This week’s Lie to Me wasn’t as enthralling as last’s, but thanks to a strong guest performance and a story that was still emotionally relevant to Cal, it was an enjoyable hour of finely crafted television.
“Sweet Sixteen” featured some intriguing flashbacks to the beginnings of the Cal-Foster relationship where she was assigned by the Pentagon to do a psych evaluation on the deception expert after he ordered the murdering of a supposed terrorist’s family. That story coalesced with said terrorist’s — Angus Macfayden’s Jimmy Doyle — re-appearance in present day, which started with a bomb right outside the Lightman Group and almost killed Eli and does kill the government shadow figure who was reportedly coming to visit Cal and come clean about the Doyle murders. At the same time, Cal and Foster receive recordings of the psych sessions — which Cal thought were not being recorded.
There’s a lot going on in this episode and the first half is a little busy with trying to set up the history through flashbacks and loads of dialogue, but once Cal and Doyle team up and the focus turns to the Cal-Foster relationship, it picks up. The initial explosion and Eli’s exasperated desire to prove that Cal is hiding something seemed a little strong because we didn’t see Eli actually get hurt and I’m not quite sure why he’d be so distrusting of his boss — even if Cal did have something to hide.
Evidence leads to a lawyer who might have been involved in the murders of Doyle’s family and there, another bomb goes off. Cal and Gillian confront a government agent during a press conference and get him to lie with his eyes and unsurprisingly, a cover up does exist! Doyle gets to face his family’s murderer, but decides not to return the favor. Angus Macfadyen turned in a steely guest turn in “Sweet Sixteen” that lifted the material and helped me believe that this guy had been staggering around in the shadows trying to uncover his family’s murderer for seven years.
But the best parts of the episode are the scenes between Cal and Gillian. The series has set up their relationship as all-trusting, and as Cal says in the episode, they’re now each other’s blind spot. Cal might be able to see that every other person in the world is lying, but because he trusts Gillian so much, he doesn’t ever even think about her being dishonest. And although he seems to forgive her in the end because Gillian reveals that she helped with the cover up way back when because the agents threatened Cal’s family as well, there is now just a seed of doubt in Cal’s mind. Now that he knows Gillian has lied to him at least once — no matter why — will he start to assume that she’s lied to him on multiple and perhaps more important occasions?
Again, not an amazing episode of television, but it’s summer. Lie to Me is solid, well-constructed procedural entertainment. Right?