(CBS) – Dr. Phil returns with for his 20th season on Monday, September 13th on CBS and available to stream on Paramount+. On this season’s premiere Dr. Phil talks to a woman whose husband died while they were on vacation in Mexico and her battle to discover the truth of what happened.
CBS’ Matt Weiss spoke to Dr. Phil about this latest episode as well as look back on 20 seasons.
MW: Dr. Phil, good to see you again. Especially since we’re just ahead of your landmark 20th season premiere. What does the 20th season mean to you?
Dr. P: Good to see you too, Matt. It’s kind of hard to wrap your head around. I think back to when this whole thing started, in this very studio, in some ways it feels like this is all I’ve ever done. In some ways it seems like it was just yesterday. Twenty seasons, we’ve done something like 17,000 guests 3,500 shows. A lot has changed since that first show until today. Society has evolved, technology has evolved, a lot of new challenges, but very excited to start this 20th season.
MW: And for that 20th season, you have an exclusive interview with Jamie Snow. Tragically her husband was found dead during their 10-year wedding anniversary vacation. How is she doing?
Dr. P: This really hits close to home for me. This man, Elijah, is a fire fighter from Arlington, TX, which is a suburb of Dallas. They had gone to Cancun to celebrate their 10th anniversary. This wasn’t their first time down there. They knew the area well. They’ve been down there many times. They went down, the first night on this trip, at four in morning, she wakes up to find him gone. He’s not in bed with her. She’s alarmed, she thinks, wow, this isn’t right. She gets up and starts looking around, even calls security. They can’t find him. It’s a huge property. One of these high-rise, all inclusive, luxury resorts. They can’t find him. Hours later. They notify her, they have found his body. He’s dead at a resort next door. He’s in an area where guests don’t go. This is way back in the mechanical area. Way back in the area that supports the resort, and his body is hanging out of a basement window. They say, oh, it’s just an accident. He got stuck in the window and it compressed his chest, and he couldn’t breathe. She doesn’t believe that. This is a fire fighter. He’s in great shape. He can tell if he can get in or out of a window or not. Why would he be going in or out of this window? It makes no sense. The police just don’t cooperate with her. She has to bribe them to even get a look at computer screen. They won’t let her see the body. She only can see a computer screen with a picture. They won’t let her see that until she bribes them. She can’t get a still photo until she bribes them more. When she finally gets to be with the body at a private funeral home. Matt, she actually has to manipulate the body herself. She has to lift it up with one hand and take pictures with her cell phone. She’s documenting bruising all over the body. She believes he was beaten to death. In order to document that, she’s down there by herself, no help, no family, no cooperation. She thinks the whole thing was covered up. There are video cameras all over the place. They say, nope, no footage. Nobody will cooperate. She has to go home and tell her two young children, I know we went down there together, but I’m home without your father because he’s dead. He’s not coming home. She of course is just devastated.
MW: Why does she think they’re being so uncooperative her?
Dr. P: She thinks the cartel is in control of the police in this area of Mexico. She thinks they’re wanting to sweep this under the rug, it just goes away, so they’re stonewalling her. They don’t want an investigation. They don’t want attention to it. They’re just trying to hopefully stonewall her; she’ll go home, and nobody will make any to do about it. That’s why she wanted to do the interview. One of two reasons. One was to draw attention to this, so he isn’t just forgotten. The other was to get help. She’s just completely coming unraveled here. She’s got these two children to raise. She can’t get past this because she feels so violated. Not only has she lost her husband, but they’re just throwing this away like it’s nothing. He wasn’t nothing and she wants to fight back.
MW: For her and anyone going through grief for that matter, what advice do you give people to manage going through such a difficult time?
Dr. P: Grief is a very individual thing. You have to meet yourself where you are on a given day. There’s not a schedule. It’s not like you should be through this in three months or six months. It’s not something you get over. It’s just something you get through. I think people just need to realize that healing and finding a way to live your life and find some peace and joy is not a betrayal of the person you lost. You have to ask yourself, what would they want you to do. And with these two children to raise she has to find a way to heal her heart and be there for her children. I think sometimes people feel very guilty when they move to the next level. It’s not a reflection of how much you love or didn’t love your lost one. When you find a way to accommodate it doesn’t mean you’ve gotten over the person. You just find a way to adapt to it and make it part of your reality. She’ll never forget him. I encourage her to make him part of their narrative. Don’t hide this, don’t let the children forget him, talk about him at holidays. Keep his picture up, don’t ever let them forget him. Understand that it will take time.
MW: You’ve helped so many people throughout the years and taught so many people so many lesson. Last question before I let you go, what would you say is the biggest lesson that you’ve learned yourself?
Dr. P: Working with the people that I have, I really learned that people truly, truly want to live their best life and do the best thing, but sometimes we get into these situations and it’s hard to take an objective view of your own life. When you can step back and see it, maybe somebody else is living that same situation or you see your life up on that big screen, it can be a big wake up call. It’s real hard to look at your own face for example; you’re not that fast. If you can step out of your own life and look back at it, you go, oh wow, I can do something about this. I think giving people some objectivity, giving them an opportunity to look at their own lives and recognize, I can do better. I can change this. I have more to offer to myself, my family, my friends, my community. I think that has been a really great lesson for me. I’m an incurable optimist about the human spirit. I think that’s been so inspiring to me to see how people fight back and make real changes in their lives.
MW: Especially after the last few years, I think we can all use some incurable optimism.
Dr. P: Ain’t that the truth.
MW: Thank you so much for the time Dr. Phil, always a pleasure!
Dr. P: Thanks, Matt.
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