House of Lies

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House of Lies
House of Lies title card.png
House of Lies title card
Genre Comedy-drama
Created by Matthew Carnahan
Based on House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time 
by Martin Kihn
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 36 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Crescendo Productions
Totally Commercial Films
Refugee Productions
Matthew Carnahan Circus Products
Showtime Networks
Original channel Showtime
Original run January 8, 2012 (2012-01-08) – present
External links

House of Lies is an American comedy-drama television series created by Matthew Carnahan.[1] The show, which premiered on Showtime on January 8, 2012, is based on the book, House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time, written by Martin Kihn, a former consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. It follows a group of management consultants who stop at nothing to get business deals done.

On February 1, 2012, House of Lies was renewed for a second season.[2] The second season premiered January 13, 2013 at 10 pm.[3] The second season finale premiered April 7, 2013.

On January 29, 2013, House of Lies was renewed for a third season.[4] Season 3 began airing on January 12, 2014 and ended April 6, 2014.

On February 18, 2014, House of Lies was renewed for a fourth season.[5]


The show focuses on the personal and business lives of Marty Kaan (Don Cheadle), a manipulative, immoral, driven and cold management consultant.

Originally, Marty was a highly successful partner at consultancy firm Galweather Stearn, where he headed up a pod consisting of engagement manager Jeannie van der Hooven (Kristen Bell) and associates Clyde Oberholdt (Ben Schwartz) and Doug Guggenheim (Josh Lawson). He later leaves this position to head up his own firm, Kaan & Associates.

In addition to the questionable business practices of Marty and his team, the series also focuses on Marty's personal life; he deals with his psychotic management consultant ex-wife Monica (Dawn Olivieri), his retired-psychiatrist father Jeremiah (Glynn Turman) and his confidently flamboyant son Roscoe (Donis Leonard, Jr).The main character Marty often breaks the fourth wall; he talks to the viewers in a freeze frame bit in which he alone moves and the others in the background 'freeze' but continue where they left off before the bit. Alternatively he talks to the audience while everyone moves but the others seem oblivious to the fact that he is on a monologue.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast[edit]

  • Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan, the immoral and deceitful proprietor of consultancy firm Kaan & Associates. Before he started his own firm, he led a pod for Galweather-Stearn.
  • Kristen Bell as Jeannie van der Hooven, a partner at Kaan & Associates with whom Marty has a tense relationship. She was part of Marty's pod before he left Galweather. She later led her own pod in Galweather before ditching them for Kaan & Associates, becoming a partner there.
  • Ben Schwartz as Clyde Oberholdt, a member of Marty's consultant pod who specialises in marketing and spin. He was part of Marty's pod before he left Galweather. He briefly became part of Monica's pod in Kinsley & Associates when he and Marty had a falling out. He eventually worked his way into Kaan & Associates.
  • Josh Lawson as Doug Guggenheim, a member of Marty's consultant pod who specialises in numerical analysis. He was part of Marty's pod before he left Galweather. After Marty left, he briefly became a part of Jeannie's pod before they both left for Kaan & Associates.
  • Dawn Olivieri as Monica Talbot, an ex-partner at rival firm Kinsley & Associates, and Marty's ex-wife.
  • Donis Leonard Jr. as Roscoe Kaan, the flamboyant and experimental son of Monica and Marty.
  • Glynn Turman as Jeremiah Kaan, Marty's ex-psychiatrist father and the main caregiver for Roscoe.

Recurring cast[edit]

Season 1[edit]

  • John Aylward as K. Warren McDale, CEO/president of Metro-Capital.
  • Greg Germann as Greg Norbert, CFO of Metro-Capital.
  • Megalyn Echikunwoke as April, Marty's stripper girlfriend.
  • Anna Camp as Rachel Norbert, ex-wife of Greg.
  • Richard Schiff as Harrison "Skip" Galweather, senior partner and co-founder of Galweather-Stearn.
  • Griffin Dunne as Marco "The Rainmaker" Pelios, president, CEO, and senior partner at Galweather-Stearn.
  • Mo Gaffney as Principal Gita, principal of the school Roscoe attends.

Season 2[edit]

  • Bess Armstrong as Julianne Hofschrager, interim CEO of Galweather-Stearn.
  • Kevin Dobson as Mr. Pinkus, owner of the Emerald casino in Las Vegas.
  • Nia Long as Tamara, Galweather & Stearn's newest employee and Marty's classmate from business school.
  • Taylor Gerard Hart as Alex Dushkin, co-owner of Las Vegas Nightclub War.
  • Evan Hart as Kyle Dushkin, co-owner of Las Vegas Nightclub War.
  • Mather Zickel as Michael Carlson, owner of the Vibrato casino in Las Vegas.
  • Adam Brody as Nate, CEO/president of an adult sex toy company.
  • Michael McDonald as Carl Criswell, CEO/president of US National Bank.
  • Lisa Edelstein as Brynn, assistant/political advisor for Carl Criswell.
  • Mo Gaffney as Principal Gita, principal of the school Roscoe attends.
  • Eden Malyn as 'Zanna, the pod's personal assistant.
  • Ronete Levenson as Tessa, Monica's vegan chef ex-girlfriend.
  • Elimu Nelson as Kevin, Tamara's husband.
  • Jenny Slate as Sarah, Doug's girlfriend and, later, wife.
  • Larenz Tate as Malcolm Kaan, Marty's brother.

Season 3[edit]

  • Bess Armstrong as Julianne Hofschragar, interim CEO of Galweather-Stearn. She was fired in "Boom" and replaced by The Rainmaker.
  • Genevieve Angelson as Caitlyn Hobart, part of Marty's new pod.
  • Rob Gleeson as Jeffrey, part of Marty's new pod.
  • Ryan Gaul as Will, part of Marty's new pod.
  • Lauren Lapkus as Benita Spire, part of Jeanie's new pod. She leaked info to the press that led to the demise of Galweather under The Rainmaker.
  • Brad Schmidt as JC, part of Jeanie's new pod.
  • Milana Vayntrub as Christy, part of Monica's pod. She was arrested and fired for stabbing Monica in "Power"
  • Eugene Cordero as Everett, part of Monica's pod.
  • Daniel Stern as Robert Tretorn, CEO, president, and founder of Free Range Foods.
  • Eliza Coupe as Marisa McClintock, the youngest of the McClintock family. She was founder of MediaWolfOnline newspaper and later became the chairwoman of entire McClintock Media Group after some help from Clyde.
  • John Carroll Lynch as Gil Selby, one of Galweather-Stearn's senior partners.
  • Griffin Dunne as Marco "The Rainmaker" Pelios, president, CEO, and senior partner at Galweather-Stearn. He returned to Galweather in "Boom".
  • Mekhi Phifer as Andrew "Dre" Collins, cofounder of DollaHyde, a hip-hop fashion label. He was former drug dealer.
  • T.I.. as Lukas Frye, cofounder of DollaHyde, a hip-hop fashion label. He was also a former drug dealer.
  • Brigid Coulter as the wife of Andrew "'Dre" Collins.
  • Jenny Slate as Sarah, Doug's wife.
  • Bex Taylor-Klaus as Lex, Roscoe's partner who turns out to be a bad influence on him.
  • Alice Hunter as Chantelle, a young PhD candidate who is dating Jeremiah.

Critical reception[edit]

Promotional poster for the first season of House of Lies.

Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker, reviewing the pilot episode, thought the show's premise "sounds terrific in concept", that "Cheadle and Bell are each in their own way exceedingly charming performers with a devilish aspect to their images", and that it has debuted at a good time: "at this time in history, who doesn't want to see undeservingly wealthy people get fleeced, or at least brought low by their avarice?" But ultimately Tucker found House of Lies wanting, writing that it is actually not "all that interesting", and that its "crucial weakness is its dead language". For Tucker, "there's no novelty or freshness in House of Lies' patter or its penis-placement" (the latter comment being a reference to House of Lies' "butt-load of the sort of sexual activity one can get away with on pay-cable").[6]

In stark contrast, Matt Rouch, writing in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, thought that "as a pitiless, biting satire of the debauched state of American big business, it's no lie to call this one of the smartest, funniest shows of the new year", praising its being "[d]eeply cynical, garish in its raunchiness and always rudely, lewdly hilarious". It "swims in a shark tank of such appalling survival-of-the-nastiest bad behavior it could launch its own channel: Human Animal Planet". Where Tucker finds House of Lies' lines and dialogue poor, Rouch praises Don Cheadle's character's lines: Cheadle's character "often steps out of a freeze-frame to deliver scathing stylized asides to the audience, talking straight to the camera to teach us his lingo and soulless trade secrets".[7] (By contrast, Tucker found these freeze-frame asides a "visual gimmick" and complained of derivative lines: "Creator Matthew Carnahan [...] loads his new show with lines that sound borrowed from Glengarry Glen Ross ("Closing is what I do!")."[6]

After the mixed reception of the premiere season, House of Lies received more positive critic reviews in its second season, with many critics commenting on the improved cohesion of the season and the more consistent tone.

The show's third season received similarly positive reactions from critics, with the lead performances of Cheadle and Bell, as well as the guest roles of T.I. and Phifer, being singled out for praise.

Development and production[edit]

The series is executively produced by Matthew Carnahan, Jessika Borsiczky, and Stephen Hopkins, with the pilot written by Carnahan and directed by Hopkins. On December 13, 2010, House of Lies was given a pilot order.[8] On April 7, 2011, the series was given a 12 episode pick-up by Showtime.[9] The series is based on Martin Kihn's book, House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time.[10] David Nevins, president of entertainment at Showtime, announced during the 2011 Television Critics Association press tour that the show was set to premiere on January 8, 2012.[11]


Casting announcements began in December 2010, with Don Cheadle as the first actor to be cast, as Marty Kaan, "a highly successful, cut-throat consultant who is never above using any means (or anyone) necessary to get his clients the information they want". The next actor to be cast was Dawn Olivieri who plays Monica, "Marty's crazy, pill-popping ex-wife and biggest professional competition as her consulting firm is No. 1 compared to Marty's No. 2."[12] Ben Schwartz and Josh Lawson were cast next, Schwartz playing Clyde Oberholt, a member of Marty's team and his closest friend, and Lawson as Doug Guggenheim, Marty's Harvard-educated associate.[13] Last cast were Kristen Bell, who plays Jeannie van der Hooven, "a razor-sharp, Ivy-League graduate who works at Marty’s firm", Donis Leonard Jr. as Roscoe Kaan, Marty's son, and Glynn Turman as Jeremiah Kaan, Marty's psychoanalyst father.[14] Later, Richard Schiff was cast as Marty's boss.[15]

House of Lies Live[edit]

On December 29, 2013, Showtime presented "House of Lies Live" which featured members of the main cast and guest actors on the show performing at the UCB theatre in the first broadcast of long form improv.

House of Pies[edit]

House of Pies is the often mistaken title of the show. Not to be mistaken with Pie Town and many others. House of Pies never airs on Monday nights.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations for House of Lies
Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result
2012 Primetime Emmy Award Best Actor in a Comedy Series Don Cheadle Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Actor TV Series – Comedy or Musical Don Cheadle[16] Won
2013 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Don Cheadle Won
Critics' Choice Television Award Best Actor in a Comedy Series Don Cheadle[16] Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Best Actor in a Comedy Series Don Cheadle Nominated
Golden Globe Award Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Don Cheadle Nominated
2015 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Comedy Series Pending


  1. ^ Ng, Philiana (April 7, 2011). "Showtime Greenlights 'Homeland,' 'House of Lies'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 23, 2011. 
  2. ^ Gorman, Bill (February 1, 2012). "Showtime Renews 'Shameless,' 'House Of Lies,' & 'Californication'". Retrieved February 1, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Californication Season 6, Shameless Season 3 And House Of Lies Season 2 Premiere Dates Set". 2012-09-17. Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  4. ^ Seat42f. "House Of Lies Renewed". Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  5. ^ Seat42f. "Showtime Renews House Of Lies". Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Tucker, Ken (January 8, 2012). "'House of Lies' premiere review: Too often, a house of pain". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Seattle Pi TV Guide". [dead link]
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (December 13, 2010). "It's Official: Showtime Picks Up Comedy Pilot 'House of Lies' Starring Don Cheadle". Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Showtime(R) Moves Into House and Home: Network Orders 12 Half-Hours of "House of Lies", 12 One-Hour Episodes of Drama "Homeland"". The Futon Critic. April 7, 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  10. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (June 15, 2011). "5 Things to Know About 'House of Lies'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 23, 2011. 
  11. ^ Sellers, John (August 4, 2011). "TCA: Steve Carell Set to Produce Showtime Interview Series". Reuters. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 20, 2011). "Showtime's Comedy Pilot Starring Don Cheadle Finds A Lead". Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  13. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 24, 2011). "TV CASTINGS: Ben Schwartz, Sherri Shepherd, Jeffrey Nordling Join Pilots". Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  14. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 31, 2011). "Kristen Bell To Co-Star In Showtime's 'House of Lies' Comedy Pilot". Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  15. ^ Ben Block, Alex (September 15, 2011). "Showtime's 'House of Lies' Adds Richard Schiff". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 16, 2011. 
  16. ^ a b "All the winners from the 2013 Golden Globes". January 14, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 

External links[edit]