Hustle made a solid gold return to our screens tonight with the series premiere of its eighth and (for now) final run, and what a 24-karat show it was!
After selling a spoilt brat the ‘chance’ to light the Olympic flame, our crew of con artists set their sights on ‘cash for gold’ businessman Dexter Gold (Paterson Joseph), whose company spends its time conning old women out of their treasured jewelry. Posing as ex-special forces commandos (yeah, we were in stitches too), the team convince Dexter that they’ve stolen £3m worth of Colonel Gadaffi’s gold bullion and that they’re desperately in need of a buyer.
In true Hustle style, the mark’s greed gets the better of him and he jumps in, assuming of course that he has the upper hand. We’re treated to the usual hilarious and ingenious grift, with stooges, sleight of hand and simple misdirection helping us to revel in the stupidity of Dexter (pulled off superbly by Joseph).
Even after it appears that the story is over, he tracks them down and pays the team a further £50k to ‘take out’ the fake buyer stooge who ‘conned’ him, still believing them to be real soldiers!
One thing we’ve always noticed about this show is its ability to reflect the current state of affairs, in its own ridiculous heightened style. When Hustle returned with a revamped cast in 2009, the stories began to reflect a world afflicted by the recession. With this episode’s ‘Cash for Gold’ scam, we’ve seen the shockwaves caused by the economic crisis, as well as other current events such as the Libyan Uprising and the 2012 Olympics.
It’s a key part of Hustle’s success and one reason we’ll all miss it when it ends. Fortunately, writer Tony Jordan has stated that the show could return at some point, although maybe not with its current cast.
So what does that mean for Adrian Lester, Robert Glenister, Robert Vaughn, Kelly Adams and Matt Di Angelo, who all delivered their fourth-wall-breaking cheeky side glances and ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ acts to perfection?
Will we be seeing the last of them in six weeks time? Might they finally be caught? With original cast member Jaime Murray returning as Stacie Monroe for the finale, and a start as good as this, it’s sure to be one hell of a… gold rush… finding out! (Sorry, we’re done with the puns now.)
Aired at 9pm on Friday 13th January 2012 on BBC One.
What did you think of the episode? Let us know below…