The latest instalment of Hustle sees Denis Lawson (Holby City) guest star as Benny, a fellow grifter who almost got picked to join the team by Mickey, but missed out to Ash. The episode starts in a humourous fashion when Ash gives chase to Benny – having just attended his funeral. Once he finally catches up with him, Ash learns that poor Benny’s fallen on hard times and the team decide to help him get revenge on a ruthless Iranian business man nicknamed “The Dentist”.
Unfortunately, the team don’t have many leads to go on, and so it’s up to Sean and Emma to dig up dirt on the mark, Danush. Hustle rarely disappoints with the team’s ingenious tricks and sleights of hand used to get their mark’s belongings and this week is no different, with some impressive movements by Sean to access Danush’s business.
Conveniently, Danush is himself in trouble with a lack of supply of duty free cigarettes, so the team decide to set him up. With the next stage of the con in full swing, we’re provided with some (perhaps unintentional) laughs at the expense of Mickey’s awful gangster impersonation and Ash’s dodgy Dutch accent.
As the team arrange a meet with Danush, it looks like things are going perfectly, until the inevitable twist. It’ll be a fairly obvious one to most, but the twist does successfully provide a rare moment where the viewer wonders whether the team will come out on top this time.
Following a run of hit and miss guest stars, Lawson is on top form here. His initial portrayal of a man down on his luck creates genuine empathy towards Benny and his history with Mickey and Ash provides a depth that’s often lacking in Hustle’s guest characters.
It’s a credit to Hustle‘s writing team that such an essentially formulaic series, now in its seventh series, can still surprise the audience – let’s hope the standard continues for the rest of the run.
Airs at 9pm on Friday 28th January 2011 on BBC One.