Lie to Me Season 2 Episode 4 “Honey” Comments

honeywhite-spaceSo Cal Lightman and the Lightman Group act as the pseudo police again and solve yet another crime, this time a murder mystery. It’s just amazing what a bunch of scientists can do!

One of the things I have always cringed at about this show has been when Lightman and others at the Lightman Group make inferences about other people’s emotional states and deception when there is really no scientific basis for those attributions.

But this episode there was an interesting twist to the ignorance of the science; this time, Lightman actually concluded that someone was telling the truth when in fact he was showing some of the kinds of signs – what we call hot spots – that are often associated with lying. It happened when Tom McHenry was questioned by Foster about the death of Connie.

Check out these clips on

1.    At 14:52, McHenry was questioned as to whether he killed Connie, and he says no but nods his head yes.
2.    At 15:15, he is asked if he doesn’t mind being taped, and he says no but flashes fear in his upper face.
3.    At 19:40, he is asked if he ever socialized with Connie; he says yes but shrugs at the same time.
4.    At 19:45 he flashes distress in his mouth when he says that he and Connie went out a couple of times after work for drinks and were strictly platonic.
5.    At 20:06 he says “I didn’t kill Connie” but shrugs at the same time.

In fact these kinds of inconsistencies are what we call hot spots, and what are often (but not always) associated with deception. It’s interesting that when some signs were actually there that could be legitimately claimed to be based on science, Lightman concluded that McHenry was telling the truth.

Take a look for yourself at those times and see what you think!

8 responses to “Lie to Me Season 2 Episode 4 “Honey” Comments”

  1. L. A. Carter says:

    Yes! I’m not the only one who noticed that. When I saw the nod and the distress in his mouth, I thought of course Foster is going to catch that but she didn’t. I guess somethings just slipped through the cracks.

  2. I thought that was great, actually, because people who are honest do these things from time to time (shrug and shake their head). I have some examples of this in real life where we know the person talking is telling the truth and they do some of these! That’s what makes deception detection so challenging. One has to determine if the behavior is normal or abnormal before ever thinking about deception.

  3. Yes, seeing a hot spot doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is being deceptive. It just simply means that there is a discrepancy between the verbals and nonverbals and requires more questions to be asked and more information to be seeked.

  4. Renzer says:

    Those are great observations, but I also have to point out that they are actors and I’m sure that the slips are unintentional. I don’t know if anyone reviews everything before it is packed and shipped off to show to the audience, but I imagine it quite hard to get it down perfectly.

  5. Alex says:

    I saw these hotspots too and I didn’t know why they showed them if they weren’t there for purpose. I think the 1st season was more scientific and the 2nd more drama.
    If I may add I noticed at 24.30 when Cal asked “You know Zancanelli” Eric answered “I’ve never heard of him” very quickly and then bit his lower lip. I thought he knew him and was lying, but he didn’t.

  6. Angela says:

    I noticed his partner shook her head but said “Yes” when Cal asked her a question this week.

  7. Jeanne says:

    Renzer-Agreed-We can’t expect the acting to be perfect.

    However, when you say that a show is “based on science” the science that is depicted should try to be as accurate as possible, don’t you think?

    Your points also bring up if someone is watching and screening these shows before they air…wondering if the scientific consultant does? If so, he would most certainly catch these errors, wouldn’t he??

  8. Ian Trudel says:

    4. At 19:45 he flashes distress in his mouth when he says that he and Connie went out a couple of times after work for drinks and were strictly platonic.

    Interestingly, just a moment before, when he is asked “How did you know Connie Matheson?”, he answers “She works for me” with a clear head shake “no”. Either he is a terrible actor or it is his normal behaviour. =)


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