I recently received a preview press kit for the much hyped Lie to Me, which is set to premiere January 21st on FOX.
Lie to Me is a drama about Cal Lightman, played by British actor Tim Roth Lightman is an expert in telling when people are lying. In true FOX drama fashion, just like 24 and House, Lightman is a bit of a rogue. And, just like House, he has a snarky, bad boy attitude as well..
The premise to the show is interesting — Cal Lightman provides a service where people pay him and his crew to interview and interrogate people in order to find out if they are lying. Lightman accomplishes his tasks mainly by studying their facial movements and ticks. Every time a mouth moves, a lip purses, an eye looks away, or brow furrows Lightman is able to extrapolate the movement into a meaning. He also knows how and when to exploit those meanings to his benefit.
The viewer is assured that all of Lightman's answers are backed up by actual science on the subject of body language. Whether they’re making some of it up for dramatic effect however or exaggerating certain aspects is anyone’s guess.
The pilot of the show deals with Lightman taking a case where a devout Jehovah’s Witness kid is believed to have killed his high school teacher in cold blood. Very early on, Lightman and his crew use kid's body language and gestures to come to the conclusion that he isn’t guilty and even though they aren’t actual police, they start their own investigation into who committed the murder.
The study of body language is an interesting science, but all these niche shows are getting to be too much. In Lie to Me the art of telling if someone is lying is the only thing that is needed to solve cases, in CSI, only forensics catches criminals. It seems like all these worlds — and cases — are perfectly constructed for the subject at hand.
Lie to Me is a well-acted, and well-written show. It will find its audience, of that I’m sure. Personally though, I think I’m done with procedural shows for a while. In the end, there's little to differentiate one from the next. And because you can’t see me you can’t tell if I’m lying, so there!