Lie to Me Season 2 Episode 16 “Delinquent”

This week’s episode of Lie to Me was back to its usual ways with very little science and information as to how exactly Cal Lightman and his team can spot a liar.

The storyline itself was not horrible; we meet Ria Torres’ half-sister Ava and witness Foster’s more sensitive side after she is attacked by strangers in her own home. Cal’s interaction with his daughter seems to bring us a bit of nostalgia, as we all remember learning how to drive for the first time.

But overall the show seems as though its taking a more and more dramatic approach, with little science involved. Lie to Me now feels like other popular drama shows, such as CSI or Law and Order. Dramatic scenes with dead bodies showing up, illegal activity and unauthorized interrogations all in a day’s work for The Lightman Group.

Perhaps its hard to watch because we’re in the field. This is what we do every day here at Humintell and the reality of the situation is so far from what is portrayed in the show that its becoming more and more difficult to relate to. We can’t imagine kidnapping a delinquent from a local detention center or avoiding law enforcement’s help. Here at Humintell we do the complete opposite: we aid law enforcement, don’t perform our own interrogations or break the law.

Its true that the popularity of the show has exposed our whole world of nonverbal behavior and as a result, more people are becoming interested in the topic of microexpressions and detecting deception.

However, Lie to Me viewers should understand that the information portrayed in the show is strictly for drama’s sake and that very little of the information is rooted in actual science.

We can only hope that Lie to Me viewers don’t assume that everything they see on TV is real and that they do their research before thinking they can spot lies.

8 responses to “Lie to Me Season 2 Episode 16 “Delinquent””

  1. NomadicQuill says:

    Honestly, I think a lot of people who loved the first season is disappointed with the changes the show has made. I started watching because it was a really smart and intriguing procedural. Then the second season pulled a bait and switch by starting as a procedural and switching into a cop drama. Wth? But I do enjoy Humintell’s reviews because you guys bring the science back to the show even if the show probably never will.

    P.S. Please understand, it’s not that I don’t like dramas, I do, but I watch a variety of shows for different reasons.

    I remember a tv writer (can’t recall who) saying if the audiences cares about how the problem is solved, it’s a procedural. If they care about how the characters will solve the problem, it’s a drama. Getting the two confused will lead to a confused audience.

    I’m just glad Mad Men is still so good. I bet Humintell could have field day with those micro/subtle expressions.

  2. Keith D. says:

    I had this discussion with a friend recently, and he thought people are over-reacting or making themselves too self-important to be so bothered about the show.

    His point was that people don’t watch House or ER and go out diagnosing their friends and family’s illnesses or doing emergency appendectomies or intubating people, which is all perfectly valid and I’m glad they don’t.

    My point was that the “science” portrayed in Lie to Me is a different ballgame. To practice its science, one only has to have their eyes open and watch people. There’s relatively no danger (aside from eventual damaged relationships) to the practitioner of the Lie to Me science, almost all of the danger is thrust upon their “victims” in the form of damaged reputations, suspicion and so on.

    That the danger lies primarily with the observed, that there’s little obvious cost to the observer, and that the science as portrayed in the show is so simple to practice are what make it frightening to me. That and the fact that those viewers will eventually be on juries or maybe hold a political office are probably the most frightening ramifications. How different would Tonya Craft’s trial have turned out if she’d had an itchy nose and a jury of overzealous Lie to Me viewers?

    I admit I fear the worst, but there have been times in history when the worst has happened, and it’s because nobody bothered to say anything before it happened. So I think it’s perfectly fine to remind people that it’s a TV show, not real life.

  3. Laguna says:

    Way to much drama in this episode. didn’t like it at all. Remember that episode where Lightman in the middle-east was. Now that was damn exciting, but this is…..

  4. Keith D. says:

    Humintell/Dr. Matsumoto,

    In one of Paul Ekman’s blog posts about this episode, he says, “Loyalty to a friend is one of the eight reasons why people lie. It is a reason for lying that usually earns some respect, even from the victims of the lie.” I was wondering, could you tell us what the other 7 would be if you’re familiar with what he’s talking about here? I had only seen lies broken down into 4 categories before, but don’t recall seeing anything previously about there being 8 reasons.

  5. Markus says:

    Keith D,

    I dont know if thees are the eight reasons (didnt count). But Paul Ekman talks about some of the reasons we lie here:

    http://www.paulekman.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Newsletter_March091.pdf

  6. Dear Keith, We’re asking another deception expert Dr. Mark Frank on his opinion on this issue. Please wait a few more days! Thanks

  7. Dear Keith, We talked to Dr. Mark Frank from the University of Buffalo, who is an expert in the deception field. He mentions that the motives for lying may have come from a variety of sources, but that Ekman in his “why kids lie” book from 1989 listed 8:
    1. Avoid punishment.
    2. Obtain reward more easily or not obtainable without lying.
    3. Avoid awkward social situation.
    4. Impress others.
    5. Protect others.
    6. Control others.
    7. Excitement of the risk.
    8. Obtain privacy, from intrusion.
    Hope this helps!

  8. Keith D. says:

    Finally dug through your old blog posts and found the one you were going to follow up on for me. Thank you for that information, I appreciate it.

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