To put it bluntly: This week’s episode of Lie to Me felt like another hastily written hour to remove another recurring character. The victim? Dr. Dave Burns, Gillian’s recent love interest.
Long-time watchers of the show are familiar with the fact that Cal Lightman is like a bloodhound if he senses any deception in someone. This is even truer if that person happens to be romantically involved with someone he cares about. Therefore, his near constant curiosity of Burns was to be expected.
In fact, part of the charm of recent episodes has been watching him stick his nose into Gillian’s love life and having her swat it back out. So when "Exposed" opened with Lightman “coincidentally” having breakfast at the same place as Dave and Gillian, was anyone surprised?
But then I saw the glowing sign that this episode was written specifically to have Burns exit the show when he plopped down at breakfast in a restaurant and admitted freely to Lightman that he worked with the DEA and told him everything (in public, no less). Sure, Lightman has been getting more and more curious, but he was nowhere near the point that Burns needed to reveal everything.
So, why would Burns suddenly tell Lightman everything? The answer is referred to as "A Death in the Limelight." It is a very commonly used formula (a.k.a. trope) for characters that are about to be written out (by death or other methods.) Burns’ exit actually reminded me a bit of Clara Musso’s departure, as she too suddenly did stuff out of character.
You can bet the farm that when a recurring character suddenly start sharing their life story or doing stuff that was previously out of character for him/her, there is an exit coming up.
I really hope that the show didn’t write Burns in as a recurring character and then out so suddenly so they could have Gillian back in “Heartbreak Mode” again. We went through a lot of this in season one when she and her husband split up. As mentioned previously, I really like what they have been doing with Gillian. The writers have been doing a great job of expanding her character and I would be very disappointed if they use this to tear all that work down.There was one piece of the episode that felt out of sync with the rest. That was Emily reading her grandmother’s journal and the paternity test. First, why in the blue blazes of hell would Gillian walk off and leave Lightman’s safe standing open?
Honestly, even if there was a fire, her first instinct would be to close it when she left the office. Second, why would Lightman keep a paternity test from 16 years ago loose in his safe? The man is a huge control freak. I would expect the letter to at least have been in with other files on Emily or Zoe not just lying loose with other mail.
Additionally, (just a pet peeve for me) did anyone think the paper looked really new for it being 16 years old? Ok, before you flame me, I know the test could be newer than 16 years old; it could new and only be a year old. But if it was, don’t you think Emily would have been a bit more upset about the test given he would have had doubts for all that time? Her reaction alone told me that it was done back when she was born or not too long after.
The minor things aside, it was an acceptable episode. Lightman had some great dialog as always and I will admit that Emily is more and more like her father every day. With only two more episodes left for season two, I wonder how much of what we are seeing is setting the foundations for season three that starts in November.
What did you think of the episode? Did you feel like Burns was rushed out of the show? Do you think we can get “Team Callian” into the main stream?
Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.