Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Lie to Me, Season 2 (2009)

This is the only season of Lie to Me to run a full order of 22 episodes and to be honest it does start to feel a little too long when you're binge-watching it like I am.  It might well work better week to week, though: like with my recent review of Magnum P.I., some of the common tropes of the show become a bit wearisome when you see them back to back to back.  Chief of these tropes is probably lead character Cal Lightman's maverick ways.  In any single episode, or even a few episodes at a time, they are fun.  But a whole season of them starts to feel very forced, as he continually gets away with being a complete jerk to pretty much everyone he meets.

As a refresher, the basic premise of the show is that Lightman and his colleagues are experts in lie detection.  They use their skills to assist with investigations - either for private citizens or for government agencies - and of course they ultimately always get the bad guy.

While the premise of the show hasn't changed, though, the structure of it has.  Season one generally had two cases running in parallel, with the four main characters splitting into pairs to run separate investigations, and who was paired with who varied each time.  Season two introduces a fifth main character in the form of an FBI agent, and limits each show to one active case.  While I like the new character I am not as positive about the latter change: having only one investigation makes this much more "the Cal Lightman show" than it previously was, and as I noted above, Cal tends to get quite abrasive after a while, even for the audience.

Another change that I do like is the increased use of recurring guest stars.  Having minor characters return gives them additional chances to bounce off the main cast and develop relationships (either friendly or adversarial).

Most of the investigations in this season are solid, and the supporting cast, though sometimes under-used, are excellent.  If you like the police procedural genre and don't mind the show's central conceit of human lie detectors, then you should enjoy this.  Just maybe avoid watching too many episodes too close together.

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