The art and ethics of a surprise interview

60 Minutes doesn’t show up unannounced very often. Here’s why Bob Simon decided to surprise this man on his doorstep

60 Minutes doesn't show up unannounced very often. But this week, Bob Simon and producer Katherine Davis decided to surprise their subject on his doorstep. Surprise-- you're on 60 Minutes!

The scene harks back to the early days of 60 Minutes when Mike Wallace was famous for ambushing conmen and crooks, chasing them down with camera crews and a list of tough questions. It's an interview method that the show uses sparingly these days. Why was it necessary for Simon and the crew to leap out with the cameras this week?

In the above video feature, Simon and Davis discuss the ethics and art of the surprise interview--- and take us behind-the-scenes on their plan to "bump into" Barry Landau, a self-styled presidential historian who stole thousands of priceless historic documents from archives and libraries across the country.

Editor's Note: This segment was originally published Oct. 28, 2012.

ccsurpriseintv1920.jpg
Bob Simon and Barry Landau
CBS News

The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App