I would never have considered the possibility that microexpressions could be the key to a FEMA investigation, but tonight’s “Lie to Me” convinced me that it’s possible. Well, more or less. Of all the scenarios where The Lightman Group could’ve been useful, this one felt like bit of a stretch — albeit a really dramatic one. And at least no one told Cal he was doing a heckuva job.

You can tell by the look on my face that spoilers are coming…

There was just one dominant storyline this week, as Cal and Gillian rushed to a construction site in Maryland — the scene of a terrible collapse that left two worker dead and another three missing. Cal walks into a scene in which the mayor, construction boss, and city engineer are arguing over who’s responsible for what’s going on — which immediately tells you that somebody in the bunch is lying.

Cal and Gillian interview one of the workers who said he was among the last to see the missing men before the collapse. He got hooked on painkillers after being hurt on a job earlier in the year and in fact got it completely wrong when he told the rescuers where to search. When dogs finally locate the spot where the workers are trapped, they thread fiber optic cameras into the structure to be able to talk to those who are trapped, while at the same time cranking up the drill to try to get them out. One guy’s really hurt. Another shows a brief flash of fear when told they’re going to be rescued.

Foster and Lightman head down some pretty interesting doorways as they investigate this guy’s reaction — including suspecting he might’ve tried to blow the place up (not true) because his wife was having an affair with the construction boss (true, but only while they were separated), or that he might be an abuser (not true). Finally they discover that he’s sick — he has MS, and the tremors made him drop his blowtorch — one of the contributing factors to the explosion that led to the collapse.

Little by little, Cal and Gillian watch the mayor and the city engineer, and figure out they’re both lying. What the engineer isn’t saying is that he was paid off not to do a terribly careful inspection of the site — and to forget about the fact that the site used to be a landfill, and it’s possible that methane gas could be seeping up. But even though Cal and Gillian try to get the FEMA guy to stop drilling because the possibility of methane could make the whole situation much more dangerous. But he’s determined to get the trapped workers out, and — you guessed it — the drill hits the methane, and a giant explosion ensues. Two guys make it out, and two guys don’t.

The FBI arrives to arrest the construction boss, and it ends up being a classic Cal-Gillian fake-out — they’re gauging his reaction to the accusation that he knew about the methane and failed to act. The only person not surpised and outraged by the accusation was the mayor, who was the one who paid off the city engineer. She was desperate for the factory to bring jobs to the city, wanted to “expedite” the building process — and ends up going to jail because of it.

Back at the office over a drink, Cal and Gillian discuss the nature of lying, how everyone thinks they’re the only one with a secret, and how lies add up. And they’re obviously not talking about this case. It’s a really nice scene between the two, tense with expectation but still human.

Ria and Eli take the lead in the B story this week — an internet entrepreneur who started a social site called Networker is planning to propose to his girlfriend, and writes them a very large check to find out if she’s with him because she loves him or just for the money. After a little digging, Ria concludes — through no help from Eli, who sees the woman’s “manipulators” and immediately pronounces her a gold-digging liar — that she does love the guy. And his money. Hello, Mark Zuckerberg’s worst nightmare. But the thing is, the guy loves his girlfriend, but the fact that she’s beautiful doesn’t exactly hurt either — to a degree, they’re peas in a pod. Eli the romantic advises a prenup.

Some other thoughts:

  • I continue to love Gillian and Cal’s good cop/bad cop routines. Their chemistry is effortless, and it’s easy to believe that they’ve been working together closely for a long time. I was never a big fan of Kelli Williams on “The Practice,” but I’m getting to be one now.
  • What’s going to happen with Eli and Gillian? I found myself a little disappointed that his stridency last week and confrontation with Gillian wasn’t addressed this week. But given how he acted toward Mr. Networker, I’m guessing we’re going to continue to see Eli get mouthier — and it’ll come out that he’s either a full-on class warrior or he has some seriously deep-seated anger issues. 

What did you think? Did this episode seem a little hurried to you too? Do you have an over/under on when Cal and Gillian are going to start talking about what’s going on with her husband? What’s your bet on Eli’s fate?

Posted by:Lisa Todorovich