Like House, Only Better!

It was time to take a break from doing physical work to do some mental, analytical work.  During DIY project breaks, I managed to watch a few more episodes of "Lie To Me."  After NCIS, it has become my new favorite show.

"Lie To Me" has some similarities to "House, MD": they are both driven by an often snarky, brutally honest, passionately secretive, brilliantly intelligent lead.  Dr. Gregory House on "House, MD," and Dr. Cal Lightman on "Lie To Me."

The interesting thing is that although both leads–Hugh Laurie as House and Tim Roth as Lightman–are British, Laurie plays an American while Roth plays an Englishman in America.  Both characters are well-educated, opinionated, and sometimes offensive.  However, for me the similarities end there.  I used to love "House."  I would look forward to each show, waiting for House to bully his way to a diagnosis.  About halfway through season two, I started losing interest.  The characters all seemed to stagnate, for some reason.  House was no longer amusing; he was merely abrasive and annoying.  I watched several more seasons, but disliked the show the more I watched it.

The same thing could happen to "Lie To Me," of course.  However, the show has stronger secondary characters, more like "NCIS" than "House."  And I think the show also has a more interesting premise.

Dr. Lightman is a "deception expert" who is hired by people trying to figure out if they are being lied to.  Part of why the show works so well is the use of actual footage of people lying (O.J, Clinton, Nixon, etc.) to compare with video of the person Lightman is investigating.  The show is made more interesting because Lightman often catches those who hired him lying.

I do think, however, that what really makes the show is Roth.  He is able to capture a man obssessed with truth and lies and yet portray him as a real person.  Lightman can mask his own feelings well, except when he is dealing with his daughter.  In many of those instances, his vulnerability shows through clearly, even when he tries to hide it.

"Lie To Me" is an excellent show; I highly recommend it!