“Why would I lie?”
“Because that’s all you ever do.”

Philip (Tyler Young) levels that accusation against Lukas (James Paxton) late in the Nov. 27 episode of USA’s “Eyewitness,” and truer words were never spoken. So much of the story is driven by lies, secrets, deceit and half-truths — and not just by Lukas, to protect his own secrets — but things are finally changing.

While the episode’s title — “They Lied” — implies it enough on its own, it was clear at the end of last week’s episode that something new was coming to Tivoli, New York: Honesty.

Perhaps the most unexpected moment of truth we get is from the killer himself, as Special Agent Kane (Warren Christie) offers the vague admission of having harmed an innocent individual in the line of duty, during a lie detector test. However, honesty is celebrated in much bigger moments throughout the episode.

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After Philip’s partial confession to Helen (Julianne Nicholson) last week (that Lukas witnessed the triple-murder she’s investigating), honesty ran the whole show this time around, as the first moments of the show find Lukas himself largely telling Helen the truth about what he saw. While he does tell her he was only at the cabin to steal gas (rather than to have an intimate encounter with Philip), his account otherwise generally lines up with the truth — obviously a big step for the investigation, and for Lukas himself. But Lukas even made bigger steps in his relationship this week, as he continues to tear down the wall he’s built between himself and Philip:

“…You better not leave Tivoli.”

While that simple warning to Philip might not seem to carry much weight at face value, it’s one of the most straightforward statements of affection that Lukas has made thus far. While he plays coy when Philip responds by accusing him of feeling love, Lukas later drops the news that he broke up with his girlfriend, ultimately telling Lukas “…I don’t want a girlfriend,” in what is a subtle but groundbreaking confession for their relationship, and for Lukas himself. Rest assured: Lukas is really beginning to open up. And he’s not the only one.

“I know you’re confused and scared, and I would be, too.”

Lukas’ dad Bo (Aidan Devine) offers these words of support to his son in a promising moment of encouragement — not just for Lukas, but for us. For Bo, it’s a rare significant moment of positivity toward his son, rivaled only by the pride he took in Lukas securing a motocross sponsorship, and it suggests a wall may finally be coming down between these two characters as well. But it’s just as promising to us as we wait for the murder investigation to be solved: As Lukas becomes more inclined toward honesty, we come closer to the whole truth coming out.

Much of that encouragement is quickly dashed when Lukas inaccurately identifies the man he saw in the cabin as Mithat (Alex Karzis) — but naturally, it doesn’t take long for Helen to discover he’s wrong, only briefly questioning her conclusion before winding up in an intense foot chase across her property with the shadowy culprit.

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Philip has a similar moment of honesty with his own foster dad, Gabe (Gil Bellows), in an attempted teaching moment that connects the two:

“I don’t know why I do that sometimes… Lie about things for no reason.”
“I used to do that, too… I think because I wanted to get close to people… You don’t need to do that with me. Or with Helen.”

As promising as that sentiment may be, a lack of honesty still does abound in Tivoli — especially with those very two characters: Gabe takes it upon himself to offer Philip a more permanent room in the house without consulting Helen first, and his cold-front toward Helen’s commitment to her job also persists. And for her part, will Helen ever open up about the trauma that has followed her from Buffalo ’07?

There’s still a lot left to be said between these characters, but this week was a good start. Baby steps, folks. Baby steps.

“Eyewitness” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on USA.

Posted by:Nick Riccardo

Nick writes about TV and works in TV. Bylines at Splitsider & others.