'Lie to Me: Season One'
(Tim Roth, Kelli Williams, Brendan Hines, Monica Raymund, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / 2009 / 20th Century Fox)
Overview: It’s all about the tiny, tell-tale signs: a quiver of the lip, an overturned hand, or even a shrug of a shoulder could indicate that a person’s got something to hide. In the fast-paced Fox drama LIE TO ME, Tim Roth (RESERVOIR DOGS) stars as Dr. Cal Lightman, a scientist with an uncanny ability to pick up on each of these almost-imperceptible signs and thus root out a liar in any situation.
DVD Verdict: This show is addictive! I watched just one episode and from then on in I was guessing the 'names' of the reactions the bad guys have before the stars jumped in! In truth, I wish I'd watched this DVD a year ago when - behind my back - my wife was cheating on me with her boss! I could have read her lies like a professional!
Anyway, back to the DVD at hand ... Tim Roth is yet another feature film actor to come to television. So, of course, he is excellent compared to the usual actors we see on TV. There has never been such a plethora of riches ever since the taboo dropped about "film actors should never do television". Testing this adage in reverse: when TV actors tried to make the leap to movies, most fell flat on their faces.
So we now have another great film actor playing Dr. Cal Lightman, an expert in lie detection, who hires out his Lightman Group to detect deception using objective, scientific criteria, such as facial expressions.
The actors who surround Roth as his Lightman group are more of the usual kind of actor one finds on TV series. His key woman, for example, the one with the (supposedly) philandering husband, seems one dimensional in comparison. Lightman's ex-wife and daughter verge on TV cliche territory as well. The young man who Lightman demoted for devious behavior is also a "type", the TV series fresh, cute know it all who needs to be taken down a peg. None of these characters and their actors are strong enough or good enough to cut this series from the pack.
That said, Roth's expert in lie detection is based on the research conducted by Paul Ekman, a renowned expert in the field of facial expressions and emotions. And so here, in TV land, The Lightman Group is employed by various agencies to detect deception, whether it is in a life or death scenario finding trapped builders in a collapsing building, searching for kidnapped children or the nuances in romantic relationships.
The series explains the science behind the concepts in an easy to understand manner in the first few episodes but doesn't molly-coddle the audience, expecting them to keep up as the series picks up speed and dropping the details explanations. Excellent characterisation, good plot lines, great acting. This show is very good. Very good, so don't even thnk twice about renting or buying it ... or Roth will know! [RM] This is a Widescreen presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Exclusive Featurette: The Truth About Lies