If you’re in England and looking for easy TV, you can usually find an episode of “Hustle” on. It’s like “Law & Order” to them.
I’ve been a huge fan of the giddy British series, which ran from 2004 to 2012, since AMC began importing it in 2006. “Hustle” is about a group of classy grifters in London who are pros at conning bad people and make loads of money. The Robin Hood-like group is a surrogate family, with Robert Vaughn — yes, Napoleon Solo — as the elder and Adrian Lester, for the first four seasons, as the leader. The tone is light and fizzy; the plots are clever and acrobatic; and the characters are amusing, especially Marc Warren’s Danny Blue, a rough kid the group has taken under its wing.
It’s a bit like a series version of “Ocean’s Eleven,” and it’s a bit lighter than “Leverage,” which came after it. It feels frivolous beside the more formidable cable dramas, but then humor this clever deserves kudos, too. When people ask me to name low-profile shows they should be seeing, I always mention “Hustle.”
How can you find it here? Not easily, unless you’re willing to visit London. You can buy the DVDs, of course, but you can also scout it out on YouTube.Matthew Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.