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Survivor champ and The Challenge: USA winner Sarah Lacina called out Tony Vlachos for his real job as a police officer, eventually leading to one of the most successful alliances in franchise history, Cops-R-Us. During a recent interview, the Game Changers winner admitted production played a role in helping her discover Tony’s true identity.

Sarah Lacina reveals how producers helped her identify Tony Vlachos as a cop

Speaking to podcast Challenge Mania during a February 2023 appearance, Iowa-based investigator Sarah Lacina noticed Tony Vlachos during casting and felt he looked, dressed, and walked like a cop.

Additionally, Sarah recalled him repeatedly getting brought up in her interviews and realized producers “lit up” when she identified him as a police officer, clueing her in. When asked about using production as an edge in the game, the Iowa native noted she used her Cagayan experience with them to help her game in subsequent seasons.

For example, she pointed out that producers are “normal people” and unintentionally repeat information from conversations they’ve had with other contestants. Therefore, a player can gain “insight” into the game’s direction if they pay attention to what producers say in their interviews.

According to Sarah, she thinks other people don’t talk about outside help as they might perceive it as diminishing their win. However, the Game Changers champ disagrees because everyone also has that opportunity but doesn’t pick anything up.

Tony and Sarah formed Cops-R-Us during ‘Survivor: Cagayan’

After initially denying his status as a police officer, Tony finally admitted it to Sarah, and they formed a secret alliance, Cops-R-Us.

The Iowa native intended to remain loyal to him but flipped once she heard him announce a final five that didn’t include her.

She tried to play the middle ground and enjoyed her spot as a swing vote, but it quickly backfired, resulting in her becoming the merge boot.

Regardless, Sarah voted for Tony to win, who did when Woo Hwang controversially took the strategic player to the end. The two returned for Game Changers, which Sarah won, but they didn’t work together as they started on opposing tribes, and Tony was voted out on Day 6.

Cops-R-Us resurfaced in ‘Survivor: Winners at War’

Their alliance resurfaced in Winners at War when they began at the same camp, and they engineered the first three votes after the merge.

Despite Tony secretly eliminating Sarah’s close ally Sophie Clarke, the two continued working together until they were pitted against one another in the fire-making challenge at the final four.


‘The Challenge’: Sarah Lacina on Why She ‘Doesn’t Come Across Well’ on TV, Says Her ‘Funny Side’ Isn’t Shown

He pulled out the victory, sending his ally home a second time. Sarah cast her vote for Tony again, whose dominant gameplay won in a 12-4-0 vote, making him the second two-time champ.

Because either Sarah or Tony has won all three times they’ve competed, the alliance is considered one of the most successful. While he hasn’t returned to reality TV yet, she recently appeared on CBS’s new competition series, The Challenge: USA, and won. Survivor airs on CBS and is streaming on Paramount+.