Lie to Me Season 2 Episode 18 “Headlock”

For us, this episode of Lie to Me was very disappointing. It went a bit too far in inaccurately depicting the life of a deception expert and microexpressions scientist.

If one was to watch the show purely for the drama factor, “Headlock” may not have been too bad. But for actual scientists and researchers working in this field, we cringe at the false depiction of the work we do and are appalled by Lightman’s lack of integrity in the show.

We come to find out within this episode that Lightman apparently has a contract with the FBI within the show. We can relate to this as Dr. Matsumoto is a frequent guest instructor at the FBI National Academy.

However, Lightman’s conduct and decisions, especially within this show are insulting to say the least. He tells Reynolds to delay the results of DNA evidence and doesn’t seem to care when Torres tells him she deliberately cut him out of fight footage she received from law enforcement. While Lightman does come clean at the end, his behavior is both appalling and ridiculous, and totally glamorized for television drama. As a contractor of the FBI, Lightman should be doing whatever he can to work with law enforcement, not against them.

In addition, the show barely goes into how Lightman is able to decipher deception from truth, with little information on the science behind his decisions. Lightman also conducts his own interrogations and investigations, which absolutely does not occur in real life.

It’s frustrating to watch a show that has such potential week after week portray what little information they present inaccurately.

What does everyone else think?

6 responses to “Lie to Me Season 2 Episode 18 “Headlock””

  1. Gianluca says:

    I watched Lie to me since the Pilot episode and i immediately liked it beacause it based on fascinating science. I’d like that in next episodes the show would address the science more carefully but unfortunaly this season took a “drama way” and the writers must introduce violence, blood and guns to make audience. This is the show buisness and i think that if the writers had not done this, maybe the show was be canceled by FOX.

  2. I haven’t caught an episode in three weeks. It is very disheartening to hear they are doing this. Why can’t they create a good drama and still support the science?

  3. Owen Moore says:

    The producers of this show will I believe always aim for action, drama and suspense even at the cost of robust scientific facts. This shouldnt be too surprising to any regular visitors to this site. Could you imagine anyone sitting through a show that insisted on baseline observations for 30 mins to inform the viewer that Lightman is avoiding Brokaw’s hazard?
    The desire for action rather than cautious application has some rather disturbing precedents. The use of Darwins work led to eugenics and up to 70,000 women were forced to undergo sterilisation due to

  4. Owen Moore says:

    the idea that the infirm or “feeble minded” should be removed from continuing their gene lineage! Few of us will need reminding of Hitlers views on Darwins observations.
    Thanks to this site and Paul Ekmans work, those of us interested in deception can urge caution yet still suspend the critical scientific mind for 1 hour of entertainment.

  5. Danny says:

    I know where you’re coming from but I can remember distinct times where they touched on the science. With that said, I actually think they were too heavy on the science in the beginning of the series. Now, I love science, but there have been many times where I sat there thinking that they really over did it trying to explain some of the science. As much as my curious little brain appreciated itIt was almost “insulting” to my intelligence for them to blatantly place a bit of science in there as if the actors had to put their “scientist” hat on for a moment to explain some technique or expression. It’s a lot of times too obvious.

    As for Lightman, well…do you find Dr. House’s antics completely abhorent? If you do then I direct you to the archetypical character model both of those shows use…the troubled but brilliant scientist who goes against the grain and although they may be unorthodox in their methods, they get the job done nearly perfectly in the end. They are just SO good at what they do that those around them can’t be mad at them for long. Anyway…if anything they may be saying to the public that you don’t have to be dry, humorless, and on the close end of the autism spectrum to be a brilliant scientist or just interested in science for that matter. In the end, if he weren’t helping people, then I’d say you had a point but in the end he does just that. Lightman actually reminds me of a quasi-well-adjusted bipolar person or something. He has his delusions of grandeur, his depressed moments, his loving moments. Remember that many of our great scientists were suspected to be bipolar. Leonardo Da Vinci for instance.

  6. Keith D. says:

    Currently my opinion is that the science was used at the beginning of the show to establish Lightman as a character. The viewer needed to understand that he is a brilliant scientist and that’s why he has the ability he has. Now that it’s been established, the science takes the back seat and the drama comes to the forefront, i.e. what that character does with his abilities.

    They could certainly bring the science back into the show more without ruining the drama, and without beating the audience over the head with it. They would only need to follow the model used in Bones or any of the myriad CSI type shows or Criminal Minds etc. All of those shows have several more subtle techniques for bringing science into the show without making it completely contrived or overtaking the drama underneath each program. The Lie to Me crew just needs to figure out a way to incorporate those techniques into their show’s universe. Hopefully Fox will encourage, or allow them to do that in this next season. There is still a lot of untapped potential in it, and the characters are great fun (though perhaps disrespectful to real people in the field in real life) to watch.

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