Hustle, the BBC One hit drama created by Tony Jordan and launched in 2004, returned on Friday for the premiere of its eighth and final series. Original cast members Adrian Lester, Robert Glenister, Robert Vaughn and Rob Jarvis are back with Matt Di Angelo and Kelly Adams - aboard since series five.
After making money from the London 2012 Olympics, Mickey Stone and his team of conmen have a new mark found by Albert: Dexter Gold, a fast-talking, smooth-dressing and ruthless "cash for gold" businessman. His gold exchange activity is designed to part the old and vulnerable from their treasures in return for a pittance but Dexter is also a middle man for stolen gold bullion. He likes war movies so the grifters pose as a rogue army unit and convince him they have some of the gold of Colonel Gadaffi.
« When you think about it, we're a bit like Robin Hood.
- Yeah, well, we do take from the rich.
- Only instead of giving to the poor...
- ... We buy clothes. »
A suprisingly weak opener, written by Tony Jordan and directed by Alrick Riley, in which the talent of guest star Paterson Joseph (Survivors) is wasted as he plays one the most caricatural adversaries of Mickey's gang. The team depreciates its own standards by targeting a 21st century Nellie Oleson. They are also so self-conscious it recalls the darkest hours of the fourth series. The fate of Eddie's beloved photo of footballer Ian Rush is painfully stretched as a "subplot". And the reappearance of Dexter near the end of the episode is non-necessary and far-fetched.
It's nice to see Hustle back for this last run. We'll miss our favourite con artists, let's hope this was an accident. Next week the great Bill Bailey is back as Cyclops, the character he played in the fifth series.