Lie to Me Season 3, Episode 8: “Smoked”

In this week’s episode of Lie to Me, entitled ‘Smoked,’ Detective Wallowsky asks The Lightman Group to help her in a murder investigation that took place at a family-owned restaurant.

In this episode, it’s quite noticeable that the writers are making an attempt to incorporate a bit more of the science involved with this field.

For example, in the following clip, Loker points out that Dr. Lightman has determined a baseline for the two brothers he is interrogating. This baseline gives the interrogator a comparison point. From this, he or she is able to detect when the subject’s nonverbal communication deviates from their normal behavior.

However, as you can see in this next clip, there are still instances where the writers go back to old tactics. When Dr. Lightman brings Jim (one of the owners of the restaurant) in to identify the suspect in a lineup, he claims that one of the men in the lineup recognizes him. However, how he arrives to that conclusion isn’t apparent. At the end of the clip, photos from the media are flashed that match the expression on Jim’s face. The meaning behind this expression is never stated or implied.

As a whole, this episode is a slight improvement from earlier episodes this season, in regards to the way the science behind reading nonverbal communication is incorporated. The plot isn’t too terrible, either.

Does this mean that the writers are listening to their audience? We hope so!

What did you think of this week’s Lie to Me? If you haven’t already, you may view the episode here.

4 responses to “Lie to Me Season 3, Episode 8: “Smoked””

  1. Jeff says:

    This week’s episode was very well done and brings us back to the science. I had recently become slightly upset that a show hinging around non-verbal cues to deception was leaving the audience wondering exactly what Cal was seeing. While they take a lot of poetic license in the show, it always makes an episode much more enjoyable if they allow us to see what Cal sees (even if it’s faked).

  2. Keith D. says:

    I have to agree. The episode itself this week was pretty well done. I also agree that the writers/producers are starting to respond to what the show’s fans are saying. I say this in part because they’re starting to lighten up on the “Cal being a jerk” routine and they’re starting to incorporate at least little bits of the science again. I figure if they hear from fans one week, realistically it’d probably take 3-5 episodes before viewers can start expecting to see a response to that feedback in airing episodes. I noticed a small turning of the tide about that many episodes ago too, and it’s steadily if slowly been drifting in the right direction since then. It’s probably an uphill battle to make the show “right” by the fans, but it does seem like they’re making an effort. I appreciate that effort.

    I also am curious about this new guy that Ria discovered “in the ‘hood.” They could make the show more interesting with him, and use him as a plot device (and excuse to the producers) to explain more of the science to the viewer. He also played well in the episode to me, he could make a good character with the right writing and direction.

    I hope they continue to steer the show more in the direction it’s been taking in the past couple episodes. I’d love to see them combine some of the science portrayal used in season 1 with this what they’re doing now, particularly with finding a way to highlight to the viewer what Cal is looking at when he arrives at his conclusions. I don’t expect them to nail the science 100% because that’s unrealistic, but if they could highlight at least 1-2 factual points when Cal makes his almost “psychic leaps” it’d be great. I don’t even need a verbal explanation every time, just a quick, half-second or so pseudo-slow-motion close-up of what it is Cal is looking at in that moment– be it a micro-expression, a subtle expression, a partial expression or even a gesture, whatever– would be adequate in many cases (with some sort of explanation in one or two cases each episode– I see they’re doing that sometimes with Gillian Foster, usually when they’re in their observation room, and that works).

    I think the little photo comparisons to people in the news are close to one right way to do it, but those often lack enough context to make anything clear. They’re a start, but they’re not always relevant or obvious enough. Add some context to those, or show a closeup of an expression a character shows and they’d be just about golden. If they can keep going in this new direction the show might not be doomed. I would be happy about that. 🙂

  3. Keith,
    We would love for the show to keep going in this direction as well! However, it looks like the rest of this season hasn’t been picked up by Fox for the spring. This doesn’t necessarily mean it will be completely canceled, but perhaps this last episode was ‘too little, too late?’

  4. Keith D. says:

    That’s a real shame, but it’s been the fate of this show since its beginning. So far it hasn’t had a season where it wasn’t in jeopardy of cancellation half way through. I hope they don’t squander the resource like Fox tends to do, but I won’t hold my breath.

    Lie To Me HAS won a few awards, so it seems stupid to cancel the show, especially considering the spike in ratings on the past couple episodes (ironically, those episodes were the ones where the show’s direction began to change back toward what it should be).

    As far as I know, it hasn’t officially been canceled yet, it just hasn’t been signed for additional episodes for spring, summer or fall thus far. The trouble with television is if they dawdle too much, the actors may get involved in other contracts and not be available if they do decide to order new episodes. It wouldn’t be the first show to go away due to simple inaction rather than negative action on the part of studio executives. Babylon 5 was a very popular show that partially suffered that fate, and only survived terribly maimed from what it was supposed to have been in the final season and a half or so.

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