Hustle – Pilot (01×01)

Firstly, AMC must be commended for importing Hustle, a scripted drama, and not re-imagining it for the American audience, or turning it into some kind of weird reality show. As we have seen over the past few years, British imports are hit or miss when they are redone for the U.S. The Office is a prime example of a show that successfully made the transition whereas bombs like Coupling merely showcase NBC scrapping the bottom of the barrel in an effort to create the next Friends.

Besides the commendation for leaving well enough alone, AMC should be rewarded for introducing this vastly entertaining series to American audiences. Mixed with two parts Ocean’s 11 and one part Snatch, Hustle is a fun series to watch as it manages to keep you guessing, even though you might know what is going on. The unmistakable British flavor to the series keeps it fresh and should draw in viewers of the aforementioned Guy Ritchie’s work. One has to wonder why it took nearly two years for the series to make its debut in the United States.

Hustle stars Adrian Lester as Mickey ‘Bricks’ Stone who completes a two year stint in prison for a crime unrelated to the grifting he does for a living. In the debut episode airing January 14, 2006 at 10PM on AMC, Mickey manages to round up his crew composed of Albert Stroller (Robert Vaughn), Ash Morgan (Robert Glenister), Stacie Monroe (Jaime Murray), and newcomer Danny Blue (Marc Warren), and entice them into one more “long con.”

The series has enough style to boot with playful editing and careful cuts as to not give too much away, but also keep the viewer entertained and watching, even though the premiere’s story is a bit on the shallow end as far as character development goes. One can only hope they focus on some of the characters in upcoming episodes, possibly giving us some story as to where they came from, and why they do what they do.

Complete with a twist ending that you may or may not see coming as the episode winds down, Hustle doesn’t disappoint providing an appealing 52 minutes of planning, execution, and a few laughs along the way.

Will watching a group of grifters and con artists be entertaining for an entire season without becoming stale? It’s impossible to say at this point, all I know is, after screening the episode running tonight on AMC, the series has been added to my DVR of choice.

Hustle premieres tonight (January 14, 2006) on AMC; check your local listings for starting time. The episode will also be rebroadcast January 20, 2006 for those who miss it tonight. Don’t forget to help yourself to some Hustle swag by entering our contest currently running on Entertainmentopia.

Need more info on tonight’s premiere? Download an exclusive trailer for your iPod Video and iTunes.

Written by Erich Becker
Thirty-something with a love of everything we cover here, and a few things we don't. Erich has run Entertainmentopia since the site's inception in 1999, countless redesigns, a few crashes, and a lot of media later, here you have it!