Everyone is so eager to develop their own crime procedural (and hear that lovely “ka-ching!” sound) that they continue to trot out variations with the most dubious of twists — in this case, an attractive young FBI agent (aren’t they all?) who, for reasons the pilot opts not to disclose, can immediately discern when people are lying. Silly, poorly cast and full of clunky dialogue, “Angela’s Eyes” is even burdened with a peculiar title, though to be fair, “The Closer” and “Psych” were taken, and “The Human Lie Detector” probably didn’t clear legal.
Soap star Abigail Spencer plays Angela Henson, whose troubled history has led her to an FBI surveillance unit, where she employs her “gift” but also takes perilous chances, as her partner (Lyriq Bent) and boss (Rick Roberts) huffily remind her.
In the premiere, Angela is tapped to investigate a missing-woman case, although given her unique abilities, it’s confusing why she simply doesn’t haul all the suspects in for questioning, interview the witnesses and solve this damn thing in 10 minutes.
Ah, but then who would stay put through the commercial breaks? So Angela is outfitted with a sordid past — her parents having been convicted for spying against the U.S. government, while a screwed-up brother is alluded to but not shown in the opener. In addition, she’s in the early stages of a relationship, allowing writers Scott Shepherd and Dan McDermott to have some fun with the amusing notion that romance and the ability to see through lies are basically incompatible.
Spencer is pretty enough but wholly unconvincing as a hardened, daredevil FBI agent. It’s OK when our TV cops look like shampoo models but not when they sound like them, too.
Indeed, the show delivers occasional moments that almost feel like a spoof of ’70s detective shows. In the third episode, for example, Angela snaps at her brother that their mother is “in federal prison serving life for treason,” to which he emotionally replies, “She’s still mom!”
The introduction does leave a few narrative doors ajar thanks to the ashes of Angela’s hard-to-bury past and her family issues. But initially, anyway, nothing here seems fresh enough to distinguish the series from a crowded (and generally better) pack.
“You’ve been watching too much bad TV, honey,” one suspect tells Angela during interrogation.
And that, at least, is no lie.