The Cheaters TV show focuses on private investigators catching spouses and significant others in acts of infidelity. It’s suspenseful, shocking and sometimes a little raunchy. Some of the behavior presented on the show is outright disturbing, and all of this has combined to create a recipe for a highly successful television series. But is this all just play-acting for the camera, or are the events that take place on the Cheaters TV show actually real?
Let me preface this post by saying I do not question the professionalism or integrity of the investigators who participate in the Cheaters TV show in any way and I have no ill feelings toward the program either. This blog is not about them it is about answering the seemingly simple question – Is the Cheaters TV Show real?
I admit I had not seen the program so I had to conduct some research when I heard some of the comments about the Cheaters TV show and what happens. Some of what I heard made me envious of other investigators and other things I heard concerned me.
The series has been running for fourteen years straight, so clearly they are doing something right in television world. However, throughout the history of the show there has been much drama – drama that has probably kept the show alive when it normally would have slipped in television’s past. For instance, the host was stabbed…or was he? I indicate doubt here because Inside Edition did some research and could not verify the ambulance company or hospital that supposedly treated the host. The host himself has never confirmed the stabbing, which aired on television.
Additionally, actors have come forward saying they were paid to be “detectives” on the Cheaters TV show. Producers of the show deny those allegations and the FCC confirmed to the Houston Press that;
…there’s no law or regulation against presenting acted-out scenarios as reality on television.
There have also been a couple of law suits intermingled with criminal charges stemming from activity in front of the camera as well as behind the camera for those involved with the Cheaters TV show. I suppose that is to be expected from a program that provides enough entertainment value to withstand 14 years on air.
The Cheaters.com website looks like it must have some sort of cult following. They have a Cheaters store where you can purchase items such as “Cheaters” T-shirts and “Busted’ T-shirts, but there are also quizzes and games and items you normally would associate with a happy and enjoyable enterprise. But this is not reality. We have worked infidelity cases and they are not happy moments for anyone. I do not know why the participants would want their worst moments in life left on the big screen, Jerry Springer style.
But back to the question – is the Cheaters TV show real? First things first; when cameras are present, and everyone goes into makeup, lighting, etc., ask yourself; how can this be real? Would you act differently in front of a camera than you do in your own home? Of course you would.
This does not mean the incidents of infidelity are not real and for the most part I believe that they are. But I also believe there may be some embellishing going on to address the slow periods where things are not happening.
From the Private Investigator Standpoint Working in the Real World
The resources used in “catching” the cheaters on this show are high-tech and absolutely enviable. In the real world when someone wants to determine if their spouse or significant other is cheating you may get one investigator to do the work. It is truly the exception that you can get two but I have worked cases and seen cases where three or even four investigators are used but they are truly exceptions to the rule.
Of course, the person requesting the investigation has to pay for it and when they find out how much it costs and how much resources are used to have two, three, or even four investigators on the job, they can suddenly be happy with just the one.
You may never see this on television at all and certainly not on the Cheaters TV show, but if you have one investigator following suspected cheaters (AKA suspects and companions) it is difficult to actually outline all of the things that can go wrong. On television when you are following someone you seem to be able to stay right behind them for as long as necessary and not be noticed, never miss a traffic light and always get the best parking spot.
The truth is that following someone by yourself is generally wrought with problems. Having one car between your vehicle and the suspects’ car when they go through a yellow light, can throw even the most seasoned investigator. Or, the person in front of you is excessively slow, you’re done. End of game.
Of course, a skilled investigator can anticipate better than a novice so some will follow better than others but any detective who says they have not lost someone when following alone is lying. The reality is that Cheaters television program has multiple vehicles, staff and equipment equivalent to a large-scale FBI investigation. Since the program is for TV, money is no object and that is not reality for most private investigators and their clients.
The scary part of the show is the confrontations. I know people love this part when viewing from the comfort of their couch, but this is not the case in the real world. In the real world we do not have security present to prevent someone from seriously injuring the other or worse. In fact, the last thing any investigator in their right mind would do would be to alert the client when and where the suspected activity is happening real time.
Fortunately, most investigators realize the liability involved if the client actually came to the location to confront the cheater. I can imagine the papers the next day, “Private Investigator …..” How did we become the story? Unfortunately, many people think that professional private investigators are reckless and regularly skirt the law, but that could not be further from the truth. We make our living at this profession and to have our license to practice revoked means no way to pay the bills. The infidelity cases I have worked require compassion. The client does not need to hear me calling them up at 2AM and giving them a real time account of activity, which is a regular occurrence on the Cheaters TV show. This type of behavior seems cruel and unusual to me., and in the real world we have what we call a “24 hour rule.” No matter what we find or don’t find, the client does not hear about it for 24 hours until clearer heads prevail.
Are the actual events on the Cheaters TV show real? Yes – at least for the most part. Is the show entertaining? Yes. But is it reality?
Not from this professional investigator’s viewpoint….