Lou Bloom is a sociopath who is trying to establish a video news company. He hires Rick, a kid from the streets, as his assistant and 2nd cameraman. At first Lou intends to pay Rick nothing, instead offering an 'internship'. But after Rick argues that he needs the money even to make it to work, Lou grudgingly offers him $30 per day.
Time goes on and the financial situation of Lou's company improves. Some time after upgrading from Lou's Toyota Tercel to a Dodge Challenger, the matter of money is raised again, and Lou asks Rick what he thinks is a fair rate. Rick equivocates, obviously unsure of how much he should ask for, and ends up asking for $75 a day, to which Lou 'seals it with a hand shake'.
Soon after this, Rick suggests to Lou that he could have asked for more, and asks Lou to confirm. Given Lou is a sociopath (who like to retain tight control of the people around them) I expected him to say something like:
No, the company is struggling at the moment, and we really can't afford more.
Not until you can tell me with confidence that you are worth more, and prove it with your film footage.
Instead, he just says:
Leaving Rick somewhat out of sorts. This made me go 'huh?'..
Another aspect of their news gathering had changed as well. Lou has managed to capture a crime scene, complete with images of the criminals and their car. Instead of giving the information to the police and risk them arresting the assailants 'off camera' (and in a boring way), Lou opts to track them down, follow them, and call the police when things are 'more interesting'.
Apparently a large reward has been offered for the capture of the men, and this comes up while Lou and Rick are waiting for one of the bad guys to show up at his car. Rick is deeply offended that Lou is paying him $75 a day while keeping the $50,000 reward, and demands half of it in order to keep him 'on board' with Lou's questionable morals and tactics.
After a very short argument, Lou agrees to that! This had me thinking: What the..?!?
The reason that Lou caved in so fast to offering Rick half the reward was because..
..he never intended to pay it. Instead setting up Rick to be murdered that night on camera.
But it made me wonder: when had Lou decided to set that up?
He claims to Rick later, that he was upset with Rick making a deal then asking for more, but his actions seemed driven to force a confrontation between them from the moment he told Rick (so flippantly) that Rick had cheated himself out of more money. This would suggest that he might have been working on a plan to get a 'killer close' for his report, ever since capturing the footage of the criminals.