Hustle 5.06 (2009, TV) – 7/10 review

Cast / crew
Adrian Lester: Mickey Stone
Robert Glenister: Ash Morgan
Matt Di Angelo: Sean Kennedy
Kelly Adams: Emma Kennedy
Robert Vaughn: Albert Stroller
Writer: Tony Jordan
Writer (Series’ Creator): Tony Jordan
Producer: Kerry Appleyard
Director: Martin Hutchings
Adam James: Carlton Wood
Tom Goodman-Hill: Alfie Baron
Writer (Original Idea): Bharat Nalluri

Hustle 5.06 Series 5 Episode 6 of 6 (2009)

After being taken for £500,000 (in episode 5.02) Carlton Wood targets his intellect, and ego, on getting revenge on Mickey Stone and his team of grifters by conning them out of £1,000,000.

7/10

This is a fun crime caper where the audience is sure Mickey Stone is one step ahead, surely, but are never quite sure. Adam James fun ogre from episode two is welcomed back to try and extract a little vengeance and a million pounds from the hustlers. Tom Goodman Hill supplies an entertaining dim toff while Adrian Lester and Robert Vaughn dispense philosophy justifying their profession with, respectively, “It’s never about the money. It’s about the game,” and “Hustling is the aristocracy of crime.” Morally dubious, unquestionably, but it’s episodes like this that keep the audience firmly on the side of our anti-heroes and this has, overall, been a good season for the slick grifters.

This Hustle episode contains mild swear words, bad language.

Links

Hustle 5.05 (2009, TV) – 6/10 review

Adrian Lester: Mickey Stone
Robert Glenister: Ash Morgan
Matt Di Angelo: Sean Kennedy
Kelly Adams: Emma Kennedy
Robert Vaughn: Albert Stroller
Writer: Fintan Ryan
Writer: Marston Bloom
Producer: Kerry Appleyard
Director: Martin Hutchings
Writer (Series’ Creator): Tony Jordan
Writer (Original Idea): Bharat Nalluri

Hustle 5.05 Series 5 Episode 5 of 6 (2009)

While finishing a con as a team of lawyers, the gang are approached by the leader of a community youth centre to, in their ‘legal’ capacity, represent him in his fight to stop the building being demolished. While they don’t have the legal know-how, Mickey smells some dodgy dealing and senses a chance to exercise some justice outside the law.

6/10

I wonder how many community youth centres under threat there are because I am sure this kind of thing is always happening in TV dramas. Though it’s probably just me. Anyway, the episode itself is fine, some of the details are rather enjoyable and it’s polished, once more, to a fine sheen but the attempt at generating friction between Mickey, Sean and Emma is clumsy. It needed to start two episodes ago in order to make the events in this episode more convincing and deliver a more satisfying pay-off.

This Hustle episode contains bad language and sensuality.

Links

Hustle 5.04 (2009, TV) – 7/10

Adrian Lester: Mickey Stone
Robert Glenister: Ash Morgan
Matt Di Angelo: Sean Kennedy
Kelly Adams: Emma Kennedy
Robert Vaughn: Albert Stroller
Writer: Chris Hurford
Writer: Tom Butterworth
Producer: Kerry Appleyard
Director: Julian Simpson
Writer (Series’ Creator): Tony Jordan
Writer (Original Idea): Bharat Nalluri

Hustle 5.04 Series 5 Episode 4 of 6 (2009)

Mickey and the gang mistakenly wind up with a valuable love diamond and the ruthless collector Toby Baxter, who arranged it’s original theft, wants it back. Emma and Sean are happy just to pop it in an envelope and get rid of it, but Mickey insists that they extract grifting vengeance from Baxter on behalf of Frank Rice, a swindler who took a beating instead of giving up Mickey.

7/10

Fun episode though, as usual, the plot shenanigans come as no surprise. Patrick Bergin makes a good baddie-of-the-week and the mixture of the tangible (diamonds) and the intangible (love and stories) provides an interesting dichotomy. The makers only just keep the oft-mentioned "Grifter’s Code" from blowing the concept wide apart because if they keep telling us that these are honourable criminals – an oxymoron – it won’t take long for us to start being offended at our manipulation.

This Hustle episode contains unpleasant scenes, brief violence.

Links

Hustle 5.03 (2009, TV) – 5/10 review

Adrian Lester: Mickey Stone
Robert Glenister: Ash Morgan
Matt Di Angelo: Sean Kennedy
Kelly Adams: Emma Kennedy
Robert Vaughn: Albert Stroller
Writer: Fintan Ryan
Producer: Kerry Appleyard
Director: Julian Simpson
Writer (Series’ Creator): Tony Jordan
Writer (Original Idea): Bharat Nalluri

Hustle 5.03 Series 5 Episode 3 of 6 (2009)

With Albert due out after a parole hearing on Friday, the gang decide to pull off a nice con as a coming-out present for him. The target is a judge who is thought to have accepted a bung (but never received it) and with that, the game is on.

5/10

The entertainment value of Hustle is directly related to how Robin Hood the story is. Though this week’s ‘villain’ is crooked judge Tim McInnerny (he accepted one bung during a career renowned for delivering full verdicts) he isn’t odious enough to make the episode work. The little pieces of Albert in prison work rather better, Eddie gets treated rather better than normal and it’s still slick and quite enjoyable but, this week, inexcusable.

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Hustle 5.02 (2009, TV) – 7/10 review

Adrian Lester: Mickey Stone
Robert Glenister: Ash Morgan
Matt Di Angelo: Sean Kennedy
Kelly Adams: Emma Kennedy
Writer: Tony Jordan
Writer (Series’ Creator): Tony Jordan
Producer: Kerry Appleyard
Director: James Strong
Writer (Original Idea): Bharat Nalluri

Hustle 5.02 Series 5 Episode 2 of 6 (2009)

Mickey targets an odious couple of businessmen who promise to register patents but instead steal them and trouser the profits. New team members Sean and Emma see how he works first hand but Sean is concerned that he’s just not cut out for the long-con game. Especially when he ends up drunk and unconscious after his first two assignments.

7/10

With a central plot idea from 2006 movie SPOILER Inside Man END SPOILER, this episode of Hustle proves to be typically predictable as far as the con goes. However, it’s still a great idea and it’s all nicely played, light-hearted and looks great. Adam James provides a fun bonus this week as a great raging baddie and we are reminded of how Mickey Stone differentiates himself from those he targets: for him, it isn’t about the money. Is it enough to prevent him and the show from being hypocritical? Remarkably, yes, just about.

This Hustle episode contains mild swear words and alcohol abuse and suicide.

Links

Hustle 5.01 (2009,TV) – 6/10 review

Adrian Lester: Mickey Stone
Robert Glenister: Ash Morgan
Robert Vaughn: Albert Stroller
Writer: Tony Jordan
Writer (Series’ Creator): Tony Jordan
Producer: Kerry Appleyard
Director: James Strong
Writer (Original Idea): Bharat Nalluri

Hustle 5.01 Series 5 Episode 1 of 6 (2009)

Mickey returns to London to find the old team scattered and Albert in prison. Albert still has information on a potential mark, however, someone who has been making money off other’s people misery and, without noticing the hypocrisy and with a straight face, Mickey and Ash set about grifting her.

6/10

Adrian Lester returns in a reasonably fun episode but the story is transparent. The audience is in on all the plot when it should only be in on half the plot. This isn’t just because the plot is taken directly from seventies classic The Sting but because the director, James Strong, and writer, Tony Jordan, do not explain why characters Mickey and Ash do not see the tactics they themselves employ being worked against them. Treating your characters as stupid quickly leads to treating your audience as stupid and that is a big mistake. Nobody likes being called stupid. Even stupid people.

This Hustle episode contains mild adult dialogue, mild bad language and violence.

Links