Five by Friday: Ultimate Heist Team-Up

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to assemble a team-up of fictional characters in order to pull off the ultimate heist.

With Mission Impossible: Fallout hitting theaters this weekend, we’re doing things a bit differently for this week’s five by Friday. Instead of ranking our top five characters, songs, or robots this week, instead we’re selecting the five fictional characters we’d want to join our team in order to be able to successfully execute an impossible mission of our own. For the purpose of this exercise, we have limited ourselves to selecting only humans who don’t possess any magical skills, abilities, or superpowers. Everything they have is completely learned or earned on their own.

As always, should you or any of your Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This post will self-destruct in ten seconds. Good luck!

Five by Friday

Join us in the comments or on your own blog–we’ve even provided a graphic for you, which you can either save to your own space or link from tinypic using the following HTML code: <a href=””><img src=””><*/a> Just remove the asterisks, and you’re all set!


I’ve watched a lot of heist movies and shows, and most of them tend to have a similar composition to their team. You need someone to plan the heist, someone to handle the tech, someone with fast fingers, someone who can handle themselves in a fight, and someone who can talk their way out of (or into) a tricky situation. Sometimes one person handles several of these roles, and sometimes there are multiples of a single role, but those tend to be the basic components of a successful heist. Theoretically, I am a member of this team, too, but let’s be real: I am in no way qualified or capable of being especially useful in an actual caper, so my role in this is probably something decidedly unglamorous, like the person who goes and gets pizza for the team, or the person who watches the monitors in the van (because there’s always a van full of monitors, right?) over the shoulder of the tech person, saying helpful things like “be careful,” and “that’s so cool.”

The Planner: Debbie Ocean, Ocean’s 8

One of my biggest issues with Ocean’s 8 was that there was never a moment where I worried the heist might fail — it was so meticulously planned that the stakes never felt particularly high — but in a heist where I’m actually expected to participate, I want there to be no surprises or wrinkles we can’t overcome. Debbie considered every angle and contingency for her caper, and executed it with wits and style. If she says the plan is good, I believe her.

The Techie: Shuri, Black Panther/MCU

Of the many, many things to love about Black Panther, Shuri’s addition to the MCU is at the top of the list. She’s not only technically brilliant, capable of inventing pretty much whatever fancy contraption you can imagine, or hacking into anywhere you need to go, but she’s also made of pure sunshine and sass, bringing light and laughter into every encounter she has. It’s practically impossible not to love Shuri, and having a team that likes each other just increases the likelihood that they’ll work well together during the heist itself, increasing the chances of success.

The Chameleon: Sydney Bristow, Alias

As anyone who has watched Alias knows, if your mission seems impossible, the one person you want on your side is Sydney Bristow. Not only is she capable of convincingly transforming herself into hundreds of different people, but she’s incredibly smart and intuitive, is excellent at improvising and solving complex problems on the fly, and has almost never come across an opponent that she couldn’t best in a physical fight. She’s also been shown to have feather-light, lightning-quick hands, picking pockets and stealing valuables as easily as drawing breath. She’d practically an entire heist team all by herself. Plus, she’s just the kind of person you want to be friends with, and pulling off a heist together seems like a great way for us to become besties.

The Muscle: Luke Hobbs, Fast & Furious 

I think it goes without saying that any character The Rock has ever played would probably be an fitting choice for this category, but what puts Hobbs above the rest is that he’s not only more than capable of handling himself in a fight, but also has experience with both law enforcement — so he’ll be able to anticipate what we’ll be up against, should our mission go sideways — and pulling off successful heists. And while Hobbs’ physical strength is definitely an asset, it doesn’t hurt that he’s also charming (and therefore likely able to sweet-talk himself out of sticky situations without resorting to violence) and could also drive the getaway car if needed. Plus, if our enemies fire a missile at us, he can just… throw it back at them.

The Laser: Ilsa Faust, Mission Impossible 

I don’t mean laser in a literal sense (although let’s be real, Ilsa could definitely do some damage with an actual laser) but more that Ilsa is like a concentrated beam of energy that can cut through obstacles with ease. Much like Sydney, Ilsa is formidable in a fight, has fast fingers, can blend in practically anywhere, and is also a highly trained spy and assassin with a strong technical skill set. While we hopefully wouldn’t be engaging in any wetwork on our mission, Ilsa’s ability to precisely execute any plan she’s given perfectly compliments the rest of the team, and her strong moral code means we don’t need to worry about her betraying us, since obviously our heist would be about more than just stealing stuff, and would ultimately be serving some sort of noble purpose.


Every heist movie has a formula, a way to put together the team they needed in order to pull of the job they’ve taken on. Each forumula is a bit different, but there are some pretty standard roles. I used the Leverage formula to build my team: in the show, there was the mastermind, a hacker, a hitter, a thief, and a grifter. I’m taking on the role of mastermind, so I’ve added a getaway driver to my crew, because you never know when you’ll need some fast driving in order to pull off a successful heist.

In order to be as successful as possible I wanted to pick team members that weren’t just one hit wonders, but rather people who can fit multiple roles and adapt as needed to fit whatever situation may arise. With this crew, I have a feeling I could steal just about anything.

The Hacker: Alec Hardison, Leverage

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite Leverage character, but Hardison just barely edges to the top. He’s an incredibly gifted hacker, but more than that, he’s capable of creating the right tech needed to get the job done. He can do it all, from modding cellphones, to hacking into the NSA, and even creating impeccable fake passports with a backstory to match. He’s so good at his job that the FBI even believes that he’s an agent, which could absolutely come in handy.

Additionally, his expert social engineering skills mean that he’s not likely to be a liability if he gets caught. He’s able to talk his way out of most anything, talk people into things as needed, and generally work a room successfully, if not rather exuberantly.

The Grifter: Natasha Romanoff, MCU

No one blends in, or stands out, as well as Natasha Romanoff. The Black Widow is a master spy and manipulator, with a nearly unmatched and uncanny ability to read people. She knows how to get the information she needs from a mark, often without them ever even knowing they gave it up. A master of disguise, changing hair colors nearly as often as she changes shoes, means she’s able to be whoever she needs to be depending on what the situation calls for.

Natasha is also deadly with or without a weapon, she’s no damsel in distress and she won’t need to wait around for some man to get her out of a jam. Honestly, Natasha could pull off most heists on her own, but having a crew means she can relax and breathe a bit while just focusing on her role in the job.

The Hitter: Jake Stone, The Librarians

Sometimes you just need a bit of brute strength to get a job done and that’s where Jake Stone comes in. He can hold his own in a fight, expertly wield most weapons he comes across, and can ensure that no one interferes where they’re not wanted. He’s not violent by nature, but he’s incredibly protective and defensive of his team, all important qualities in the person you are trusting to have your back no matter what.

Though don’t let the muscles fool you, Stone has a brilliant mind with an in-depth knowledge of art, languages, and literature that can come in handy on any number of jobs. Additionally, he’s no stranger to magical an mystical elements and if any of those pop up while on a job we have someone who can handle them.

The Getaway Driver: Letty Ortiz, Fast & Furious

Sometimes the heist hinges on the getaway; after all, the job’s not over until you’re safely back at base with your loot. And while Dom is the driver most people think of when they think about the Fast & Furious franchise, Letty is definitely no slouch behind the wheel. She’ll handle drones, missiles, and tanks, all without breaking a sweat. And if you never need a rescue from a bus going over a cliff, she’ll be there with the car to make sure you’re safe.

And while her greatest skills are behind the wheel of a car, Letty is no slouch when it comes to being able to handle herself physically. She can hold her own in a fight and would be more than capable of protecting the team as needed.

The Thief: Scott Lang, MCU

No heist team is complete without a thief who can break into anywhere and steal anything. And what better than a thief that comes with his own suit that allows him to shrink down in order to fit through the smallest crack in a building. Not to mention the army of ants he can command and the ability to shrink or grow inanimate objects as needed. Scott’s suit makes him the perfect counterpart to the rest of the team, his snark is guaranteed to keep them on their toes, and his knowledge of engineering means he can help Hardison create the right tech needed to complete the job.


There’s nothing more satisfying than watching a group of disparate people come together and pull off the crime of the century, especially when that team not only has the combined skill to take down anything they want, but when they come together as people to form bonds of trust and friendship along the way. I’ll be taking the lead role in my heist team, and I think this collection of people will get me any prize I set my sights on. My group hews closely to the Leverage formula, but I’ve tweaked it a bit to get me everything I need to be unstoppable.

The Hacker: Trinity, The Matrix

I went back and forth for a little while about whether or not Trinity meets our criteria of being a normal human with no superpowers, but ultimately, I determined that because she still needed to learn all the skills she uses before she can use them–just sped up with a little bit of help from technological advances–it completely counts as earning her skills. So with that in mind, it makes her not only an extremely effective hacker when the need arises, but it also makes her an incredibly useful backup for nearly every other role in this crew.

The Hitter: Cassandra Pentaghast, Dragon Age: Inquisition

Who better for brute force than someone who has trained her entire life to run into battle headfirst with a sword and a shield? When faced with adversaries, from red templars to dragons, she puts her head down and gets the job done. She’ll tell you exactly how she feels about any task you take on, and she’ll always provide the perspective of someone with a great head on their shoulders. You may just need to make sure you’re working for the greater good, or all you’ll hear from her is a disgusted noise.

The Thief: Kasumi Goto, Mass Effect

Kasumi is introduced to you in Mass Effect 2 as the galaxy’s most infamous and hardest-to-track thief. She’s a master of stealth, sabotage, and infiltration with a laundry list of enormous thefts already under her belt when you meet her. She’s the best of the best, and when you win her trust and she joins your crew, you’ve essentially inherited a weapon of mass destruction. Plus, she’s hilarious, in her own quiet way. There’s no one better if you need somebody to slip in and out of places so quickly and quietly that no one ever realizes before it’s far too late.

The Grifter: Peggy Carter, Agent Carter/MCU

The person in the grifter role needs to not only be able to fit themselves into any crowd with ease, they’ve also got to be able to think fast and talk their way out of things, in case they ever get caught out mid-plan. Peggy is not only unafraid to don wigs and costumes to get where she needs to go, but she’s got a sharp tongue and a quick wit… and a dirty right hook, if it comes down to it. Whatever you need done, she’ll get it done. How she gets it done, well… that’s up to her.

The Fixer: Olivia Pope, Scandal

Sometimes, you’re going to need someone with connections. Whether it’s to help craft the story that covers your high-profile heist or just knowing where to go to get much-needed resources, having someone well-connected can make or break a major plan. Who better than someone whose entire job is to be one step ahead, all the time, in every scenario? Olivia Pope makes twisting a story to make her folks come out clean as a whistle look easy. You want her on your side.

Leave a Reply