A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, at its core, this lighthearted British crime-caper series is all about dishonesty. It glamorizes con jobs, and the appealing characters are all greedy criminals (though they do target bad guys). Plenty of scenes set in bars mean there's lots of drinking, and the group's lone female member often uses her sexiness to distract a mark. Other women also show up in skimpy clothes, and some scenes feature intense kissing and mild groping.
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What's the story?
In HUSTLE, a motley group of classy British grifters scams the greedy, the dishonest, and the mean with elaborate schemes involving both classic and innovative deceptions. With its lighthearted take on crime, the series evokes 1960s caper films and the more modern Ocean's Eleven franchise. The sexy, smart, charming scammers include veteran Albert Stroller (Robert Vaughn), whose elite air allows him easy access to society's upper echelons of society; Stacie Monroe (Jaime Murray), the sly "lure" who entraps many a lustful gentleman; and Danny Blue (Marc Warren), who's supposedly the leader of the group, though his overblown ego and propensity for the ladies lessens his authority. The cast also includes the enormously talented Robert Glenister (Prime Suspect), Adrian Lester (Primary Colors), and newcomer Ashley Walters. Episodes followthe development and execution of long cons, while also building on the group's relationships with each other.
Is it any good?
The criminal aspect is treated lightly -- violence is rare, and the group's marks are always dishonest. For example, in one episode, the team sets up a greedy racehorse owner (who also directs adult films), selling him a bunk horse for £100,000. The team members realize they've been duped when the owner writes a clause into the contract requiring the horse to win a race before he pays up. An elaborate switcheroo ensues -- which ultimately fails when celebratory champagne squirted on the horse causes its camouflage paint to come off.
With several twists and turns in each episode, this slick, blithe crime show is loads of fun to watch. But the show is designed with adults in mind, and frequent sexual scenarios and scenes set in bars mean it's not a great fit for younger viewers. And even teens who can handle those elements might get confusing messages about right and wrong thanks to the show's inherent glamorization of crime.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how TV shows and movies portray criminals and con artists. Do they tend to make lawbreaking characters appealing? Why? What makes these characters charismatic? Does it matter to you that the characters are stealing, deceiving, or otherwise being dishonest? Why or why not? Does looking at things from the criminals' perspective affect the way you look at the real world? How?