Tuesday, 18 October 2016
Lie to Me, Season 3 (2010)
I found the second season of Lie to Me to be a bit of a slog. It dropped the pleasing ensemble structure of the first season to focus heavily on Tim Roth's character, Cal Lightman, and he's a rather abrasive chap.
Season three also focuses on Lightman, but it sensibly directs most of his abrasiveness at unsympathetic characters, and when he does snark at characters we like, they generally get to snark back. The interplay between Lightman and his daughter in this season is particularly fun.
As this season starts, Lightman's organisation has severed its relationship with the FBI (which ran through all of season two) and is rather struggling for money in the aftermath. A struggle Lightman's not really helping since he (a) insists on taking cases that interest him even if there is no money in them and (b) is conspicuously failing to write a book he's already had the advance for, and which the publisher is now threatening to sue over.
Alas, Lie to Me was cancelled after 13 episodes of this season. As it did not receive a back 9 order, nor a fourth season, the money/publishing troubles storyline will forever go unresolved. That the people behind the show hoped to be continued is pretty obvious: they introduce a new character (who looked to be a lot of fun) to the team in the final episode that did air, as well as finally taking a big step in a major interpersonal storyline in that same episode.
Even cut short as it is, though, Lie to Me frankly provides a better concluding episode than season six of The Sopranos did. And the thirteen episodes to get to that conclusion are pretty good fun. It definitely helps to approach things with a not-too-serious frame of mind. If you treat this as light entertainment that happens to use investigations as a framework for character-based dramedy (kind of like Castle or - even moreso - Leverage) you'll probably like it more than if you approach it as a "proper" mystery show. Lightman & Co pretty much have magic powers of lie detection and persuasion, and the bad guys always fall for their schemes, so the "whodunnit?" is generally the least compelling part of the show.
Enjoyable bubblegum TV.