Lie to Me

TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
Lie to Me TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Crime drama focuses on the details of deception.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 16 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show's entire focus is determining who's lying and why. As the main characters often say, everyone lies -- so expect plenty of dishonesty, and plenty of interesting discussions about the justification for lies.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lightman and his associates have no tolerance for dishonesty, and go to great lengths to expose lies, especially from people in positions of power or who use deception to attain wealth or take advantage of others.


There’s some on-screen violence, including fistfights and threatening conversations. The characters often discuss violent crimes, and sometimes must visit crime scenes and look at photos of crime scenes.


There are some discussions of sex, including flirting and innuendo. Some episodes also have more explicit scenes, including simulated intercourse, scantily clad characters, multiple partners, etc.


Occasional swearing, including “ass” and “sod off” (from the British lead character).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some social drinking by adults.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this procedural crime drama focuses on an expert in lying and deception who helps law enforcement agencies and private clients determine whether people are telling the truth. The show is fiction but the science is real, and it's fascinating to watch him explain how he can tell when people are being dishonest. There's little outright violence (though characters do visit crime scenes and look at photos of the same), and mostly mild references to sex (though some episodes have more graphic scenes). Parents might be wary that the show could offer kids tips about fooling others, though it could also be just as useful to parents when it comes to spotting falsehoods.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byzack333 November 29, 2014

Nothing too Graphic but a lot of themes

Good show, extremely compelling and interesting. The crimes they deal with are pretty gruesome in nature but nothing is every graphic in nature. The sexual crim... Continue reading
Parent of a 7, 9, 11, and 12-year-old Written byabermudes November 9, 2010
I have to disagree with previous reviewers. Your child is more likely to be able to tell when someone is lying rather than learn how to deceive others. We hav... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byRyder631 April 14, 2011
Lie to me is an excellent show, which shows the fascinating science behind detecting deception. All the acting is great, and the mysteries really keep you guess... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byDropOfLuck November 26, 2010

A fun twist on CSI

I really love this show! It's got great ideas in it, and it's very entertaining. I like the science element in it, as well as the reality of the show.... Continue reading

What's the story?

Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) is an expert in deception who has made a science out of studying the tiny, but telling, behavior patterns and bodily tics that indicate when someone is lying -- at least to people who know what to look for. In LIE TO ME, Lightman is the head of a Washington-based consulting company that's regularly brought in by law enforcement agencies, political agencies, private clients, and other groups when they're embroiled in especially juicy crimes and scandals and need to know whether someone is telling the truth.

Is it any good?

"Everybody lies," seems to be Lightman's motto, and it certainly keeps him in business. He and partner Gillian Foster (Kelli Williams) investigate a constant stream of cases in which the suspect seems so obviously guilty that you know he isn't, sex scandals with a hidden twist, possibly corrupt officials, unexplainable accidents, and other standard TV conflicts. The cases are interesting, but not surprising and will be familiar to anyone who's ever seen a cop show.

The fun in Lie to Me comes from Lightman's explanations about who's lying. The plotlines may be trite, but the show's science is based on rigorous research and is often backed up by pictures of real people trying to hide their feelings. The characters spend a good portion of each episode interviewing suspects and then dissecting the conversations -- examining the hidden meanings in a dilated pupil, a quick glance to the side, a subtle twitch in the corner of the mouth, and other tiny clues. Even more fun are Lightman's on-the-fly assessments of the people he encounters, ferreting out their deepest secrets to share with the world. Because it's true: Everybody lies.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about lying. Is it ever OK to lie? Do you think some small lies are a necessary part of social interaction?

  • Is it possible to tell, definitively, that someone is lying? Have you ever been caught telling a lie? If so, what gave it away, and what happened?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

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