As the title indicates, the show focuses on larger-than-life robberies and the stories behind them. Where American Greed is often about scams and con games that are more covert and usually not national stories, this program is telling tales that are as big as possible. It doesn’t get much bigger than the series premiere, “All the President’s Money,” which involves both Jimmy Hoffa and Richard Nixon.
The real hook of Super Heists, though, isn’t the premise. It’s that the show offers first-hand testimony from both the criminals and the law enforcement personnel involved. It’s great to have both points of view to compare and contrast (although there is a slight danger of lionizing the criminals by the sheer nature of the show, wanting to make their cases seem as impressive as possible). At least in the first episode, both sides are surprisingly honest about the what and the why, and not trying to grandstand for the TV cameras.
Even on American Greed, it’s rare to hear from the perpetrators, so Super Heists has that going for it. It should appeal to that same TV audience since it also combines crime and the financial world. The question will be how many great episodes it can produce this season; the title of the show sets the bar pretty high for the types of cases, and its success really rests on the personalities of the people that it interviews.
But when everything works, as it does in this first episode, it’s great popcorn TV. Audiences who miss American Greed or who like caper movies will definitely want to check out Super Heists, which is a small-screen version of a caper film if the movie had commentary from the characters. Once again the network is giving audiences the inside track on how the financial world intersects with the true crime genre, and this might be the most fun show CNBC has premiered.
Interested viewers can watch the first 10 minutes of tonight’s series premiere below, courtesy of CNBC.
Brittany Frederick has worked 20 years as a professional journalist, reaching millions of readers worldwide with thousands of articles. Her one goal is to meet Jonathan Groff, but she’s sung with Adam Levine and gone 200 MPH with Mario Andretti. Email her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @tvbrittanyf.