Lie to Me Season 3 Episode 4 “Double Blind”

In this week’s episode of Lie to Me, entitled “Double Blind,” two thieves (disguised as cops) rob an art gallery. They are shot by the security guard; one dies immediately, the other is rushed to the hospital. The curator (Sydney) had previously hired The Lightman Group and microexpression expert Cal Lightman, to screen all of his employees. Sydney knows that one of his employees tipped off the robbers in regards to where he was keeping the pieces for the next exhibit, and blames natural Ria Torres (who had screened the employees previously) for not seeing that someone on his staff was untrustworthy.

At the hospital, Dr. Lightman hits on an attractive woman, Naomi (guest star Tricia Helfer of Battlestar Gallactica,) who is sitting in the waiting room. At first, he believes that another man in the waiting room (whom she claims to be her ex-boyfriend, Jack) is going to hurt her, and tells Naomi to call him if Jack gives her trouble again. However, as the story unfolds, Dr. Lightman learns that Naomi was involved with the art gallery heist, and that she had been deceiving him all along.

It seems that Lie to Me is continuing to become more and more like a traditional crime show. As we have stated in the past, the writers of the series have been neglecting the science of emotion recognition all together. Even worse, without any explanations of the science behind his conclusions, Dr. Lightman comes off more like a psychic than a scientist.

In this clip, Dr. Lightman says that Naomi was relieved that he sat next to her in the waiting room, and a flashback of her facial expression at that moment comes up on the screen. However, there isn’t really anything significant about her face at that moment. She is smiling, but that smile could have meant multiple things.

Dr. Lightman also deduces that she did something that made Jack want to hurt her because he saw fear on her face. Remember, fear is characterized by brows drawn up and together simultaneously, eyes wide with a lot of white above the eyes and lips stretched horizontally.

It is also here that Lightman makes a crucial mistake of any person studying microexpressions and nonverbal behavior by jumping to a conclusion as to why that person felt a certain way.

It is also important to note that the feeling of relief is not a universal facial expression of emotion. There is absolutely no scientific evidence backing up Lightman’s statement when he recognizes Naomi’s relief.

Just like the previous episode, photos from the media are flashed after a character (this time, Naomi) makes a certain gesture or expression. Once again, the flashing of the photos seems rather random, and it isn’t till the end of the episode that we understand why Naomi was gesturing that way.

From a dramatic point of view, the episode wasn’t too bad. It was interesting to see Dr. Lightman admit that Naomi had really deceived him, though the writers seem to go back and forth on whether or not he knew she was untrustworthy all along.

Did you watch Lie to Me this week? What did you think? You can watch the full episode here.

3 responses to “Lie to Me Season 3 Episode 4 “Double Blind””

  1. Mike Rohrig says:

    I liked the idea that he has a tough time read his partner and someone he finds extremely attractive. In a general sense it seems guys can’t read women correctly. If they like her then everything seems like flirting to us. There have been plenty of times that a girl was hitting on me but I didn’t pick up on it because I wasn’t interested. The show make Lightman superhuman. Noments like these remind us he isn’t.
    I agree that the science has taken a back seat. They may be concerned that there aren’t enough of us sucked in by the science to keep the show alive and they want it to be more like a typical crime show.
    I still love it though.

  2. Ann Mullen says:

    I am constantly disappointed that there aren’t more educating and more information on microexpressions on this show than there were in the first few episodes.

  3. Keith D. says:

    I’ve been reading Joe Navarro’s “What Every BODY Is Saying” recently, and I think that they’re not using strictly science in the show, but also what experientially seems to be true in many or most cases. For example, I don’t know if there is any scientific evidence behind the “hooding” gesture (arms raised, elbows pointed outwards with hands clasped behind the head, looking similar to when a cobra is expanding its hood) that the second painter displayed when he was first interviewed by Ria Torres, but that particular gesture is out there in the literature. Ria Torres’s reading of it was fairly appropriate (if perhaps taking a bit of a gamble) according to Navarro’s section on it. They may be using more than just poetic license and incorporating more than what science has proven or disproven with the show because it makes the writing easier.

    Where they really deviate from actual interviewing practice when interviewing their suspects/witnesses is in how frequently they don’t try to build a rapport with them, instead opting for a more aggressive, confrontational approach, which those in law enforcement that I’ve heard from seem to agree is generally a lot less effective.

    All that said though, I liked this episode better than the past couple. They didn’t explain much if any science in this one, but it appeared to have a somewhat more rational, reality-grounded basis than the previous few episodes, and it was nice to see Cal not being quite as big of a jerk as he has been lately. And one could argue that they did include more of the “science” in this episode, even though many people probably didn’t see it as such, when they talked about everybody making mistakes sometimes, and having difficulty reading certain people in certain circumstances or with whom they have some kind of emotional bond or relationship.

    I’d still like to see them incorporate at least one or two tidbits of real science in each episode. When I think of shows like House or Bones or E.R. or even some of the other crime shows like C.S.I. or Criminal Minds, they always seem to find a way to explain something once or twice in the show, even if it’s just throwing a unique twist at something they’ve already told people– a caveat or potential gotcha. There’s no need to beat the viewer up with it, but just a trinket here and there would add a lot more draw to the show for the viewers who are actually drawn to it as more than a simple drama.

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