This BBC 1 programme produced eight series from 2004 to 2012, involving six episodes per series. It is revolved around a group of hustlers conning greedy men and women of England, most predominantly London. Like Robin Hood, but instead of giving the money to the poor, they mostly keep it for themselves. But trust me it’s good, better than good. One of those proper addictive programmes, plus they’re all on Netflix so each episode is played straight after another. Also, all the episodes are so different, it’s not a show that gets repetitive at all or boring; the writers are always throwing around different plots that are exciting for the audience.
The first rule of being a hustler: “Never con an honest man”. One of the best things I love about this show, and trust me there are many things. But one of them is that it’s so different from other programmes. There are moments in this show that the plot of that particular episode seems to pause and the main characters, the con artists, talk to the audience; it’s like they are giving the best hints in how to con someone, and what to do if something goes wrong. As the plot freezes and the actors talk to the audience personally, they give tips how to hustle this particular character. It is so different to other programmes as they speak into the camera, it makes the audience feel more attached to the characters, it’s great. However, this does tend to become less frequent as the series goes on, it is much more common in the first series than later ones; but it still does appear.
Something to say is that the characters do change in this series. To begin with the con artists are, the egotistical main leader Michael Stone, also known as Mickey Bricks (Adrian Lester), “the Fixer” Ash ‘three socks’ Morgan (Robert Glenister), “the Roper” Albert Stroller (Robert Vaughn), the sweet-talker Stacie Monroe (Jaime Murray), and the new guy Danny Blue (Marc Warren). Later on, Stacie and Danny are replaced by brother and sister, Emma (Kelly Adams) and Sean Kennedy (Matt Di Angelo). But because these characters are so different, it’s done well to not miss the old con artists. However, I do have to say my favourites, even if Stacie’s character annoyed me at times, were the first group of the programme. Although, Emma and Sean do make their own ways in the group and are still great. I find it tricky to say who my favourite character would be, all the characters are so different and loveable in their own way. Danny is such a loveable character, with his competitiveness, hilarious, big-headed ways. But then there’s Ash, who is just great in his own way, with some of the things he does being so heart-warming. But then there’s Sean, who continuously impresses the others with his amazing memory, and his brotherly love for his sister is so strong. And of course Albert, who is one of the greatest con artists, teaching Mickey everything he knew, and chooses most of the targets they will con. Or Mickey himself, who leaves the audience unsure whether a con is supposed to go the way it is, making episodes tense whether he has a plan B or not, and his many clever ways of getting what he wants. Then there’s Stacie, who manipulates many men to help with the cons, either they be short or long cons. Finally, Emma, the one who just wants to fit in and puts her trust in Mickey in every point, who changes her personalities in order to win cons, which I have to say seems to be wearing a lot of wigs. I can’t decide who a favourite is, but I’m sure there has to be at least one character that everyone must love, if not all.
Of course, the gang have a meet up in a place where they are based repeatedly throughout the series. This is at Eddie’s Bar; therefore introducing Eddie (Rob Jarvis), the owner and barman. The poor bloke, too trusting and continuously conned so they gang don’t have to pay for their drinks. No matter how funny it is, he definitely ends up out of pocket.
Additionally, of course all the actors are brilliant. They are played excellently down to every point. Also there is a range of actors who appear throughout the series, whether to help the hustlers out or whether they are getting conned themselves, these are great too, and some recognisable, for me anyway. However, it’s not like the actors who guest-starred in a ‘Friends’ episode, who are very well-known, like Brad Pitt, Winona Ryder, Danny DeVito or Bruce Willis etc… But there are some recognisable characters in ‘Hustle’. Anyway, the point was that all the actors are great.
The episodes are really brilliant, they range from different genres, some being more tense and dangerous, some revolved around the police wanting to arrest them for fraud, some more competitive and fun. It’s really great how they don’t get repetitive at all. The audience is left out of the loop a lot to whether something was supposed to happen or not, then surprising plots fall out that you never expect. The audience is unsure who they are to trust at who they say they are, as shown straight away by the first episode. The audience isn’t supposed to know what is happening for the con artists, whether it’s in their way or not, until the very end. They are very clever endings to the episodes that are difficult to guess.
This gripping TV programme get the audience cheering for anti-heroes, for men and women stealing from the greedy and rich, but it’s like it’s more acceptable as they characters they steal from are so outrageous and treat others terribly. I found that it’s like the hustlers are doing a grateful thing for the public, even though it is still stealing a lot, and I mean a lot, of money from people. It’s clever how the audience wants to cheer for them, even if they are criminals. I would say give a watch, it truly is addictive and amazing! “But remember never con an honest man”.