Lie to Me Season 3, Episode 10 “Saved”

In this week’s episode of Lie to Me, entitled “Saved,” Dr. Lightman is approached by the DA’s office to investigate a fatal car accident. He is originally asked to help charge Mark, the driver of one of the cars involved, with 2nd degree murder. However, as the Lightman Group digs deeper, they discover that Ilene, the off-duty paramedic who happened to be nearby when the accident occurred, may have something to do with the crash.

The plot of “Saved” is quite predictable. However, this episode does get one piece of science accurate, which makes it slightly better than the last two episodes.

Dr. Lightman points out the accidental shoulder shrug that Kent makes when declaring that Ilene, his sister, is a hero. We have previously blogged about the significance of an accidental shoulder shrug when making a statement; when you see an individual shrugging while making a positive statement, it may mean that the speaker has no faith in the assertion that they are making.

In the following clip, Lightman comes to the conclusion that the shoulder shrug means that Kent does not truly believe Ilene to be a hero.

Although the writers got the shoulder shrug correct, they inaccurately identified an expression of fear several times.

In this next clip, Dr. Lightman is confronting Ilene about her particularly strange interest in car accidents. He points out that her face says that she is afraid. What do you think her face is saying in this clip? It doesn’t look like fear and even Dr. Paul Ekman, scientific consultant to the show, admits in his blog that her expression was not fear.Why do you think that Lie to Me producers and writers would have a scientific consultant, if even simple expressions such as these are inaccurately portrayed?

A true expression of fear involves the raising of the eyebrows while simultaneously bringing them together, making the brows more straight rather than rounded how they are in surprise. The lips are stretch horizontally and generally there is a lot of white above the eyes. Take a look at another episode of Lie to Me where they mistakenly showed fear.

Though this episode wasn’t quite as revoltingly bad as the previous two, it isn’t exactly an example of quality scriptwriting.

Did you watch Lie to Me this week? What did you think?

You can watch the whole episode here

4 responses to “Lie to Me Season 3, Episode 10 “Saved””

  1. Chris says:

    I think I found a good example of a single shoulder shrug… left shoulder John Yoo.. 5:00 minutes into the clip.

    The shoulder shrug in Lie To Me was pretty cool. Since they are taking so much artistic license with Science lately.

  2. Russ Conte says:

    Please delete previous comment, it has a bad URL. This is the comment with the correct URL:

    I only watched a tiny bit of the show. A few points – the Producer (with a capital P) this week was Tim Roth. I got a screen shot of the credit, see here:

    He’s admitted that he knows very little about deception detection, and virtually everything he does know about it he learned from Lie to Me. So the mistakes are understandable, especially when compared to the season one team, who knew the field like the back of their hand, and could use their knowledge to write amazing stories.

    I would predict that Lie to Me will continue to make mistakes in identifying emotions, probably even more than they have been doing, and produce less than the quality show that they could produce if they got this stuff right. People intuitively know when emotions are displayed correctly, even if they don’t understand the science, and that was one of Lie to Me’s hallmarks in season one that is missing in two and three (and virtually all TV shows). I think that was also a huge factor in season one’s much better ratings, and why the subsequent seasons have had such a huge ratings drop (some 50%).

    Russ Conte

  3. Dan says:

    I think the show more parades around the fact they have Dr. Ekman as a scientific consultant more as a marketing scheme rather then to actually display the correct science… It’s sad but that’s what I believe…

    They’ve portrayed the show in a way that everyone get’s a bit excited and starts wanting to study psychology, learn body language and micro expressions and become a lie detector or more a “Lightman” (To some extent understandably because that’s how they’ve made it a success) By having a scientific consultant of such a high stature attached to the show people then believe that this is exactly how the science works and you could walk around knowing what everyone is thinking and feeling.

  4. Keith D. says:

    There might be some truth to what Dan says, human beings in my experience seem to have a basic psychological need to be somehow “special.” When someone feeds that need, that person becomes liked and popular, and I don’t think a TV show would be all that different.

    On the other hand, it has gotten a lot of people interested in psychology, behavior, and deception detection, and that has gotten a lot of people who have a more serious interest out there looking into the actual science and looking for the actual facts. I never would’ve paid any attention to Dr. Ekman, Humintell, truth wizards or studying emotions if it hadn’t been for Lie To Me. And I certainly wouldn’t be engaged in dialogs over whether a show like Lie To Me was getting the science right or not, and what the ramifications might be of getting it wrong or why the difference is important. I think that if the show is “using” Ekman as its consultant as a tool the way Dan describes that this latter part might be why he continues to be involved. The good may outweigh the bad for the time being. It could be a simple pragmatic decision.

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