Nev Schulman, known for the popular television program “Catfish,” joins co-host iO Tillett Wright in “MTV Suspect” to investigate secrets posed by concerned friends and family members. In each episode, loved ones who believe a secret is harming their relationship with a friend or family member call the “Suspect” squad to get to the truth. A series of investigations and emotional chats ultimately leads to reconciliation and forgiveness. “MTV Suspect” is the reverse “Catfish.” Whereas “Catfish” reveals the truth and ruins relationships, “Suspect” reveals the truth to bring people closer together. It carries the ambiance of a “Teen Mom” and “Catfish” crossover, but the morals of this show are somewhat twisted — if someone close to you is hiding a secret, is calling a television host in really the best path towards resolution?
In Washington D.C., Allen is concerned about best friend Jonathan, who has drawn away from all personal relationships, mysteriously taking prescription drugs and refusing to seek help from friends. Similarly in Texas, Kristen and Thomas struggle with their sibling relationship when Thomas suddenly moves to Indianapolis and comes into a significant amount of money after hidden and sporadic trips to California. Both cases lead to startling discoveries about one another and allow the pair to reconnect, hopefully stronger in their relationship than before. However, the show, like most reality television programs, has its flaws. Most of the cases are solved fairly easily, usually through contacting those closest to the person being investigated. “Suspect” takes about two phone calls and one in-person visit from the duo and concerned friend before the suspect comes clean about their secret. And before that, it’s easy to guess from the clues that are collected what the secret is — but that’s reality TV for you, I suppose.
“Suspect” is partially intriguing for the same reason that any reality television show is. It’s an up close and personal drama injected with a somewhat unhealthy dose of snooping into personal business. And although this drama can be slightly predictable and will act as a midday laundry and housekeeping show rather than a weekly must-watch, reconciliation as the nature of the show is refreshing when compared to the Kardashian brand we’ve become accustomed to in recent years. So as long as “Suspect” can keep bringing the heart that makes it unique, we can possibly forgive the drama and let TV pave the way for a new branch of reality television.