Friday, April 17, 2009


In today’s entry – hit FOX TV series “Lie To Me” features the American Red Cross!

Last week’s FOX primetime hit show, “Lie to Me” featured Red Cross volunteers during a disaster sequence. The episode ‘Life Is Priceless’ included a building collapse as the investigative team discovers a massive cover-up. In true heroic fashion, the brave men and women of the American Red Cross were called to respond to this staged disaster, much like the many thousands of real disasters they attend to every year across the world.

Based on real-life scientific discoveries, actor Tim Roth plays Dr. Cal Lightman, the world’s leading deception expert who studies facial expressions and body language to tell if someone is lying. The show airs Wednesdays on FOX at 7:00 p.m. CT. Check the Web site for local listings. The main character, Dr. Cal Lightman aided by his colleague Dr. Gillian Foster (Kelli Williams), detects deception by observing body language and microexpressions through the Facial Action Coding System, using this talent to assist clients (such as law enforcement).

The character is based on Paul Ekman, notable psychologist and expert on body language and facial expressions. Dr. Ekman and his colleague, Dr. Maureen O'Sullivan, identified "naturals" in what is known as The Wizards Project, which identified 50 people with the ability to spot deception after testing 15,000 people from all walks of life. In real life, they call these "naturals" Truth Wizards, or wizards of deception detection.

To prove the show is based on real science, Lie cuts from examples of the characters lying to real-life examples of famous people lying — though odds are some of those people would argue with both the usage and description. It's a far more precise technique than The Mentalist's loosely defined and applied observational skills, and, for a while, it's entertaining. But a mere two episodes in, the trick already feels overly restrictive and overdone (some of the expressions are so obvious a 6-year-old could read them), and that's not a great sign of staying power.

Fundamentally, Roth's Dr. Cal Lightman is the latest in a long line of master detectives with highly developed powers of observation -- he's Sherlock Holmes with a PhD (and three assistants instead of one) and a close cousin to the characters currently featured on "The Mentalist" (phony psychic turns cold-reading talents to crime-busting), "Psych" (super-perceptive police consultant pretends to have psychic powers to make himself seem more credible, oddly) and "The Closer" (Southern belle LAPD detective knows when you've been bad or good).

While product placements like Coca-Cola on American Idol or Apple on The Apprentice are very expensive and often disparaged by audiences as networks and movie studios leverage their captive audience to marketers, the American Red Cross receives this valuable exposure at no cost. Quite the contrary – shows and organizations the world over line up to partner with the Red Cross, to align themselves with one of the most well-respected symbols of humanitarian aid on the globe.

Lie to Me” is another sign that then Red Cross continues to symbolize emergency response and disaster relief. Together with our new partners and supporters, we hope to be able to continue to make a difference, and we count on everyone in our communities to help us make this possible.

Please consider donating today, - or support your local Red Cross Chapter in whatever way you can.

Thank You and HAPPY FRIDAY!

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