…tell the investigators WHERE you hid the 100k.
I tuned in to the ABC premiere of Take the Money and Run last night because the concept sounded awesome. It’s simple…two contestants are paired up, last night, two brothers, and they are given a briefcase with 100k in it and told they have 60 minutes to hid the 100k. Then, after the hour, they are taken into custody and a pair of detectives/cops then have 48 hours to find the loot. If the cops find it, they keep the loot. If the cops don’t find it, then the dudes who hid the money keep it.
Sounds cool, right?
There are also a set of interrogators who get involved by helping the detectives. Their role is to break the would-be-thieves and help aid the detectives in finding the money. This is where my main hang-up with the concept comes in to play. More on that to come.
One of the other problems is that I don’t quite understand the rules. For instance, the cops have access to phone records and GPS tracking of the vehicle that the duo is given. Do they NEED to get in that vehicle AND make phone calls? Is that a game rule? They know that both things give clues to the Detectives, you don’t want to give clues. Don’t you want to hop in a cab? Or just do something other than start handing over evidence? So, for the sake of this, I’m making three assumptions: 1. they can’t use any vehicle/transportation other than the given car. 2. there is a minimum amount of phone calls they are required to make. 3. That they must talk to the interrogators.
Those three points may be way off and this first team might just be really dumb, but it would seem like some of the stupid stuff did was to at least level the playing field for the cops.
They’ve produced six of these episodes it appears, and boy did they pick the wrong one to start. Let me see if I can describe it in a nutshell…
Brothers get briefcase. Brothers 100% commit to hiding the loot in a Mexican Restaurant because one of them knows the owner. Mexican Restaurant is closed. Brothers bury loot in a park. Brothers get picked up by police. Police are rather awful. One brother decides to say, “yup, we buried the loot in a park.”
Crazy, right? Dude can’t stand 48 hours in a jail KNOWING nothing negative will happen to him after the 48 hours?
I like the idea of the two lead Detectives keeping the money if they find it, rather than just having hired guns. If anyone has seen the Miami Vice pilot, and of course you have, you know cops need money. I still can’t believe Scottie would break Sonny’s heart and take those pay-offs. But, one of the problems is that the interrogators aren’t in on the earnings. They’re just paid show folks, I guess.
Either way, the interrogation scenes were awful. First off, the brothers absolutely didn’t try to employ the first and best tactic of stonewall the cops. Why give them more evidence, even if you’re trying to give them misdirection? So, this is why I think the contestants need to speak to the cops. I don’t know if they picked this episode to go first because someone in THE BOX confessing to a crime was awesome on Homicide: Life on the Streets, but, the interrogations last night just seemed artificial and the dude broke down more out of his own silliness than anything done to him.
I’m pretty sure he confused himself with another reality show, “I’m a Celebrity, get me out of here!” and thought snakes were about to drop into his jail cell.
But, these interrogations can be improved. One, make them more like real interviews. Even if the suspect stonewalls you right away, just go back to speaking to him later once you have, what do they call it? Oh yeah, EVIDENCE?
What if they had got stonewalled and then the detectives narrowed the search down in some way, so, the interrogators take that back to the suspects. At some point, for most people, the instinct of, oh man, I need to steer this guy in the wrong direction does come in to play. If the cops hint around the locale of the briefcase, people might have a tendency to try to out-wit the cop. And, if they don’t? Well, that’s solid criminal work by the contestants, and if we’re truly going to make a criminality show, that needs to be rewarded.
But, for the sake of television, why not try to make natural incentives for the suspects to try and out-wit the cops? For instance, bonus money if they are able to steer the police down a false lead. Like people wouldn’t want to try that?
Here’s how the investigation last night broke down: Cops follow some bad leads. Interrogators did some decent work with the phone records. Suspect gives up the location. The cops won the 100k, but, at one point, they chalked off an accomplice just off him saying, “oh, yeah, they left here with a briefcase.” The cops also went with the strategy of “walk around near where the suspects were when arrested…no briefcase, ok, walk around by the beginning.”
The other thing, the GPS tracking was interesting. Obviously done to level the playing field and necessarily so. You do want to avoid the needle in the haystack concept in order to make it a true cat-mouse game. The GPS tracking showed the route the suspects took, without showing how long they stayed in a particular spot, which was good.
So, anyway, kind of a weak episode, but, great concept. I’ll watch the next couple episodes and see if the next teams are more effective…and maybe get a better sense of what the actual rules are. If you were on the show, how would you hide the money?