Monday, November 29, 2010

Lie to Me

Anyone else out there watch Lie to Me?  I started watching during the first season because the concept was interesting, stayed during the second, but I've mostly bailed on this third season.

The show revolves around world-renowned deception expert Cal Lightman.  His firm is hired by various companies, law enforcement agencies, and private citizens to find the truth about some event/crime.  He has a crack team of experts to analyze body language and micro-expressions to determine if someone is lying or not.

The first season was a bit uneven, but overall very good.  In an early episode, Lightman hires an airport security officer, Ria Torres, a natural expression reader who just needs a little training.  She is the audience surrogate who usually gets the explanation of the emerging science of micro-expressions.  Another one of Lightman's proteges is Eli Loker, a young man who practices what he calls "radical honesty" (telling the truth all the time).

Shawn Ryan (The Shield, Terriers) came in as show runner for the second season.  Under his guidance, the science aspects were downplayed a bit, but the characters got more depth and the stories were more cohesive.  We see more of the interaction between Lightman and his daughter.  His relationship with his business partner Gillian Foster is explored more.  One thing I missed during the second season was Loker's radical honesty subplot was dropped completely.

After the second season, Ryan left to oversee Terriers and his new Fox show The Chicago Code.  The new show runners have taken the show in another different direction.  Torres and Loker have been almost completely marginalized and Lightman's micro-expressions are treated as an afterthought.  Mostly, he badgers his targets until they get pissed off at his antics.  Many of the episodes I've seen end up with Lightman in a life-or-death situation with the villain who confesses everything and gets hauled away by the police.  I can see that on any number of television programs across my TV dial.

Each of the three seasons of Lie to Me have been almost completely different shows.  I may watch a couple more episodes in case the show's just in a funk, but without the micro-expression hook, the show is nothing more than another procedural with a cantankerous lead.

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