LIE TO ME: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Tim Roth stars as Cal Lightman in the second season of the unique procedural drama “Lie to Me.” After establishing himself as an expert in deception analysis, he faces some new challenges, proving that just because you can tell someone is lying doesn’t mean you know the full truth. In this season, he goes up against terrorists, the sex industry and corrupt politicians. At the same time, he struggles to maintain a healthy relationship with his attitude-prone daughter and his lawyer ex-wife.
WHAT I LIKED
Like “The Mentalist,” the catch for a series like “Lie to Me” is its unique approach. There’s tons of detective shows and procedurals out there on television, but this is the only one that uses the human lie detector approach. So the premise still intrigues me, and the writing has toned down the “explain as we go” moments, which got mighty annoying in the previous season.
I do like how they are developing some of the characters other than Lightman, in particular Dr. Foster (Kelli Williams). There’s also an effort to further develop the characters of Torres and Loker, to a lesser degree. Torres gets her own story, which features her sister in trouble, and fortunately that isn’t overblown and out-of-character for the series.
I continue to enjoy Lightman’s cavalier attitude, and he steps in enough bear traps throughout this season that he’s not untouchable. Finally, the ending of the season is pretty solid, giving a big change to the characters but not changing things too much or going too far.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
There are some core problems I have with this series, and most of them are character related. First, I cannot stand Lightman’s daughter, who gets more screen time and conflicts in this season. She’s a real pain, which I suppose is realistic for a teenage daughter. However, as television teens on procedurals, I’ll take the daughter of Richard Castle over this little snot any day.
I also have never really gotten into Ben (Mekhi Phifer). I wasn’t a fan of the actor on “e.r.,” and while he’s better in this series, he just seems out of place… too hard core for a low-key FBI agent.
Finally, and this is a fine (and somewhat creepy) point… As much as this show tries to be scientifically correct with full research into deception detection, they often fail at other research points. For example, there’s a side-story to an episode about adult film actors and HIV, and the writers just make stuff up about how the business works. I don’t mind a little bit of preaching, but making a straw man argument against the industry is just lazy.
There are several basic features to this DVD set, including a gag reel as well as deleted and extended scenes for most of the episodes. The most interesting elements to this season’s special features, as it was with season one, is the spotlight on the real inspiration, deception expert Dr. Paul Ekman. The 22-minute featurette “Dr. Ekman/Dr. Lightman – Lie Detection Tutorial” gives Ekman and his team to evaluate the truth behind the actors and crew. “Eli Loker: An Honest Man” is a short featurette that examines the theory of Radical Honesty and what Ekman thinks of it.
Probably the most interesting element of this DVD set is “Dr. Ekman’s Blogs,” which are written by Ekman and evaluate the reality of the techniques on an episode-by-episode basis.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Procedural fans and people who like Tim Roth and his antics.