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Shawn Ryan talks 'Lie To Me' return

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Cal Lightman in Lie To Me

© Fox

Lie To Me returns from hiatus this week with a brand new episode, in which Lightman plays a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a psychopathic psychology student - who also happens to be a killer. While Loker and Torres investigate a UFO sighting in a small town, the episode - titled 'Beat The Devil' - also sees Lightman lock horns with his former mentor who's protecting the student for both personal and professional reasons. We caught up with departing showrunner Shawn Ryan to discuss the final half of Lie To Me's second season.

What was your reaction when you heard you would have new episodes during the summer?
"My first reaction was grateful that they were picking us up for a back nine because we were told at the same time: 'we want nine more episodes but because the schedule's looking pretty full right now we'll save them for summer'. It's mixed feelings because traditionally in the past it's been a burn-off spot but then I was told they were pairing us up with Good Guys, which I knew was an important element in their schedule. I chose to look at the glass half full… I'm definitely looking at it as an opportunity rather than a punishment!"

With the back nine are we going to be working our way to a cliffhanger?
"Yes. Short answer! A lot of the episodes are standalone so I wouldn't say we crafted a nine-story serialised arc but we did get to plan for some things. It did give us a chance to look at the episodes after we finished them all and to decide - in concert with the network and the studio - what would be the best way to air them. We think we've got a really strong last couple of episodes that will launch the show into the third season fall schedule."

Can you tell us about Cal checking himself into a psych ward?
"It's during a very special Shield reunion episode where I brought back six of our actors from The Shield and had them guest star in it. I don't have the schedule in front of me but I think it's the fourth or fifth episode to air [Aug 16th]. It's called 'Pied Piper'. He has his motivations but he does check himself into a psych ward and maybe fits in a little too well."

Will the potential romances between Cal and Gillian, and Loker and Torres be explored further?
"On the Cal and Gillian front, the relationship deepens and gets explored but there is a character who comes between them played by Melissa George. We have a back nine but there are actually twelve episodes left to air. In those episodes we're going to learn a lot more about Cal and Gillian and how they came together. We have an episode that shows in flashback how they first met and what they mean to each other. I don't necessarily want to label it a romance but their relationship deepens in a way I think the audience will find satisfying. As for the Loker/Torres relationship we definitely get some advancement on that front."

Can you tell us more about Melissa George's character?
"We meet her when she's on trial for murder. She is being represented by Jennifer Beals' character. Cal is hired by the prosecution. Melissa plays a character - Clara - whose older, very wealthy husband has died under mysterious circumstances. She's been arrested for his murder. Jennifer's character is convinced of her innocence and Tim Roth's character has been hired to help prove her guilt. That's how we meet her. To talk too much about how the relationship evolves would give away the ending to this one but she plays a very complicated, beautiful character who turns Lightman's world upside down a little bit!"

Jason Dohring will be guest starring on the show too. Can you tell us about his character?
"That character is involved in a story where Lightman believes through research and instinct that he might be a very bad person, yet the other people in his life feel like he's reaching and there might be an ulterior motive for Lightman's feeling and that he may be off base. It becomes about Cal trying to prove his theory either right or wrong and obtaining a great nemesis in the process.

What about other guest stars?
"In terms of other guest stars in the season we have Howard Hesseman in that same episode as a teacher who has got himself into a jam because he claims to have seen a UFO. The school doesn't want a crazy delusional person teaching their children and the firm is employed to figure out if he's telling the truth about this. We have Melissa George for a few episodes and she did great for us. Jennifer Beals is back for a few episodes, before I hijack her to my new Fox show. Max Martini plays a recurring role as someone who - in the same way that Melissa George comes in between Cal and Gillian on Cal's side - Max Martini plays someone who comes in between Cal and Gillian on Gillian's side. He's in three or four episodes, I believe. Enver Gjokaj - who was on Dollhouse - also has a really great guest performance in an episode about an Iraq war soldier who comes back and is having mental problems from that experience that threaten his family. Cal takes it upon himself to try and solve these problems."

How does it feel to pass the show on to someone else?
"When I came in, Sam Baum, who created the show, had asked me to join up and help with some internal leaks on the ship and get the ship righted. I feel that I was a lot of help and did my part in that. At the time, I had a lot of things in development but nothing was a go. As you all know it's difficult to get something on the air and after we started working on the show, I was lucky enough to get two shows on the air! There's Terriers for FX that's going to premiere in the fall and recently Ridealong got picked up - first as a pilot then as a series - so it became obvious in the last couple of months that it was going to be too much work for me. I really do care about Lie To Me and its future and success and I realised that it would be better if I went to the studio and said 'I can't finish this but let's work out a transition together'."

Lie To Me airs Mondays at 8/7c on Fox..

Additional reporting by Philippa Warr.

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