Confidence men – I just can't help but love them. And why not? They make their living on their charms. They can convince us to hand over the contents of our wallets, and do so with a smile. Hell, by the time they're done, we think it was our idea to open those wallets in the first place. And while, yes, real life grifters are a serious problem I hope never to encounter, their fictional counter-parts are often too charismatic to dislike. For example . . .
C is for Con Man
Neal Caffrey (White Collar) – A former con artist, Neal Caffrey is a connoisseur of the finer things. He projects an air of elegance and sophistication, demonstrating knowledge in a wide array of fields, from wine to art, food to fashion. And of course, white collar crimes. Fortunately for the FBI, this former con artist now uses his prodigious skills to help catch other criminals.
YoSafBridge (Firefly) – One of the greatest characters Joss Whedon ever wrote, Saffron . . . I mean, Bridget . . . or was it Yolanda? Anyway, this little con artist shed names like a snake sheds skin. And she's just as deadly. She manipulates, seduces, and generally cons men into doing her bidding. And when she turned her talents onto Mal Reynolds and his crew, she nearly caused them to fry in a galactic space net. Definitely not shiny.
Frank Abagnale (Catch Me if You Can) – Based on a very real life counterpart, young Frank of Catch Me if You Can was a born con artist. A chameleon, he's able to seamlessly slip from one role to another – everything from pilot to physician – without causing suspicion. Furthermore, he forged checks worth several millions of dollars before he was caught, making Frank Abagnale, both real and fictional, one of the greatest grifters of all time.
Jake Vig (Confidence) – Several years ago I went to see the movie Confidence with my family, and the character of Jake Vig stuck with me. He likened grifting schemes to a chess game where you play every possible move in your head. The person who can see ahead the furthest is the one that wins the game, or in this case, the con. Jake reminds us that it's not enough to rely on a winning personality to pull off a hustle. First and foremost, you have to be able to out-think the other side.
Danny Ocean and Rusty Ryan (Ocean's Eleven,Twelve and Thirteen) – George Clooney and Brad Pitt. Enough said. But to expand further, Rusty and Danny are the Holy Grail of con men. Not to mention extremely well connected in the criminal world, with a virtual Rolodex of every "Boesky" and "greaseman" out there. Captivating and suave, good looking and charismatic, they are the very image of cool. It's not hard to imagine caving under the joint force of their charms.
And there you have it, my Top 5 favorite Con Men. What are some of your favorites?
This post is part of the Blogging A through Z Challenge 2013. My theme (in case you didn't already guess) is character types and tropes. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you’d like to check in on the other participants, simply click here.