As human lie detector Ría Torres on the Fox TV show “Lie to Me,” actress Mónica Raymund has learned a lot about human behavior, but admits she can’t tell when people are stretching the truth in real life.
“Most people like to ask me if I can detect lies now, but I really can’t,” Raymund told me during a phone interview to promote the new season of the show. “It’s a science for [a] reason. It takes an expert to detect lies.”
What the role has done, however, is heighten her awareness to general reactions and responses people give on a daily basis. During our interview, Raymund, who is half Dominican, discussed the reason she thinks people lie and why she can never get away with lying herself.
The second season of “Lie to Me” premieres Sept. 28 on Fox at 8 p.m.
So many shows don’t get a chance at a second season. What were you thinking when you got the news that Fox was bringing “Lie to Me” back?
I think the first thing that went through my head was, “Great! But now I have to find an apartment.” I was subletting a small apartment and still transitioning into L.A. [from New York]. It was a big life change for me. I was waiting to hear the news before I signed a lease.
Most of your acting experience is on stage, so what has it been like moving to television?
It’s been challenging. I’m working in a completely different medium. I’ve had to start all over again. I feel I’m back in my freshman year of school – completely wide-eyed, extremely naïve and very willing to learn. It’s been a lot of fun.
Are you used to the idea that you can now turn on the TV and see yourself?
I still am actually quite uncomfortable watching myself on TV. It’s the same feeling you get when you hear your own voice for the first time and say, “Oh, that’s what I sound like?” I think I need a few more years of experience before I get used to it.
Tell us about working with Tim Roth. Have you learned anything from him on the set?
He is someone I trust. The most profound thing I’ve learned from him so far is that you can be just as creative on the TV as you are working on a play. Watching him, I understand that there are common techniques you can use in both the TV world and on stage.
What can we look forward to with your character Torres in the second season?
Season two is going to be an incredible step-up. The writing is going to be focused a lot on character development. For Torres, we’re going to see more freedom in the office. She gets more control and earns her spot on the team and forges ahead.
Do you believe there are such things as “little white lies” or is it lying anyway you define it?
Lying is not only a defense mechanism; it’s also a coping mechanism and a survival technique. Little white lies are part of everyday life. If you’re in court being charged with a felony, you’re probably going to be tempted to lie. Or if you’re girlfriend asks you if the sweater she is wearing makes her look fat; you’re going to lie because you love that person. There are different reasons and justifications to lie; it’s human nature.
People do different things when they lie. Some shift their eyes, some stutter. Can you divulge what you do when you lie?
(Laughs) Oh, I’m not a huge liar. I’ve learned very quickly that the cost is just too high. You’re probably better off telling the truth. But if I ever lie, I blink a lot faster because I get nervous that someone is going to find out. I get panicky and sweaty and start breathing really fast. I’m a bad liar.