Season 1 Episode 1

The Con Is On

Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Feb 24, 2004 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
163 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Mickey "Bricks" Stone has just been released from prison, having served a sentence for attacking his wife's boyfriend. An expert at the "long con", he assembles his old team of fellow hustlers to pull off one last con before he retires for good.

His team is diverse, ranging from old hand Albert Stroller, to the alluring Stacie Monroe, and the jack-of-all-trades Ashley "3 Socks" Morgan. Their "mark" is a greedy business man and with the con all going to plan, short con player Danny Blue enters the picture to try and join the team and could jeopardize the score.

With the police hot on their trail, will Mickey and his crew be able to pull off the con successfully, or will Danny bring it all crashing down? One thing is for sure - the con is on.moreless

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  • *** Spoiler-free *** Sweet entertainment inside the box

    Sawyer, the con artist who convinced me to check out Hustle. Indeed like Kate Austen he grew on Lost's fans for 6 seasons so a show featuring a team dedicated to his art seemed irresistible. Well received by the critics and praised for its creativity it still took me a while to watch its pilot. Entertaining but not interesting, it could sum things up. First I found the characters too stereotyped and even if Jaime Murray (Lila Tournay in Dexter) was charming as Stacie Monroe she and the other performers played way too much in their comfort zone, making the acting a little bland. Second it was refreshing to see the cons smiling at the camera while stealing or tricking someone but beside one bullet time sequence I didn't notice anything original enough to blow my happy neurons. Third there was nothing much exciting about the story. A greedy rich man who seduces younger woman with his money ? Déjà vu. Worst despite a skilled writing I was able to predict the end quite early. An other disappointing element was the format. Episodic ? I read something about a long arc but beside the hasty appearance of a wife and their inevitable chasing game with the cops I found nothing enough intriguing to convince me to give Hustle an other chance. Don't get me wrong it wasn't bad but I was definitely looking for something more special. In the end it tasted like candy and you won't think about once you have switched off your TV.moreless
  • Really clever start to a great new series.

    Really clever start to a great new series. With a varied cast and stylish camerawork, Hustle bursts onto our screens with snappy dialogue and a clever opening story to boot.

    The varied cast work well together with each of their charcters having their own nuances, without being stereotypes and still managing to appear as a 'family' of sorts, each character also has depth and a backstory for each is proposed without giving it all away in a contrived manner. Snappy editing and a sly glance at the camera from certain characters lets us in on the con, yet witholding enough to keep us guessing until the end. Snappy dialog, that oozes cool, somewhat unusual for a british drama, well delivered by the cast, particularly Marc Warren whose character Danny is the young new guy joining the old gang.

    All in all a great start to what looks to be a stylish new drama.moreless
  • WOW this is a great first episode. You really need to pay attenion in order to get all the details.

    This TV show is amazingly well written, It has tons of detail. You have to pay attenion or you will get lost easily, which is a good and a bad thing. If you are paying ation and have full focus you can understand the story or plot alot more. The TV show is all about coning people. They talk about the difference between a big con and a little con. This show is deffentily going in for the big con. I would highly recomend takeing a lokk at it. I hope you enjoy the show as much as I did.moreless
  • What a treat! A television show you need to pay attention to in order to catch the flow.

    I REALLY like this show! The cast is expertly played and seem like a real ensemble effort. The plot is a bit complicated but very worth following. Of course, knowing there are weekly episodes takes a bit of suspense out of the show as you KNOW the characters come back next episode. Still, it's well done, well written and well acted. I love the stop action bits, too, where the main characters do these asides - or break into song and dance. For once, a show that is NOT an insult to the audiences' intelligence. Keep them coming, AMC.moreless
James Laurenson

James Laurenson

Peter Williams

Guest Star

Liz May Brice

Liz May Brice

DS Terri Hodges

Guest Star

Ken Bones

Ken Bones

DCI Mullens

Guest Star

Rob Jarvis

Rob Jarvis


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (15)

    • Goof: Mickey is supposedly shot in the head. Whilst there is a very lifelike explosion as the bullet exits, there is absolutely no sign of any bullet having entered from the front. His face is completely unscathed, and it seems odd that none of the armed police or even Danny for that matter wouldn't find something wrong with that.

    • Goof: Toward the end of the episode, when Danny has been hit in the face, we see that he has blood clearly coming out of one side of his lips. The appearance and amount of blood changes from shot to shot, from a deep red to a smear to then disappearing and reappearing again.

    • The Rules Of The Con:
      1. You Can't Con An Honest Man
      2. Feed The Greed
      3. Always Give The Mark An Out
      4. Never Give A Sucker An Even Break
      5. It's All In The Detail
      6. Don't Have Anything In Your Life You Can't Walk Away From In A Second
      7. Always Look Out For Number One
      8. It's Not Just About The Money

    • We learn in this episode that Ash Morgan's nickname is "three socks", which he got in prison after visiting the community shower.

    • In the opening shot of the series Mickey Bricks addresses the camera, and thus the audience directly, which is called breaking the fourth wall. Clearly the creators have established that this is a story-telling device that they will use throughout the series.

    • According to Mickey/Mark, Vestron is an oil company. This is the company that Mickey convinces Peter Williams to "invest" in as part of the con. Vestron is not an oil company. No such oil company exists. However, there is a video distributor by that name.

    • Ceacy Hughes Associates is the company in which whose building the crew stage the con. This is the building that Peter Williams believes Mickey/Mark works. Ceacy Huges Associates is not a real company. It was made up for the show.

    • London Park Hotel: this is where Mickey's crew sets up residence for the first episode. It's not a real hotel.

    • Robert Glenister on how he was cast for the show:
      "I went to meet the powers that be at Kudos to read Hustle on a Thursday. And they left it very late, I think everybody else was cast, but I wasn't, or Ash wasn't. It's very rare to get offered something on the same day, usually you have to wait a bit, but this was very last minute. I got a phone call later that afternoon saying 'We'd love you to do it, can you come to a read through tomorrow morning?' A bit startled, I said, "Well, I'm going on holiday on Saturday.'"

    • Adrian Lester on where he learned his card tricks:
      "There's an actor, who's working in the National Theatre at the moment, called Jamie Harding and before I even read for Hustle, and Hustle was around, Jamie was teaching me card tricks. Cause he's brilliant at close up magic and he was just showing me some stuff. Then I got a reading for Hustle and learned more."

    • Stacie plants a camera in order to take some video footage, which they use later to con Peter Williams. The camera that she uses is called a "Lipstick Camera", which is a surveillance/spy camera that is about the size of a tube of lipstick.

    • The Red Herring: where the opening shot of episode one is located, is a popular pub and resturant located at 49 Gresham St., London, EC2V 7ET.

    • Breaking The Fourth Wall
      Hustle is one of the few television shows that "breaks the fourth wall." The "fourth wall" is a term from theatre, film and TV in which is the boundry between the audience and the actors. It's assumed that there's an imaginary wall there and actors rarely "break" the wall by addressing the audience directly.

    • The Blue House Hotel: this is where Mickey lifts a BMW for the crew to use for this episode's con. This is not a real hotel. The Blue House Hotel is located in Istanbul, Turkey.

    • Goof: In the Human Resources offices of Ceacy Hughes Associates, Stacie walks up to the counter to view on of the LCD screens. When she walks up, there's no mouse on the counter, however in the closeup we see tha there is a mouse so that she can navigate the screen.

  • QUOTES (19)

    • Danny: It's not all about the money is it Mickey?
      Mickey: Here endeth the first lesson.

    • Mickey: (after Ash has just been hit by a car performing a "flop con") Ash, there are easier ways to make a living.

    • Ash: When do we start?
      Mickey: Already have. Albert's got a mark, but first things first. Can you swing a hotel?
      Ash: Can Pavoritti sing?

    • DS Terri Hodges: Ashley Morgan. Colloquially known as Ash, or "three socks".
      DePalma: Three socks?
      Hodges: He got that name in prison, after his first visit to the shower block.

    • Ash: (after hearing all about the "Mark") Sounds like you really warmed to this guy Albert.
      Albert: Yes. He's objectionable little man with the morals of an alley cat.
      Ash: Well, that's "Marks" for you idn't it?

    • Stacie: (referring to Mickey's ex-wife Rachel) She didn't deserve you. Never did. A man does what he does. If she'd wanted normal, she should have married a dentist.
      Mickey: (smiling) Finished?
      Stacie: She's the one you should have hit with the baseball bat.
      Mickey: (laughs) Thanks, I'll remember that for my next relationship.

    • Eddie: (after losing at "Find The Lady" for the second time) You're a very sick person.
      Danny: Just naturally gifted.

    • Eddie: Guy does something dumb, 5 gets you 10 there's a woman there somewhere.

    • Stacie: You ever thought of a younger woman Albie?
      Albert: My dear, at my age, I think of little else.

    • Danny: Mr. Stone? Hey, Danny Blue. Please to meet ya. You've probably heard of me?
      Danny extends his hand to shake Mickey's, but the gesture is not returned
      Danny: No? All right. OK. I'm not going to mess you about, I'll cut straight to the point. All right, I know you're planning a score. I want in.
      Mickey: In what?
      Danny: Well in, you know. In the game. I wanna learn. I really wanna learn. I'll just come inside, have a little chat.
      Danny tries to get through the door, but Mickey doesn't move out of the way. Danny can only peek inside
      Danny: Oh nice isn't it? (referring to the suite) Look, I'm good. I can help you. Think of it like that and I'll do that for you. OK, cause I know all the old plays. What are you doin'? You doin' "The Wire"? No? "The Rag"? "Payoff"? You tell me once Mickey, that's it... touches his finger to his temple bosh, it's in.
      Mickey: (sarcastically) And uh, I bet you watched "The Sting" too, didn't you?
      Danny: Never heard of it.
      Mickey goes to shut the door
      Danny: Ah. Ugh. You're not going to shut the door are you?
      Mickey: Yeah, thought I might.
      Mickey shuts the door in Danny's face
      Danny: (quietly to himself) That went well.

    • Danny as "Mr. Redford": I thought you could have been one of those con men. I thought 'ello, I'm not going to see me money or him ever again. Know what I mean? There you go, I can't believe I just said that.
      Mickey as "Mark Hamilton": I'm not sure I can either.

    • Danny: Now I'm no expert, but I'd say that went like a dream, eh?
      Mickey punches Danny in the mouth
      Danny: So am I in?
      Mickey: You're in.

    • Danny: How ya doin;?
      Stacie: Save us both a little time. I don't screw people I work with.
      Danny: No?
      Stacie: No.
      Danny: (Danny see's Mickey walk into the room) Does that go for everyone or is that, you know, just the troops?
      Stacie laughs You wanna little tip Danny? Some friendly advice?
      Danny: Yeah, that'd be great.
      Stacie: Watch an learn. Stay out of things that don't concern you.

    • Mickey: I say something funny?
      Danny: (still giggling) No, the whole family thing, uh, works for me.
      Mickey: You play short cons Danny, emptying people's wage packets on a Friday night. I wouldn't expect you to understand.

    • Alfred: You know what I love about Roulette? That glorious 30 seconds while the wheel is still spinning.

    • Mickey: First rule Danny - always look out for number one. If you don't, no one else will.

    • Danny: A hundred grand? (shakes his head) We can take this guy for a lot more than that.
      Mickey: That's the bit you don't get. It's not just about the money.
      Danny: Well since when?
      Mickey: Since always. You don't get THAT, you don't get anything.

    • Mickey You wanna be regular people? Hmm? Do you? Well go ahead, go on, do that. (gesturing to the people on the street below) They're crying out for foot soldiers down there. Go and have your life run by bosses, bank manager and politicians, but... if you wanna be a grifter... don't have anything in your life that you can't walk away from in a second. Lovers, friends, even your own mother.

    • Mickey: You know the sweetest con of all? To con another grifter - one who should know better.

  • NOTES (9)

    • This episode aired in the US on the AMC network on January 14th, 2006 at 10PM EST/EDT.

    • When AMC began promoting "Hustle" for their U.S. launch, the music that they used was by Spoon. The song was 'The Way We Get By' off of the Kill the Moonlight album.

    • This episode is Jamie Murray's first appearance on television in a lead role.

    • The only hit of BBC's new dramas. It hit 6.7 Million viewers, which beat out ITVS 5.5 Million viewers for "The Football."

    • The Reveal
      "Hustle" uses a story telling device called "the reveal", which is where key scenes are shown again, but on the second viewing, other details are shown. These details change the viewer's understanding of the end of the episode. Specific to "Hustle", the reveal is used to show us how the con was done.

    • Crew for this episode with a missing name or unavailable credit:
         " Julian Stevens (3rd Assistand Director)
         " Jill Greenwood (Assistant Co-ordinator)
         " Kate Cobbold (Production Accountant)
         " Arno Seagrim (Assistant Accountant)
         " Maggie Lewty (Continuity)
         " Simon Crawford Collins (2nd Unit Director)
         " Patrick Schweitzer (Location Manager)
         " Katrina Fletcher (Location Manager)
         " Harriet Sutcliffe (Assistant Location Manager)
         " Simon Surtees (Clapper Loader)
         " Garry Owen (Best Boy)
         " James Bain (Sound Maintenance)
         " Ben Munro (Standby Art Director)
         " George Simons (Art Department Assistant)
         " Ben Barrington-Groves (Art Department Assistant)
         " Zoe Smith (Production Buyer)
         " Sarah Duncan (Assistant Buyer)
         " Ray Holt (Props Master)
         " Eddie Campbell (Props Storeman)
         " Malcolm Holt (Dressing Props)
         " Mike Booys (Standby Props)
         " Ian Cooper (Standby Props)
         " Laurie Griffiths (Standby Carpenter)
         " Mike Coveney (Standby Rigger)
         " Peter Halston (Assistant Costume Designer)
         " Pamela Stewart (Costume Assistant)
         " Sarah Brewerton (Assistant Editor)
         " Scott Hinchcliffe (Online)
         " Steffan Perry (Colourist)
         " David Humphries (Dubbing Mixer)
         " Amanda Searle (Stills Photographer)
         " Kate Lawson (Picture Publicity)
         " Nexus Visual (Visual Effects)
         " Claire Parker (Development Executive)
         " Beatguru (Original Music)
         " Simon Rogers (Title Music)

    • Original music by Beatguru.

    • Title music by Simon Rogers.

    • Opening titles created by Berger & Wyse.

  • ALLUSIONS (23)

    • Mickey: You know the sweetest con of all? To con another grifter - one who should know better.

      A Grifter is another name for a con man, which is someone who makes a living by defrauding people out of their money. Grifter's a most known for their gentle touch in being able to use a sharp wit, or a skilled hand to separate a mark from his money. Grifters do not resort to violence, or force to achieve their goals.

    • A Con: A slang term for "confidence trick", or "confidence game". A con is an attempt to intentionally trick someone out of their money. Sometimes called a scam.

    • Going All In: When you bet all the money you have on a hand of Poker.

    • The Flop: This con is considered a classic. It involves having an old injury and then re-enacting an accident and claiming that the injury is new. The purpose of the con is to take as much money from the insurance company as possible.

    • Mickey: You remember Rocky Marciano?
      Ash: Mmm. The only heavyweight champion to retire undefeated.

      Rocky Marciano, nick named the "The Brockton Blockbuster", is the only undefeated champion in the history of gloved boxing. This includes ALL weight classes. He retired after 49 consecutive wins. He was killed in a small plane crash on August 31, 1969.

    • The Short Con: A con which is designed to take all the money a "Mark" has at that moment. It's a crime of opportunity since there is no pre-planning involved.

    • The Long Con: A con which is much more involved and complicated. Instead of taking the money a "Mark" has on them, the object is to send the mark to get more money and bring it back.

    • The Mark: A slang term for the intended victim of a con game.

    • Ash: Can Pavoritti sing?

      Ash is referring to Luciano Pavarotti, the Italian tenor, one of the most famous opera singers of all time. He became a household name through his many television performance and outdoor concerts and has many Grammys and platinum records. His signature role is that of "Rodolfo" in the opera "La Boheme."

    • Ash Morgan's nickname is "three socks", which he got in prison after visiting the community shower. This is a reference that Ash is a very well endowed man. So much so, that it's as if he has a third leg, hence the need for a third sock.

    • Fixer: Someone who can "fix" anything, meaning that they are good at solving problems by involving people from outside of the crew. Often times it involves political connections and is often used to fix people in banks, police departments, or event the courts. Most crews rely heavily on a Fixer to make a long con work.

      Ash is typically the crew's Fixer. In this episode they also use Neil Cooper.

    • Roper: This is the person who first identifies "The Mark". This person then gains the trust of the mark and then introduces him or her to the rest of the crew. Also known as the "Outsideman." Albert is the crew's roper.

    • Inside Man: He's one of most important members of the mob. The Inside man is who stays near the "big store" and handles "The Mark" once the "Roper" brings him in. Mickey Bricks is the crew's inside man.

    • Hodges: Stacie Monroe. She was married to short con artist Jake Henry. They worked "The Badger" mostly. Did well too.

      The Badger Game: A short con involving a two person team consisting of a man and a woman. A woman picks up a married man at a bar. As the two are getting intimate, the male con artist bursts in on the "Mark" posing as the husband. He then threatens to expose the Mark to his wife, or some other public forum unless blackmail money is paid.

      This con was used in the film "The Firm" when Mitch McDeere (Tom Cruise) is enticed into having an extramarital affair and then blackmailed into complying with the firm Partners and their illegal activities.

    • Find The Lady: This is a con involving three cards. The con man displays the three cards, one of which is a Queen (called the Lady) and then shuffles the cards. The audience is invited to bet on which card is the Queen. If the audience is skeptical, then a "shill" will place a bet and win, thus luring the marks to bet. The con man uses slight of hand and can choose when a mark will lose their money. This con is also known as the "Three Card Monte".

      This is the card game that Danny uses to get a free drink from Eddie at his bar.

    • Danny: OK, cause I know all the old plays. What are you doin'? You doin' "The Wire"? No? "The Rag"? "Payoff"?

      The Wire
      A famous con that involves convincing the mark that you can delay an event long enough in order to profit from it. The con was made famous in the movie "The Sting", where they convince the mark that they can delay the results of a horse race going to a bookmaker long enough for the mark to place a bet.

      The Rag
      A famous con that involves luring the mark in on wins on a phoney stock scheme. First the mark invests money provided by the con men and then returns with more money and is fleeced. This famous con was used in the movie "The Grifters."

      The Payoff
      Invented in 1906, this famous con is very lucrative. The mark wins on a racing syndicate scam, then he comes back with more money in order to win again, but this time he is fleeced.

    • A Shill
      When Danny comes into the hotel room unexpectedly and injects himself into the con that Mickey is working on Peter Williams, he becomes a "shill". A shill is an accomplice who pretends to belive a con man in order to convince the "Mark" that the con man is legit.

    • Mickey: (sarcastically) And uh, I bet you watched "The Sting" too, didn't you?

      "The Sting" is a famous 1973 movie staring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. In the movie, Newman and Redford are con men and the key con used is "The Wire". It's one of the most famous movies about cons.

    • Indian Poker
      While the crew is waiting for Peter to come up with the money for the con, Ash and Albert are playing a card game called "Indian Poker". The way you play the game is that each player gets one card that the players place on their foreheads. Everyone can see everyone else's card but their own. The object is to win the pot with the highest card.

    • Mickey: My old man was as straight as they come... paid his taxes on time, toed the line.

      Toe the line is a nautical term where sailors were required to stand in line with their toes just touching a particular seam. Mickey uses this term to describe his Father and just how committed he was to doing all the right things.

    • DePalma: Now, we know you came into the game late, so you get a lifeline.

      This is a reference to the original UK television show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" where contestants have three lifelines that they can use to get help if they don't know the answer to a question.

    • Albert: (referring to Danny's betrayal of the crew) Judas.

      Albert is referring to Judas Iscariot from the New Testament of the Christian Bible. Judas was the apostle who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

    • Danny: I'm not a grass.

      The term grass is a slang term for an informant, which is someone who provides information to a law enforcement agency. Grass is a slang term unique to the UK.