The entire history of Lie To Me is a somewhat sordid affair. The Fox filler first premiered in the middle of the 2008-2009 television season, much to the delight of viewers and critics alike. The show’s second season didn’t enjoy as much success, though, to wit there were uncertainties as to whether or not the series would be renewed for a third season. After the cancellation of Lone Star in 2010, Fox figured “Aw, what the hell” and allowed Lie To Me to run about for another half season, which ended in the early part of 2011.
After that, the future of Lie To Me was once again indeterminate; caught up in an aura of indecision at the behest of cloudy-minded network executives — or, as the late filmmaker Coleman Francis would call it, “the wheels of progress.” A bit of debate even debuted on the Interweb as to whether or not Fox would extend the series for a fourth season. Alas, one look at the cover for the show’s la(te)st home video release will settle the argument once and for all, as the subtitle reads “The Complete Third and Final Season.” And, once you dive into any of the 13-episodes of this disappointing half-season, it’s easy to see why there weren’t any pens being pressed against paper for opportunistic contractual obligations.
Put simply, Lie To Me: The Complete Third and Final Season is a bit of a letdown.
The main reason for the show’s drop in temperature is the sheer amount of coldness that takes over the show’s lead character, Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth, who also served as executive producer for this season). Previously, Cal’s self-importance had always been kept in check by his business colleagues and family. In Season Three, though, he becomes further engulfed in his own arrogance — a widened trait that not only removed his likeability amongst devoted viewers, but also caused the show to become remarkably less-interesting. It’s a real pity, too, because I felt that Lie To Me could have kept in the running for a little while longer had its network looked at it as a bone fide “regular” series and not just something they called upon when they needed a show to pick up the slack.
But to insinuate Lie To Me: The Complete Third and Final Season is a complete waste of time is unfounded. This last hoorah for the Lightman Group does manage to weave a few fascinating yarns, whilst attempting to bring in a couple of new characters in the process.
Mekhi Phifer, who had previously portrayed the character of FBI Agent Ben Reynolds, is nowhere to be seen here. In fact, Ben — who was in critical condition at the end of Season Two following a gunfight — is only mentioned once in passing by Cal to new regular, police detective Sharon Wallowski (Monique Gabriela Curnen). The presence of Wallowski is essentially Ben’s replacement. The Lightman Group no longer handles big federal cases now, but, instead, does the occasional oddjob for the police. Wallowski also serves as something of a replacement for the character as Roth’s ex-wife (who had been played by Jennifer Beals).
The rest of the gang that we all knew to know and (perhaps) love are still here, though: Kelli Williams as Dr. Gillian Foster, Hayley McFarland as Emily Lightman (though she comes and goes here), Brendan Hines as Eli Loker (who finally grows a bit of a pair), and Monica Raymund as Ria Torres. Notable guest stars include Shoshannah Stern and Fahim Anwar as newbies at the company, Shawn Doyle (“In the Red”), and David Sutcliff as one of those creepy self-help gurus (“Beyond Belief”). Annette O’Toole is also on-hand as an Alzheimer’s patient who claims to have once witnessed a murder (“Veronica”), John Amos and Annabeth Gish also makes appearances, and Ashton Holmes co-stars as an evil social network inventor who wreaks havoc at Lightman Group via a virus in the series finale — a dilemma that never gets resolved, unfortunately.
Fox Home Entertainment brings Lie To Me: The Complete Third and Final Season on DVD in a four disc set that preserves the 1.78:1 aspect ratio of the network airings with 5.1 Dolby Digital sound. There’s also a French Dolby Surround and optional English (SDH), Spanish and French subtitles. Special features include a number of deleted scenes and featurette “In Character with Tim Roth” which originally aired on the Fox Movie Channel.
Despite the awkward change in the show’s lead, Lie To Me: The Complete Third and Final Season is still entertaining enough to warrant a purchase from the show’s avid fans. If nothing else, you’ll enjoy the deleted scenes. Think of them as a gift from beyond the Television Grave. Or, just keep crossing your fingers and hope Fox revives this one like they’ve done with so many other series they decided to give the axe.