Stanley Johnston In ‘The Gentlemen’ Explained: Why Did Uncle Stan Want To Buy Eddie’s Estate?


If I had to name an antagonist in The Gentlemen, I’d probably give the credit to Stanley “Uncle Stan” Johnston. I suppose in a world of criminals, there isn’t really one bad guy; they’re all bad guys, but for the sake of normalcy, he’s the one that nobody really appreciates. Sure, every episode has a different “villain,” and despite their violent streak, I suppose they don’t compare, because there’s something much more intriguing about a man who appears to be a gentleman but is a psychopath. To be fair, there’s nothing psychopathic about Johnston; he’s simply money-hungry. It isn’t even greed; he’s got everything he needs and more; it’s more like an odd appreciation for the upper echelon, specifically the English kind. Uncle Stan has a penchant for the architectural marvels of the British aristocracy. While the aristocracy is known to be asset-rich and cash-poor, the American seems to have a significant amount of money at his disposal, all acquired from his methamphetamine distribution business. 

There’s never a time when Stanley loses his cool. Johnston repeats multiple times in the series that his name is Johnston with a “T” (perhaps a political reference or simply an additional layer to his personality). While he lives in the most posh gentleman’s club in London, he also socializes with a European royal (minor as she may be). I don’t think it’s appropriate to believe that the American ever had his eyes only on the Halstead estate and not the drug business underneath it. Considering his line of business, it only makes sense that he’d want to acquire anything that comes close. Maybe his obsession with the posh originated from his love for the architecture and history of it all, but knowing some of the largest estates in the country were all connected under one empire would’ve tickled his fancy even further. When he first introduces himself to Susie, he asks her to guess if he’s wearing a watch that is the real deal or not. Somebody’s advised him to make a fake so that his real one worth 9–10 billion wouldn’t get stolen. Susie guesses that it’s not a fake, and he leaves it on the bar table, claiming that he doesn’t deal with fakes and that if he left the watch there, nobody would dare pick it up. Later, though, he reveals that the specific watch is a gift for Susie herself; maybe he believes he can bribe his way into the cannabis empire, but Susie is equally gracious and intelligent and doesn’t take the watch because it would mean he’d want something in return from her. 

I guess Stanley believes it’s easy to take over the English underground with money, but it’s much more than that, as Bobby, Eddie, and Susie prove time and again. Eddie is the exact kind of aristocrat who has the ability to lead. Johnston believes that if he gets in with the man, he can probably also make his way into the other estates Bobby’s partnered with. Bobby is two steps ahead and has Eddie on his side, meaning whatever Johnston wants from Eddie, he won’t give him, i.e., the names of the other aristocrats that Bobby works with. Johnston’s right-hand man, Stevens, looks after everything for him. Stevens hires a woman named Gabrielle to distract Jimmy and strike from the inside. Basically, he messes with the weed business so Eddie would see how much trouble it was and give it up. This is somewhat foolish because Eddie wants out of the drug business, but he never wants to sell the estate to begin with. Whatever Johnston was thinking didn’t really work in his favor. In fact, it backfired because Susie then enlisted Eddie to take care of things himself. 

In the final episode, Johnston is offered the Glass Empire. He claims that he knows that the empire is not doing so well—the weed is disappearing, there is difficulty in supplying it to Europe, etc. Susie conveniently bursts his bubble, saying they knew he was after all of that. Johnston still thinks he has the upper hand because he’s got the names of the 12 other estate owners he needs to buy out from Eddie; however, Eddie laughingly tells him that he will find that this list is spurious. It is clear that Stanley, as much as he is a gentleman—the demeanor, his fancy clothing, his opulence, and his arrogance—is still persona non grata in the British criminal underworld. Some might even say he’s more British than most British people, but that still doesn’t give him the ability to take over Bobby’s business. 

Throughout the series, Johnston does everything in his power to get along with the toffs, specifically Eddie. In the latter half of the show, Eddie asks Princess Rosanne (the minor royal) to help him bring Jonhston down, and she warns him that Johnston isn’t a good man. Eddie seems to be well aware of this fact, which is probably why he wants her help. He’s got bigger plans in mind. Nearing the end of the show, Eddie plans on eliminating all the competition to buy off Bobby’s empire. This is the biggest name of the lot, and the only one with the highest bid is, of course, Johnston, but Eddie’s made provision to get Johnston caught for tax evasion and embezzlement, and that should get the man out of the picture. Comically, this leads to Johnston sitting at a dinner table right in front of Bobby Glass in “prison.” I suppose there’s something to like in the man, because when it comes to the other names on that list, Eddie made sure they’d never be able to come back; however, with Johnston, his life is spared. This could be because of the influence of his assets or because he could possibly be a partner sometime in the future. However, this is especially strange because Johnston did put Jack’s life in danger, something nobody appreciated. 

At the end of the show, while Johnston and Glass share a fancy table in the middle of nowhere, Johnston claims one could do a lot worse, and Glass calls him a gentleman for it. This, of course, comes from a place of irony, because there may be nothing gentlemanly about anything the two of them have been up to this whole time. 

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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