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The Con plot reveals the anatomy of a confidence scheme, usually from the criminal perspective. Less action-oriented than The Caper; while having some action, the main focus is on how The Mark becomes the victim of his own desires.
May contain an A-Team Montage or Avengers Assemble sequence. Commonly uses a Big Store setting at some point. See The Tale and Short Con for descriptions of particular schemes, which may be a Plot Tailored to the Party.
The book The Big Con, by David Maurer, is recommended to the casual reader. An anthropological study of the Con Man circa 1935-1940, it served as partial inspiration for the original Mission: Impossible TV series.
Components of The Con:
- Big Store
- Con Man
- The Con Within a Con
- The Mark
- Monster Protection Racket
- Short Con
- The Tale
- Catch Me If You Can
- The classic movie example is The Sting. In fact, the title is old slang for..."The Con!"
- And its spiritual remake Confidence.
- Matchstick Men
- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
- Many works by David Mamet.
- Nine Queens and its 2004 American remake, the generically named Criminal.
- Brothers Bloom shows three cons, one after the other. The last one gets complicated.
- The remade Oceans Eleven and its successors are mostly Capers, but also rely on the kind of psychological manipulation more closely associated with a Con.
- Inception in a weird sort of way.
- The specialty of the servants in Fitzwilly.
- The Grifters
- The Flim-Flam Man contains a lot of little con games instead of one big con.
- The Twelve Chairs and The Little Golden Calf by Ilya Ilf and Eugene Petrov, being the adventures of a con artist, have lot of these.
- Mission: Impossible is, of course, the Trope Codifier.
- Hustle is an entire series of this.
- Followed up by The Real Hustle, a "consumer" show detailing what to look out for and how to avoid falling for The Con.
- Leverage, the Trans-Atlantic Equivalent of Hustle follows the same general idea, although they do The Caper fairly often. They are also generally using their powers for good and usually don't keep the money they steal.
- FX the Series was similar, about a special effects crew tricking criminals into situations where they revealed information about their crimes.
- Hawaii Five 0 features one episode where a gang of criminals pulls a Mission Impossible-style con on a businessman by imitating members of the main cast and having the required perfect replica of the real office in an abandoned building.
- Several Sawyer-centric episodes of Lost, especially "The Long Con."
- MacGyver episode "Jenny's Chance'".
- Shawn Spencer is a con man extraordinare. Fortunately, he only uses his powers for good. And the occasional pick-up line.
- In Burn Notice, Michael Westen often gets something he needs out of criminals by pretending to be someone they would associate with for a full episode. In other words, he runs The Con...For Justice!
- Several episodes of The Rockford Files involve elaborate cons to recover stolen money or avenge a wrong.
- This (and being a Gentleman Thief) was Neal Caffrey's MO before Peter Burke caught him. Since then, he's often run The Con on criminals for the FBI. Burke himself gets in on the act sometimes.
- In the episode Mail Call of M*A*S*H, Hawkeye and Trapper trick Frank Burns to invest in the non-existing company Pioneer Aviation.
- Many episodes of The Lives of Harry Lime.
- From the opposite side, several episodes of Dragnet—most episodes where Friday and his partner are in the Bunco department that don't involve forgery involve cons.