Ten points if you just thought of a Depeche Mode song.
Once British actor Hugh Laurie started wowing television audiences away with his unorthodox anti-hero demeanor in House, it paved the way for more performers from the United Kingdom to infiltrate American TV shows. If you’re looking for a lesser example, look up the short-lived atrocity that was known as Mental. If you’re after a much better illustration, however, you should definitely check out Lie To Me starring Tim Roth.
Based loosely on real-life psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman, Lie To Me brings us the weekly adventures of Dr. Cal Lightman: a slightly uncouth psychologist whose skills in identifying body language and facial expressions has earned him with a reputation as a human lie detector. His organization, The Lightman Group, takes on various missions from major government agencies and private parties alike in order to detect the truth from those who would otherwise conceal it; thus, jeopardizing everything from burglaries to national security.
Assisting Cal at The Lightman Group is his crackshot crew of professionals: psychologist Dr. Gillian Foster (Kelli Williams), protégées Eli Loker (Brendan Hines) and Ria Torres (Monica Raymund), and FBI agent Ben Reynolds (Mekhi Phifer). But Cal’s assistance isn’t limited to work colleagues: he also receives the occasional bit of aid from both his teenage daughter, Emily (Hayley McFarland), and his ex-wife, attorney Zoe Landau (Jennifer Beals — proving that there is life after The L Word).
Let’s face it: when it comes to the subject of lying, just about any situation is applicable in terms of a story. And so, with such a broad playing board to play on, the writers of Lie To Me: Season Two manage to wrangle all kinds of storylines. Missing people, terrorists, murderers, robberies, you name it: Lie To Me: Season Two finds a way to squeeze it in there. And, just when you think they might be running out of steam, they find time to toss in a episode to compete with primetime courtroom dramas and even a man who claims to have seen a UFO. They also manage to give those dreaded Black Friday sales a healthy stab or two.
So, with all of these setups, how does the show present itself? Pretty darn well, actually. Tim Roth is an amazing actor to begin with, and his performance here as Dr. Lightman is both convincing and intriguing — in that unorthodox anti-hero manner we’ve all come to know and love. The supporting cast also does a fine job in this season, as do the numerous guest stars, including Howard Hesseman, Melissa George, Angus Macfadyen, Miguel Ferrer, Carmen Argenziano, James Marsters, and the great Ricky Jay.
Fox Home Entertainment packages all 22 episodes of Lie To Me: Season Two in a 6-disc set complete with bonus materials. The episodes are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen with 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound. Optional English (SDH), Spanish, French and Portuguese subtitles are included. Special features include a number of deleted scenes, notes from Dr. Paul Ekman himself (“Dr. Ekman’s Blog”) about each episode, a gag reel, and two featurettes: “Dr. Ekman/Dr. Lightman: Lie Detection Tutorial” (a comparison between the real-life psychologist and his fictional counterpart), and “Eli Loker: An Honest Man” (a look at Brendan Hines’ character).
Lie To Me: Season Two was my first experience with this fun and fascinating series. As a newbie, it wasn’t very hard at all for me to dive into the Lightman Universe and get to know the characters. And so, I can honestly recommend this season to other Lie To Me virgins — although it wouldn’t hurt to start with Season One, now would it?