After a few weeks of almost larger-than-life cases, American Greed gets back to the CNBC series’ roots this week with “The Imposter,” which details the case of Ed Shin. It’s more like the classic episodes that made this show so addictive in the first place, while also feeling like it borrowed some pages from The First 48.
The action opens with Shin being pursued by a private investigator for the innocuous offense of skipping out on his rent. But in true American Greed fashion, his perfect life is far from actually perfect. In fact, it’s potentially homicidal, as the investigator uncovers that Shin’s business partner Chris Smith has gone missing. An email claims that Smith cashed out of their company to go sail the world, but is that really true, especially when that’s the only way his loved ones can reach him?
This isn’t just a financial crime story; it’s a potential murder investigation story, and like The First 48, this hour of American Greed knows how to put together a compelling whodunit. We see early on how the system failed and where the clues were, and learn that Smith isn’t the first person that Shin crossed. Hearing directly from some of his other acquaintances is particularly compelling because it’s always more impactful to get information on these cases first-hand. When you add it all up, it leaves you wondering how it took so long for Ed Shin to face the music.
But this is a story most CNBC viewers won’t know and that’s the biggest thing he has going for it. American Greed has done some more high-profile cases recently (the McStay family, El Chapo) and while those have been entertaining episodes, the fundamental appeal of the show is what we don’t know and opening up the world of white-collar crime to viewers. Ed Shin’s story offers everything the audience could possibly want, and makes us just a little bit smarter about this type of criminal behavior. It’s one of the best episodes of the whole season.
American Greed airs Mondays at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on CNBC. Watch the first ten minutes of this episode above.
Article content is (c)2020-2021 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr, on Instagram at @BFTVGram.