It gets going with the kind of thing we’ve seen so many times before, in Netflix shows like Squid Game: The Challenge. A group of strangers is assembled, generally in a remote location, and they fight to get closer week by week toward a cash prize that only one of them will ultimately take home. Along the way, alliances are frayed. Tears and back-stabbing make for high drama. The contestants, week-by-week, also vote each other off the show.
Netflix’s The Trust, however, pulls a switcheroo and puts that familiar ending at the beginning this time. The 11 players are told from the get-go that no one has to go home in this show, and that they’re getting the prize up front: A quarter of a million dollars, split evenly 11 ways. Give yourselves a round of applause. Let’s all go home. Simple, right?
Well, yes, it would be — if human nature wasn’t a factor here. Contestants are given the opportunity to vote each other off of The Trust (anonymously, of course), which does two things: Someone going home increases the money available to everyone else, since the departing player’s share goes back into the pot. But it also sows division and distrust among the group, making additional eliminations likely.
“Over eight episodes,” Netflix explains about the show hosted by former CNN correspondent Brooke Baldwin, “the contestants will get to know each other’s backgrounds and personality traits through a series of tests designed to expose who’s a team player and who’s out for themselves. And The Trust: A Game of Greed doesn’t make it easy, as in each round players gain access to The Vault, where they will be tempted with an offer that either benefits them individually or the group as a whole.
“But whether they choose to share their decision with the rest of the team or keep the details to themselves is entirely up to them. Will the players put their differences aside and band together? Or will greed tear them apart?”
Reality content like this is increasingly… I don’t want to say “valuable” to Netflix, but at a time when all of the streamers want to spend less on content as they shift to a focus on revenue and profit, programs like The Trust just make a lot of sense. They’re cheap to produce, compared to something like The Crown or Stranger Things; no actors’ salaries to pay; and they make for the kind of mindless bingeing that keeps people hooked to their Netflix app.
Moreover, you can slice this kind of idea six ways from Sunday and keep generating new show possibilities. Example: If the dynamic inherent in The Trust sounds interesting to you, an even better example of it in action is Netflix’s The Devil’s Plan — a Korean reality competition series that, no joke, was one of my favorite releases of 2023 (which you can read more about right here).