By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
To protect this investment, all clients sign a contract. Goldstein pulls Margie's paperwork from under a pile of papers and folders on his desk. "This document is very, very clear. And we give them all the time in the world that they need to sign it."
He flips to the second page, runs a finger down to Section 11, and reads. "I understand that producer shall incur financial and other obligations in reliance upon this agreement, including without limitation my agreement to participate in the materials."
Blah, blah, blah, he ellipses through the paragraph to: "In the event that I breach any representation, warranty, or agreement..." He stops reading. "Well, anyway, technically they have to pay us back."
Goldstein argues that it's not in the show's best interest to misrepresent anything, especially to the clients. "I want them to know how the show works. If they are confident with what's going on, they'll be less inclined to disappear on us at the last minute."
Goldstein has a plan to keep Margie from disappearing. Danny Gomez has agreed to bring along other family members to the second interview -- Margie's brother and her 19-year-old daughter. This scenario isn't the norm, but it might save this particular episode, especially if Margie bails. Maybe her family will want to step in and confront her husband in her stead.
In order for that to happen, Goldstein instructs the cameramen to tape them giving their names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth -- and, of course, their permission to use their images in case a release can't be obtained later.
The funny thing is, Margie's threatening to balk and she doesn't know yet about the surveillance footage of her husband kissing another woman. Margie spent the morning in church and has decided to let God, not Bobby Goldstein, take care of everything.
"We have found that if we inform clients of the suspect's misconduct and give them too long to stew over it, they will lose their chili and screw up the bust," Goldstein says, explaining why he has yet to show Margie the tape. "Which, I guess, is selfish, but they will also put themselves in a vulnerable position before they have a chance to take the aggressive offensive."
But isn't that a form of misrepresentation?
"That's for their own protection."
A few hours later, Margie has decided she wants nothing to do with busting her husband. She sits in the back seat of a bronze Suburban; she is a statue of grief. Her daughter tries to comfort her. In front of them is a silent TV monitor. Margie doesn't want to confront anyone -- not her husband, not the alleged mistress.
But that's not what Goldstein wants. He walks up to the truck, and his manner is calm. He speaks in a slow, measured tone. He will say anything to Margie to get her to participate.
"It's a private matter, but it became a public matter when you invited us in," he tells her. "We have a lot of money tied up. Pay us by your cooperation. I know I'm being selfish, but you're our queen. We're your soldiers. You deserve it."
This goes on for what feels like hours but actually lasts less than 12 minutes, the amount of time Cheaters expects to give to Margie's entire story. Goldstein tries guilt: "We have about $7,000 or better tied up in manpower just tonight." He threatens: "I don't want to have a contract dispute with you, because that's not really what I'm about, but...the document that you signed, which I don't even like to point out, but that it does provide that I can sue you." He offers revenge: "Hopefully, I can get you to muster up enough strength to put the finishing...touch on this." He offers comfort: "I think you would be more vulnerable in private than you would be now with all of us by your side."
Someone suggests turning off the cameras to give the family some time to themselves. Goldstein agrees and calls "an executive session" among him, his operatives, and the family members. After some time, Margie eventually exits the executive session. Goldstein is happy.
The bust is on.
Because of the delay in getting Margie through Act II and on to Act III, the plan for the bust changes on the fly. Another investigator has been tailing Margie's husband. He thinks Margie's husband went to his mistress' house while Margie sat in the Suburban. The tail thinks Margie's husband has now brought the woman along with him to work.
"This is going to be a fiasco," Habeeb mutters. His smile doesn't hide the concern etched into his face.
Inside the arena, the detectives have lost sight of the "other woman." Outside, darkness has fallen, and the camera crew is without the appropriate lighting -- the "sun guns" that allow them to spotlight their prey. The boom operators can't hear anything because of the pre-game revelry in the parking lot, and the show's chief security guard has disappeared to get a chopped-beef sandwich.