Wednesday, September 7, 2011



The season finale of Take The Money And Run took us out with one of our most suspenseful episodes. Hiders Kathryn Waltz and Anthony Fanelli ran Mary and I and our detectives, Mike Byrne and John Scalise, all over Chicago in a chase for the briefcase . . . But we were almost there, folks – 200 yards away from the briefcase with $100,000 when time ran out.

But here’s the dirty little secret about Episode 6: Our season finale of Take The Money And Run was actually the first episode shot – as the series pilot –
over a year ago!

While the producers had done some partial dry runs and simulations of the Take The Money And Run format, this episode was the first time the game was being run for real, and there were still a few bugs to be shaken out. As a result, there were some specific differences between this episode and the others, which we started shooting six months later.

First, our local detectives in this episode were not contestants. Even if Mike and John had managed to snag the briefcase at the last second, they wouldn’t have won the money. Nobody would have won the money – which would have left the episode with a very flat feeling. Realizing this, the producers adjusted the format for all the following shows – making the detectives contestants and ensuring a winner every episode. This new wrinkle also gave added incentive to the local detectives.

Second, how many of you noticed we didn’t get the GPS route in this episode? All we were given was the start point and the end point (along with the usual phone records and receipts) of the hiders’ route – talk about lost in the woods – and we still managed to get within 200 yards of the briefcase by the end of the 48 hours. Realizing the difficulties we encountered in this episode, we were given the GPS route (without showing any stops) in the following episodes.

Thirdly, you couldn’t tell it from the way this episode was edited, but there was another member of or investigative team – our very own computer guru. This fine young man (you can see his back in a couple of scenes) did all our computer searches (social networks, real estate records, public phone indexes, etc.). However, once the detectives became contestants, game show legal rules dictated they would have to do all the computer work themselves – thus, our computer guru from this episode found himself on the cutting room floor.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this was the first time Mary and I were thrown into the middle of the Take The Money And Run madness. We were literally flying by the seat of our pants and making things up as we went along. Knowing we didn’t have true guilt or the threat of long-term incarceration to use as interrogatory hammers, we were having to clean the rust off of some of our more subtle interrogation techniques to get to the information we wanted.

A shout out to Kate and Anthony who played the game as seriously as we did (and to John and Vinnie – you know who you rascals are). We appreciated them and their subsequent friendship once all was said and done – even if one of the hardest things Mary and I have ever had to do was put smiles on our faces when Zen walked in and gave them the money . . .

By the time we were filming the two San Francisco episodes in January of this year, Mary and I had found our sea legs. We realized there was some wiggle room within the interrogation parameters of the game we didn’t have legally in the real world – things we could take advantage of in breaking down contestants like Paul Bustamante (who was a lot tougher than he looked in the episode edit).

So, we walked out of San Francisco with two wins under our belts, feeling a little cocky, only to run into Jimmy and Zuly in Miami in February who really played hardball against us to win the money.

However, with the help of detective contestants George and Manny, we came back again in the second Miami episode against the South Beach sisters, Rebecca and Jenny. Then, in March, our luck held against Beau and Ron back in Chicago.

Finishing the season with 4 wins in 6 episodes made us feel pretty good – professional pride intact – a record we couldn’t have achieved without the help of the local detective contestants, some almost sleepless nights during the 48 hours of the games, and a lot of prior experience cracking suspects in the real world.

Much thanks to everyone who has watched and supported us this season. Mary and I have enjoyed interacting with you on ABC’s live chats, on the various call-in radio shows we’ve been participated in, on our blogs, and on all the various social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter. Please stay in touch. It has been a blast.

We are still awaiting word from ABC about a second season – our fingers are obviously crossed. As soon as we know, we’ll let you know.


  1. I think you and Mary need to tone it down some for future episodes. It's uncomfortable, and sometimes painful, to watch. You seem to forget that this is a Game Show, and that these are not real criminals.

    The major factors are OK, but yes, allow call-to-call -- that's clever, and we want clever hiders going against clever cops.

    Understand, no-one -- not one person -- is rooting for you and Mary. We'll root for hard-working cops, or hiders who "break" the interrogators (the episode with Zuly and her husband was far and away my favorite). You just come across as creepy, and Mary as a little better.

    Your primary motivation should be to make good TV, not be so focused on the job.

  2. Thanks for your remarks, Jeff. I disagree with your opinion, but to each his own. Thx for watching and for checking in . . .

  3. It is uncomfortable. And that is part of the drama.

    Ordinarily, interrogators have other tools in the their tool belts as Bish had pointed out.

    For me, the techniques at times feel hackneyed... E.g. Playing people's family-of-origin stories.

    Yet, in episode 5, "cheesiness" ruled, when Rick was so easily deconstructed by Mary.

    At first, I fantasized I could beat Bish and Mary, but I'm not so sure any more. Also, I'm surprised how universally people have reacted negatively to the incarceration.


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