The Borgias (2011–2013)
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Truth and Lies 

A wounded Juan Borgia returns to Rome with lies about his bravery, and Lucrezia agrees to marry the son of a rich Genovese merchant but lusts after his brother.


John Maybury


Neil Jordan (creator), David Leland


Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Irons ... Rodrigo Borgia
François Arnaud ... Cesare Borgia
Holliday Grainger ... Lucrezia Borgia
Joanne Whalley ... Vanozza Cattaneo
David Oakes ... Juan Borgia
Sean Harris ... Micheletto
Peter Sullivan ... Cardinal Ascanio Sforza
Colm Feore ... Giuliano Della Rovere
David Alpay ... Calvino
Tom Austen ... Raffaello
Jesse Bostick ... Antonello
Roger Lloyd Pack ... Friar
Noah Silver ... Benito Sforza
Bosco Hogan ... Cardinal Piccolomini
Robert Cavanah ... Hernando De Caballos




Juan Borgia returns from the siege the Catherina Sforza's Forli castle with a tale of his bravery and of standing by his men. Cesare learns the truth from Hernando de Caballos and also that Sforza's son is being kept in the dungeons. Rumors however begin to circulate about what really happened but Juan denies it all. The Pope's doubts are proven correct when Benito Sforza is released from his prison cell and tells the Pope what truly happened. The Pope orders Cesare to return the boy to his mother. Cardinal della Rovere's plan to poison the Pope is moving forward with his young assassin now ready to strike. They must eliminate the Pope food tester first. The Pope is growing ever more impatient with Lucrezia's delay in choosing her next husband. Her mother tells her that she doesn't have to chose between the Duke of Genoa and his brother: she should marry one and take the other as her lover. Written by garykmcd

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Did You Know?


If you were to pause right after the scene where Pope Alexander IV and his Cardinals are seated for their meal (at around 15 mins), John Maybury (the director) has them seated reflecting Leonardo da Vinci's 'The Last Supper'. See more »


At Lucrezia's proposal scene, the scale model on the table is far too modern: her three cannon decks, rig and lines show she is either a the late 1700's ship of the line or a heavily armed East Indiaman from the same period. The action takes place around 1500. See more »


Micheletto: [after Cesare releases Benito Sforza over Micheletto's advice] This dog will come back to bite.
See more »


Heart Beats
Performed by Johnnyswim
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User Reviews

"Do you know what is more poisonous than failure in war or politics? Ridicule!"
20 July 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Season 2 of 'The Borgias' is remarkably consistent. By consistent that's meant in a good way. Loved all the previous Season 2 episodes, love "Truth and Lies" every bit as much and can say little bad about the next two episodes either. Despite liking to loving all the first season's episodes, Season 2 is of much higher quality and is much more settled in all regards, the only big debit of the season being the Della Rovere subplot.

"Truth and Lies" is full of entertainment value and tension, which is much of what can be expected watching 'The Borgias'. As well as intrigue. Other Season 2 episodes had more emotional impact, especially "The Choice" (that ending!) and "The Confession", but this is hardly devoid of that. The storytelling feels like it is progressing, likewise with the characterisation, and the tension definitely grows too. A lot happens here, but it doesn't feel like there is too much going on or too hurried a pace.

Have not really changed my mind that much on the Della Rovere subplot, like the previous episode there is progression and Jessie Bostick's spine-chilling acting as Antonello does leave a big impression. At the same time, the most, and only actually, frequent problem of Season 2 is how dragged out the subplot feels and still feel that way.

As always with 'The Borgias', "Truth and Lies" is top notch visually. The costumes continue to be a wonder, Vanozza and especially Lucrezia always look so wonderful, and the scenery and interiors are similarly stunning. The photography complements them and is as good as period dramas on film. When it comes to beauty and intensity, the music does not in any way with either, it revels in both of them actually. Cannot get enough of the spine-tingling and goosebump inducing main theme, or the exquisitely designed opening titles sequence, one of my favourites of all time.

Dialogue has come on a long way since 'The Borgias' first started, thought-provoking, more nuanced, more natural and tighter while also being not as soapy. Some of it is melodramatic but quite gloriously so. Rodrigo has some great lines, like the above, but it is the using dessert to give a lesson in love part that was a highlight here. The story is eventful and seldom less than compelling, and the character writing, interaction and performances contribute heavily to this.

Juan is growing increasingly unpleasant with each other, David Oakes brings out the pride and dishonesty very effectively without being cartoonish. Francois Arnaud, Cesare now being the most interesting character, excels in bringing out a sinister demeanour, more so than before. Loved that Vanozza has more to do here, her witty chemistry with Lucrezia and Joanne Whalley giving a subtle and knowing performance. Jeremy Irons though is especially good, always loved Rodrigo's authority and ruthlessness, as seen in scenes with either of his sons, but it was great to see more of his more tender side with Benito which provided a lot of nuance.

Overall, a great episode. 9/10

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Hungary | Ireland | Canada



Release Date:

3 June 2012 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Korda Studios, Etyek, Hungary See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

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