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Lie to Me

Lie to Me
Genre Crime Drama
Police Procedural
Created by Samuel Baum
Starring Tim Roth
Kelli Williams
Brendan Hines
Monica Raymund
Hayley McFarland
Mekhi Phifer[1]
Opening theme "Brand New Day" by Ryan Star
Ending theme "Mr. Clean" by The Jam
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 48 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Brian Grazer
David Nevins
Samuel Baum
Shawn Ryan (season 2)
Elizabeth Craft
Sarah Fain
(season 2)
Producer(s) Samuel Baum (seasons 1–2)
Tim Roth (season 3)
Running time 42 minutes
Production company(s) Imagine Television
20th Century Fox Television
MiddKid Productions
Pagoda Pictures
Distributor 20th Television
Original channel Fox
Original run January 21, 2009 (2009-01-21) – January 31, 2011 (2011-01-31)

Lie to Me (stylized as Lie to me*) is an American crime drama television series. It originally ran on the Fox network from January 21, 2009 to January 31, 2011. In the show, Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) and his colleagues in The Lightman Group accept assignments from third parties (commonly local and federal law enforcement), and assist in investigations, reaching the truth through applied psychology: interpreting microexpressions, through the Facial Action Coding System, and body language.[2]

In May 2009, the show was renewed for a second season consisting of 13 episodes;[3] Season two premiered on September 28, 2009.[4] On November 24, 2009, Fox ordered an extra nine episodes for season two, bringing the season order to 22 episodes.[5]

On May 12, 2010, Entertainment Weekly reported that Lie to Me received a 13-episode third season pick-up.[6][7] The third season of Lie to Me was originally to premiere on November 10, 2010. On September 28, 2010, the premiere date was moved to October 4, 2010, because of the cancellation of Lone Star.[8] Lie to Me was officially canceled by Fox on May 11, 2011.[9]

The show is inspired by the work of Paul Ekman, the world's foremost expert on facial expressions and a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. Dr. Ekman has served as an advisor to police departments and anti-terrorism groups (including the Transportation Security Administration) and acted as a scientific consultant in the production of the series. He is also the author of 15 books, including "Telling Lies" and "Emotions Revealed".[10]


  • Cast and characters 1
    • Main 1.1
    • Recurring 1.2
  • Episodes 2
  • Plot 3
  • Principal crew 4
  • Reception 5
    • Critical reception 5.1
    • Ratings 5.2
      • Seasonal ratings 5.2.1
    • Awards and nominations 5.3
      • Primetime Emmy Awards 5.3.1
      • People's Choice Awards 5.3.2
  • International broadcasting 6
  • Home media releases 7
  • See also 8
  • Notes 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

Cast and characters


Tim Roth, who plays the role of lead character Cal Lightman
  • Tim Roth as Dr. Cal Lightman, a genius psychologist with an expertise in body language, predominantly microexpressions, and a founder of The Lightman Group, a private company that operates as an independent contractor to assist investigations of local and federal law enforcement through applied psychology.[11] Though often confronted by people's skepticism, Lightman uses any psychological technique he deems necessary to reach the truth, however elaborate or confronting. He is divorced, and has shared custody of his teenage daughter. He cares deeply about his colleague Gillian Foster, and there is a chemistry between them that has yet to develop into anything more, although in the season three finale he confesses (to his daughter) that he loves her. His mother committed suicide while he was still young, an event that led him to discovering and researching microexpressions. There is evidence he was involved with British Intelligence in Northern Ireland.[12] Lightman also mentioned interrogating militant suspects recalling his release of one suspect resulted in the shootings of 6 and the death of 3 in a murder operation the suspect subsequently carried out.— He has also admitted to being an MI6 intelligence agent during the Yugoslav Wars in 1994 in an attempt to gain the trust of an intelligence agent that he was interrogating. Lightman is a West Ham United supporter as he mentions himself in season two. He can also be seen wearing a Claret and Blue scarf in one of the later episodes of season two. The character is based on Dr. Paul Ekman, a psychologist and expert on body language and facial expressions at University of California, San Francisco.[13]
  • Kelli Williams as Dr. Gillian Foster, Dr. Lightman's colleague in The Lightman Group.[14] Her husband's lack of candor often challenges her open pact with Lightman: not to let their professional skill interfere with coworkers' personal lives. So, when Cal believes her husband, Alec, is cheating on her, he simply ignores what he is seeing, much to Torres's dismay. It is later revealed that he was not, in fact, cheating on her, but was trying to overcome his drug addiction. They promptly divorce. Gillian had adopted a baby (Sophie) who was eventually returned to the birth mother. This character is based on Dr. Maureen O’Sullivan, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of San Francisco.
  • Brendan Hines as Eli Loker, an employee of The Lightman Group. Unlike Torres, whom Lightman calls "a natural", Loker acquired his skills in "reading" people through academic education and practice. During season one, he also adheres to Radical Honesty, and thus rarely lies, even if that makes him appear rude or undiplomatic.[15] Lightman demoted him to an unpaid intern after, despite Foster's warnings, he divulged sensitive information to the SEC while working on a case. However, he is later promoted to vice president, which puts a rift in any developing relationship between him and Torres.
  • Monica Raymund as Ria Torres, an employee of The Lightman Group, and a protégé of Dr. Lightman's, who was recognized as a "natural" while she was still working as a TSA agent.[16] Torres was abused as a child,[17] a common pattern among naturals. Though talented and loyal, she lacks academic training and sometimes lets her emotions cloud her judgment. She has a half sister who was formerly in juvenile prison and is now enrolled at a private school.
Hayley McFarland, who plays the role of Emily Lightman
  • Hayley McFarland as Emily Lightman, Cal Lightman's teenage daughter. She is under shared custody between her parents, and though she does not appreciate her father's ability to "read" her, she does not deny its merit for social screening. She has had a few boyfriends over the series that her father frequently scrutinizes. Though she sometimes gets into trouble and has fake IDs, and, much to Lightman's chagrin, has been sexually active, she is generally very well-behaved and has a loving relationship with her father. (Recurring – season 1, regular – seasons 2–3)
  • Mekhi Phifer as Ben Reynolds, an FBI agent who is assigned to and assists the Lightman Group in their investigations, offering armed assistance and practical insights. Reynolds doesn't always agree with Lightman's ways, but stands behind him most of the time. (Recurring – season 1, regular – season 2)


  • Jennifer Beals as Zoe Landau, Cal Lightman's ex-wife and Emily's mother. She is an Assistant Attorney General and though currently engaged to another man, she also engaged in a tryst with Lightman, after he helped her in a case. (Seasons 1 & 2)
  • Sean Patrick Thomas as Special Agent Karl Dupree. Dupree initially assisted the Lightman group on a case involving a controversial South Korean ambassador, who is presumed to be an assassination target at his son's state wedding. Torres and Dupree are romantically involved later in season one. He also defends Torres against Loker when he divulged sensitive information to the SEC while working on a case. (Season 1 only)
  • Brandon Jones as Liam, Emily Lightman's boyfriend, a high school jock who is not intimidated by Cal Lightman. Emily breaks up with him because he does not believe in sex before marriage. (Season 3 only)


Season Episodes Originally aired DVD release dates
Season premiere Season finale Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 13 January 21, 2009 May 13, 2009 August 25, 2009 September 14, 2009 October 28, 2009
2 22 September 28, 2009 September 13, 2010 November 9, 2010 January 3, 2011 December 1, 2010
3 13 October 4, 2010 January 31, 2011 October 4, 2011[18] 2011 November 2, 2011[19]


Season one opens with Cal and Gillian hiring a new associate: TSA officer Ria Torres, who scored extraordinarily high on Cal's deception-detection diagnostic, and is in turn labeled a "natural" at deception detection. Her innate talent in the field clashes with Cal's academic approach, and he often shows off by rapidly analyzing her every facial expression. She counters by reading Lightman and, when he least expects it, peppers conversations with quotes from his books.

It was gradually revealed that Dr. Lightman was driven to study micro-expressions as a result of guilt over his mother's suicide. She claimed to have been fine in order to obtain a weekend pass from a psychiatric ward, when she was actually experiencing agony (which mostly parallels Paul Ekman's anecdote in his book "Telling Lies").

For a small number of the early episodes, Lightman would team up with Torres to work on a case, while Foster and Loker would team up on a separate case. Occasionally, their work would intertwine, or Foster and/or Lightman would provide assistance on each other's cases. As the first season progressed, the cases became more involved, and all four of the main characters would work together on one case for each episode.

In addition to detecting deception in subjects they interview, Lightman and his team also use various interviewing and interrogation tactics to elicit useful information. Rather than by force, they use careful lines of questioning, provocative statements, theatrics and healthy doses of deception on their own part. In the show's pilot episode, Lightman is speaking to a man who is refusing to speak at all, and is able to discern vital information by talking to him and gauging his reaction to each statement. This approach is also taken in several other episodes (e.g., "Do No Harm").

Principal crew

Samuel Baum (Showrunner/Head Writer), Brian Grazer, David Nevins, Steven Maeda. Katherine Pope, former president of NBC Universal’s TV studio, signed on as a consulting producer. Pope worked on the final four episodes of the first season.[20] Shawn Ryan, creator of The Shield and The Unit, took over as show runner for the second season.[21][22]


Critical reception

The show received mostly positive reviews from television critics. It gained a score of 64 on Metacritic from 24 reviews.[23] Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker awarded Lie to Me a B- rating and wrote "Lie to Me is derivative yet well crafted, predictable yet ever-so-slightly novel… it's no wonder that Fox thinks it's got itself a potential hit". However, he also commented "if this review were a face, Dr. Lightman would say it had a forced smile: hopeful, but dubious, about Lie's chances."[24] Tom Shales, writing for the Washington Post, said "Lie to Me seems an unusually meaty, thoughtful and thought-provoking crime drama – another police procedural, yes, but one with a dramatic and mesmerizing difference… easily one of the season's best new shows."[25]


In the United States, the viewing figures declined as the series progressed. The Pilot was seen by 12.37 million, however by the final episode of the first season it was down to 8.46 million. The most viewed episode was episode three, "A Perfect Score", which attracted 12.99 million. The second season premiered on September 28, 2009 to 7.73 million viewers.[26] The season two finale had 4.94 million viewers in the U.S. on September 13, 2010.[27] The third season, which had its premiere moved forward to October 4, 2010, was viewed by 5.87 million people in the U.S.[28] The series' official cancellation was announced by Fox on May 10, 2011.[29]

Seasonal ratings

Season Episodes Original airing Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Notes Network
Season premiere Season finale TV season
1 13 January 21, 2009 (2009-01-21) May 13, 2009 (2009-05-13) 2008–2009 #29[30] 11.06[30] Fox
2 22 September 28, 2009 (2009-09-28) September 13, 2010 (2010-09-13) 2009–2010 #57[31] 7.39[31] [Note 1]
3 13 October 4, 2010 (2010-10-04) January 31, 2011 (2011-01-31) 2010–2011 #78 6.71[33]

Awards and nominations

Primetime Emmy Awards

People's Choice Awards

Lie to me was nominated for two awards at the 37th People's Choice Awards and won both of them.[34]

  • 2011 Favorite TV Crime Drama (WON)
  • 2011 Favorite TV Crime Fighter (Tim Roth, WON)

International broadcasting

The series is broadcast on Global in Canada, Network Ten in Australia, M-Net in South Africa, and also airs in Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Hungary and Belgium.[35][36] Lie to Me aired on Sky1 in the UK and Ireland,[37] starting on May 14, 2009. On July 20, 2009, Fox aired the premiere in Latin America.[38] RTL 5 in The Netherlands has been broadcasting it since November 6, 2009. The series debuted in Italy on September 7, 2009 on the Fox Satellite channel. The series has aired in India since September 2010.

Country Television Network
Albania Digi +
Argentina Fox
Arab World Fox
Armenia Kentron TV
Australia Network Ten, W
Austria ATV
Belgium 2BE, RTL-TVI
Brazil Fox, Rede Record
Bulgaria bTV Cinema
Canada Global, V
Chile Fox, MEGA
Colombia Fox, Caracol Television
Costa Rica Fox
Croatia HRT2
Cuba Multivisión
Czech Republic TV Prima
Denmark TV2
Dominican Republic Fox
Ecuador Fox Broadcasting Company
El Salvador Fox Broadcasting Company
Estonia TV3
Finland MTV3
France M6, Paris Première, W9
Georgia Rustavi 2
Germany VOX
Honduras Fox
Hungary RTL Klub, Cool TV
Iceland Stöð 2
India STAR World
Indonesia Fox, Rajawali Televisi
Ireland RTÉ Two
Israel yes stars Action HD
Italy Fox, Rete 4, Top Crime
Japan Fox, TV Tokyo
Kazakhstan KazTRK
Latvia TV3, TV3+, TV6, Fox Life
Lithuania TV3
Malaysia NTV7, Fox
Mauritius MBCDigital12 (Cine12)
México Fox
Moldova Jurnal TV
The Netherlands RTL 5
New Zealand TV3 (New Zealand)
Norway TV2
Panama Fox, TV Max
Paraguay Fox
Peru Fox
Philippines Fox, Jack TV
Poland Canal+ Poland, FOX Life, TVP Seriale, TVP2
Portugal FOX (Portugal), TVI
Romania Pro TV
Russia Channel One (Russia), TV3
Serbia TV Avala, FOX
Singapore Starhub Channel 505 – Fox Channel
Slovakia TV JOJ
Slovenia TV 3
South Africa M-Net
South Korea Fox Korea
Spain Antena3
Sweden TV4
Switzerland RSI La 1, 3+, TSR 1
Taiwan PTS
Thailand True Series (Thailand), Fox Thailand
Turkey Foxlife, Fox Crime, TV2
Ukraine 1+1
United Kingdom Sky1, Pick TV, Universal Channel (UK)
Uruguay Monte Carlo TV
Venezuela Fox
Vietnam VTV6
Haiti Canal Bleu

Home media releases

Season one and two have been released on DVD in Regions 1, 2 and 4. However, while season one was also released on Blu-ray in North America[39] there has been no announcement about releasing the second season on Blu-ray.[40] The first and second season DVDs sets include deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes featurettes.[41][42] The second season also includes "Dr. Ekman's Blog" and a gag reel.[42] The third and final season was released on October 4, 2011.[18]

Season DVD release date Blu-ray release date
Region A Region B
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4 United States Canada United Kingdom Australia
1 August 25, 2009 (2009-08-25)[39] September 14, 2009 (2009-09-14)[43] October 28, 2009 (2009-10-28)[44] August 25, 2009 (2009-08-25)[39] N/A December 5, 2012[45]
2 November 9, 2010 (2010-11-09)[42] January 3, 2011 (2011-01-03)[46] December 1, 2010 N/A N/A N/A N/A
3 October 4, 2011[18] N/A November 2, 2011[47] N/A N/A Cancelled

See also


  1. ^ The season 2 ranking and average viewers only covers the first 10 of 22 episodes in season 2. Episodes 11 through 22 of season 2 were broadcast beginning on June 7, 2010.[32]


  1. ^ "Lie to Me – Characters".  
  2. ^ "Lie To Me".  
  3. ^ "Fall TV: Fox Renews Lie to Me, Sets Sights on Human Target and Sons of Tucson". Retrieved May 12, 2009. 
  4. ^ Shows, Fox 
  5. ^ Lie to Me gets full season pick up, TV by the numbers, November 24, 2009 .
  6. ^ Report: Lie to Me – Human Targe renewed by Fox, TV by the numbers, May 12, 2010 .
  7. ^ It is official: Fox cancels Lone Star, Deadline .
  8. ^ "Season three of Lie to Me to premiere Monday, October 4, on Fox" (Press release). Fox Flash. September 28, 2010. Retrieved September 29, 2010. 
  9. ^ Ausiello, Michael (May 10, 2011). "Fox Cancels Human Target, Lie To Me, Chicago Code, Two Others". TV Line. Retrieved May 10, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Lie to Me - Paul Ekman analyzes the real science". May 6, 2009. Retrieved April 20, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Dr. Cal Lightman – Tim Roth". Fox. Retrieved May 14, 2009. 
  12. ^ Lie to Me: lack of candor, Hulu .
  13. ^ Lie to Me, USFCA .
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ "Eli Loker – Brendan Hines". Fox. Retrieved May 14, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Ria Torres – Monica Raymund". Retrieved May 14, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Unchained". Lie to Me. Season 1. Episode 5.
  18. ^ a b c Lambert, David (August 10, 2011). "Lie to Me - The 3rd and Final Season of the Show is Announced for DVD". TV Shows on DVD. Retrieved August 10, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Lie To Me – Season 3 (DVD)". JB HI-FI. Retrieved October 10, 2011. 
  20. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (February 7, 2009). "'"Pope joins Fox's 'Lie to Me. Variety. Retrieved May 14, 2009. 
  21. ^ Ausiello, Michael (May 12, 2009). "Scoop: Fox renews 'Lie to Me,' installs 'Shield' creator as new showrunner". Retrieved May 14, 2009. 
  22. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (September 28, 2009). "Lie to Me improves with help from 'Shield' creator Shawn Ryan – Sepinwall on TV". The Star-Ledger. Newark. Retrieved November 15, 2009. 
  23. ^ "Lie to Me reviews".  
  24. ^ Tucker, Ken (January 14, 2009). "TV review – Lie to Me (2009)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 23, 2009. 
  25. ^ Shales, Tom (January 19, 2009). Lie to Me' handles famous psychologist's truth nicely"'". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 23, 2009. 
  26. ^ Calabria, Rosario T. (October 5, 2009). "Broadcast TV Ratings for Monday, October 5, 2009". 
  27. ^ Gorman, Bill (September 14, 2010). Summer Finale Falls"Lie to Me Premieres Down Sharply; Gossip Girl, 90210"TV Ratings Monday: . TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 15, 2010. 
  28. ^ Seidman, Robert (October 5, 2010). , Adjusted Up"Mike & Molly, How I Met Your Mother Adjusted Down; 90210, Lie to Me, Castle"Monday Finals: . TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 5, 2010. 
  29. ^  
  30. ^ a b "Season Rankings from 09/22/08 through 08/23/09" (Press release). ABC Medianet. May 27, 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2011. 
  31. ^ a b Gorman, Bill (June 16, 2010). "Final 2009–10 Broadcast Primetime Show Average Viewership". TV By The Numbers. 
  32. ^ Levin, Gary (May 14, 2010). "Networks freshen up summer with scripted series". USA Today. Retrieved January 25, 2011. 
  33. ^
  34. ^ "People's Choice Awards 2011 Nominees".  
  35. ^ Knox, David (November 10, 2008). "TEN cooks up Big Brother replacement".  
  36. ^ "Tim Roth series honest about lying". JAM! Television. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  37. ^ Wilkes, Neil (January 22, 2009). "'"Sky1 acquires 'Lie To Me.  
  38. ^ Tim Roth, un detector de mentiras, humano, (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved on July 20, 2009.
  39. ^ a b c Lambert, David (May 27, 2009). ? CORRECT Date, plus Details/Extras/Box for DVD & Blu-ray 3-disc Blu-ray and 4-disc DVD both due on August 25th (two weeks later than Amazon's current date)"Lie To Me"Lie to Me – Did Amazon .  
  40. ^ Lambert, David (July 14, 2010). "Lie to Me – Honestly, Fox Has Announced a DVD Release for Season 2!".  
  41. ^ Lambert, David (June 24, 2009). "Lie to Me – Fox's Official Press Release for Season 1 on Blu-ray Disc & DVD".  
  42. ^ a b c Lambert, David (August 18, 2010). Press Release Includes the Finalized DVD Street Date As mentioned in our previous report, the date was not in October: look for this on November 9th"Season 2 Fox's Official -"Lie to Me .  
  43. ^ "Lie To Me – Season 1 (DVD) (2009)". UK: Amazon. Retrieved October 3, 2010. 
  44. ^ "Lie To Me – Season 1 DVD". Retrieved October 3, 2010. 
  45. ^ Lie To Me - Season 1 (Blu-ray) on JB Hi-Fi Online JB Hi-Fi. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
  46. ^ "Lie To Me – Season 2 (DVD) (2010)". Retrieved October 3, 2010. 
  47. ^ "Lie To Me – Season 3 (DVD)". JB HI-FI. Retrieved October 10, 2011. 

External links

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