Telly Thursday Lies To Tim Roth

Posted on June 17, 2010

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It didn’t work. He saw through it. Right, smack bang, straight through the shiny lying centre of it.

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We told him we thought his newly returned Fox spinner Lie To Me was pedantic, protracted and petty damn stupid. But apparently our microsecond long shoulder shrug signified that we had no confidence in what we were saying.

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I want this man to come to Vegas with me. But then that won’t work because as we saw toward the end of the first half of Season 2, he’s been banned from there. Of all the rotten luck…

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Sky One last Thursday saw the return of one of Fox’s more recent ‘smart-series’. Season One premiered in America, taking up a TV slot following one of their biggest hitters House MD which is ironic in a couple of ways. The comparisons drawn between the two series are one thing. The two main character’s opinions on lying is the other. (Is anyone else praying for a crossover of these two series?)

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Based on the research of American Doctor of Psychology Paul Ekman (who regularly blogs his thoughts on LTM episodes) Lie To Me follows Dr. Cal Lightman (Roth), a brilliant but eccentric deception expert as he looks for lies in peoples faces and movement. He is essentially, a human lie detector. The guy’s head would explode in Dail Eireann…

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Teamed with ex-CIA psychologist Gillian Foster (who is also the token’will they, won’t they’ love interest) and employees Loker and Torres, Lie To Me is a crime drama with a twist, slotting into the same vein as Castle, or The Mentalist.

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The latest offering from the series, the long awaited second half of Season 2, sees Lightman and Co dealing with a student serial killer whom Cal spots in the, quite frankly, brilliant opening sequence of the newest episode.

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Season 2 so far has been a much tighter affair than its predecessor. I thoroughly enjoyed Season One and loved the slow motion pointing out of the actions which Lightman was basing his assumptions on. So too did I like the use of celebrity stills to compare to suspects’ actions, Nixon and Dick Cheney being two regulars. The latter is something that the creators have reverted back to as we’ve had such stills in the two newest episodes whereas in early Season 2 they had all but disappeared.

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In another way though, Season 2 has developed the characters, particularly Lightman, that bit further than Season 1 did, which, while enjoyable, could really be accused of playing it safe. Season 2 so far has seen Lightman almost physically abuse a schizophrenic girl into switching personas; trotted him off to Afghanistan for the craic; brought his gambling addicted self to Vegas for more craic, and the latest offering sees him suffering a form of torture known as waterboarding. In addition to this, Tim Roth’s accent has become increasingly more ‘cockney’ as the episodes go on and you can be sure that American audiences are having a field day with it.

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Either way, Season 2 has taken Lightman out of the comfort zones of Season 1 and his character is developing into someone we might not really like a whole lot but still, somehow, do. That’s another similarity between this show and comparison drawer House.

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Lie To Me is a clever series. While its second season has been reported to have dropped in ratings, the episodes are pacier and edgier than the first season where really only one episode filled a viewer with any kind of worry or intensity (Blinded). The removal of both Lightman and Foster’s other halves also serves to keep the inevitable drove of ‘shipper’ fans happy as well. (Though he’s going through a phase of sleeping with clients so they probably won’t like that…)

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Lie To Me was a series that was somewhat in doubt up until about March of this year, when, following the mid season break, the heat was on the creators to ensure that they were picked up for the second half of that season. Following the recent cancellations of high profile shows like Ugly Betty and slow burner Flashforward, it seems that succeeding a US TV pick-up should very well give you the licence to hit the beer for a month. Double celebrations then as it was also recently announced by Fox that Lie To Me had been picked up for a third series to air next summer.

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Best we get some practice in on our lying before then.

Posted in: Reviews