Tuesday, 2 February 2010


[6.58 - French Time] Hustle Series 6 Episode 5. Mickey "Bricks" Stone (Adrian Lester) has been conned! He has been sold a useless mobile phone and according to the age-old laws of grifting, when a grifter is conned he's cursed.

Mickey Stone has lost his "Mojo". Well, it's not quite lost actually because it seems that Eddie (Rob Jarvis) has it. His bar is heaving with customers and he has a blonde girlfriend. The gang does some research on the company that conned Mickey, leading them to Mervyn Lloyd (Daniel Mays). Lloyd is a petty businessman who sells the latest techno-fad online regardless it's working or not and he sees himself as an entrepreneur. The Hustle team has a plan to settle the score but Mickey is forced to step aside because of his bad luck.

Theoretically, there are three things that Hustle should do for next series: move the intrigue to Birmingham as they are already shooting most of the show there, try to find a little more extra funding (hard in recession times) and manage to make Chris Bucknall and Hustle supremo Tony Jordan write half of the episodes each. Last night's episode, written by Jordan, is excellent - but what else could we expect from him.

The main idea of the script is preposterous: Mickey, icy cool grandmaster of last minute Plans B, is almost panicked because of an ancient curse from the grifters mythology. But Tony Jordan's execution, balancing comedy with social satire, is brilliantly paced. The comedy is provided by the "Mojo switch" from Mickey to Eddie. Once again Rob Jarvis gives the best of his talent.

The social satire is characterized by Mervyn Lloyd. The wannabe entrepreneur could be the dumb cousin of Shane Richie's Archie Daley (the modern version of Minder). Lloyd speaks exclusively in clichés to the point of absolute absurdity (« To get my business you have to get my business ») and his wildest dream is to pitch a project to the entrepreneurial team of Dragon's Den - Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden and Duncan Bannatyne parodying themselves with style in this fantasy sequence .

Mervyn Lloyd is hilariously portrayed by Daniel Mays, who illuminates the episode. The Hustlers convince him to invest in a revolutionary device (well, sort of...) which can kill all type of insects, by making him believe that Sir Alan Sugar and Richard Branson are interested (well... sort of). Mickey has his mojo back in the end, and plays a little trick to Eddie. Ash (Robert Glenister ) gets the best line of the episode: « Bond, James Bond. No relation ».

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