By Sandra Gonzalez
Updated December 11, 2011 at 08:37 PM EST
Hutton Riesgraf
Credit: Erik Heinila/TNT
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Tonight is girl’s night on Leverage.

Parker (Beth Riesgraf) and Sophie (Gina Bellman) team up for a job in the first of two gender-splitting episodes that will air over the next two weeks. “The boys go out for a night and the girls go out for a night,” explains Riesgraf. “This week we’ll see the girls out on the town and what trouble they get into and how Parker manages to rope everyone else in. And you’ll see how the two episodes interlink next week.”

In tonight’s episode, Sophie and her friend Tara (Jeri Ryan) meet up for a night out, while Parker goes to see her friend Peggy, who Parker suspects is the target of a “James Bond-like thief.” Not one to stand by with her suspicions ( “[Parker] will have her friends’ backs — to a fault, I think,” laughs Riesgraf), she brings Sophie into the action.

But while the episode is certainly female-centric, Riesgraf says there are still some great moments between fan favorite couple Parker and Hardison (Aldis Hodge). “She starts calling Hardison in the middle of guys’ night for information, and he’s a little, like, ‘Look, woman, why are you callin’ me! This is my night!’ even though he wants to help her. He does it because he starts getting s— from the other guys,” she says. “So there’s a fun element between them because you’ve never seen it before.”

The episodes, filmed at the same time, are also a departure for Leverage. Riesgraf says it was fun to experiment with the show’s well-known formula. “Our audience is established. They love the show and they hopefully care about the characters, so we have a little more freedom to go off format because they know we’ll go back to the show we love,” she says.

That’s not to say there won’t be plenty to love next week, too, when we find out what the boys have been up to. Let’s just say it gets weird. “At the end [of tonight’s episode], you see how the guys come back into our episode. But you don’t really understand some stuff,” says Riesgraf. “There’s a joke about Hardison and a dog that you won’t get until the next episode.”


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