This Bird is a total sucker for movies and television shows about the art of the con game. Is that a bad sign that I have an affinity towards compulsive lying? Well, only if it means looking as dapper as these two J'adore-able series -- USA Network's White Collar and a BBC series called Hustle that AMC ran a few years ago. I've recently been on a Jaunty bender, getting caught up on all the White Collar episodes that have been in marathon-mode, since their second season just started. It's a truly charismatic show about a high-end thief who works for the FBI as a consultant, partnering with the agent who had caught him twice, while he tracks down the woman who loved and then left him with a mystery. It's a classic buddy combination, but the series is impossibly slick, delightfully smart, the actors are beautiful and I appreciate any show that can throw in a Fauvism reference. Art Nerd Alert! Plus, Sex and the City's Willie Garson has a supporting role, so it's a bonus to see Stanford Blatch do a turn as a paranoid thief. It has the ingredients of a classic caper that uses cleverness to save the day, and not relying on silly forensic technology that doesn't even exist -- yes, I'm talkin' to you, ridiculous CSI shows.

On that note of clever capers, the British series Hustle, is like the all-criminal version of White Collar, featuring an incredibly stylish band of con artists who do their Robin Hood best to swindle from the swindlers, staying true to a peculiar honor among thieves, and looking damn fine while doing it. It's an addictive show; I challenge anyone not to not have their heart purloined by these smooth criminals. Every show is like a little movie, and they throw in a few episodes that take a nod towards different genres like silent films and even a rollicking Bollywood number. It's a series that clearly loves film and romanticizes the con game with enough charm to where the viewer is conned that it's totally fine to have criminals as the heroes. It helps that they never steal from those who truly need the money; they always target the easy villains like corrupt businesses. And it's got Robert Vaughn in it -- one of the Magnificent Seven, for heaven's sake; how could you not watch him be the sly Yank who runs this smooth machine of stylish crime?

Jaunty Fine Print: Photo illustration by Denise Sakaki. Images fr USA Network and AMC Network

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1 comment:

  1. My sister is a total "White Collar" fanatic. I do like the show. I just think the thief's eyes are a bit creepy. Like too wide open. Maybe he's high 24/7. I don't know...


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