A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
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
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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Occasional swearing, including "ass" and "sod off" (from the British lead character).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some social drinking by adults.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.