TV Review: ABC’s ‘Take the Money and Run’ Gets Too Goofy

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CHICAGO – The first ten minutes or so of ABC’s new reality competition series “Take the Money and Run” is relatively promising and entertaining. Then it all gets very, very silly. Not unlike watching other people stage a fake murder mystery, the foundation of “Take the Money and Run” falls away when the people involved start taking the proceedings WAY too seriously. By the end, I wasn’t sure if the entirety of the show wasn’t a complete scam. Don’t watch. Just run. TV Rating: 2.0/5.0
TV Rating: 2.0/5.0

The relatively-clever concept from the team behind “The Amazing Race” is to merge reality competition with the popular trend of police procedurals. “It’s C.S.I. meets Survivor!!” That may be a slight exaggeration, but it’s not far off. Each episode starts with a pair (brothers in the premiere) getting a briefcase worth $100,000. The pair has one hour to hide that briefcase wherever they want (it’s the city of San Francisco in the premiere but it will reportedly change locations). Then the cops have 48 hours to find it. If they don’t find it, the contestants keep the money. If they do, it goes to the cops. At their disposal are the contestant’s cell phone records, GPS tracking of their car, and, here’s where it gets goofy, 48 hours of interrogation.

The interrogators are essentially actors who carry over from episode to episode — Detective Paul Bishop and Deputy District Attorny Mary Hanlon Stone. They’re not in the running for the money and they’re clearly playing up their roles for the camera as the action of the premiere starts to weigh heavier and heavier on their faux interrogations. I say “faux” because there’s a basic oddity to what’s happening here that the producers of the show just can’t overcome. Watching fake criminals interrogated by people who can’t really arrest them (because they haven’t actually commited a crime) is just weird, especially when the criminals start to crack under the pressure. Isn’t the mental pressure of interrogation heavily dependent on actually going to jail? There’s NO CRIME here. Would you really have difficulty maintaining your cool for 48 hours if 100K was on the line? Would you really “break”?

Take the Money and Run
Take the Money and Run
Photo credit: ABC

Perhaps the contestants on “Take the Money and Run” are so deeply involved in their game that they start to take it seriously but the basic foundation of criminal and cop in that one can actually arrest the other one isn’t there and so the psychological pressure should be significantly less. Maybe I’ve overestimating but I could easily take solitary confinement and a few fake interrogations for $100K. Being worried that I might give away where I put the money is one thing but actually succumbing to pressure and confessing would never happen.

The constant threat of one of the brothers confessing in the premiere of “Take the Money and Run” makes the whole thing feel oddly fake. It’s too bad because there’s a decent idea here. It’s not always the case in an interrogation that the cop knows for a fact that the subject has committed a crime but such is the case here. The “cop” knows the “criminal” is lying. Could the criminal keep his story straight long enough to win? They didn’t need to bog it down in silly theatrics to make it effective.

Where would you hide $100k? How would you cover your tracks and what accomplices would you call in to help you? What if you only had an hour? And, if you were a cop, how would you put yourself in your opponent’s shoes? It’s a clever idea for a reality competition show but concept is only half the battle in the world of TV and the execution here goes from gripping to goofy too quickly to do anything but flee from future episodes.

“Take the Money and Run” premieres on ABC on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 at 8pm CST. content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

Anonymous's picture

I agree this show made me so

I agree this show made me so angry that Paul broke like he was really guilty and the cops acted like they figured it out which they didnt. I dont think I will like this show. the interogators are arrogant. who cares if you dont like liars its a game!I may watch an episode after someone wins and beats the cops. I hope Paul watches this and sees how wimpy he was. come on you cant be alone in your cell for 2 days? I want my mamma! waaaa. I didnt want the cops to win but I was too mad at paul and didnt think he should win either. thumbs down on this show.

Anonymous's picture

This has to be the dumbest

This has to be the dumbest show I’ve ever seen - what a colossal waste of time.

mark p 's picture

The author of this article

The author of this article hit the nail on it’s head. Fake interrogations, all actors, I am so angered that I watched this stupid show and don’t know how anyone allows this garbage on television. If you believed any of it for longer than a minute which guaranteed half of middle america retards did, you should be sodomized with a curling iron! It makes me nauseous and I cant eat lunch goodbye.

Middle America's picture

Not all of middle america is

Not all of middle america is dumb, Mark. In this situation you are the one that looks like an idiot because there were no actors on this show other than the guy that hands off the case. Both of the Interrogators are actual people in law enforcement dumba$$. The guy is an LAPD detective and the woman is a district attorney. The midwest is not full of retards, there are plenty of smart people in the heartland and the city i live in is near the tops in many areas. So you should go shove it up your A$$ and eat a D***. Don’t have prejudice dude. See you in He11, from heaven of course because i live in middle america and i sure do like my jesus don’t ya know. Almost as much as i like corn, inbreeding, flat things, hot dish, yarn museums, spam, ugly women, fat truckers, baldness, and flannel. So in closing us midwesterners would like to give you one collective giant middle finger and you can go F*** yourself. Great article by the way i felt the same way as you and couldn’t believe that they took the interrogation seriously. I would have just kept my mouth shut for two days

Seleena's picture

Take The Money And Run Game Show On ABC

Kind of reminds me of that Richard Bachman/Stephen King book ‘The Running Man’, though no one’s trying to kill each other. Looks interesting.

Ryan's picture

I agree with you on this

I agree with you on this show… The concept seemed to have so much potential, but within minutes of seeing the first commercial for it, I began to wonder what could be held over their heads?

I mean really, what is keeping them from answering the question of “What did you do once the time stated?” with “Well first we took a trip to candy mountain. Then we got board, so we went to go play with the keebler elvs in the gumdrop forrest!” I mean really, 48 hours and that fata** couldn’t keep his mouth shut? Please, it was a damn holding cell, and he got out every hour to talk to the interrogators, so theres not even a risk of insanity setting in.

This show will be an 8 episode and done program, and no one will miss it when it is done.

GregR's picture

I thought I had missed something

When the one brother started singing like a canary, I thought I missed something that would have made him confess. All they had to do was remain silent or just lie for 48 hours and they would have won the money. This show is stupid.

Anonymous's picture

The “Brothers” are obviously actors. Even if it approached “real”, the rules are stacked in the favor of the investigators. They have to answer all questions, have to stay together, and have to hide it in a place that is accessible to anyone, 24 hours a day. That pretty much leaves parks in which to hide the money.

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