is peppered with alien and space-related references, including:
- Eliot's alias is Willie Riker, a play on William Riker. A Riker figure also sits on one of the desks in Kanack's work room.
- Kanack's workshop and continuous listening to static from space is reminiscent of Jodie Foster's character's mission in Contact.
- When Nate utters the traditional "let's go steal" line, suggests they steal a close encounter. This, of course, references the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Later in the episode, Hardison and Parker simulate the refrigerator and coffee maker behavior also seen in the film.
- A reporter sitting in the front row at the press conference is dressed in a brown jacket, blue shirt and bow tie, the costume of the eleventh Doctor Who.
- Parker and Hardison imitate the main characters from Men in Black, including Parker's speaking in the style of Tommy Lee Jones. Hardison also plays off of Will Smith's line saying, "We make this look good."
- Parker points to Eliot and says his name "El-i-ot" in the manner of ET, one of three references to the film in the episode.
- Eliot's backpack and gear designed to send the signal is reminiscent of the proton packs used in Ghostbusters.
- Willie's friend Lenny's name is suggestive of Leonard Nimoy, whose character, Spock, was second in command on the original Star Trek.
- Hardison's game controller device was called Marvin, suggestive of the Warner Brothers cartoon character Marvin the Martian. Typically, Marvin is outsmarted by Bugs Bunny.
- Parker lets Nate know a task is complete by announcing, "We have liftoff!" This phrase is traditionally used during the launch of manned space flights, but is also associated with the film Apollo 13.
- Sophie's code expert finding clues in the Mayan alphabet calls to mind Stargate/Stargate SG-1's Dr. Daniel Jackson, an Egyptologist who believes the pyramids are much older than conventional wisdom recognizes.
- After prepping Eliot for his alias, Sophie comments that she does not see why Stanley Kubrick thought directing was difficult. Stanley Kubrick was the director of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- A character named "O'Neill" is mentioned, which references the leader of the Stargate program's SG-1 team, Jack O'Neill, originally played by Richard Dean Anderson.
- The con the team uses to make the mark seem crazy is called The Arkham Ascent, a reference to the works of H.P. Lovecraft, whose stories typically involve cosmic horrors that drive the main character of the story insane. It can also be seen as a reference to DC Comics Arkham Asylum, typically used in Batman stories, which also was named after the location in the Lovecraft stories.
- The name "Willie Riker" was a placeholder, to be changed later. When Jonathan Frakes came in, he insisted that the name stay.