Friday, January 30, 2009

Lie To Me

As I wrote on Thursday, I recently watched the first two episodes of the new TV show Lie To Me. I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed the show. Among other things, it appealed to my geeky nature :)

The premise of Lie To Me is a group of human lie-detectors take on various clients who are in search of the truth. They go far beyond just determining truth verses lie though. As stated in the first episode, "The question is not 'Is someone lying?', it's 'Why?'." Thus the House-esque Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) and his partner Gillian Foster (Kelli Williams) go about investigating the people and situations surrounding the case, as well as interviewing the suspected liar.

Two features of the show particularly tickle my geeky fancy. The first is that they explain the science of lie detection to us as they are using that science, and they manage to do so in a graceful way. In the first episode they hire a "natural", a person who can detect lies by instinct. Ria Torres (Monica Raymund) has no training in the science of lie detection. She just knows when people are lying. As the experts work they explain their scientific take on lie detection to Ria, and hence to us.

The second thing is one which will some day date this show, but is highly amusing at the moment. They frequently show pictures of the suspects showing some emotion: scorn, deception, fear, etc. They will also show the same expression on pictures of celebrities and politicians. It's highly amusing to see pictures of people like Bill Clinton and Simon Cowell with those emotions reflected so clearly on their faces.

It will be interesting to see how Lie To Me develops as a show. I think they are off to a great start :)


Anonymous said...

Some of the techniques on the show are going to come in handy when the politicians and business types appear on tv to 'reassure' everyone that they're on the up-and-up.

Anastasia said...

I know what you mean :)

I teach at a university, and I keep wondering if I'll be able to notice when my students are lying. The tricky part seems to be that the signals happen very quickly, and of course I do not have my conversations on tape like the experts in the show do.

Mike Arnzen said...

Fun blog!

Awhile back, I bookmarked a 'how to detect lies' website when researching for a fiction story. Here's the link:

The think appealing about Lie to Me is that it is all the stuff of a cop show without relying on the crutch of a murder. And it's sort of like House meets Bones. And it's got Tim Roth. And it's well written. Hope it sticks around!

Anastasia said...

Mike did you see last night's episode? :)

I hope it sticks around too!