Lie to Me: Season 2, Episode 22

Black and White (13 Sep. 2010)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 233 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 1 critic

Dr. Lightman's journalist friend is murdered while investigating political corruption, and agent Reynolds is critically shot during the ensuing investigation.

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Title: Black and White (13 Sep 2010)

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
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Dale Anslinger
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Gordon Cook
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Beau Hackman
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Rick
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Harry Ford
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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Julie Kinnell
Mark Correy ...
Lightman Group Tech
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Storyline

Dr. Lightman's journalist friend is murdered while investigating political corruption, and agent Reynolds is critically shot during the ensuing investigation.

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13 September 2010 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Goofs

When Lightman and Foster are in the corridor, discussing Emily's virginity, the amount of foam on Foster's drink changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

[Cal finds a reporter friend of his dead and the FBI shows up when he calls the cops. They tell him they'd heard she'd been digging up dirt on a councilman]
Dr. Cal Lightman: What about the councilman?
Agent Ben Reynolds: Anslinger's not just anyone. He's an ex-cop and a shoe-in to be mayor. This may be a friend of yours but you can't just go barge into the man's office and accuse him of murder.
Dr. Cal Lightman: Did you tell him to say that?
Asac Dillon: First and foremost Agent Reynolds works for me Dr. Lightman.
Dr. Cal Lightman: So you're telling me I can't go look the man in ...
[...]
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Brand New Day
Written by: Ryan Star and Max Collins
Performed by: Ryan Star
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User Reviews

Season 2: Mostly "OK" but season 2 totally fails to grow or strengthen and instead appears to stagnate and get desperate
18 September 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Thanks to my girlfriend I watch a lot more actual television shows than I used to and in particular I watch a lot more of the "quirky detective" crime genre than I would if she didn't love them so much. Anyway, watching as much as I do you tend to see a pattern in the seasons of many shows. The first season is the one that tests the waters and gets (or doesn't) an audience based on the concept and the core strengths the show has. Normally seasons 2 and 3 sees the show get more confident and builds on and around the things that got the viewer in the first place. Obviously as time goes on many shows will start to tire and there will always be a point where you can see the writers struggling to come up with weekly plots and will start to use weak plot devices just to make things happen for the next hour – for example the USA show Monk fell into this rut around season 5 or 6 with some terrible plot devices (Randy inheriting a farm just to set up a countryside episode).

I mention this because I was genuinely astonished to see that the first half of Lie to Me's second season employed the sort of lazy and unimaginative plot devices that one would expect to get to when the ideas are running out – not when the show has just been renewed and has the chance to step up its game. In theory there should be lots of potential here: as a consultant Lightman can be called onto any case whether it relates to him or not. In addition the cases can all be morally messy since we are in the realm of human nature and morality, so it doesn't just have to be "x did y" each week – it can be engaging and fascinating (the H:LOTS episode Three Men & Adena springs to mind as the sort of stuff this show could easily be doing). But it doesn't do this and, worse than that, it doesn't take any steps forward at all. So what we get in the first half of the season are hostage situations in the Lightman offices, an episode where he goes on holiday (and gets involved in a case of course), an episode where one of the characters' sister needs help, a character from Lightman's past showing up to spark a story – and so on. In and of itself, none of these means the episode is bad, but one cannot help but wonder why they are resorting to this in such a young show – I mean the "go to a different county/place" plot is usually a sight of writers trying to freshen stuff up, not a second season! Ironically enough, when I reviewed season 1 of Lie to Me I had said that it was solid enough but that it needed to build on its strengths to be a more distinctive show. Sadly it doesn't do this in any meaningful way and the focus appears to be, let's just get an episode out there and if we need to create a back-story or change a character to make this specific story happen then so be it. Many of those episodes are decent enough if you are just looking to be distracted for 40 minutes, but only one or two really engaged me and far too many can be met with a shrug and then instantly forgotten. While a second season for a network show often means "develop the core, strengthen the strengths, cement and grow the audience", Lie to Me just seems happy with "more of the same – just churn it out and people will watch it". It is a bad sign when the most notable thing the show does in season 2 is cast six cast members from The Shield in the same episode.

One thing is for sure is that the writers should thank God for the presence of Roth. He is very close to being a cockney swagger pastiche of his own character but somehow it works. He holds the attention, he delivers the material with style and he works well with almost everyone he is put in a scene with. He doesn't have a particularly good character to work with but he gives it all he has and it is him that makes it watchable while the rest are dull. And they are dull – failure to develop and strengthen these characters has meant that they can barely stand still and, if anything, they are sliding back to being plot devices themselves (as if they were the weekly guest actors). Williams has little to do that works while Raymund's impact is now just "being hot" (which she is good at I guess, but that isn't enough). Phifer and Beals are OK but again just seem to be plot devices rather than characters.

I came to this after an "OK" first season, interested to see how it got better and was surprised to find that it didn't. While some episodes are good and many are "OK", this genre of TV shows is very crowded and there are a lot better than this one. I know it has the green light for a third season but on the evidence of this season I have no idea why. The viewing figures are still solid enough to justify another season I suppose but it is pretty obvious why a show that started season 1 with over 12 million viewers for the first 4 or 5 weeks has steadily slipped away to be consistently around the 5 million mark by the last 4 or 5 episodes of season 2. Season 3 has a lot to do because Lie to Me has too much genre potential to just be allowed to stagnate as it has done in most of season 2.


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