Lie to Me Premiere

by admin January 22, 2009
Winter Pilot Season: Lie to Me

An out-of-focus Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) leans into focus, sitting in a white room. For a second, I think I'm back in My Own Worst Enemy's interrogation room, and I panic, but then we cut to a goateed skinhead in orange prison clothes. Not a Christian Slater in sight, just a neo-Nazi. Phew! Cal and the skinhead size each other up, with Cal focusing on small details of the man's face and hands, and the skinhead's lawyer, sitting next to him, tells Cal that his client isn't talking. Cal says he doesn't care for words, since most people lie three times every ten minutes, and those results don't even factor in white supremacists who like to firebomb black churches. Behind the two-way mirror, a cranky FBI agent (who is not a good enough actor to appear in the first 30 seconds of a fledgling TV show) says they don't have time for this, and calls Cal a "scientist," like it's a dirty word. Apparently, they interrogated the guy for four hours and got nothing. Well, with that attitude, it's no wonder.

Cal tells the skinhead what the FBI is thinking: that the bombers were going for mass casualties, meaning one of the two biggest churches in the state. Skinhead says nothing, but Cal smiles and murmurs that the FBI got it wrong. Cal posits that they're going for a smaller church, in one of the suburbs. Skinhead says Cal doesn't know what he's talking about, and his lawyer shushes him. Cal drops the name of one of the towns, then says he's just joking. Then he mentions another town, and the skinhead's mouth twitches. Cal yells to the feds that that's the place. The lawyer says the accusation has no basis, and Cal says, "What do you mean? He just told me!" Cue dramatic music. Nazi homeboy got schooled! The skinhead looks sad, and suddenly he's a projection on a big screen, and Cal is walking in front of him. He's making a presentation to a group of men and women in suits and ties. One of the suits tells another that his buddy at the Department of Defense told him this guy's crazy. I know! Did you see Rob Roy? Apparently, Cal lived with a primitive tribe for three years and studied their eyebrows. That's not so weird. I majored in sideburns in college, and that was a four-year program.

On the screen, Cal plays back the one-sided interrogation, and notes that when he mentions the two larger churches, the corners of the skinhead's mouth go up ever so slightly, for a fraction of a second. That, says Cal, is a suppressed expression of happiness, what is known as a microexpression. Next, when he said Cal had no idea what he was talking about, he apparently gave a one-sided shrug. It's barely visible even in the slowed down footage, which leads me to believe this show must be a pain in the ass to be a guest star on. "Okay, shrug! Shrug smaller! Smaller! Tiny shrug! Wrong, wrong, wrong!" Anyway, that shrug means everything he says is a lie. Handy!

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