Mickey Bricks

Just the other day I figured it out: the reasons why I like ‘Hustle’ are also the reasons why I like Mickey Bricks. The slick British drama boasted eight series of classy con artists, and the episodes in which Mickey’s ridiculous brain was allowed to run rampant were the proper good episodes. Played with maddening elegance by Adrian Lester, Mickey is ‘Hustle’ at its height.

Spoiler Alert
Doodle. Doo-doodle. Doodle-oodle-doodle-oodle-doodle.

That’s how the theme tune goes, by the way. The opening credits are stylish, smooth, mysterious and exciting, perfectly streamlined and implemented without a hitch. You’d almost think Mickey designed them.

Watching shiny things on TV can be profoundly satisfying, and no life is as shiny as the life of the unbeatable Mickey Bricks. Even when he’s not actually a multi-millionaire, he can assume the life of one in an instant. He’s a world-renowned music producer. He’s a high-flying property developer. He’s a lavishly crooked business tycoon. He “owns” the London Eye, the crown jewels, and the Sydney Opera House. He has a thousand chauffeurs. Thumbs aren’t for hitchhiking, they’re for popping champagne corks.

He also has a habit of standing on tall buildings and calmly overlooking cityscapes as if they’re his own personal war maps. He’s like a God playing chess from the clouds. That’s another reason why he’s so satisfying — he’s always well ahead of the game.

When every plan is scuppered, Mickey always has spare, and doesn’t always tell his co-conspirators. After all, he can’t resist the challenge of grifting another grifter: one who should know better.

This means that ‘Hustle’ reads much like a detective story. We delight in guessing Mickey’s plans, trying to drag ourselves up to his level and read over his shoulder. But it’s all in his mind, and his mind is weird. Figuring it out is tremendously rewarding, and not figuring it out means an awesome surprise. Mickey is a delightful puppeteer.

It’s all part of his winning talent, and that’s the third and final reason as to why he's the champion of all things 'Hustle': he wins all of the time. It may not always be obvious at first, but while the other grifters struggle and wonder and falter, Mickey is the reliable key to a happy ending.

You may have other favourite characters in ‘Hustle’ — and I do too — but Mickey, the finest grifter alive, is what makes it so entertaining. Probably just to distract you so he can swap out that briefcase of money you keep under your champagne bar.
Mark: "Are you telling me you had something to do with this?"
Mickey: "No. I'm telling you I had everything to do with this."
Danny: "Mick, if you were a bird, would you shag me?"
Mickey: "No."
Danny: "Well, that's because you'd be a lesbian."
Danny: "It's not all about the money, is it Mickey?"
Mickey: "Here endeth the first lesson."
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Published on 21 January 2016
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