Have you ever been lied to? By your bank? By your boss? By your two year old? We can all answer, yes. What is even more interesting is how we are lied to. The new show, Lie to Me, starring Tim Roth (of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction fame) as Dr. Cal Lightman, the world’s leading deception psychologist. Using his unique methods he can, within a few subconscious ‘micro expressions’, figure out if anyone is lying. The climax of each episode, however, is why they are lying. His breakthrough techniques (yes, this is still TV) have proven themselves with cheating spouses and local criminals. Now the FBI has exclusive rights to use Dr. Lightman and his associates as human polygraphs to find the truth. My dad always said there are three sides to every story: yours, theirs, and the truth. The Lightman Group is looking for the latter.
The show’s characters are a collection of extremes. The show has many well-developed characters from a diversity of backgrounds. For instance, “the new kid on the block” Ria Torres (Monica Raymund) was discovered by Cal Lightman at a customs department where she worked checking bags. Cal recognized her lie detection abilities and now she is one of the leads in the field for Cal’s psychology firm.
The members of the firm are treated like family. FBI agent Ben Reynolds (Mekhi Phifer) is attached to Cal as a bodyguard and he provides the ‘hard’ cop attitude in the show. In the show, Ben finds himself in a spot where his life is on the line. When Cal finds out, he goes out of his way to save him. Agent Reynolds says, “Why didn’t you just write me off?” Cal responds, “I’ve been cut loose many a time when the truth has been inconvenient. But somebody caught me on the way down.” Reynolds replies, “That’s a true friend.” Our post-christian culture still recognizes the value and necessity of friendship, pointing forward to the one who is ‘closer than a brother’.
The plot lines range from trying to figure out who is next on a serial killer’s list to dealing with Cal Lightman’s teenage daughter lying about her birth control. In one great scene, Cal’s daughter is reeling from the unforeseen consequences of her actions. Cal says, “That’s the thing about consequences love, you don’t know when they are gonna stop.” These are the kind of open doors to engage our kids, friends, and neighbors with the truth about sin and the destruction that even one little lie can bring.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Why watch TV? Shouldn’t I be reading my Bible like a good Christian? After all, how is a show about lying worthwhile, don’t you know your catechism?” I used to agree, but after watching one episode I changed my mind concerning the redemptive worth of this show for a couple of reasons.
First, we all need to remember how actions and words relate. This show is unique in connecting actions, words, and thoughts. Christians can identify with this because Christ says the same thing about thoughts in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus exposed motives to prove guilt. Cal exposes guilt by micro-emotions. In both cases the guilt remains.
Secondly, this show is built upon the fact that right and wrong, truth and error actually exist. It throws relativism out the window and discovers the real truth behind circumstances, despite the tales attached. People’s motives are exposed and they are responsible for their actions. This is a great point of contact for neighbors and friends: we are responsible not just for what we do wrong but why we do wrong.
So, if you’re looking for a point of contact to share the gospel with your friends and neighbors, or if you just want to watch a show with a good script, take a look at this new show on Fox. Lie to Me airs on Fox at 9 pm on Monday nights.