In the reality genre, it feels like most new shows of late are derivative of other ideas. Even the enjoyable ones of this past TV season, like The Voice, one would hardly say are original. Yes there are some new modifications like the blind auditions, but the crux of the show, well, we’ve seen most of it before.
Take The Money And Run is one of the more unique and fresh reality concepts I have seen in a while. The essential premise is that a team of two (siblings, husband and wife etc) have 1 hour to hide a briefcase with $100,000. Immediately after, they are apprehended by real cops who (with the help of real police interrogators) try to determine where they hid the money. The objective is simple on paper- if the cops find it, they keep the money. If not, the team does.
It’s essentially a reality version of a cop procedural, a real life suspense filled episode of cops and robbers. It’s a close ended show every week. There will esentially be a “new case” each week – new teams, new cops, new locale. The only constant that seems to hold true each episode are the real life cops/interrogators, Paul and Mary. As a viewer, I was not a fan of theirs, but that’s the intent, I believe, as the show has you rooting for the team (and against Paul and Mary). We, the viewer, immediately wonder how we would handle ourselves in the same situation. After all, on paper it seems like an easy win. But that’s what makes the show fun, as well as an interesting sociological experiment. The couple is locked up for 48 hours, seperately, with no one else to talk to. Two days in solitude plays with your mind. Over that 48 hour period Paul and Mary interrogate them and these guys are professionals. They know how to play people, as well as read them for weaknesses. ABC provided the first 2 scheduled episodes for preview and they had different outcomes, plus they had very different types of couples. As a viewer, you are really rooting for the team to pull it off and there’s suspense til the end.
While I really admire the freshness of the idea of this show, the actual show itself is fun, clever and suspenseful. In the way a procedural has a new case each week, with different twists and turns so does this show.
The show also fits right into ABCs wheelhouse for reality programming. as there is a wish-fulfillment element that is hammered home at the start and close of the ep. The couple usually needs the money for a specific, heart tugging, reason as do the local cops, some of whom have been on the force for many years. Still, I think most viewers will be rooting for the couple and putting themselves in their shoes. If the show works, it will be interesting to see how a second season will work since many tricks are revealed in these eps which were produced before there was a template for the contestants to comprehend. They were flying blind. After this show airs, that won’t be the case for future contestants.
The show is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, (and his regular producing team consisting of Jonathan Littman and KristieAnne Reed), Bertram Van Munster and the entire creative team that created and produces The Amazing Race, so you would assume correctly that it’s a well made production. Outside of the two person teams competing, it has zero in common with that show and more in common with the scripted procedural hits Jerry and co. have made for CBS. Bottom line: It’s clever and fun.
Entertainment Weekly has the first 5 minutes: take-the-money-and-run