Lie to Me Season 3, Episode 11 “Gone”

On this week’s episode of Lie to Me, entitled “Gone,” the police ask Dr. Lightman to help investigate a child abduction case. It is revealed early on that Kimmy went missing because her mother, Collette, left her in the car while running an errand. She lies about what happened because she is scared of what her husband will do. As The Lightman Group works to find the truth, they discover more information about the family’s personal lives, including the truth about Kimmy’s father.

What stands out the most about this episode is how insensitive Dr. Lightman is during the investigation. The issue of paternity is very private, and something that a family would likely not want to be talked about in the open. Yet, when Dr. Lightman and Dr. Foster go to interrogate Dr. Heaton (Collette’s OB-GYN) about Kimmy’s biological father, they make a big scene at his clinic, to the point where one of his patients walks out.

This sort of spectacle would never happen in real life. The work that we do here at Humintell is always conducted in a professional manner and we certainly do not conduct our own interrogations.

As this season of Lie to Me continues, Dr. Lightman is becoming more and more obnoxious. While we hope that viewers would easily recognize that we do not conduct our work in that manner, it is still bothersome to see the writers depict it that way.

A brief exchange between Dr. Lightman and Emily brings up the issue of how to get someone to reveal their true emotions.

He says “I shake people up until they lose control and forget to hide their emotions”. Do you think that this is an effective way to find out the truth about what someone is saying and feeling?

Our research has shown the most effective way to get the whole truth from someone is by building rapport. Building rapport involves the ability to read emotions in others well and thus, we emphasize the importance of being able to read facial expressions of emotions in others.

There isn’t much to say about this episode that wouldn’t seem redundant. Each episode this season, with very few exceptions, has portrayed inaccurate scientific information and be geared more towards an audience that likes dramatic scenes and sarcastic characters.

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

5 responses to “Lie to Me Season 3, Episode 11 “Gone””

  1. Keith D. says:

    There was a line that Loker said near the beginning when they were watching news footage at a press conference. He noted that the husband was facing away from his wife, “which means he doesn’t believe a word she’s saying.” This is one example that stood out immediately where it would’ve been a simple matter to get the science closer to reality. All that would be needed is to change the word “means” to “suggests,” such as “which in this instance suggests that he may not believe a word she’s saying.”

    But TV seems to hate hedges because by and large audiences hate hedges. At least in this country, for mainstream audiences, they want black and white, fairly simple, relatively spelled-out, easy to understand plot lines. It’s entertainment after all, not grad school that they’re looking for. Those of us who want science enroll at an institute for higher learning. The rest of the viewers want to kick back with a cold beverage, and hot dinner to relax and unwind after a long day.

    I think that’s the main problem. We viewers who would love nothing more than to be fans of a potentially fantastic TV show are a niche that can’t (or won’t) be served by a commercial, for-profit, mainstream broadcasting company. Now if the show were produced by the BBC and aired on PBS over here, we might have something. But the U.S. system just isn’t conducive to the needs of the few because it’s not profitable compared to fighting over making that lowest-common-denominator majority just happy enough to keep them tuning in.

    My favorite part of this episode was once again the interaction between Lightman and Emily, because it was the most real and non-antagonistic, at least given their particular brand of relationship. He’s antagonistic with his daughter, but it’s almost never in a disrespectful or uncaring way, and that’s nice to watch.

  2. Russ Conte says:

    Very good comments. Early on in the series (season one) Lightman showed the emotional maturity of a young adult, and it has continued to go down. He’s approximately at the level of a 14 year old boy, and now the rest of the team is being dragged down, too. The show has devolved into a group of people with a very high level of skill reading emotions who are emotionally acting about as mature as teenagers. One of the great ironies here is that the portrayal of Emily is almost always more mature than Lightman himself.

    They do get some of the reading of emotions correct (for a change). And – to my great delight – the focus is on the show and not on explosions or sex gun fights or stuff like that. I would count that as a step forward – the show was special because the team had a special skill, not because of all the rest.

    I absolutely agree with the main point in the blog post – as someone who interviews and hires people for a living, it is imperative to my job that I read people correctly as much as possible. I do that by building rapport, not by badgering them or being obnoxious or acting like a 12 year old boy or asking them to slug me in the stomach. I would be terminated immediately if I acted as the Lightman group acts. If I shook people up until they forgot to hide their emotions, I’d be out of a job. That’s not even good writing, much less the real truth.

    In summary, I’d say that the team read a few emotions correctly, and that’s a huge improvement over prior episodes. The focus is on the drama and not sex or guns or explosions, again, another improvement. However, the basic storyline is not believable (the police and parents would have fired the Lightman Group in real life), everyone in the Lightman Group is now acting as immature as Lightman himself, which I find extremely disappointing. There’s a real irony when the most mature character is a teenager who acts like a responsible adult in the presence of a bunch of adults who demonstrate the maturity and irresponsibility of teenagers.

    Russ Conte

  3. Chris says:

    I would think that shaking people up could contaminate the expressions that your looking for.

    If I shake them up they could be flashing expressions in response to how I’m treating them rather than the matter at hand.

  4. Russ Conte says:

    In reply, “If I shake them up they could be flashing expressions in response to how I’m treating them rather than the matter at hand.”

    I think you hit the nail on the head. That’s why it pays to be neutral, and still have a good rapport with the person under consideration.

    Russ Conte

  5. Ellen Wright says:

    Shaking people up “might”-“MIGHT”-be a method to keep in the toolbox for the occasional situation that demands it (although for the life of me, I can’t think of one). I’m sure there are people who might be so emotionally and communicatively constipated that they might need such an approach. I would surely hate to encounter them.

    On the other hand or perhaps foot-my husband and I noted to each other while watching the show that the husband not only did not believe his wife, but that he was a “controller” and likely was abusive to both her and the teenaged son. Chances of building rapport with him and getting him to “open up” would be difficult at best-he is a narcissistic personality at the center of his own little world, they serve at his pleasure and bidding, he calls all the shots, and you question him at your peril. That baby was his toy-not his wife’s-HIS.

    Oh, I’ve met Top Gun’s like Lightman. You might be concerned about the picture these writers are painting of your profession, but men like him do exist. Perhaps the writers will “let” Dr. Foster redirect him somewhat-or it would seem so from what Emily said to him during the last scene of the last episode. We shall see…..

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