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Series / Hustle

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The Series 5-8 Cast.

The con is on...

A British dramedy show (2004-2012) following a group of con artists who specialize in the Long Con and only con those who deserve it. Highly inspired by The Sting—it's mentioned more than once and almost every con that appeared in the film ends up being played in Hustle at some point.

This show got renewed for a second series only four episodes through its six-episode run due to its popularity.

The show itself is unafraid to con the audience, with the characters having back-up plans and only revealing part of the trick until the end; seemingly random and unrelated moments throughout the episode are revealed to be vitally important. The one thing you can count on is that if you think you know how the con works, you don't.

The fourth series saw a change in the cast; Mickey was busy in Australia "selling the Sydney Opera House", leaving Danny as the (far-more chaotic and improvisational) leader. The fifth man was Billy, a younger and naive short con artist who idolised Danny.


Mickey returns in the fifth series, but with Danny and Stacie in America, Albert in prison, and Billy... unmentioned, Mickey and Ash need to put together a new crew.

The show ended in 2012 with its eighth series.

It has an across the pond counterpart in Leverage, though save for general concept and at least one prominent guest star appearing on both shows, the two shows are unrelated.

Not to be confused with the 1975 neo-noir film starring Burt Reynolds, the ESPN original miniseries about Pete "Charlie Hustle" Rose, or the Japanese comedy-oriented wrestling promotion.


Hustle provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • In a season eight episode, Jodie Prenger plays a friend of the gang who winds up in hospital after using a dodgy diet product sold by that episode's marks. Before her acting career took off, Prenger won the UK version of The Biggest Loser and subsequently worked as a writer on diet issues.
    • In the final episode it's proposed that the now seven-person team should be called The Magnificent Seven. Albert, played by Robert Vaughn, seems very taken with the idea.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Sean and Emma break into a gallery via the vents in "Eat Yourself Slender".
  • The Alleged Steed: The fake racehorse in "Signing Up to Wealth".
  • All Women Love Shoes: Emma. After their first big score, Sean comments that she can buy enough Jimmy Choos to outfit an octopus.
  • An Aesop: The ending of series two has all the main characters delivering an aesop to camera; the last ever episode has an extended reprise of this sequence.
  • And Starring: Robert Vaughn gets credited as "And Robert Vaughn as Albert Stroller" in later series.
  • Animated Credits Opening: Full of Stealth Puns for grifting terminology.
  • Artistic Licence Biology: In one episode the gang has to prove Albert is the son of Queen Mother. To do that they switch a sample of her DNA for his. Not only does no one notice that the DNA is identical, they fail to notice it's the wrong sex.
  • Art Shift: Used for exposition scenes. A description of a very old con trick is done via a B&W silent movie, and an explanation of fugu fish preparation is done with anime.
  • Aside Glance: Every main character, on a fairly regular basis, except for Billy (in fact, it happens very rarely in Series 4 at all).
  • At the Opera Tonight: Partly invoked at the end of episode 4 of the first series when the team taunt the mark by hiring a larger female opera singer to sing outside the mark's place of business after they con him (as a reference to how he'd kept talking about the 'Fat Lady' singing himself).
  • Back for the Finale: Stacie. And Danny.
  • Badass Boast: Ash delivers one to a pair of warring gangsters in "Picasso Finger Painting".
  • Batman Gambit
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: A very common tactic used by the crew, also ( How Mickey gets back to the UK - by pretending to be a naval captain.)
  • Beat Bag: In "Law and Corruption", a Dirty Cop attempts to blackmail the crew into doing his dirty work by planting cocaine in Mickey's briefcase and arresting them. They turn the tables on him by managing to swap the cocaine for confectioners sugar while in jail. As Mickey points out, it is not illegal to be in possession of several kilos of confectioners sugar.
  • Berserk Button: The team only ever take on bad people anyway, but if you do anything to hurt Albert, Eddie, or anyone they care about, they will destroy your life.
  • Big Store: Once an episode.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The marks are sleazebags, but usually on just the right side of the law; the hustlers are criminals whose cons involve making money off the marks, but rarely actually bringing the marks to justice or preventing them from going straight back to whatever they were doing before.
  • Bodybag Trick: In "Lest Ye Be Judged", Mickey uses a bodybag to smuggle Emma into the morgue so she can place a false postmortem report in the files.
  • Bookends:
    • The first and last episodes both feature a an extended Breaking the Fourth Wall sequence that goes far beyond an Aside Glance and a Staged Shooting as part of a con Mickey is claiming will be his last before retirement.
    • The first and last episode titles: The Con is On and The Con is Off.
  • Boxed Crook: Occasionally tried on the team; usually a very, very bad idea, especially if the cop that tries it does anything illegal or unethical in the process.
  • Brain Bleach: Sean tries desperately to apply this in Series 8 Episode 2 after he has had to get...close to a much older lady in order to find a missing painting. Coupled with I Need a Freaking Drink.
  • Break the Haughty:
    • Any Police officer, Customs Official or MI-6 agent who believes they can catch or manipulate Mickey and the gang.
    • Victor Maher is Series 1.
    • Carlton Wood in the last episode of Series 5.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Monologues to camera or, sometimes, two of the characters having a conversation while everyone else is frozen.
    • Some Characters wink into the camera (seemingly at the audience) with some ironic smile at certain moments. AKA Aside Glance
    • On one occasion, the mark confided in the audience that he'd seen through the con.
    • In the final episode of Series eight, they didn't just break the wall, they took ruddy great sledgehammers to it and reduced it to rubble!
    • All of the song and dance routines either feature direct remarks to the audience or go totally unnoticed by other characters
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Ash, Man of a Thousand Voices
    • Parodied by Albert, who thinks he can do a variety of UK accents but really can't.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Mickey gets scammed when trying to buy a new phone over the Internet, and loses his mojo.
  • Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie: Invoked in "The Fall of Railton FC". Needing some footage of a fake football game, Emma pretends that her grandfather's last wish was to have his ashes scattered on the turf of his beloved football club, and cons the caretaker into letting her and the rest of the crew on to the pitch to do so. She then has to keep the caretaker distracted while the boys run around the pitch in football strip to get the footage they need.
  • Butt-Monkey: Eddie, especially in Season 6. They occasionally reward him well for putting up with them, but they constantly con him out of drinks and wreck his business. One wonders why he puts up with them. This is justified after the return of Mickey in series 5, as he and Ash are then the owners of Eddie's Bar.
    • Lampshaded by Emma when Ash repays Eddie for his help by paying off their Tab (which is money that they owed him in the first place)
      • Taken to extremes when Alfie (Ash's 11 year old god son) shows up in season 7 and hustles Eddie 25 times in an hour.
  • The Caper: The season 2 finale, "Eye of the Beholder" has the gang stealing the Crown Jewels though there is a con twist in that they're selling the fake jewels to several buyers.
  • Caper Crew: (original crew) Mickey is the Mastermind, Stacey is the Distraction, Ash is the Hacker, the Gadget Guy, and the Safe Cracker, and the Driver. Danny is the New Kid. Albert and Stacey take turns acting as the Partner in Crime; everyone except Ash takes turns as the Conman.
  • The Casino: "Big Daddy Calling"
  • Casual Car Giveaway: The crew do it in "Big Daddy Calling", swapping their Cadillac for an old beat-up pickup truck as they flee Las Vegas.
  • Celebrity Paradox: One guy mentions the TV show Dr. Kildare. Another episode has Richard Chamberlain as a Special Guest.
  • Chained to a Bed
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Billy vanishes without explanation between seasons 4 and 5.
  • Cold Cash: 'Liability' Finch keeps his stash hidden in the freezer.
  • Cold Reading
  • The Con. Once an Episode, the mere basis of the show. With The Con Within A Con In season 2, The Lesson
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Season 8 episode 2 is full of them, including Ash's speech about what great grifters they are, which is mostly a list of previous plotlines; also former recurring character Cyclops puts in his first appearance since season five, and at the end Mickey (jokingly) moots a con involving a fake Mondrian painting, which the original crew already did in season one (he even suggests they use the same forger again).
    • Series 3 Episode 4 features a movie-related con. Danny expresses some uncertainty, reminding them that he got shot last time they did one (Series 1 Episode 2).
    • Series 3 Episode 5 has the team trying to fool a newspaper into believing an old urban myth about the Royal family. Danny warns them 'I ain't nicking the crown jewels again!' referring to when they did just that in Series 2 Episode 6. This is also referenced in the following episode but is less of a 'nod' and more an explicit explanation of it in order to impress someone.
  • Cool Old Guy: Albert
  • Delayed Wire: Final episode of the first series and again in the first episode of the fifth.
  • Dirty Cop: Hustle would sometimes feature Dirty Cops who thought they could manipulate the crew for their own ends. This always ended badly for them. D.I. Fisk in "Curiosity Caught the Kat" is a typical example.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: In the episode "Conning the Artists" the honour killing was all an elaborate cover for a con a 10 year old girl came up with so her and her brother could escape their landlord/boss who the team had conned that very week. With the money the team took from him and their new mark's money
  • Double Standard:
    • In S3 E1, Stacie walks into bathroom while Danny is taking a bath (he didn't lock the door as he's claustrophobic) and asks him to sing into her tape recorder (we later find out why) and Danny, whilst slightly baffled, complies without questioning or protesting. It's not even necessary to explain how this would be different if the genders were reversed!
    • The crew claims to stand for combating the greed and selfishness of other people, and looking out for the 'little people' who are wronged by them in some way for the former's benefit. YET the crew con, mistreat, exploit, manipulate (and let's be honest, generally oppress) Eddie daily, but apparently that's fine because they benefit from it.
      • To be fair to the team, when Eddie is really in trouble, they are willing to drop everything to help him, to the point of attempting two particularly complicated cons that ended up getting Eddie's father in a better retirement home than his current residence and setting up his niece with a modelling contract to work in the Canary Islands.
    • Men who ogle at Emma are usually characterized as creepy and are invariably wankers and villains, but when Sean is accosted by some dirty old woman who demands (and it's implied gets) Sex for Services, it's Played for Laughs.
  • End-of-Series Awareness:
    • Seemingly at the end of Series 2, and very much so at the end of the final series.
    • The end of the first series, in which Mickey tells us "We'll be gone for a while" in one of the gang's many fourth-wall breaking moments.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Occasionally, an in-universe version as the team mislead one of their own to get a better reaction; for example in the first episode, a realistic reaction to Mickey being fake-shot in the head can only be guaranteed by Danny not being in the know.
  • Evil Debt Collector: Several examples. The mark in "Old Sparks Come New" and her thuggish debt collectors are the most typical.
  • Evil Gloating: DCI Lucy Britford. It's not a good idea to gloat about how you're going to catch Mickey Bricks.
  • Expy: One member of a pair of criminals was the spitting image of Moss, right down to the nasal voice and Genius Ditz personality.
  • Fanservice: Every young or middle-aged woman on the show is always dressed up and wearing high heels, with very few exceptions.
  • Five-Man Band,
    • Initial line up, in terms of specific con roles:
    • Reworked somewhat in seasons 4, 5 and 6. In 4, Mickey is away in Australia, selling the Sydney Opera House, and Danny takes over his position for the crew's time in the USA, with a young (and forgettable) con artist called Billy replacing him. In 5 and 6, Stacie and Danny (and the single-season Danny-clone from season 4) have been Put on a Bus, and replaced with the Brother-Sister Team of Sean and Emma. The roles remain basically the same, however, with Sean replacing Danny as the young, talented but inexperienced learner, and Emma as the sex appeal/love interest for Mickey. Actually, when Emma and Sean first join the gang she is actually stated to be the "young, talented but inexperienced learner" ("A natural," Albert describes her as, much as he had previously done for Danny) while her kid brother wasn't sure if he even wanted to be a grifter and was more or less the Tagalong Kid. It was later that they slid into their Chick and Team Protege roles, respectively (although Sean tended to learn from Ash rather than Mickey).
  • Fixing the Game: In "Clearance From A Deal", the gang stage an elaborate con in order to fix the outcome of a roulette game.
  • Flag Bikini: Seen in "And This Little Piggy Had Money" as part of a fantasy the mark has about what his life will be like when he accepts the high-paying job in California that Mickey's crew is offering him.
  • Foreshadowing: In the very first scene of season 4; Danny tells a guy in the cinema that, at the end, all five of the film's characters get blown up in a boat. Which is exactly what they make the Mark in the season's finale think happened to them.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: Has been both used by and used against the team, most commonly by corrupt cops who attempted to frame the team for other crimes, such as possessing drugs, to force them to help with another scam, but in those cases the team have always managed to turn the tables and have the cops accused of whatever crime they intended to frame the team for.
  • Gag Penis: Ash "Three Socks" Morgan
  • Gilligan Cut: In "Picasso Finger Painting", we cut from Sean protesting there is no way he is going back to Mad Dolly's to Sean at Mad Dolly's, still protesting.
  • Graceful Loser: This is the main thing that separates our heroes from the marks, especially Mickey. On the rare occasions our heroes completely lose, they tend to take it quite calmly, and in one episode where they were completely and utterly owned by a little girl, though they didn't know that, they actually showed approval, with Albert saying they had witnessed a master at work. By contrast, whenever a mark loses, they tend to scream, yell and throw tantrums. Mickey often says his motivation for taking down a mark is to see if they can dish it out as well as take it, and he apparently holds himself to that.
    Mickey: I played the game, and I lost.
    • Albert, to a tee. When Joseph Whittaker-Wright III utterly wipes the floor with the team and they're too late to stop him escaping, Albert can only laugh and marvel about how impressive JW 3's con was.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: Danny Blue loses a game of Strip Poker and attempts to salvage what is left of his dignity with a strategically placed cushion.
  • Hanging Judge: Mr Justice Kent, the mark in "Lest Ye Be Judged".
  • Honour Among Thieves: The bent cops will often try to call them out on this claiming there to be no such thing but have to coerce people to betray other crooks. Albert says to Emma that all con men rely on honour among thieves because that's the only way they know they're not going to get screwed over mid con by one of their suppliers of fake goods.
  • Ignored Confession: In "The Fall of Railton FC", Ash temporarily Cannot Tell a Lie as the result of a head injury. When The Mark asks him if there is anything else he should know, Ash tells him that the entire deal is a con and they are planning to steal his money. He then bursts out laughing, turning it into a Sarcastic Confession that The Mark cheerily ignores.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Very common. Can get you free passage from Australia to the UK.
  • Invincible Hero: The crew in most episodes. As a whole, the crew almost never face any complications in their plans and if it appears they have, the flashbacks at the end will show that it was all apart of their plan. The amount of danger they have of actually failing or even stumbling in most episodes is zero.
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: In "Benny's Funeral", it starts raining as the gang step out of the crematorium at the eponymous funeral.
  • It Must Be Mine!: This is often a weakness of the marks, allowing the team their 'in'. Examples include a rare banknote in "The Lesson" (or so it seems), a case of rare wine in "Getting Even", and a Faberge Egg (one of a matched pair) in "Eat Yourself Slender".
  • It's a Small Net After All: Ash is able to set up professional looking websites for fake companies in a matter of hours. Possibly justified as this is his job as the team's fixer, and he probably keeps a few dummy sites operating at all times that he can quickly customise. However, in "Gold Mine", he is seemingly able to get a site up and running in the time it takes Danny to spin the tale to the mark. And he always manages to get the sites to show up near the top of any search the mark does.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: In "Eat Yourself Slender", a mark (being rude to a waitress as the marks always are) complains that his beer tastes like "warm monkey spit".
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration:
    • In "Eye of the Beholder", Ash gets a job on the cleaning crew at the museum so he can scope the place out as part of the team's plan to steal the Crown Jewels.
    • Emma does it in "Eat Yourself Slender".
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Occasionally, usually as a Pet the Dog to balance out the protagonists' criminal activities.
  • Karma Houdini: Though the series thrives on seeing bad people get what's comg to them, in a strange way some marks do actually end up being both conned and simultaneously end up better off. For example, Baxter from "Diamond Seeker" started off with a replica necklace. In the end, he had the same replica necklace but actually believed that it was genuine (and he wasn't conned into paying for it, just letting the gang keep what he thought was the replica). He's as happy as if he did get the real thing.
  • Karmic Thief:
    • The hustlers generally target people who deserve it, partly to justify their crimes to themselves since otherwise they are in it just for the thrill and the money. In addition the victims are invariably very smug, dogkickers and outright jerkasses in their demeanor. Notably the hustlers are reluctant to go after the really evil victims, like gangsters and killers, purely because they know their normal marks won't chop them to pieces if they get caught out, and not because they think their normal targets deserve it more.
    • Played with when Emma and Sean go after their Disappeared Dad, who vanished when they were kids shortly before their mother died and never showed up again. Sean expects him to be an Asshole Victim and had been waiting for years to get back at him; part of his con rests on the idea that his dad (who doesn't recognise them, since they were only kids) will screw him out of a deal. He doesn't, and it never even occurred to him to do so, which leaves Sean shaken. It turned out that he didn't know his wife died and when he found out, he actually did try and find them, to no avail. They are still mad at him, especially since he started another family and didn't tell them what he had done, but they decide not to ruin his new life and only take from him the money they think they are owed in allowance, passing up a chance to rob him of more. He admits to them that he loves and is proud of them before they leave.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Most marks get at least one moment.
    • Subverted (possibly doubly) in one episode: they're conning a woman who had her husband's dog put to sleep. Then she reveals that it had been hit by a car and was in a lot of pain. However, as most things she "reveals" are in fact lies, this could be one as well.
  • Landmark Sale: The London Eye, the Hollywood Sign and the often mentioned Sydney Opera House con.
  • Laxative Prank: Often used to temporarily incapacitate someone for the purpose of a con.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: The first episode of the fifth series sees Mickey and Ash attempting to con a mark who, unknown to them, is actually a fellow conwoman (and her brother) attempting to con them. This is due to Albert's machinations; he claims that he wanted them to team up, and this way they know what the others are capable of.
  • Little Miss Con Artist: One episode features the crew being Out-Gambitted. By, it turns out, a little girl none of them noticed who calls herself a "criminal mastermind".
  • Loveable Rogue: All of the main characters. Pretty much the whole point of the show.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Throughout season six, Emma keeps referring to Lucy Britford as 'Lucy Bitchface'.
  • The Mark: Of course.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Mickey Stone is a meticulous planner, while Danny Blue prefers to fly by the sit of his pants.
    • Albert Stroller being the oldest guy of the lot.
  • Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: Any time Albert gets incarcerated.
  • Mile-High Club: Danny Blue is a member according to the episode "Gold Mine".
  • Mind Screw: The final minutes of the show's Grand Finale. May border on Gainax Ending.
  • Mock Millionaire: The con often involves one or more members of the crew pretending to be wealthy. Occasionally the mark turns out to be this as well.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Stacie and her successor, Emma; a woman who very rarely has anything covering her legs from the thigh down.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: 'Liability' Finch.
    Mickey: Because we're professionals, because we don't like prison and because we don't work with anyone who has 'Liability' in their name!
  • New Old Flame: Emma encounters new old flame named Joe Ryan, who is everything the grifters are not, in "Old Sparks Come New".
  • Nice to the Waiter: The marks never are.
    • Albert however is friends with every concierge in London and in later seasons often finds marks like this. His ex wife uses this to find him in the season 7 finale.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In the first episode of Series 6 the mark is a former banker whose bank was bailed out by the government and he is now retired on a huge pension (part of which the team try to relieve him of) which has outraged the tabloids and public at large. Just like former RBS boss Sir Fred Goodwin.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: A woman described as "posh fit with a hint of mucky" invites Mickey to dinner. It's a Police officer who's intent on sending Mickey down.
  • Not Named in Opening Credits: Guest actors aren't listed in the opening credits anyway, but there was no advance publicity for Marc Warren's appearance in the final episode.
  • Obfuscating Disability: The forger in "Picture Perfect".
  • Office Golf: The mark in "Gold Mine".
  • One Steve Limit: Usually most characters have different names, but in a likely unintentional aversion, there are at least three characters in the series named 'Harry Holmes'
    • Season 2 has a Harry Holmes being a fellow conman who was sent to prison
    • Season 6 has the crew using the office of an investment manager named Harold Holmes for one of their cons
    • Season 8 has Harry Holmes being a homicidal gangster that is one of the two main villians of the episode
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Lots of times. Whenever Danny shuts up, when Mickey gets angry...
    • Emma remarks to Mickey how hard it is to imagine that he could have beaten another man up with a baseball bat.
  • Parental Abandonment: Sean and Emma - their father walked out when they were little, then their mother died and they went into care.
  • Parking Payback: In "Price of Fame", Benny Frazier parking in the ambulance zone at a hospital (and being rude to the staff member who asks him to move) is what first identifies him to Albert as a potential mark.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": In a series 7 episode, where the password to the mark's computer is the name of his dog. It then turns out that this was part of the mark's plan.
  • Password Slot Machine: Ash uses a gadget that does to crack the four digit security code to the employee entrance at a bank in "The Hush Heist".
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: Mickey and Emma have a long debate over whether Mickey's term 'stickability' is a real word.
  • Phoney Call: In "Father of the Jewels", Sean is with the mark when he calls Mickey and starts acting like he is talking to nursing home. Mickey is initially confused but quickly figures out that Sean is letting him know that they urgently need to set a nursing home for the next stage of the con.
  • The Plan: Many, many episodes, but Mickey's playing of "Liability" Finch and a Customs officer is a very good example.
    DS Terri Hodges: Mickey Stone is unique. He doesn't think like we do. You can't second-guess him. He gives the impression that he's making it all up as he goes along. But everything is planned, precise. He puts together complicated and seemingly unrelated events, impossible to unravel, but all leading to the big con. The higher the stakes, the more he likes it. Just when you think you've got him, you haven't.
  • Positive Discrimination: Straight examples abound in the early seasons, but eventually the series begins to avert it:
    • Almost everyone they con is white. They con an Indian guy, but then realize that he's not that bad and that they've put his entire factory out of work, so they give him money from another con. In another episode, they're conning an African dictator (and obvious Robert Mugabe parallel) but then it turns out that he was Mickey in disguise, and they're actually conning somebody else. Another episode has them conning an Indian sweatshop owner, but he completely reforms himself, so they can't finish the con.
    • They do con a Japanese businessman at the start of one episode, but while he is certainly unlikable (as made clear from the little girl's narration) he's not an outright monster. Shortly after pulling this con though the team themselves get conned by one of his (poorly treated) workers and his little sister.
    • At the beginning of series 6 they con a rich Arab.
    • In series 7 they've conned a woman of mixed race, an Iranian man although it turns out the crew themselves were the marks in this scheme, and a black man.
    • In season 8 they con a black man again.
  • Power Walk: Many episodes end with the grifters walking triumphantly in an aligned fashion, often next to the Thames river.
  • Precision F-Strike: Given Mickey hardly swears (or is actually impolite) in any circumstances, him telling a bounty hunter to "Go screw yourself" in Series 5 Episode 4 is rather jarring.
  • Put on a Bus: Mickey in Season 4, Danny, Stacy and Billy in Season 5.
    • The Bus Came Back: Mickey returns in season 5 Stacie and Danny return for the finale. No sign of Billy though...
  • Rash Equilibrium: The end of "Picture Perfect".
  • Real After All: In one episode, the team takes down a corrupt newspaper publisher by making him believe in an old urban myth: That the Queen Mother was killed in a bombing in World War II and the Royal Family had an actress take on the role to maintain public morale. They're a bit thrown when MI-5 agents question them, figuring it's just because they're doing something with the Royals and later laugh at how the publisher was ready to buy this. But at the end of the episode, we see what is quite clearly Queen Elizabeth II at a small cemetery, placing flowers on the grave of the "actress..."
  • Reverse Mole: While not directly done, the same concept is used in that a random character often turns out to be a fellow con man working with Mickey and the team.
  • Ripped from the Headlines:
    • The mark in the first series 6 episode was a banker who had been bailed out and retired on a massive pension.
    • Benny, Ash's old friend in series 7, lost substantial amounts of money betting on England to win the 2010 World Cup.
  • Rousing Speech: Ash Morgan gives one about the beauty of football and what it means to Britain at the start of "The Fall of Railton FC". It noticeably fails to inspire the rest of crew until he adds that it will also involve "Lolly. Lots of lolly".
    Ash: Because football is my game, football is your game, football is OUR game. AND I WANT IT BACK!
    - Beat -
    Ash: Well you're supposed to clap and cheer at that bit
    - Beat -
    Ash: There's lolly in it. Lots of lovely lolly
  • Running Gag:
    • Eddie, the barman, is always falling for short cons from the crew and has never fully been paid for the drinks he's provided.
    • There's also a bit of one regarding Sean not being allowed alcohol, after he gets very drunk during their first score together, and calls Emma, "Sis" in front of the marks.
    • Sean is -really- good at finding out everything about potential marks, coming up with really long lists of quirks, facts and general knowledge surprising everyone.
    • Ash's nickname "Three socks"
  • Sarcastic Confession: In "The Fall of Railton FC", Ash temporarily Cannot Tell a Lie, so when the mark asks if there's any reason he shouldn't transfer the money, Ash admits to being a con man and tells him that if he transfers the money he'll never see it again. Then he starts laughing and passes it off as a joke, Emma joins in, and the mark laughs with them and transfers the money.
  • Scary Black Man: Mickey, normally more of a Gentleman Thief, resorts to this to frighten a bank manager in the first episode of series six. There is also the time Mickey beat a man to a bloody pulp with a baseball bat for sleeping with his wife. That was probably quite scary for the other guy.
  • Scoundrel Code: Often referred to as the 'Grifter's Code'.
  • Serial Escalation: In Season 1, £500k is a significant sum of money, worthy of a season-ending 'big con'. By the time Seasons 6-7 come around, half a million is just an average score from a standard episode. And then of course, in the series finale in Season 8 it gets turned Up to Eleven as the team go for a truly monstrous score - £10 million, enough to walk away for good.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: In "As Good as it Gets", the crew is stunned when a girl they have never seen before wanders out of Sean's bedroom into the kitchen were they are having breakfast wearing Sean's shirt.
  • Shaped Like Itself: After a forged wine bottle gets smashed, the grifters simply carry on the con with a second forged bottle, leading to the exchange:
    Danny: Why did you make a back-up?
    - Beat -
    Ash: As a back-up.
  • Sherlock Scan: Part of the art of the cold read. Albert gives a detailed explanation of the process to Danny in "Gold Mine", and Ash explains it to Sean in "Lest Ye Be Judged".
  • Shout-Out: to a number of movies in the Hollywood episode. The Sting gets the biggest in homage form, to the point it can be considered a Spiritual Predecessor.
  • Show Some Leg: Stacie does this often.
  • Smith of the Yard: Hustle plays this one relatively straight in the 3rd season finale, with a detective famous for making big busts as the villain. He's not a nice man...
  • The Smurfette Principle: Stacie and then her replacement, Emma.
  • Spanish Prisoner: Danny mentions it in one episode, and is done at last in the first episode of season seven with four marks at the same time.
  • Spit Take: Albert washes the coffee table with vodka when it's suggested sex is the way to get to the mark in Series 1 Episode 5 and having already met the woman involved he immediately assumes the team expects him to do the deed. Thankfully for him, they don't.
  • Spoiler Opening: subverted in the final episode.
  • Squib
  • Staged Shooting:
    • Used to scare the mark into taking off and not coming back for his money (it's an old con trick, but something of a Fridge Logic moment now days, as even if the mark left the country they would undoubtedly look up on the internet to find out what the police were saying about the non-existent shooting). Subverted on one occasion when the mark got caught up in the emotions of the moment, drew his own firearm and fired a couple of real bullets into the 'victim' as well! Fortunately, he survives.
    • The final episode.
  • Stealing the Handicapped Spot: In "Price of Fame", Albert identifies Benny Frazier as a potential mark when he sees him parking in the ambulance zone at a hospital, and rudely telling off the staff member who asks him to move.
  • The Stinger: After the credits on the last episode, Eddie switches off the lights and exits the Bar through the back door which the previous scene implies leads out of the Hustle world back into reality.
  • Stolen by Staying Still: In "New Recruits", Mickey and the crew pull a con where they convince a pair of marks that the painting they declared to be 'unstealable' has just been stolen. The crew do this by erecting a fake wall directly in front of the wall where the painting is hanging.
  • Stupid Crooks: 'Liability' Finch
  • Stylistic Suck: The eighties gameshow Ding Dong, That's My Song as hosted by Mark Williams' character in series 8 episode 5.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: It's worth mentioning how this show managed to avert this trope even with all the character substitutions that occurred during its eight series. First there's Series 4, in which Danny takes Mickey's place and Billy is introduced to take Danny's place. However, instead of Danny turning into Mickey and Billy being a clone of First-Series-Danny, Danny remained as he was and therefore was a very different leader to Mickey, and Billy was a lot less of a cocky newbie, being the only person who seriously respected Danny as a leader and not even dreaming of trying to challenge his position like Danny did to Mickey so many times. Then in Series 5, The Danny/Billy role is taken by Sean and Stacie is replaced by Emma, but again both were considerably different characters to their predecessors. In contrast to Danny and Billy who were very enthusiastic about grifting and wanted to build their experience as much as possible, Sean was still having doubts as to whether he even wanted to be a grifter, and when he made a big mistake during his first big con with the gang, offered to leave so as not to ruin Emma's chances. Emma's personality was also quite different to Stacie's, being a lot more sensitive and slightly less flirty (when out of character).
  • That Came Out Wrong: This exchange between Emma and Mickey:
    Emma: How would you like it if I drooled over you?
    (significant look from Mickey)
    Emma: Forget I asked that.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: At the end of "Eat Yourself Slender", Eddie gets a girlfriend.
  • Time Stands Still
  • Undercover as Lovers:
    • Mickey and Emma have to pretend to be lovers as part of a con. Sean doesn't realise they are just pretending. Of course, they don't tell him that the whole lovers scheme was Mickey's idea in the first place...
    • Sean and Emma give this vibe in their first episode. It's even commented on by some of the other characters. Eventually they get revealed as brother and sister.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: At least Once an Episode. Generally the only thing about the plan you can guarantee is that it isn't what it looks like.
  • Unsuspectingly Soused: In "New Recruits", Sean gets smashed when the mark spikes his orange juice with vodka.
  • Unwilling Suspension: "Picasso Finger Painting" opens with Ash hanging upside down by his ankles in a deserted warehouse. He proceeds to explain how he ended up in this predicament.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Carlton Wood and Harry Fielding. £1.5million and counting...
  • Upper-Class Twit: Alfie Baron in "The Road Less Travelled".
  • Violin Scam: One episode featured a variation on this known as "dog in a bar", where a supposedly valuable dog stands in for the violin.
  • Viva Las Vegas!: "Big Daddy Calling"
  • Waxing Lyrical: After Mickey completely takes in a mark, the gang (who are listening in through his earpiece) quote the theme from The Spy Who Loved Me in appreciation.
    Albert: Nobody does it better.
    Ash: Makes me feel sad for the rest.
  • We Would Have Told You, But...: Used throughout, for a variety of reasons.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: An early episode established one of Ash's main motivations being to care for his wife, who had brain damage from repeatedly doing Ash's "plate-in-the-head" scam. After this episode, she was never mentioned again.
  • You Answered Your Own Question:
    Eddie: Why don't you just pay your hotel bill like normal people? ... I can't believe I asked that.
  • You Make Me Sic: Played for laughs by Ash and Danny in one episode.
    Danny: ... I'll be using three of my favourite words. "Unsubstantiated", "Libelous" and "Court Case".
    Ash: "Court Case" is two words.
    Danny: Oh yeah? Well I used a bloody hyphen!


Example of: