Lie to Me

Lie to Me's Season 3 finale dares to ask the question: What if Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had killed one of his closest friends and partners?

VIDEO: Jesse Eisenberg and Mark Zuckerberg finally meet on Saturday Night Live

Truthfully, the episode has nothing to do with Facebook, but you can't help but notice the parallels between it and the Oscar-nominated film, The Social Network, which explores the complicated personal and legal entanglements behind the founding of the most popular website on the Internet. In Lie to Me's tale, Nikita's Ashton Holmes plays Zach Morstein, the wunderkind co-creator of a popular dating application who Dr. Lightman (Tim Roth) fingers as the lead suspect in the murder of Zach's best friend and company co-founder.

Executive producers Alexander Cary and David Graziano happily wear their influences. "We didn't want to shy away from it as a milieu because there was a movie that took place in that arena," Graziano tells TVGuide.com, noting that the original story was based in small-town politics, not technology. "It is really hard on television to establish the character of a small town.  At its heart, this episode always was about three close friends and how they become divided. So, rather than it be small town where this happens between three local politicians, we just made them friends with a corporation."

"Obviously we were aware of [The Social Network], but it didn't really inspire us or inform us," Cary adds. "You draw your inspirations from these places but then, once you've come out of the gate, you go with it in your own way. We just thought it was a fun way to do this story.  It was a fun type of character to go against Lightman. It's sort of old-school against new-school."

Check out photos from Lie to Me

Indeed, Graziano says the episode is actually more of an homage to Peter Falk's Columbo. "We liked the way he is a working-class protagonist who goes up against these very powerful, very rich antagonists and through the course of an episode, takes them down at the knee," Graziano says. "Lightman is sort of cut from the same cloth. The important things about these episodes is that you always need a very clear and strong obstacle to the truth. The people that are the strongest obstacles just wind up being the people with the most to lose and the people who are the smartest and most powerful."

It just so happens that the murder victim is a former patient of Dr Gillian Foster (Kelli Williams), which raises the stakes for Lightman & Co. In fact, when Graziano and Cary learned that the episode would double as the show's season finale (Fox opted not to order the back nine episodes to make room for new midseason shows), they decided to more fully explore Foster and Lightman's "relationship status."

"We wanted to make a statement about what's at the nucleus of their friendship, which is a deep love and a respect," Graziano says. "And one of the things Lightman does for her — he's her protector."

"We wanted to really cement the relationship between Lightman and Foster," Cary says. "We wanted to really do a love story in a very indirect way between Lightman and Foster with a sort of horrible crime that affects Foster, and therefore Lightman, personally. And I think what we wanted also to do was imbue Lightman and Foster and some of the other characters with a sense of hope for the future."

Fox: Fringe, Lie to Me not dead

But what is the show's future? While Fox execs are unlikely to rule on Lie to Me's future prospects until May, Cary remains very confident. "They have been incredibly supportive to us and encouraging, and they have made it absolutely clear that we should not pack our bags," he says. "We're feeling really good and they're looking after us and keeping us busy. I think this is just the nature of the business. They make people like us fight for our shows and it's fair enough. To fight for our show is no bad thing, and to allow other shows to have a crack at it is no bad thing for us or the business."

And Graziano notes that the final moments of the finale will leave everyone wanting to see what comes next. "We've made some promises that we plan to achieve in Season 4," he says. "Those aren't just things that we're planting in the episodes to string the fans along, but where we want to see the show go."

Lie to Me's Season 3 finale airs Monday at 9/8c on Fox. Do you want to see another season of the show?