Dr. Cal Lightman
(S02E10) "...everybody does it because it feels all right, and it's more polite, but a lie's still a lie even when it's white..." - Loker
With the fall TV season slowly winding down, it was a pleasant surprise when Fox announced that Lie To Me's fall finale would air practically halfway into December. Now that the episode has come and gone and the TV schedules are becoming more and more barren over the coming weeks, I'm already wishing that Fox would just make up their minds and figure out when the final twelve episodes of the season will start airing. While "Tractor Man" wasn't Cal and the gang's strongest outing, it was still a solid reminder why Lie To Me has become so much more than just another crime procedural.
(S02E09) "She's the female equivalent of roulette and you like the view." - Foster
There's always a potential for screw-ups when networks start airing episodes out of the producers intended order (see NBC and their goofs with Detective Crosetti's death in season three of Homicide), but Lie to Me seems to have avoided that sort of miscalculation despite FOX's shuffling of the season order. That is, until "Fold Equity" aired last night. Originally set to air during Fox's Simpsons week (catch the Sideshow Bob reference?), "Fold Equity" didn't drop the ball on anything as major as a character's death, but more than once during the hour it felt as though we were taking some giant steps backward.
(S02E08) "You believe in Santa Claus?" - Lightman
Ho Ho Ho... you're going to Afghanistan. Not exactly a Christmas present to be happy about. Having said that, Cal must surely be happy about what he accomplished in last night's episode of Lie to Me.
Sent to a US Marines outpost in the middle of the desert near Kabul, Cal was tasked with uncovering the truth about a deep-cover US operative who got left for dead and had to join to Taliban to survive. Cal was able to get plenty of info from his subject about two missing Marines but we ended up learning far more about Dr. Lightman as a result of his methods.
(S02E06) "You work here. I know everything." - Lightman
Looks like we've got a bit of a trend going on here. Just a few weeks ago, we got a glimpse into Cal's seedy criminal past and now we got a taste of what Reynolds was up to before he became the FBI liaison to The Lightman Group.
As enjoyable as a one-off case on Lie to Me can be, it's way more interesting when Cal starts using his talent on the people working in his own office. There's more than enough material to mine here and hopefully there's more of this in the future.
(S02E05) "It's always the popular ones who think they can get away with murder." - Loker
Easily the best episode of Lie to Me to date, I have to wonder -- I can't be the only out there who's just dying to know more about Cal's past, right? Lennie James guest-starred as Terry Marsh, one of Cal's old crime pals and his arrival created so many questions that have just pushed aside anything else going on at The Lightman Group. Unless Gillian or Loker turn out to be serial killers from past lives, nothing else really matters right now besides Cal's history.
(S02E04) "If we don't do exactly what this guys says, he will kill Cal." - Foster
Looks like it didn't take long for Cal's decision to buy out Zoe to catch up to The Lightman Group. Cash poor, Cal has been relegated to handling simple, pedestrian cases that do nothing more than bring in a paycheck. As the episode opened, there was obviously the possibility that Cal was actually at that singles mixer for himself, but it became clear pretty quickly what he was up to once he started grilling that blonde about marital fidelity.
Lightman looked embarrassed that he had to be doing it, but it did lead to a very heated discussion between him and Gillian. It would have been nice to see them argue a bit more about where their income will come from, but then a case that guaranteed to not pay anything wandered in the front door. Good thing, too, because it turned out to be arguably Lie to Me's strongest episode to date.
(S02E03) "So you're setting me up on a blind date with a potential murderer?" - Torres
When I first heard about Lightman's Mexican holiday via Shawn Ryan's Twitter account, I had pretty high hopes for it because as he suggested, it should be a "fun one." I assumed it would just be Cal and Emily having a grand ol' time, making fun of cabana boys when they lied about being out of pineapple juice or dark rum. There was some of that, but Cal, who always needs something to do, ending up getting embroiled in a fairly interesting case. The problem? The case that Gillian and the rest of the team got caught up in was far more intriguing and Cal wasn't there to take part of in any of it. Well... sort of.
(S02E02) "I mean, how can I not judge someone who creates their own harem and then tosses out the competition when they hit puberty?" - Foster
Already this is shaping up to be leaps and bounds ahead of season one of Lie to Me. The cases are more interesting, the writing is tighter, and most importantly, it's becoming far more personal for the employees of The Lightman Group. Every case has far more meaning when Cal and his team are in it for more than just a paycheck. That isn't to say that I'm against seeing cases like we saw in the season premiere with Erika Christensen, but finding out that Cal's daughter Emily has a connection to a statutory rape case he's investigating is far more compelling.
(S02E01) "Oh, your husband likes unprotected sex with hookers, so it might be a good time to get yourself tested for, you know, everything really." - Cal
Lies! Lies! Lies! Or are they? With the return of Lie to Me comes a whole new batch of poker faces for The Lightman Group to interpret and fortunately for us, the overall vibe of the show is a lot more believable than it used to be. If I'm going to watch a show where the lynch-pin of every episode rests on the ability of Tim Roth's Dr. Cal Lightman to negotiate all the little twists a suspect's face makes, then I better not be able to figure it out myself in the first five minutes. When I recently spoke with Roth, he said the show was a lot better now. He wasn't lying.
Lie to Me is not a show that grew on me last season. When it first premiered earlier this year, I didn't even bother watching it. I tend to shy away from mid-season replacements to begin with and something about seeing Tim Roth speaking in his normal British accent in promos for the show seemed weird to me.
Then summer arrived, TV viewing options started to dwindle, and suddenly Lie to Me became a viable option. I watched the pilot, was mildly amused, and then dropped it for over a month before I looked at another episode. At first, it wasn't that great, and now that I've had the opportunity to speak to Roth about it, it's good to know that I wasn't alone in thinking that.
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