Lie to Me, Season 2- Episode 14 “React to Contract”
In another complex and dramatic episode of Lie to Me, microexpressions expert Cal Lightman takes on Jeff Turley, an Iraqi war veteran who seems to be suffering from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Turley seems to be having difficulty recounting events that took place while he was in combat and seeks Lightman’s help to remember.
Lightman and his crew bring Turley back to their office and hook him up to a FMRI machine that measures that change in blood flow related to neural activity in the brain or spinal cord of humans. They discover that Jeff reads neutral faces as hostile, a sign of PTSD and that he seems ashamed of the events which led to him being given a silver star.
This episode seemed full of high tech gadgets rather than illustrating what Cal and his team do best, which is read people and detect deceit. In one instance, Foster and Lightman decide to hook Turley up to a virtual reality machine which will re-traumatize him in a controlled way and bring him back to the event he doesn’t want to talk about. After re-enacting the traumatic event, the Lightman Group realizes that there is more to the story that’s being told about what happened in Iraq.
Torres and Foster decide to go visit a man who served with Jeff Turley in Iraq, Captain Renshaw. Although Torres seemed to think that he wasn’t hiding anything, Foster disagrees, stating that the pride in his voice means he’s hiding something. The scientific evidence for this isn’t strong at all- there is no proof that there is such a thing as “pride” that can be detected in one’s voice. Also, just because someone seems to be full of pride, it can’t be directly associated with deceit.
Through many twists and turns, in the end we find out that Turley’s erratic behavior is a result of a cover up initiated by Captain Renshaw, who had accidentally shot another soldier as a result of “friendly fire”.
It was nice to see the interaction between Cal and his daughter Emily in the very last moment of the episode. Particularly poignant was the moment when Cal was describing his father, who had been a soldier.
This moment was quite appropriate given this upcoming July 4th weekend- thank you to all the soldiers, past and present, who dedicate their lives for our country.