Both the sleazy Agent Sterling (Mark Sheppard) and Nate's ex-wife Maggie (Kari Matchett) returned in style for the clever, surprising episode, "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job." This episode pretty much had it all. Not a ton of drama per say, but everything else was right on target. I much prefer episodes like this - with more of an espionage feel and twisting, turning cons - than some of the more typical "Let's steal us all" masquerade ball goof-offs. Aside for a quick sting as a Ukrainian internet bribe by Parker (Beth Riesgraf), no one here had to play an outrageous, over-the-top character. The team was free to get down to business and do what they do best.
It's interesting to note here this episode came out around the same time as Human Target's "Embassy Row" on FOX which also featured an illegal clandestine auction taking place inside the security of an Embassy. We're actually given a name for this type of secret deal on Leverage - the Zanzibar Marketplace. After Maggie gets framed for the theft of a priceless Faberge Egg, it's up to Nate (Timothy Hutton) and Sterling to head off to Kiev in order to clear her name/retrieve the egg. I liked the way they used Sterling this time around and really appreciated the fact that they didn't ultimately have him try to swindle Nate in the third act. He did have an endgame agenda, but it was just to try to make himself look like an international hero - which totally fits the character. I also liked the fact that Sterling stepped in and did a drunk routine to help Parker get past an Embassy guard.
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