“Lie to Me”, a Spring 2009 television series, stars Tim Roth as a genius human lie detector who solves cases for money. It’s essentially “House M.D.” without the medical parts (funny enough, “House” has relatively little ‘medical’ for being a ‘medical drama’). This parallel can be summed up by the common theme – everybody lies. One might think this premise would get real boring real quick, leaving the writers scrambling to come up with new twists on “he’s lying!” in later episodes. Surprisingly, they actually throw the twists in right from the get-go.
You see, telling whether someone’s lying is all too easy for the main character, Dr. Lightman. As such, the question is more often why, rather than if, someone is lying. What are they lying about? Are they telling the truth, but are anxious about something else? Can someone lie for noble reasons? All of these are addressed in the first handful of episodes, making for a thrilling ride as the series dives into this sea of questions.
Overall, the production value is very good, the ideas presented are interesting, and the characters are unique enough to make you want to find out more about them. My main complaints are the exposition. The Lightman painfully explains every little detail of his method, as if he’s surrounded by idiots. The suspects under interrogation overexaggerate their ‘tells’ to an excruciating degree. What’s worse is that this is usually followed up by several quick cuts to stock footage of celebrities and public figures performing the same or ‘micro-expression’, as Lightman is fond of saying’), as if to say to the audience, “Look, look! This isn’t all just made-up B.S.! Really.” I understand that these things are present to keep the viewer up-to-speed, but that knowledge doesn’t make it any more bearable.
In the end, “Lie to Me” is a very watchable and even engaging show, despite its few nauseating quirks.