Lie to Me: Will Lightman Go Too Far Without the FBI?
Tim Roth, Lie to Me
When Lie to Me returns for its third season, Cal Lightman and his team of lie-detecting scientists will be freed from their ties to Ben Reynolds and the FBI.
But while the show's producers made that decision to allow Lightman (Tim Roth) to take on different kinds of cases, will the lack of checks and balances prove dangerous for the Lightman Group?
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"We are leaning into Lightman's general conflict with power and authority," executive producer Alexander Cary tells TVGuide.com. "In the first episode of Season 3, he goes too far. He sails extremely close to the wind."
"It's much more difficult for him to open doors and get inside places," Roth adds. "So, he has to result to borderline illegal tactics and his own sense of mischief to get into a room. All of the stuff with Reynolds [Mekhi Phifer] was good and enjoyable, but it made things too easy for Lightman. Things are much more fun when it's difficult for him to get to access. It's much more the rogue element."
However, sometimes even Lightman's cleverness isn't enough to get the access he needs. Cue the return of Detective Wallowski (Monique Curnen), the bent cop who broke into Lightman's home in the Season 2 finale.
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"He has a crooked cop that he can call on when he's in trouble or when he needs something done and blackmail into helping him out," Roth says, noting that Wallowski's shadiness still doesn't compare to how low Lightman might stoop when he's looking for answers. "He's worse I think, but he has this odd sense of ethics and morality. She's in a bad spot, and he exploits it, but he also helps her with it."
As for those different types of cases this season, executive producer David Graziano says Lightman won't sit around waiting for the work to come to him. In Monday's episode, Lightman gets mixed up in a case when he tries to stop a man at his local bank branch from robbing it.
"Sometimes Lightman gets into these cases this year based on nothing more than intellectual curiosity and a desire to see what turns the case takes," Graziano says. "Lightman can recognize antagonists out there in the world. Because of his gift, he can see them and he'll come up against more villains this year. We get to have a lot of fun with twisted people — people that only Lightman can see and only Lightman can take down."
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There will also be a steady stream of high-caliber guest stars (Anna Gunn, Tricia Helfer, Annette O'Toole), which Roth attributes to the strength of this season's storytelling. But, the show will also focus on introducing some new regulars as well. To keep Lightman focused on a deadline for a new book about his work, Foster (Kelli Williams) assigns a few grad students, including one played by Shoshannah Stern, to keep Lightman on point.
"It's one of the ways that we're going to put the science on its feet this season," Graziano says. "We show these grad students doing what appear to be fools' errands at first, but it ends up actually pertaining to the science of the episode."
But let's not forget about Loker (Brendan Hines) and Torres (Monica Raymund), who Cary says also will be further developed this season. "There are going to be some changes for both characters in terms of what they do on the show and their value to the team," he says. "Rather than just tap computer keys and stuff, they get to go out on the street and play."
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Those changes won't be easily accepted by control-freak Lightman. That also leads to bit of conflict between him and Loker. "So far, Loker's been sitting in the lab and is not what Lightman considers a very street-smart intellectual," Graziano says. "For Lightman to get to a place where he views Loker as an equal, Loker's going to have to get his nose dirty on the street."
"Lightman wants to help people, he just doesn't know how to show them how much he cares," Cary adds. "The way he shows them is by negative attention, which is the fun of the show. So, he f---- with people while he helps them at the same time. And sometimes it's very difficult for people such as Loker to understand that."
Lie to Me premieres Monday at 9/8c on Fox.