Lie To Me Review: The Eyes Have It

May 14, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

453large_lietome-300x210LIE TO ME, Thursday 14th May, Sky One, 10.00pm Alert Me

Finally, a show that leaves me itching for the next episode. This hasn’t happened since I saw the pilot for Heroes (which I then started to get annoyed with halfway through the second series… old characters, new characters, twenty-five interesecting storylines – and we’re meant to keep up?!).

Despite an over-saturation of “science/detective” shows like Bones, Without A Trace and the big daddy that is CSI (I have a shrine to Gil Grisholm – no word of a lie), Lie To Me manages to pay tribute to it’s respected predecessors, yet still seem remarkably fresh.

After watching Tim Roth recently in Skellig, I have to admit that I was sceptical about this show. I was beginning to think Sky had drawn poor Rothy into a two-for-one credit crunch TV deal, like he was worth little more than a tin of Sainsbury’s Basics beans. How wrong I was. Lie To Me is captivating if not formulaic and Roth’s performance is reminiscent of his Tarantino days – a distinct upgrade from the quality of Skellig (to be fair to him though, he was playing an exhausted two-dimensional winged freak).

On the surface, body language and microexpression specialist Cal Lightman’s blas√© nonchalance is a mere hop, skip and a jump away from the realms of Hugh Laurie in House. But at his core is a deep-rooted need to be a decent human being, however infuriating this might be to his colleagues. With such a killer series concept – that “emotions look the same whether you’re a suburban housewife or a suicide bomber” , the script has had to be slick. When Cal and Gillian approach Ria Torres with a job offer they ask whether she has had any formal deception training. “I’ve dated a lot of men, ” she replies. Nice.

In terms of characters and thematic undertone, Lie To Me has all the standard fare  Рa plucky Latina, a sexy geek, the saucy unobtainable MILF and a particle storm of sexual tension between the main cast that could at any minute explode into orgy.

The best thing about the show was the heady combination of entertainment and education – it was like an adult version of Sesame Street (sans muppets). I would have never known that when a man scratches his nose (due to an itch caused by erectile tissue), it means that he’s hiding something. Lightman’s ability to manipulate others based on their secret smiles and sideways glances makes him akin to a superhero. I could only imagine what it would be like to possess such a skill. I’d see through the facade of any cheating partner, know if that dress really did look good on me and exactly how to repel that creepy guy in the office (you know who you are).

Crooks and cheaters beware – if this show gets big then your evil plans are scuppered.

The truth really is written all over our faces.

Sally McIlhone