So last night in Hustle the gang organised a complex art scam which involved them getting a master forger to invent a new Mondrian which they could pass off as the real thing briefly to a sharp tongued art expert. To do this they had to steal an actual Mondrian so the forger could “get the vibe”, make a company go bankrupt and impersonate all number of people. Profit? ‘100,000.

The big con, the type generally beloved of films, is beautiful to watch because it is the ultimate in watertight plotting. The big con however is full of risks, not least that your identity will become uncovered. Which is why if you are in the business of confidence, such as the absurdly pretty and one dimensional gang in Hustle, you do not do them week in, week out. And you do them for a damn sight more profit than ‘20,000 each.

‘We’re not thieves,’ Adrian Lester says pointedly to the young and therefore arrogant protogee. Well I would imagine any police office catching you walking out of the gallery with a Mondrian stuck to your T-Shirt would disagree. No instead this thoroughly implausible gang also seem to live by some bizarre moral code which means they cannot watch to see said business go bankrupt and give away half their earnings. They do not hurt people, they do not steal (maybe borrow) and talk in riddles most the time. It is so ridiculous that it should really play this aspect up more, because after three weeks no-one is going to fall for their “how-to” course in grifting. Series longeivity depends on development, success in the game depends on nothing happening an awful lot of the time. The tensions are built in, hopefully the series will exploit them. I fear on this evidence though, the only people being conned are the audience.