I have figured out that when it comes to procedurals, the only thing that keeps the episodes interesting on a week-to-week basis are the performances. I don’t watch a lot of programs of the ilk, but even on House, the performance of the patient is always a major factor in how good the episode is. Well, when House used to focus on the cases, this was the case.
Anyway, this makeshift rule I have is the reason I like Lie to Me so much and particularly loved “The Whole Truth.” The performances are always solid and sometimes even electrifying. This week, Tim Roth was on fire and I was reminded of how great he plays off of his on-screen ex Jennifer Beals. Melissa George was also entertaining in her guest spot. Throw in the court room setting and lots of personal baggage and this might be my favorite Lie to Me episode ever (not that’s saying a whole lot).
Roth plays Lightman the best when he’s being challenged, particularly by someone who doesn’t believe in his skills as a deception expert or even the “science” at all. And to have that person be his ex-wife who is interrogating him on the witness stand is especially satisfying to watch. Like I said, the chemistry between Roth and Beals is stellar and I’d actually wish the series would find more excuses to bring her character back. We would be better off with more of her because not only does it get Cal on top of his game, but it puts Foster in this awkward position because she clearly feels left out when Cal wants to toy with his ex-wife. It’s all good stuff.
Thanks to the personal melodrama, the case was more interesting. Cal switched his allegiances a couple of times and found himself a part of a number of humorous exits from the courtroom. Sometimes I feel like episodes of Lie to Me get too caught up in the science, technology and process of what the Lightman group does and really, things work much better when Roth is able to let loose and riff on other people like he does to the judge, jury and other people in the courtroom. Just fantastic to watch.
Eli and Torres had little to do in this episode, but his prying about her possible lesbian relationship also worked because the performers sold it as fun, frivolous and silly. I can accept that.
More Lie to Me‘s like this, please!