There's nothing more despicable than a con man. Whether it's a high finance sleazebag who steals money with a Ponzi scheme or a grifter who just loves to lie, nobody likes con men. Unless, of course, there's a good reason for their con. From comedies to dramas, these TV con men manage the impossible: they're endearing, lovable, and iconic.
Shawn Spencer, "Psych"
Funny enough, Shawn doesn't start the series as a con man. Prior to the start of the series, he was just calling in tips to the police to be helpful: he wasn't doing it for personal gain. Only after Shawn is suspected of being involved in all the crimes that he provided tips for does he decide to pretend that he's a psychic. He is ultimately a kind of con man, but he's never despicable. He starts his fake psychic agency because he has a real skill, and a real desire to help other people. It's his calling, and it's hard to fault him for following it, even though his career is based on a lie.
Patrick Jane, "The Mentalist"
Jane is also a fake psychic. But unlike Shawn Spencer, Patrick Jane's con got his family murdered by a serial killer. He's trying to find redemption by working with law enforcement, so it's hard to find fault with this endearing character.
Neal Caffrey, "White Collar"
Neal Caffrey may just be the most charming character currently on television. He's also a con man who uses that charm to get whatever he wants. In the first season, he walks into a vintage clothing store, strikes up a conversation with a woman, and ends up moving in with her hours later: he's just that good at manipulating people. One thing that helps to endear him to audiences is his general distaste for using firearms. While he's actually quite a good shot, he avoids using guns whenever possible.
Sawyer is charming: Kate's affection for him is testimony to that fact. But he's also a con man of the highest order. However, he remains sympathetic and likable because of his reason for becoming a con man. All he wanted to do was find the con man that had ruined his father's life: but to do that, Sawyer had to become a con man himself.
The Entire Cast of "Hustle"
This British TV show ran from 2004-2012, and followed a group of con artists working in concert toward a shared goal. Their plan: only con those who truly deserve it. Their "long con" targets over the course of the series included an thieving ex-husband, a man who specialized in human trafficking, and a sweatshop owner. Their noble approach to criminal enterprise made them likable (and those great British accents also help engage fans from across the pond).
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