When FBI hires a psychological specialist to derive benefit from developed interrogation techniques, detectives decide to cooperate with this specialist and his team. After a couple criminal suspects are interrogated within the usual method, Dr. Cal Lightman reveals his own method. Specifically focusing on facial expressions and gestures of the suspects, Dr. Lightman's techniques receive approval. Thus he takes his partner and a new trainee with him to settle down at the police head-quarters.
The rising star of villain roles from '90s, Tim Roth, had shone through "Reservoir Dogs(1992)" and "Pulp Fiction(1994)" on the silver-screen. Though he was passing over poor years of his career recently. Here in "Lie to Me" he's being precisely rediscovered as a leading actor, playing Dr. Lightman. Under Samuel Baum's screenplay and character development, Roth has brought himself to perfectly fit within his role, the way we know him. Wasn't he the one, who reveals that the traitor in the gang team in Reservoir Dogs, just with using his glowering glances? Then there is Kelli Williams who plays Dr. Lightman's partner. Together with Roth they have an excellent chemistry having opposite characters with each other. Dr. Lightman's new trainee Loker also adds more fun to the film, where the mood begins to get boring. Loker has made himself known as being extremely straightforward at the office, so his straightforward behaviors seem like earning him the credibility he desires to have. In fact, he's afraid of Dr. Lightman's psychological techniques which always work as effective as a lie detector.
Despite the interesting script and successful characterizations, story development is very weak since the plot doesn't draw any benefit from using any subplot. It's of the crime/thriller genre for a TV-series, and the story is very plain, thus leans its back against the actors. The mood gets boring through repeating the display samples of how to catch people lying; and only a bad sense of humor comes to rescue after that. If we analyze thoroughly; Dr. Lightman first explains his theories, then shows the proof of each one with a live person sample, finally he reaches a conclusion and adds his thesis as a new rule every time. His theory depends on a basis that says: "A person's body contradicts his words, when he's lying". If you've watched the film "Analyze This(1999)" ; you might consider one important fact that if somebody, whom you're talking to is unstrung for the moment, acts as if he/she is calm; then Dr.Lightman's thesis would deny itself; just like Robert De Niro did while talking to Billy Crystal. Dr. Lightman shakes hands with the suspect two times at his interrogation. After his second hand shake, Lightman gets the idea that the suspect was lying; since his body temperature dropped leaving him a cooler touch in the palm of his hand. In Michael Douglas's "Basic Instinct(1992)" ; Douglas was under interrogation at the beginning of the movie with three detectives and a lie detector. He used the same method that De Niro used in Analyze This, even fooling the lie detector; which works with a similar idea: Depending on the change of blood pressure in suspect's body between hearing and answering questions.
After the first couple episodes, I hoped we'll be seeing some criminals who can fool Dr.Lightman; to offer more tension and suspense. Yet, I was disappointed with the same formula used in the following episodes, lacking tension and suspense. There are questions of justice coming to mind; such as the lack of evidence and the ultimate question of how influential can Dr.Lightman's methods be in a law suite, if the suspect is supported by his/her lawyer. Overall, "Lie to Me" is a good choice for sharing an evening with your whole family. Only sex-related dialogues and mild language cannot be suitable for children at all.