Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lie To Me: “Depraved Heart” Lightman’s Family Secret

All photos Fox
Lie To Me (Fox) is one of those shows that can grab you and get deep into your head when you least expect it. Last night’s episode, “Depraved Heart” showed an inner pain that Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) has been carrying around for a long time. His own inner pain is the backdrop for a group of suicides that law enforcement seems to want to write off, but Lightman just can’t let go of it. He sees a mystery in this group of suicides, which seem to involve Indian women.

While he investigates the case, he seems to be preoccupied with watching an old home movie of a woman who seems to be talking about how happy she is and how well she is, and it’s obvious that things were not what they seemed. When Ria Torres (Monica Raymund) tries to dig into why Lightman seems so driven by understanding the suicides and why he seems obsessed with this home movie, Dr. Gillian Foster (Kelli Williams) tells her to back off and leave it alone. She does tell Torres that Lightman has watched the movie for thousand hours over the years, and it also helped him to discover how to read a person’s micro-expression. But, like Lightman, Torres isn’t one to let things go, and she tries to push the issue with Lightman, thinking that the woman was once a patient of his that he failed to diagnose properly.

In tandem with this case, Foster (Kelli Williams) and Eli Loker (Brendan Hines) are working on a case where a man stole millions of dollars from investors, in a Bernie Madoff-like scheme. It seems that every show has to get in their Madoff-inspired storyline these days. While Foster wants to get the man and his daughter to help tell where the money is hidden so it can be recovered for the investors, Loker shows clear contempt for the man, to the point that Foster dismisses him from some of the interviews. When Foster realizes that it’s the man’s daughter who embezzled the money, and the man, who is dying from cancer, is taking the fall for her, she wants to try to work a deal with him to recover the case without implicating the daughter. This plan goes bad when someone leaks this information to law enforcement, and they move in on going after the daughter. Foster is livid, and turns her suspicions on Loker, who flat out denies he was the one who leaked the information. She reads his expressions that he’s not lying, but somehow she does not believe him. Afterwards, Loker pulls Torres aside and admits to her that he took a tranquilizer to calm his facial expressions so he could fool Foster – and he really was the leak. He had to tell someone, so he told Torres. She tells him that he’d better admit it to Lightman because Lightman WILL find out the truth.

Lightman is able to crack the suicides, and with it, a baby surrogacy “mill” where women were brought in from India and impregnated, and being held in horrible conditions until their babies were born. After the births, they were released, with no money to call their own, despite being promised thousands, and the shame drove them to suicide. Lightman was able to find that one of the women phoned the man running this baby mill right before she killed herself, and they charge him with a “depraved heart” murder, much to his shock.

Lightman’s daughter Emily (Hayley McFarland) also makes an appearance, and she sees her father studying the home movie and also the suicides. She brings him food and tells him to eat, clearly trying to show her concern for her father’s immersion in the case. We find that the mysterious woman in the home movie had killed herself after getting a weekend pass from a mental facility as the doctors felt she was well enough, and she killed herself that weekend. We also find this woman is not just any patient, it was Lightman’s mother. At the end of the episode, he has decided to explain the story to Emily.


Cal Lightman always seems to be a rather secretive person to a point, and in this episode, he seemed to draw himself inside even further in order to solve a case that had personal meaning. That meaning wasn’t with the women who had killed themselves, it seemed that Lightman may feel that he needed to understand their deaths so the things he learned from the death of his own mother would not go to waste. It is as if he wanted someone to speak for people that have inner pain that society does not let them show, and which is so hard to deal with that the person sees no reason to live. It also showed that Lightman, when he is focused, can be rude and even cruel to others. He’s a different character than Dr. Greg House (House -Fox) - House is more calculating in his meanness, where Lightman is just brutally honest and sometimes rude because he can’t understand why people , including his colleagues, aren’t as focused and enlightened as he.

It also seemed that tensions were running high with everyone in this episode, Loker was angry at the embezzler. Foster was angry at Loker’s behavior. Torres is constantly trying to dissect things and Foster and Lightman seem slightly annoyed at her for that. Lightman seems to be put out that Foster isn’t right there when he snaps his fingers. It’s a more realistic work environment, where despite the fact that we have very talented people on the job, they still get annoyed at each other and let it show. I suppose when someone can tell just by looking at you if you are lying or not, it doesn’t make any sense to hide your feelings. And I won’t hide me feelings either – “Lie to Me” is a very interesting show and compelling to watch!



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