Lie to Me: Season 1, Episode 1

Pilot (21 Jan. 2009)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 913 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

Dr. Lightman and Dr. Foster search for the truth in cases involving a devoutly religious high school student accused of killing a teacher, and a congressman accused of having an affair.



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Title: Pilot (21 Jan 2009)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Congressman Zeb Weil


Dr. Cal Lightman teaches a course in body-language and makes an honest fortune exploiting it. He's employed by various public authorities in various investigations, doing more when the police etc. fail to go the extra mile. Today he finds out the truth about a murder involving high school-kids and/or - staff. And why Congressman Zeb Weil would rather resign under false accusations of having paid for sex than divulge his purpose in the bordello. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

21 January 2009 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(as Dolby Surround)|


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The "parking jerk" scene shows Dr. Lightman parking along the side of the street before going into Dulles Airport. Dulles doesn't have streetside parking within miles of the terminal. See more »


Cal Lightman: I guess we're all here, then: someone who wants the truth, someone who wants to be right, and us - the idiots in the middle.
See more »


References Rain Man (1988) See more »


Brand New Day
Written by Ryan Star and Max Collins
Performed by Ryan Star
(Main Title Theme)
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User Reviews

Fascinating concept and interesting characters, questionable acting and production, episodic format I hate you
19 June 2010 | by (France) – See all my reviews

I wasn't expecting to find their applied psychology techniques so fascinating. I already knew a few things about body language and facial expressions but I definitely learned a lot. For example I didn't know a liar kept eye contact so it's natural to look somewhere else when you're thinking about what you want to say. So the episode was very insightful but I found the acting wasn't genuine enough and it was obvious the performers forced their expressions to make us believe in the concept. However using historical photos to assert their arguments was quite convincing.

As for the characters I was gladly surprised by them because for once I think they're well balanced. The leader keeps a distance, his female assistant skills were also well used and the younger mates also contributed to make their team as likable as possible. The protagonist can detect lies because he's a micro expressions experts but he knows that using it is not always appropriate even if he apparently can't control his ability. As for his assistant she's a words worm and knows how to convince someone, by using affirmations for example, but also to analyse what they say. In fact she reminded me of Dune by Frank Herbert but her gift is real, she doesn't magically charm people with her voice. An other character I liked was the guy who always tell the truth. He's not Jim Carrey but definitely someone you can relate to. As for their new female recruit she's gorgeous but I'm not really fond of her for the moment even if her more natural approach could be interesting to follow. It contrasts with the protagonist more rational and mechanical one. Last but not least they made me laugh from time to time so you should instantly fall in love with them.

But even if it has many qualities I also noted a few flaws. First the production quality is average and I suspect some budget cuts because at times it reminded me of shows like Mental where even the lighting has issues. However it's not that bad and even good enough so immersing into their universe shouldn't be a problem. Second I worry that the writers have used all their bright ideas in the pilot to amaze the audience. I'm sure they have kept some bullets for the whole season but the concept has its limit. Third and last I can't help comparing it to Castle and CSI: NY, other procedural shows. The very first minutes you know the format is episodic and I just hate that. They didn't even try to develop a major arc to intrigue us. Right from the beginning they started a new déjà vu investigation. In fact there were two arcs but none of them really interested me. There was nothing original about the story and only the fresh ideas made it entertaining.

For me such a format can only ruin a show because it depends on the quality of its many scripts. I can't imagine how great Lie to Me would be if it had the strong format of shows like Dexter ! One major arc with a serial killer to catch and new investigations from time to time. But if you don't mind its procedural approach then I can only recommend it.

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