Kristen Bell made a name for herself playing the smart-as-a-whip teen detective in the cult TV show Veronica Mars and is returning to television to portray another piercingly intelligent gal in Showtime’s new series, House of Lies.

Bell will star opposite Don Cheadle in the darkly satirical show, which is based off a novel by Martin Kihn titled House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Tell You the Time, and was scripted by Matthew Carnahan (Dirt).

House of Lies revolves around Marty (Cheadle), a very successful, cutthroat management consultant who’s willing to use any means necessary to satisfy a client’s demands. Life isn’t exactly peachy keen for the self-hating Marty, whose mentally unstable, pill-popping ex-wife Monica (Heroes alumna Dawn Olivieri) runs the only consulting firm that’s more accomplished than his, and who has to care for his young son (Donis Leonard Jr.) while keeping his psychoanalyst father (Glynn Turman) off his back.

Cheadle will be joined by Bell, who’s set to play Jeannie Van Der Hooven – a character that Deadline describes as “a razor-sharp, Ivy-League graduate” who’s hired on to work at Marty’s firm. It’s an appropriate part for Bell – an actress who’s made a career portraying dedicated career gals, even in generic rom-com fare like When in Rome – and Cheadle is one of those versatile character actors who can switch between a no-nonsense personality and comical disposition with ease. That alone bodes quite well for House of Lies.

Office politics and business ethics generally make for engaging subject matter and timeliness is also on the show’s side as well, since entertainment that pokes fun at and examines the illicit dealing that goes on behind closed doors at high-profile firms is as popular as ever. Given that House of Lies is being made by Showtime, expect it to be rather subversive and biting in tone – more along the lines of Californication (which House of Lies pilot director Stephen Hopkins worked on, appropriately enough) than anything else.

David Duchovny in ‘Californication’.

House of Lies will begin production this month in Los Angeles and will likely reach the small screen in either the second half of 2011 or early 2012.

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Source: Deadline