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Series / Hustle

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The Con is On.

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. Inspired by the likes of con films like The Sting (it's mentioned more than once and almost every con that appeared in that film ends up being played in Hustle at some point). The team takes a modern-day Robin Hood approach of finding corrupt people and corporations who have committed crimes or wronged someone, and the crew go to restore justice as they see fit. It proved such a hit, that the second series was commissioned only four episodes into its six-episode run.

The show itself often winks at the audience or confides in their ideology or plans, and is also equally unafraid to con the audience, with the characters having back-up plans with every action they take, and only revealing a crucial part(s) of the con until the very end; seemingly random and unrelated moments throughout the episode are revealed to be vitally important. The one thing you can count on with this show is that if you think you know how a con works in a given episode, then you don't. The show has some kind of reveal at least Once an Episode to wrap up the events into one narrative.

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 naïve short con artist who idolised Danny. This changed again for the fifth series when Mickey returns, but with Danny and Stacie in America, Albert in prison, and Billy... unmentioned, Mickey and Ash put together a new crew, this time with brother and sister con artists Emma and Sean Kennedy.

The show ended in 2012 with eight series under its belt. It also spawned a Companion Show called The Real Hustle; with the premise of showing off cons people pull off in real life so viewers don't get fooled when out and about.

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 are unrelated.

Not to be confused with the 1975 neo-noir film starring Burt Reynolds, the ESPN original miniseries about Pete "Charlie Hustle" Rose, the Japanese comedy-oriented wrestling promotion, or the 2022 movie starring Adam Sandler.

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The Trope is on...:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Albert manages a ten second retirement (give or take a few seconds) in the season one finale. He talks about how he's getting old and wonders if it's time to just go out gracefully on a win. The others are disappointed but say they'll respect his choice. At that moment, another plane passenger walks past them, talking about how he refused to invest a three-million dollar inheritance with a man he'd just met, with Albert looking up in interest at this, then walking after the man to try and rope him in for a scam.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In season eight episode 4, 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.
  • Affably Evil:
    • The "Evil" bit is only in that he ends up scamming the crew - but James Whitaker the Third is a charming rogue who it's impossible not to like even when he's making the protagonists look like fools. The jaunty wave he gives a stunned Mickey as he makes his escape, as if him conning them for millions of pounds was just a fun game of cards, says it all.
    • Downplayed but present regarding DCI Britford (who again, is only "Evil" by virtue of opposing the team); while she freely admits her conversing and dining with Mickey is her way of throwing him off-balance, she clearly enjoys his company and is genuinely flirty - even admitting to being tempted to let them take down their mark as she agrees he's a complete shit. While she's unsurprisingly stung and humiliated when Mickey outsmarts her, she takes it much more gracefully than the other Corrupt Cops we see getting outwitted, considering it "one-nil" rather than total defeat.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Sean and Emma break into a gallery via the vents in "Eat Yourself Slender".
  • All According to Plan: It's impossible to count how many times it looks like the con is collapsing, the plan falling apart, everything is going to hell and the team about to be arrested or killed...and then one of them breaks into a smile and remarks "right on schedule."
  • 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 the last ever has all the main characters or possibly, the actors themselves (including the returned Stacie and Danny) delivering an aesop to camera about the art of the con.
  • 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.
  • Arc Villain: The team don't have an Arch-Enemy due to the very nature of their business, but Carlton Wood and Harry Fielding are main villains of the first and last episodes of season 5 - and are the first scammees to go after the team since the end of season 1. DCI Lucy Britford does the same thing in season 6. DI Terri Hodges has a smaller but similar role in the pilot episode, and the season 2 finale.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Not from the main characters, oddly enough, but you can visibly see DI Fisk realise he's screwed after this bit of dialogue following The Reveal of how the team got him to incriminate himself:
    Fisk: Do you know how many villains I've put away?
  • Artistic Licence – Biology: In season 3 episode 5 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. Not to mention the fact that you cannot examine DNA with a basic light microscope, which is what the lab is shown to be using - plus the test would be completely contaminated owing to the hair's having been handled without gloves by multiple other people on the Hustle team already.
  • Art Shift: Occasionally 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). One of the marks manages it in season 3 episode 4 whe he slyly reveals in the middle of a musical sequence that his Laser-Guided Amnesia has lifted and he remembers who the team are.
  • 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).
  • Atomic F-Bomb: The show had gotten slightly less restrictive on having occasional swear words by season 5 - but nothing else in the series can quite compare to Carlton Wood's crimson-faced, screaming explosions at being outwitted. This review even cautioned his actor for putting so much effort into these it looked like he might burst a blood vessel on set.
  • Awesome Aussie: Graham Poole, the Australian gangster in "Law and Corruption". Tough as nails and highly unpleasant.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: While Mickey and Danny fight like cat and dog a lot of the time, "The Henderson Challenge" shows both men's persepctives; Mickey feels Danny will eventually succeed him the way he did Albert and wants him to be ready when he does, with his frustration coming from Danny's constantly pushing the boundaries before he's ready. For his part, Danny desperately wants Mickey to respect him and rushes into things to impress his leader. This trope comes into play at the episode's end; while their motives never come out, the two share a genuine moment of affection and mutual respect when the grifting challenge is over.
  • Back for the Finale: Stacie. And Danny.
  • Badass Boast: Ash delivers one to a pair of warring gangsters in "Picasso Finger Painting", cataloguing many of the incredible things the group had done up to that point.
    Ash: This bloke over here, he's sold the Eiffel Tower, the Palace of Westminster and the Sydney Opera House. We broke banks, companies and political parties. We took on the mafia in Las Vegas and we made the London Special Branch look like the Keystone Kops. So never mind about you two threatening us! Now I'm threatening you!
    • Subverted in that a. the gangsters just brush it off after it ends (one even enquires how they plan to do all this when they're dead) and b. it's basically Ash stalling for time before his actual plan (Playing Both Sides then having the cops show up) takes effect.
  • Batman Gambit: Constantly. The marks' greed and the overconfidence of the cops trying to catch them are frequently used against them in Mickey's planning.
    • Subverted in "The Hush Heist" where two MI6 agents force the gang to steal some diamonds from a Syrian bank vault, telling them they can have as much as they want from the neighbouring vault (totalling £40 million) as payment while secretly planning to renege on this and arrest them for stealing the money. However, the gang see through this and don't even go near the second vault.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: A very common tactic used by the crew. Mickey managing to get back to the UK on an aircraft carrier by pretending to be a naval captain is probably the shining example.
  • Believing Their Own Lies:
    • DCI Fisk from "Curiosity Killed the Kat", who insists that he isn't a scumbag and is an honest cop doing his job and fighting against bureaucratic interference. He really seems to mean it too, even as evidence of corrupt act after corrupt act is thrown in his face.
    • Mervyn Lloyd in "Conned Out of Luck" is a mail order scammer who truly sees himself as an entrepreneur who's not doing anything wrong and isn't afraid to boast about it.
  • Berserk Button: Eddie will put up with just about any minor scam from the group as they avoid paying for their drinks - but defacing his photo of Ian Rush is the only thing in all 8 series to get them all barred.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Mickey and Ash arriving in the nick of time to save Emma and Sean from a gangster they'd fleeced in the season 5 opener.
  • Big "NO!": Oh so satisfyingly with Veronica Powell in season 4 and Don Coleman in season 7 as they realise what's happened.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The titular Benny in "Benny's Funeral". He initially appears to be a down-on-his-luck grifter in over his head with the wrong people, with nerves and skills perpetually shot after having once been a great grifter who saved Mickey from being arrested in a police sting. But he's actually a vicious, unprincipled scumbag out to con the group out of wounded Pride at Ash being chosen by Mickey over him. And that police sting that he saved Mickey from? It was a double cross so that Benny and the fake cop could steal Mickey's money.
    • Also Trevor from "The Lesson". At first he seems to be a likeable young short-con artist, similar to Danny in temperament and character. However, he is then shown to be preying on poor, elderly & grieving marks.
  • 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: A specialty of the gang, as virtually any mark or bent copper who thinks they've got one up on the Hustlers will soon find to their regret exactly how wrong they are. Notable examples include the long line of corrupt police officers, customs officials or MI6 agents who believes they can catch or manipulate Mickey and the gang, Victor Maher in Series 1 and 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. Mickey and Emma are excellent at it too. Parodied by Albert, who thinks he can do a variety of UK accents but really can't. Even this is episode-specific: in some episodes, he can manage an upper class English voice with no trouble at all.
  • Broken Pedestal: The mark in "Clearance from a Deal" gets a bit of this, albeit arguably in a more frustrated than horrified way, towards His ancestors, who he views as honest casino bosses bringing integrity to the golden days of river boat gambling with the reveal that they were just as crooked as the people they spoke against, and even framed some people.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Mickey gets scammed when trying to buy a new phone over the Internet, and loses his mojo.
    • Also, the team in season 1 episode 5; season 3 episode 3; and season 4 episode 5, when they end up being the marks themselves.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Many of the forgers and fences the team deals with tend to be quite eccentric. Special mention goes to Dolly in "Picasso Fingerpainting" - a Dirty Old Woman with memory problems so pronounced it borders on Alzheimers, she's nonetheless the finest Picasso forger in London.
  • 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. However the caretaker walks past shortly after and sees the entire crew filming themselves on the pitch - he simply shakes his head to himself and goes about his day.
  • The Bus Came Back: Mickey returns in season 5. Stacie and Danny return for the finale. No sign or mention of Billy though...
  • 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 in a scam by paying off their Tab - which is money that they owed him anyway. It's also justified when the team help him out on multiple occasions: when he is being blackmailed in season 2 episode 4; when his father is at risk of being evicted from his care home in season 4 episode 3; and when his niece is scammed in season 7 episode 1.
    • Taken to extremes when Alfie (Ash's 11 year old godson) shows up in season 8 and hustles Eddie for £25 in his first scene alone.
  • The Cameo:
    • David Walliams featured as a dodgy shop assistant in season 1, just as Little Britain began to take off.
    • Famed footballer Ian Rush features as himself in the first episode of season 8.
    • Radio DJ Sara Cox as herself in series 3 episode 1.
    • Olympic athlete Linford Christie as himself in series 3 episode 1.
    • Sunday Express newspaper editor Martin Townsend as himself in series 3 episode 5.
  • The Caper: In most seasons, one episode fits the bill:
    • The season 2 finale, "Eye of the Beholder" has the gang stealing the Crown Jewels - the twist being they're actually not, using the fact that word will spread that they have to sell fake jewels to several buyers.
    • The season 3 finale has the gang stealing a priceless manuscript from a stately home, all while trying to outwit a corrupt cop
    • The Season 4 finale has the team stealing the special casino prize of $10,000,000 of the douchebag mafia kingpin who had Albert beaten up, getting it out from its special (visible) position behind a fish tank then escaping the inevitable retribution.
    • The season 6 finale has the team being forced by MI-5 to steal diamonds from a bank vault.
    • The season 7 finale has the team needing to acquire diamonds buried underneath a police station.
  • Caper Crew:
    • (original crew) Mickey is the Mastermind, Stacie is the Distraction, Ash is the Hacker, the Gadget Guy, the Safe Cracker, and the Driver. Danny is the New Kid. Albert and Stacie take turns acting as the Partner in Crime; everyone except Ash takes turns as the Conman.
    • The Kennedys later take over for Danny and Stacie (although unlike Danny, Sean has no ambitions of leading the team himself).
  • The Casino: "Big Daddy Calling" sees the crew ripping off a big Vegas one. Albert's also constantly seen in various London ones.
  • Casino Episode: In "Big Daddy Calling", while on a holiday in Las Vegas, Albert is recognised by an old friend, the head of security at a major casino. Although satisfied that Albert isn't scamming the hotel the owner - Joey Maranzano, son of a famous mafia boss - decides to teach Albert a lesson anyway, taking a baseball bat to his hand. The team decide to get their revenge by stealing $5 million on display behind an aquarium in the hotel lobby.
  • 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 (Ties That Bind Us) has Richard Chamberlain as a Special Guest.
    • In season 1 episode 3, Mickey asks Danny if he has heard of "Icarus", referencing the Greek myth about overconfidence. Danny thinks Icarus is a "Bond villain", which is a reference to Die Another Day, and the name of the villain's project. In season 4 episode 5, Will Yun Lee, who played Col. Moon in the film, appears as the man conning the crew.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: Emma bears a striking resemblance to Kylie Minogue. This comes in handy for when a mark wants to meet her. It's possible this was a response to these two reviews, which actually noted Kelly Adams' physical and vocal resemblance to Kylie a full year before that particular episode aired!
  • Chained to a Bed: How Stacie manages to get D.I. DePalma's ID in the first episode.
  • Chekhov's Armory: The show runs on the rule of the Unspoken Plan Guarantee in that if you think you know how an episode is going to go, you are most certainly wrong. Part of that involves this trope, in which lots of seemingly-unrelated gags, con setup, montage moments and even the things they say are edited to fit a specific context for the audience, only for it all to be revealed to be part of a wider context and plan. Case in point, in "Curiosity Caught The Kat", one of the first scenes has the gang do their usual briefing on the lowdown of one Linda Runcorn, who is a Caustic Critic shutting down smaller chains unless they pay up for a good review. Linda is an actor in on the real con to arrest Dirty Cop D.I Fisk for corruption, and the briefing scene shown leaves out "Linda" being in the same room, sitting behind a pillar just off-camera.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Happened a lot throughout the series. A prominent example was Danny's effortlessly pickpocketing Trevor in the opening scenes of "The Lesson". It's how Danny relieves the little shit of the envelope needed to scam him out his belongings later on.
  • The Chessmaster: Mickey's preferred approach - it's very rare to have a story where he hasn't planned for every variable possible, and even when something unexpected pops up he's able to adapt. Albert as well on occasion - after all, Mickey learned everything he knew from him. Part of the drama of early seasons was contrasting this approach against Danny's more seat-of-the-pants style.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: In the vast majority of episodes, in order to rub in just how crooked and despicable the Marks are, in addition to whatever greedy (and sometimes even illegal) scheme they're involved in, they'll also betray their business partners or employees (the disguised members of the crew) by refusing to deliver the promised money or job opportunity that they've been dangling throughout. Subverted in "The Father of Jewels", where Sean's plan to con his father relies on his father having this and double-crossing him when he realises the size of their potential haul - except he doesn't, leading to Sean's plan falling apart and a furious Emma taking over.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Billy vanishes without explanation between seasons 4 and 5. Although in the season 4 finale he did talk about possibly buying a bar.
  • Closest Thing We Got: In "The Fall of Railton FC", with Ash now unable to tell a lie due to minor brain damage and expected to make the final pitch to their current mark, the gang persuade Emma to accompany Ash as his lawyer to do the talking for him, on the grounds that the mark has met everyone else in the gang in other roles so she's the only one who can pass without suspicion.
  • Clothesline Stealing: In "The Henderson Challenge", Mickey and Danny are dumped naked in the centre of London. While Danny bolts for a taxi, Mickey ducks into a workman's tent and emerges wearing a set of coveralls that—unusually for this trope—are a little bit short on him.
  • Cold Cash: 'Liability' Finch keeps his stash hidden in the freezer.
  • Cold Reading: The show's protagonists can do this on a whim, with Albert at various points giving expert teaching to both Danny and Billy on the subject. Ash later teaches it to Sean the same way.
  • The Con:
  • Continuity Nod:
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Granted, this show asks viewers to suspend disbelief on a routine basis - but in "Law and Corruption" flashbacks show that while dropping off goods in a police station for an imprisoned Albert to use as part of their plan, a disguised Stacie just happened to overhear York bragging to his sidekick about the bug in the crew's apartment that they'd never have known about otherwise.
  • Control Freak: Mickey considers Britford one, and is able to win at the end of the day by gambling on her not trusting their mark with unnecessary information. Mickey himself occasionally has shades of this, almost rejecting Emma and Sean from the team because he'd had no say in recruiting them (Albert had engineered their meeting), but generally trusts his team.
  • Cool Old Guy: Albert. He's not only a master conman in his own right, but a caring mentor to the team.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Another hallmark of the team; they'll always have safeguards against failure, even if it's never obvious at first.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: By the later seasons the team's battle of wits against a mark, no matter how smart or even if they've rumbled the team's identities or prepared some unforeseen safeguard, will always play out like this, with the mark divested of a six-figure sum in time for drinks at Eddie's. Of course, for the opposite example there's always the team's spectacular drubbing at the hands of James Whitaker the Third in season 3.
  • Dating Catwoman: DCI Britford and Mi6 agent Jenny Hughes (a friend of Bitford's in fact) both have some strong chemistry with Mickey while trying to bring him down.
  • Dirty Cop: Numerous examples of this trope - plus other related areas such as Customs Agents - appeared in the show, attempting to manipulate and threaten the team for their own benefit. This always ended badly for them. D.I. Fisk in "Curiosity Caught the Kat" is a typical example.
  • Disappeared Dad: Deconstructed when Sean and Emma's dad returns. Initially, Sean is convinced that he's just like all the other scumbag marks and sets out to con him accordingly - except it swiftly proves he isn't, and the whole con nearly goes up in flames because Mr. Kennedy never even dreamed of double-crossing his "partner" for the money. When the siblings confront him, he turns out to be a sad case - a genuinely decent man who made a horrible mistake he could never take back when he walked out on them, even though he did try and find them. The group eventually take what they feel Sean and Emma are owed for his never being there, but pointedly don't ruin him.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: In "A Bollywood Dream", after the current mark realises that he's the target of a scam because the scenario was too perfect moments before he loses his short-term memory in an accident, the group decide to re-do the con making it a bit more imperfect as they acknowledge that a man who seeks perfection would know how hard it is to achieve. With this in mind, they adjust their scam to make the characters involved less prestigious- Mickey's director has a less notable reputation, Stacie's actress studied at a minor college rather than a more prestigious one- while keeping a focus on their original agenda.
  • 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 a 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 go to considerable lengths to help him.
    • The team repeatedly state that "you can't con an honest man", yet many of their cons do not require any intended illegality/dishonesty/immorality by the intended mark. In season 1 episode 2, for example, the mark is conned into investing in a film - there's nothing dishonest about that.
    • 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.
    • Although it's more seen in the earlier seasons when this was considered acceptable comedy, the sexism, and its treatment depending on whether it was done by the marks or by the Hustle team. Whenever marks are shown to have sexist attitudes towards their employees or towards Stacie/Emma, it's shown (rightly) to be scummy and unpleasant. When it's Danny discussing his remarkably sexist preferences in potential dates in "The Henderson Challenge", it's played as being something vaguely witty, or at the worst a little dated a view.
  • Dreadful Musician: Joey, in "Price for Fame". The entire con revolves around persuading his parents that Joey is good enough to earn a recording contract.
  • 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.
  • Everyone Has Standards: While the gang have no problem pulling various minor scams on Eddie, they are willing to go to considerable lengths to help him when he's in genuine trouble.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • "Hustler's News Of The Day" features a news reporter who, in contrast to his heartless boss, is disturbed when a woman they accused of embezzlement attempts suicide, showing visible concern when it's suggested she might die. Subverted later in the episode when he actually brags about it.
    • "Price for Fame" has the mark - an old-school London gangster - give Danny and Mickey a serious beating when he rumbles them. He explains he's not only furious they used his son to try and rip them off, but that unlike them when he shakes on a deal he keeps his word.
  • Evil Debt Collector: Several examples. The mark in "Old Sparks Come New" and her thuggish debt collectors are the most typical.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Played for laughs when Albert is hearing the story of a poor old woman who got ripped off by a dodgy company. To lighten the mood he jokes that for all she knows he could be a conman too. Cue a shot of her tiny dog snarling furiously at Albert.
  • Evil Gloating:
    • Carlton Wood flatly admits when he thinks he's outsmarted the team that he's going to stick around to do this. He's not, and his subsequent meltdown when the team turn out to have taken him for £1 million is truly something to see.
    • Also Sir Edmund Richardson in the season 6 pilot episode, when he thinks Mickey has been caught.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Happened a few times, but never more satisfyingly than when corrupt cop DI Samantha Phillips (who the group had tricked into selling a false painting for them) explained every aspect of what happened to her bemused colleagues - and as she did so, realised exactly how Mickey and Danny had set her up.
    • DCI York has a minor one in the season 3 finale when he is challenged over the fact that he's accusing Mickey's team of being part of a heist despite the logs saying they're still in custody and realizes too late that his argument makes himself look worse.
    DCI York: Yes, well it will say that but they're not [in custody] because I let them go.
    DCI York: It's complicated.
  • Fake Orgasm: The episode "Confessions" has Stacie and Danny posing as an engaged couple for a con. One scene has them sharing a bedroom and when they hear someone in the next room and think it might be the mark; so they fake sex and orgasm noises to preserve their cover. In truth, Danny knows it's their colleague Mickey and just wants to make him jealous. However, come the morning after, it's revealed he wasn't fooled and he criticizes them for their obviously fake Immodest Orgasm.
    Mickey: Common mistake. No one has that good a time.
  • Fashion Dissonance: Although the later seasons have aged slightly better, the earlier seasons have a very, very early 2000s feel to them. Danny has designer stubble, fawn leather clothing, and platinum tip-dyed, gelled hair. Mickey on occasion wears an orphaned suit jacket (*not* a blazer) with jeans.
  • 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:
      • Danny: Con Man (slick). The youngest member of the group, with a crush on Stacie.
      • Mickey: Con Man (hustler). The leader of the bunch. Arguably a Chessmaster
      • Albert (played by Robert Vaughn): The roper, and resident Cool Old Guy
      • Stacie: The banker (played by Jaime Murray, who is also in Dexter), occasionally required to Show Some Leg
      • Ash: The Fixer, occasionally providing Mission Control as well. He has a metal plate in his skull and frequently allows himself (off-screen) to get hit by cars so he can get the insurance money.
    • 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 con artist called Billy replacing him. In series 5 through 8, Stacie, Danny and Billy were 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 Heart and Team Protégé roles, respectively (although Sean tended to learn from Ash as opposed to Danny learning from Mickey and Billy from Danny during Danny's time as leader).
  • 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 season 2's final episode; a random little con of Mickey's on Eddie - moving his watch's time back to make him think it's earlier in the evening than it actually is - becomes crucial to forming the team's alibi in the last part of the episode. This sort of example frequently occurs throughout the entire series.
    • 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. However, when faced with these cases the team have always managed to turn the tables on the cops attempting the frame; one occasion saw them deliberately bait a corrupt cop into investigating them so that she believed she was taking the proceeds of their latest con for herself when the team actually set up a scenario where it looked like she committed the whole scheme on her own.
  • Gag Penis: Ash "Three Socks" Morgan.
  • Giftedly Bad: Joey, the teenage wannabe rapper, in "Price for Fame". Everyone else realises he cannot rap, but he is convinced of his greatness.
  • 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.
  • Glad You Thought of It: In season 6 Ash, suddenly promoted to leading the con after Mickey loses his mojo (and not enjoying it), uses this on Mickey to actually work out what to do. He basically refuses to tell Mickey what his (non-existent) plan is, getting Mickey to speculate what he'd do in such a situation - which Ash then uses as his actual plan. Subverted, in that at the end of the episode it's revealed Mickey knew exactly what was happening.
  • 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 ("Conning the Artists") 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 JW3's con was.
  • Grammar Correction Gag: Played for laughs by an undercover Ash and Danny in one episode ("Confessions").
    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!
  • Gratuitous Rap: Joey, at every point, in "Price for Fame":
    Joey: The pigs came down, stormed in my drum, arrested me with my dad and my mum.
    Benny: SHUT UP!
  • Greasy Spoon: The crew will often meet their contacts in dingy cafes. In particular, one of their information brokers, Cyclops (played by Bill Bailey), is almost always met in cafes where he keeps eating throughout the meeting, displaying Jabba Table Manners throughout.

  • Hair-Trigger Temper: A few of the marks, but Carlton Wood takes it up to eleven in season 5 - he routinely flips out on his staff and even his own partner at the drop of a hat. Mickey even claims that the only reason he kept going with the con in "The Road Less Traveled" even though he'd already got Carlton's £1 million the previous day was so he could see Carlton's Villainous Breakdown at the end.
  • 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" is infamous for harsh sentences and a sense of callousness towards the defendants on his dock afterward. Judge Stanley Meade (a micro season 7 mark) is also mentioned as saying grifters should be drawn and quartered, although he's not a criminal court judge. Both men are also willing to bend the law to fatten their own checkbooks and (in Meade's case) see prostitutes.
  • Hated by All: Plenty of marks aren't that popular to the common people but Morally Bankrupt Banker Sir Edmund Richardson takes the cake. After he got a nice golden parachute when his mismanagement caused his bank to fail, with thousands losing everything, he's hounded by paparazzi, has his car egged, and the team take particular joy in conning him out his pension for a year. Even Detective Britford, nominally out to stop them, admits to Mickey that it's tempting to just step back and let him take the guy down.
    • Carlton Wood and Harry Fielding are quite unpopular due to the extent of their professional dishonesty, their arrogant smugness, and how they are not Nice to the Waiter.
  • Hero of Another Story: Reference is made to various other grifters who performed scams that even the gang find impressive;
    • "Scottish Ray" earned his name when he pretended to sell Edinburgh Castle to an American.
    • Carol is known for such scams as the "Downing Street Switch", the "London Eye Float" and a Bearer Bonds Scam in 2000; Emma was aware of all of these but didn't know Carol did them.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard:
    • Season 7 episode 2 sees the team going after an illicit loan interest, which offers "strings-free" loans with insanely high interest rates hidden in tiny disclaimers in the fine print. So, naturally, the contract the disguised Mickey and Ash sign with the firm's boss, selling her a castle (which isn't actually theirs), does essentially the same thing, with tiny subtexts hiding the fact the contract was only for £1, not the £500,000 she'd verbally agreed to.
    • No finer example exists in the series than Marcus Wendell, who aims to ruin the team by exposing them to the world as cheats by beating them on the Wendell Wheel...except he's unaware the original owners (his ancestors) were crooks themselves, the wheel is rigged, and the Hustlers know how to exploit it. By buying it and insisting the team play on it, Marcus essentially takes himself down, with the team just having to play along enough to make him think he's outsmarting them. If he'd been less arrogant and gone along with the fake wheel the team created, their victory would have been far less certain.
    Mickey: Don't look so sad, Marcus. You've got your story, and it's a brilliant one. The mark who roped himself, played the inside himself and stung himself.
  • Honour Among Thieves: The bent cops will often try to call them out on this, claiming there to be no such thing, but there's definitely a Grifter's Code (admittedly somewhat nebulous) throughout the series. 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.
  • I Gave My Word: A few marks believe in this, although far more don't.
    • In "The Father of Jewels," Rex Kennedy is scrupulous and considerate in dealing with his supposed partners.
    • Judge Kent from "Lest Ye be Judged" is a ruthless, corrupt, and bigoted Hanging Judge. Nonetheless, unlike most marks, he does pay Emma (who is posing as a Struggling Single Mother) the reward he promised her in exchange for information on a gold cache rather than try to cheat her.
    • Dexter Gold from "Goldfinger" doesn't try to take back his money after he's cheated in a way that keeps him from realizing the team is responsible, as he feels that they lived up to their end of the deal. Zigzagged in that he's willing to remorselessly cheat people who do business with him in ordinary, small scale transactions.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Ash and Sean separately in "Picasso Fingerpainting" — Sean after it's implied he has sex with the elderly forger they needed information from, Ash after he realises the real Picasso they need to secure Mickey's freedom is long gone and they're all probably going to get killed as a result.
  • 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.
  • Ignored Epiphany: The finale of season 4 sees Albert assuming everyone who remembers his previously getting booted out of the casinos for cheating in his youth are gone, being wrong and getting his hand broken by the casino's mob overlord. The rest of the episode sees him facing the potential guilt of getting his friends killed by the Mafia if it all goes wrong. Granted, they get away with it, but two seasons later he's heading back to Vegas to go gambling in the casinos like nothing had ever happened. He even brags part of the fun is getting in without security noticing!
  • Impersonating an Officer: Very common. Apparently, it can get you free passage from Australia to the UK. On an aircraft carrier.
    • Of course, that was Mickey on his own; if anyone could bluff his way through that, it would be him.
  • Indulgent Fantasy Segue: A spectacularly crazy one in "Conning the Artists" where Danny suddenly enters into a Matrix style kung-fu battle with their mysterious captor, curb stomps him then graciously accepts Stacie's kisses as The Hero... and then it cuts back to reality, with Danny still clearly still imagining snogging Stacie, puckering up to thin air as their bemused captor looks on.
  • The Informant: Bill Bailey appeared in three episodes as Cyclops (named for his large glasses), an informant whom the group meets in a cafe to get information.
  • Invincible Hero: The crew. It's practically guaranteed, especially in later seasons, that they will overcome any complications in their plans - and if it appears they haven't, the flashbacks at the end will show that it was all a part of their plan. The amount of danger they have of actually failing or even stumbling in most episodes is zero - there are only four episodes in all 8 series where the gang outright lose, and even in three of these ("A Touch of Class", "Ties that Bind Us" and "A Bollywood Dream") they still get money for the con, or from another source. Tropes Are Not Bad however, as the fun comes from wondering not if they will succeed, but how.
    • This leaves "Conned by the Artists" as the only episode in all 8 seasons when the Hustlers end up having lost money overall.
    • Really obvious in "Clearance From a Deal", where the team faces casino owner Marcus Wendell. Built up throughout the episode as a Knight of Cerebus Worthy Opponent who knows who the team are, knows all their tricks and is determined to bring them down. The stakes have supposedly never been higher, as loss means Wendell will out them to the entire world - then at the end of the episode it's revealed the team had an insider edge all along, and were never even remotely in any danger.
  • 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". Played much straighter in "Diamond Seeker", where the team encounter a rare diamond collector after one formerly belonging to Napoleon Boneaparte (which the Hustlers acquired by accident), who's perfectly willing to have them tortured and killed for it.
  • 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 customize. 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. Also, most of their professional marks (bankers, business people and so on) would likely also read/double-check in reputable news websites, not just go on the word of some random website they had never heard of before.
  • It's Personal:
    • Mickey displays both sides; in early seasons he believes getting emotionally involved with marks to be a big mistake, as it clouds judgment. By season 5 he tells Emma he's come to believe the opposite - if he's totally emotionally detached and all about the money, he's just another crook.
    • Ash takes it very badly when his local football team is bankrupted by a crooked sports agent. The others think he is taking it way too personally. Toward the end of the con Ash takes a huge risk that he would not have attempted if the situation was not so personal to him.
    • Eddie tries not to get involved in the cons but if a member of his family has been wronged, he goes straight to the team for help no matter the consequences.
  • 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".
  • Jack of All Trades: A negative variant of this is demonstrated with Benny, a con man who tried to con the team because leader Mickey chose Ash Morgan for Mickey's team rather than Benny; Mickey later affirmed that while Benny was a better grafter who could adapt to any potential role in a team, he was not a team player who could be trusted to stick to the plan.
  • 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" to plant material in a research laboratory for their latest marks to steal as part of their latest con.
  • Jerkass: In a show littered with examples of this, Carlton Wood and Harry Fielding stand out as possibly the two worst individual marks the team ever met. Mickey finds them downing champagne to celebrate their latest illicit patent acquisition on the day of the funeral of the patent's inventor, after he'd killed himself in despair at losing the rights to his life's work.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Occasionally, usually as a Pet the Dog to balance out the protagonists' criminal activities.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Done in "Clearence From a Deal". The gang have been challenged by a supposedly unconnable casino owner, Marcus Wendell (whose ancestors had ruined Albie's ancestor), to play a game of roulette on his family's wheel (which unbeknownst to Wendell was rigged and could be manipulated using a key which Albie's ancestor had pickpocketed from Wendell's). However, knowing that Wendell was expecting the gang to try and con him, they set up a plan where they sold him a rigged copy of the wheel and let him find out so that he would think he'd beaten them.
  • Karma Houdini: Though the series thrives on seeing bad people get what's coming to them, in a strange way some marks do actually end up being both conned and simultaneously end up better off due to not realizing they've been conned.
    • For example, Baxter from "Diamond Seeker" is willing to have people beaten and threatened to add to his collection, and 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.
    • Trevor from "The Lesson". He has a bad habit of conning poor and confused widows and tries to double-cross the team, who proceed to con him into paying a small fortune of his own money into their fake con. The only thing is that in order to embolden Trevor, they also conned a banker Stacie had a grudge against into buying his "worthless" land to give him more money to spend and lose along with whatever the bank gave him. The thing is though, pausing right when Trevor is getting the bank's check shows that the amount of money the bank paid him was more than the team ended up conning him out of, meaning that he didn't lose any of the money he had stashed up and still got to keep a large proportion of what the bank paid him. The bank paid Trevor £450,000 for his plot of land, and Danny's crew then take £150,000 off him. At the end of the episode, Trevor is therefore £300,000 up on where he started: in fact he makes more money than the Hustle crew! The gang actually set him up to profit without realizing it, although they did at least humiliate the guy, make him realize that he was pissing off the big con men with his grift and take his trailer.
    • Maranzano from the season 4 finale is a particularly irredeemable Bad Boss and Sadist mobster who relishes hurting people and gets to think that he did get revenge by blowing up the crew and is implied to have his money insured.
    • Katherine Winterbourne in Season one, who outright scams the gang into cancelling the con on her and running the reputation of her innocent ex husband while she flees the country with her fortune.
  • 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 to reinforce the fact that the team are justified in going after them.
    • Subverted (possibly doubly) in the episode "A Touch of Class": 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.
  • Knight of Cerebus:
    • The two episodes featuring the Mafia ("Big Daddy Calling", "The Delivery")stand out in this regard, as the stakes become much higher given that failure won't mean arrest/imprisonment, but a bullet in the head - if they're lucky.
    • Pinky Byrne from "The Diamond Seeker". A tracer hired to find diamonds, he's a ruthless, determined, nasty piece of work. He beats a man and his son into hospital and in his backstory is renowned for cutting off a grass's wedding tackle and making him eat it. According to Mickey, he persuaded a man to work for him by kidnapping his son, pouring petrol on him and making him speak to his father on the phone while smoking a cigarette. In a light-hearted series, he stands out as the most sinister character — a fence describes him as making the Terminator look like a quitter.
  • Large Ham: As the series attracted more big-name guests, some of the overacting by guests clearly enjoying the chance to not take things very seriously is absolutely hysterical. Daniel Mays in "Conned Out of Luck" and David Harewood in "The Fall of Railton FC" are the standouts - the former playing his scumbag entrepeneur like a nightmare fusion of Richard Branson and Private Walker, the latter an outrageously manipulative Motor Mouth. And then there's John Barrowman and Raquel Cassidy in "Eat Yourself Slender" as sham health doctors so outrageous the Hustlers end up having them perpetrate part of the con themselves.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: A very interesting variant, in that the mark gets this after working out their con, making him forget he knew them. This leads Mickey to try again, leaving out the things that tipped him off before - except now the mark is realising what a terrible person he'd been and is actively trying to change for the better. Near the end of the episode Samar reveals to the audience he actually remembers the con now, at roughly the same time that the con artists feel so guilty about trying to con a good man that they decide to end the con. It's strongly hinted at the end of the episode that Samar was about to confront the team and call the police, but before he gets a chance to do this, the con artists end the con.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • At the end of season 2 the team "borrow" the crown jewels, sell the copies they make to unscrupulous collectors, make a fortune and run rings around the police in the process. Then it turns out Danny used one of his grifting credit cards to pay their hotel bill. Cue a very quick and panicked exodus;
    Stacie: We've just pulled off the biggest con of the century, and we're sneaking out of a hotel for paying the bill with a bent credit card?!
    Everyone: WE DO!!!
    • Later, JW3 completely wipes the floor with the team, using many of their own tricks against them so well they're left scrambling to catch up - and failing so miserably even Mickey can only gawp in disbelief as Whitaker makes his escape.
  • 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.
    • The ending to "Picasso Finger Painting". Ash gets sick of being caught in between two rival gangsters after spending the day going back and forth chasing after a stolen Picasso painting, being forced to break into a hotel room and one of the gangster's house only to find out that he stole a forgery and the real painting is in Germany. After his Badass Boast fails to get either gangster to back down, he simply throws the forgery he has on the floor, prompting a huge fight to break out between the two gangs while Mickey (who had been held captive by one of the gangs) frees himself and casually joins the others in watching the mayhem unfold.
  • Little Miss Con Artist: "Conning the Artists" 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. Subverted with Ash's old pal Benny, another hustler who, despite appearing friendly and affable, turns out to be as nasty and vicious as they come.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Throughout season six, Emma keeps referring to Lucy Britford as 'Lucy Bitchface'.
  • Massive Multiplayer Scam:
  • Meaningful Background Event: Oftentimes we'll see Ash working on a gizmo or Albert making a phone call that seemingly bears no relation to the plot. Until the end, when it turns out it was vital to the Hustlers' latest success.
  • Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: Any time Albert gets incarcerated, he has a comfortable network of favours to make his stay tolerable; when he spent the first few weeks of the fifth season in prison, he observed that he was enjoying the break.
  • 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.
  • Minion with an F in Evil:
    • Every now and then an assistant of the Mark is often shown to have some qualms about their bosses Kick the Dog moments and/or find the crew's plan Actually Pretty Funny (such as Frank Doyle in "Big Daddy Calling", and the PA's in "Ding Dong, That's My Song", "The Fall of the Railton FC" and "Conned Out of Luck")
    • For a more active example in, "Picture Perfect", Bea Watson is an accomplice of the double-crossing forger but is described by Mickey as having a tell which is generally associated with guilty feelings, and shows genuine shock and concern at a Staged Pedestrian Accident the gang uses as a distraction when most villains of the show would be the type to just drive away out of either cowardice or indifference.
  • 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.
  • Mood Whiplash: "Confessions" sees the team ruminating on the ethics of fooling their mark, and how he'd died with Danny lying to him that he was his long-lost son - then start glorying over the money they'd received from the mark's widow to get lost forever in the space of a single scene.
  • Morality Pet: When Albert is jailed, he uses the idea of being this to influence the notoriously incorruptible and honest warden. After several other attempts to show he'd "reformed" fall flat, he reveals that his gambling winnings are in service of a cat charity he plans to donate to when he gets out - which, as this is the only thing the warden is shown to have a soft spot for, wins her over as she thinks he's a like-minded cat-lover.
  • Morally Bankrupt Banker: Several marks are bankers and are incredibly self-centered jerks who sell out their customers and do anything to line their own pockets.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Stacie and her successor, Emma; a woman who very rarely has anything covering her legs from the thigh down.
  • Mugging the Monster:
    • The group, while looking for marks that are often corrupt in their business practices, are generally careful to avert this by avoiding ones that could be truly dangerous to them should they realise they have been conned. "Return of the Prodigal", "Diamond Seeker" and "Picasso Fingerpainting" all show what happens when the crew (or members of it) get caught out by violent gangsters, with Emma and Sean only surviving the former due to Mickey and Ash showing up in the nick of time and pretending to be even more dangerous criminals. Usually if they do deliberately go after marks like this, it's for Revenge against people that hurt Albert - like the gangster in "Faking It" (who ends up shooting Danny), or the Mafia boss in "Big Daddy Calling", where they have to fake their own deaths to stop him coming after them later.
    • Played straight, however, in the season finale where Mickey states rather explicitly that though the mark is dangerous, the idea of £10 million as a last score is "too good to pass up" - despite the prospect of a violent death if it all goes wrong. Stacie, who had joined the mark for her own con earlier on, hangs a lampshade on this by saying more than once that perhaps this is one they should walk away from.
  • Multitasked Conversation: A brief example in the last episode of the first season; when the team are caught by a past mark, Danny twists an apparent argument with Mickey into an opportunity to convince the mark that the case with their latest take holds fake money, with Mickey clapping and telling Danny "Brilliant" in a manner that the mark will assume is him being sarcastic but was a genuine compliment.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: 'Liability' Finch because, as the name suggests, he's staggeringly incompetent at any sort of crime. Even when the crew are helping him, they basically work around him rather than include him in plans he'd only screw up.
    Mickey (on why they won't entertain his plans): 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 a never-previously mentioned childhood sweetheart named Joe Ryan, who is everything the grifters are not, in "Old Sparks Come New".
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Frequently invoked, as when the Marks think they're conning the crew's identities, we often see someone (usually Danny) acting like such a moron it suckers them right in. On the other side, this can be the intended reaction to some of the marks falling for the schemes they do.
  • Nice to the Waiter: The marks never are. It's one of the ways Albert spots suitable candidates to be scammed, as he's 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.
    • The team often pay back innocent bystanders they have to manipulate in their scams by leaving them cash or other gifts.
  • 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. She'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, while similarly, the first episode of Series 5 has the opening not list the actors of Sean and Emma to preserve that episode's twist, instead showing some cards being laid down.
  • Obfuscating Disability: The forger in "Picture Perfect". It's actually exploited by Mickey when he tries to double-cross them; before they see him, Mickey reports him to investigators suspicious of his (non-existent) disability, with them turning up just as he tries to scam the team.
  • Obviously Evil: While some of the marks can be Faux Affably Evil in public, for the most part they're arrogant, smug, rude to everyone they feel is beneath them, vain and greedy. Their being so utterly contemptible is usually how the team decides they're worth scamming.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: It's practically guaranteed any explanation of how the latest scam was pulled off will involve a few examples of this.
  • Office Golf: The mark in "Gold Mine".
  • Once a Season: Episodes featuring Corrupt Cops trying to manipulate the team, Broke Episodes where the team somehow had no cash and urgently needed a big score, The Capers when the team is forced to rob a bank or other secure location, and stories where the team took Revenge on people hurting their loved ones all tended to recur in later seasons.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Another series staple, as the end of the episode would replay earlier scenes, but this time show the little details that allowed the team to pull off their scams - usually with a knowing Aside Glance to really drive it home.
  • 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 episode 1 has a Harry Holmes being a fellow conman who was sent to prison
    • Season 6 episode 1 has the crew using the office of an investment manager named Harold Holmes for one of their cons
    • Season 8 episode 2 has Harry Holmes being a homicidal gangster that is one of the two main villains 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 "Benny's Funeral", 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.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Oddly implied with the group itself; they routinely pull off cons in the mid-to-high six figure range, yet quite a few episodes have them with little to no cash reserves and needing a new mark fast. While the group does have some obvious expenses, aside from some joke references to Emma's love of clothes it's never explained how the hell they manage to fritter away such large amounts offscreen.
    • Seen most obviously between episodes 3 and 4 of season 4; in the former, they scam a crooked property developer out of £600,000. By the start of the next episode they're stuck working short cons to make ends meet.
  • Pet the Dog: While Eddie is often the butt of the gang's small cons, two of their most complicated cons were pulled purely on Eddie's request, leading to Eddie's father being moved into a better retirement home than his current residence and Eddie's niece receiving a modelling contract to work in the Canary Islands. Also, when the gang spent most of the episode "Conning the Artists" thinking that Eddie was in trouble, Stacie hugged him in relief when he came back unharmed (although Eddie assumed the hug was just an attempt to deflect attention from the damage done to his bar, unaware that he'd ever been assumed to be in danger).
  • Phoney Call: Done a lot. In "Father of the Jewels", Sean is with the mark when he calls Mickey and starts acting like he is talking to a 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.
  • Piss-Take Rap: In "Price for Fame", the mark's white son is truly horrendous at rapping, and everyone barring his parents and he himself realise this. The whole way through the episode, he keeps breaking out into impromptu rap.
    Danny: My gran could rap better than him.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Proportional Article Importance: A customs official who's been trying to get the team to help him find a stolen painting slaps a newspaper in front of Mickey. Mickey, feigning ignorance, reads off the big, obvious headline ("French Trawlers Blockade Ports") before the official directs him to the smaller headline, "Masterpiece Still Missing".
  • Put on a Bus: Mickey in Season 4, Danny, Stacy and Billy in Season 5 (although Billy's absence was never addressed, explained or mentioned at all, whereas Mickey was explicitly stated to be in Australia selling the Sydney Opera House, and Ash stated that Danny & Stacey had chosen to stay in America working cons).

  • Rash Equilibrium: The end of "Picture Perfect".
  • Read the Fine Print: How many of the marks are able to rip off customers, hiding clauses in the small print that hide ruinous interest rates or other clauses that kill any profit dead. Often crosses over with Unreadable Disclaimer.
  • Real After All: In "The Hustler's News Of The Day", 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..."
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • DI Fisk's boss has the team dead to rights on one of their scams in "Curiosity Caught the Kat", but cuts them a deal to let them go if they make Fisk incriminate himself. Unlike every other Corrupt Cop and dodgy authority figure in the series, she keeps her word as well, even if she makes it clear that from that point on they'll receive no favours.
      • It's arguable that she willingly does this though — she does actually state/threaten that she could go back on her word and arrest the team for the original scam anyway, but Mickey points out that if she did this, then she would have to reveal to her superior officers that she cut an unauthorised deal with con artists in order to clean up the department: exactly the sort of thing she was brought in to end.
    • Arguably Britford to some extent as well. She's upfront about trying to put the team away and is an honest cop, albeit one with a bit of an ego who takes her loss a lot better than some of the Corrupt Cop meltdowns we see. While she later tips off another government official who does betray the crew, that's likely not a situation she had much control over.
    • DCI Cooper from Law and Corruption and DI Cole from "Missions", who in their respective episodes listen to the outrageous (albeit true) stories of the cops (one of whom was completely corrupt and the other of whom planted evidence to try and blackmail the team), giving them chances to try and prove their stories but refusing to turn a blind eye (or to keep going after the grifters) when the evidence favours Mickey's crew over those cops.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Many of the Hustlers' plans rely on this, particularly those heavily involving Danny, where their most insane and wild cons still find a sucker.
    • The first season finale opens with them selling some major piece of property to a man, claiming the owner is trying to unload some money-losing pit. After he hands over the cash, the guy looks out the window at what he thinks he's just bought: the London Eye. A scene later in the episode has the team's current mark reading a newspaper story on the guy being arrested when he showed up to claim his "property" and chuckling at anyone believing they bought a London landmark from a pair of strangers.
    • Invoked in the series 2 opener. Danny decides that they need to come up with a con so ridiculous that their supposedly impossible to con mark won't go to the police out of embarrassment.
    • The gang manage to steal the Star of Africa Diamond in a big heist. They arrange for it to be found by a cleaning lady who gets a big reward. The team's real goal is to sell four perfect replicas of the Diamond to four different buyers. Each one is told the "recovered" Diamond is a fake to soothe the public and they're purchasing the real thing. Each one of them buys the story, allowing the gang to make a fortune.
    • The shining example is when Ash temporarily Cannot Tell a Lie, and is directly asked by the mark if there's any reason he shouldn't commit his money. Ash tells him the truth - then bursts out laughing, telling the mark the whole scheme in such a way it sounds like he's just kidding. It works too.
    • When dealing with 'dieticians' Dean and Dana Deville, the team knew that any scam on the Devilles would have to be carefully planned as the couple were basically scammers themselves. As a result, while they initially made contact as 'art acquisition experts' who would help the Devilles acquire a rare Faberge egg, the larger con was to convince them that they could lead the Devilles to a radical new weight-loss drug. With Ash posing as Mickey's driver, he turned up for each weekly meeting in a progressively smaller fatsuit until he was at his real weight, subsequently claiming to the Devilles that his wife worked for a pharmaceutical company and he stole a product that she was testing. According to 'Philips', the company itself was almost a year away from official human trials, his wife left him before he started using the formula so hadn't seen the change, and he had finished the last of the bottle a couple of days before the current conversation, giving the Devilles incentive to rob the company themselves.
  • Retcon: A minor one, but the first episodes of season 5 heavily imply there's 5 years between Emma and Sean, stating that they've been on the streets since Sean was 9 and Emma 14. An episode the following series featuring their father instead states there's only 2 years between the siblings.
    • A possible explanation is that they ended up on the street at different times.
  • Revenge: Any time one of the team's loved ones - Albert, Eddie, a friend or family member - gets hurt in any way, expect this trope to be out in full force.
  • Ripped from the Headlines:
    • The first con the team play in the final episode of series 3 is selling an Australian the Ashes urn. The episode was filmed at the time that the England cricket team had just won back the Ashes from Australia for the first time in 18 years. As the mark sees the Ashes urn, the TV commentary from the moment than England regained the Ashes is heard.
    • The mark in the first series 6 episode was a banker who had been bailed out and retired on a massive pension.
    • The first scene of the first episode of season 7 centres around the team's allegedly being appointed by "David and Nick" (David Cameron and Nick Clegg, the PM & deputy PM) to sell off British landmarks in order to deal with the huge deficit the coalition government in real life had inherited.
    • Benny, Ash's old friend in series 7, lost substantial amounts of money betting on England to win the 2010 World Cup.
    • The first episode of season 8 begins with the team "selling" marks the opportunity to participate in the Olympic Torch run. The episode was released in January 2012, just a few months before the 2012 London Olympics took place.
  • 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 a lot of money for them.
    Ash: "Because football is my game, football is your game, football is OUR game. AND I WANT IT BACK!"
    Ash: "Yeah, well, you're supposed to clap and cheer at that bit, y'know?"
    Ash: "There's lolly in it. Lots of lovely lolly."
    Everyone: "Oh, ok, why didn't you say so?"
  • 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' — though there's a lot of hints Mickey, Albert and Ash are making it up as they go along, especially to shut Danny up.
  • Secret Test of Character: In season 6 episode 4, focusing on Sean and Emma's dad, they force him to choose between walking away with his money, or having his current wife find out about the children he abandoned, essentially once more forcing him to choose between himself and his family. In the end he decides to choose family over money and apologize to Sean and Emma, who walk off, but leave the money around the corner for him to take.
  • 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.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Mickey and Albert are nearly always dressed in sharp, expensive business suits. Ash, Danny and Sean can all pull this off as well.
  • 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 season 4 episode 1, set in Hollywood. 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, as does Emma in later seasons.
  • Smith of the Yard: Played relatively straight in the third season finale, with a detective famous for making big busts as the villain. He's not a nice man...
  • Smug Snake: Many of the marks are this, due to their riches and high social status giving them constant contempt for those beneath them.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Stacie and then her replacement, Emma.
  • 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. It looks to be played straight as the gang are all killed by a hitman - but near the episode's end we come back in at this point to reveal the "hitman" was a disguised Danny using Squibs to fake the team's deaths.
  • Squib: Used in the second episode of series 1 for Danny, the opener of season 5 for Emma and Sean, and for the whole team in the final episode.
  • Staged Shooting: Happens on several occasions in order 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 these 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 in the season 1 episode "Faking It", when the mark gets caught up in the emotions of the moment, draws his own firearm and fires a couple of real bullets into the "victim" as well! Fortunately, he survives.
  • 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, in spectacular fashion. He's so slow he has to get Eddie, of all people, to explain Mickey's plan to him after the fact.
  • Stylistic Suck: The eighties gameshow Ding Dong, That's My Song as hosted by Mark Williams' character in series 8 episode 5.
  • Surprise Inspection Ruse: In "Missions", Ash poses as meter reader to gain access to a man's home where he slips him a laxative to keep him action so another one of the crew can take his place.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • While reality didn't intrude much in later shows, series 1's "The Last Gamble" had a lot of this
      • First, it showed how much of an average score has to be put on the group's various expenses (almost 40% of a £100,000 score), which exacerbates tensions between Danny and Mickey.
      • It also showed how easy it would be for a suitably motivated and vengeful ex-mark to track them down if he wanted to, hiring someone who has identified and located them in the middle of a score in the space of a single episode. The ex-mark actually shows up with shotgun-armed thugs, and only his greed and Danny's quick thinking allow them to get out of it.
    • There's also the events of "The Hush Heist" and "Curiosity Caught the Kat", both of which show that if the team have no advance warning and the police are gunning for them, it's fairly easy for them to be caught red-handed - both result in the crew being forced into essentially working for the cops/MI6 with the threat of being jailed if they don't.
    • It's played for laughs, but the end of "Law and Corruption" shows that if the team only works London and lives the same high-flying lifestyle, sooner or later they will run into someone they've previously scammed.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Carlton Woods considers himself this when he finds out that Harry had blown his plan by advertising it in a newspaper ad, Alfie (unknowingly) let a disguised Emma drive off with their money and his other three allies in the revenge scam have actually been in league with Mickey's crew
    Carlton: Why am I surrounded by such BLOODY IDIOTS?!
    Mickey: Fortunately I don't have that problem.
  • 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).
    • For a mark example, both Anthony Reeves from the season one finale and Edmund Richardson from the season 6 premier are vocally classist jerks who are hated by the public for getting golden parachutes after ruining their depositors.
  • Team Power Walk: Many episodes end with the grifters walking triumphantly in an aligned fashion, often next to the River Thames. Season 1's "Picture Perfect" even has the team swaggering through the streets of London like this as the entire end credits sequence plays over them.
  • Temporary Substitute: Adrian Lester was unable to appear in season four, so Mickey is said to be in Australia pulling off the ultimate con - selling the Sydney Opera House. Meanwhile, his role in the team was filled by Danny Blue. Lester returned for the remaining seasons.
  • 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: Frequently used in the earlier seasons, as this will happen in the middle of a scam for a variety of reasons - usually so the team can explain what is happening.
  • Two Words: I Can't Count:
    • An exchange between Ash and Danny, where Danny is threatening a lawsuit and Ash is mocking his intelligence:
      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!
    • In the episode "Eat Yourself Slender", where the mark is led to believe Mickey is an art dealer who isn't averse to stealing on behalf of wealthy clients:
      Dr Dean DeVille: I've got four words for you. Four very simple words. Can. You. Acquire. The. (laughs) Five words...
  • Undercover as Lovers:
    • 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.
    • 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...
  • 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...
    "Arrssseeee!" "Arse!!!"
  • Upper-Class Twit:
    • Alfie Baron in "The Road Less Travelled". Ash even says this word-for-word when Albert is describing Alfie to the rest of the team. At the end of the episode Alfie is still confused about the con even after everything has been explained right in front of him.
    • Viscount Mansley (in "As Good as it Gets") is a preening Manchild who likes to gloat about his wealth to waiters and such.
  • 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.
    • A variation involving wine is played out in "Getting Even." In that episode, the mark insists on verifying the value of any supposedly expensive wine is verified in a lab so the gang have to show her a real expensive bottle (which they pour down the sink, seemingly out of ignorance) then sell her 11 worthless ones claiming that they're identical to the expensive one.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Very common among the marks due to their greed and Smug Snake status, but even then Carlton Wood really takes the cake. His reaction to getting scammed the first time is to incoherently scream "ARSE!" at the team so forcefully it looks like he's about to burst a blood vessel.The second time is even more spectacular.
  • Viva Las Vegas!: "Big Daddy Calling". They also worked the Strip offscreen in the gap between series 2 and 3.
  • 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 only ever mentioned briefly in a season 2 episode, where Ash mentions the money for her hospital bills as something he can put up for their latest con as he's confident the group will win it back. In season 8 episode 5, he mentions to his godson Alfie that he was "once married", but says nothing else.
    • Billy is also never mentioned again after season 4, even when Stacie and Danny return in The Grand Finale, or when Ash explains Danny & Stacey's absence in the first episode of the fifth season.
    • Given that the security guard who (unwittingly) helped them got several stacks of bills for his work, it stands out that Harry Doyle (who worked for the Mafia antagonist of the season 4 finale, but was far more principled - objecting to Albert being beaten in the first place) is brutally beaten by his employer and left for dead without any indication he survived.
  • Worthy Opponent: Played with in "Clearance For a Deal"; despite having an insider edge than renders them basically untouchable Ash comments the team treated Wendell with the assumption he was smart enough to work out their ploy and planned accordingly. Wendell didn't show them the same respect, and suffered as a result.
  • Written-In Absence: Mickey is absent from season four due to Adrian Lester having other commitments. His absence is explained as pulling off the ultimate con - selling the Sydney Opera House.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: As the scams often throw up unexpected complications, Mickey has become a master of this, able to plan his way out of massive hitches with barely any notice. Really noticeable in the "Picasso Finger Painting", where the gang only have 6 hours to save Mickey, face innumerable hurdles along the way, but still use their smarts to come out on top.
  • 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 Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious:
    • While Albert occasionally calls Eddie "Edward", whenever he calls Mickey "Michael" or Danny "Daniel" it's an indicator a serious teaching or motivational moment is about to happen.
    • It gradually sinks in that the normally pliable Eddie's dead serious about barring them in "Gold Finger" when the following exchange happens, featuring Eddie calling Mickey by his full name for the only time in the series;
    Mickey: [sniggering at Eddie's outrage over his photo of Ian Rush being defaced]
    Mickey:, sorry.