Last night, FOX’s cult series Lie To Me completed is third season with "Killer App" an episode involving a Facebook-esque plot that brought a darker tone (and murder) to some of Aaron Sorkin’s story elements from The Social Network.
While much of Lie To Me can be considered a proverbial stage for Tim Roth to show off his talents as one of television’s most skilled thespians, the season 3 finale took a step back from Roth’s scene-stealing portrayal of Dr. Cal Lightman and allowed co-star Kelli Williams to shine as Dr. Gillian Foster.
Despite Williams continuously adding rich depth to her character - and to an extent Roth’s character – she’s rarely had the opportunity to take the lead, both in character performance and storyline focus. Highlighting elements from Foster's past, while providing wonderful backstory to her character, allowed Lie to Me to expand the potential fanbase of the series and, on some level, provided viewers with another character to identify with besides Lightman.
Whether or not this decision will work for the struggling drama still remains to be seen. While FOX has yet to hint at whether or not Lie To Me will return for a fourth season, the most recent ratings – including the finale – may be a sign that the lights may stay on at the Lightman Institute.
Two weeks ago, the ratings for Lie To Me jumped up 1.7 million viewers from the seasonal average. Even though the season 3 finale ended with 7.05 million viewers, that’s still well over 1 million viewers more than normal. Not since the beginning of season 2 has Lie To Me seen ratings reach the 7 million mark.
Of course, just because the final two episode of season 3 received a ratings bump, that doesn’t mean that FOX will be renewing the series - although, I’m sure they now regret cutting down Lie To Me’s episode order to 13. With a surprising jump in the ratings, there’s no doubt that everyone at the network is wondering what would have happened if the series ran for a full 22 episodes.
As much as I’d like to sit here and say that Lie To Me will return next fall, I simply do not know. Besides the fact that any speculation will most certainly be based on presumed knowledge of inner-workings of Twentieth Century Fox Television (and FOX is in a bit of disarray over the feud with NBC regarding House season 8), I have a bit of a soft spot for Lie to Me.
To me, Lie To Me may not be one of best shows on television, but it’s damn near close. Plus, I’m of the mind that if you have Tim Roth acting on your television network, you should continuously renew the show, no matter what – he’s that good.
We most likely won’t hear about Lie To Me’s fate until this spring, when the networks put together their fall line-ups and confirm their programming decisions. Until then, fans of the series will just have to run around pretending to read people’s micro-expressions and hope that Dr. Cal Lightman receives one last chance at redemption.