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Life

Written by David Bird on Monday, December 05 2011 and posted in Blog

Life (2007-2009)
NBC, Starring Damian Lewis



Typically I have been reviewing movies on Mondays, but todayI am going to review the TV series Life, which ran on NBC for 32 episodes overa year and a half.

Charlie Crews (Lewis) is a LA cop wrongly convicted for themurder of a friend and the friend’s entire family. He is released after twelveyears with a huge settlement and his job back—actually, with a promotion: he’snow a detective. He found religion in prison, something that’s made a bigimpact on his life, but now he finds himself continually in conflict: Zenmaster versus answers and/or revenge? He doesn’t have to pull at many threadsbefore a vast conspiracy begins to unravel, connecting his conviction to roguecops, the FBI, and a psychotic Russian mobster. He’s aided in his search by aformer inmate, a partner who may have connections to the rogue cops, and a castof interesting, well defined characters.

I like this show a lot, but I have to admit I had neverheard of it until a friend forced the two DVD sets on me. TV is chalk full ofpolice procedurals nowadays and the prospect of watching another didn’t appealto me, but this one is very different. It is bookended by two very strongthings. The first is an interesting cast of characters, anchored by Lewis’great performance. In our post-Law &Order TV universe, formula is everything, but Charlie Crews is characterthat could have held the show together for years without becoming tired. Hewants peace and answers. He can’t have both, but he can’t be satisfied withjust one, and won’t be until all the questions are answered and people who areabove the law answer for what they’ve done. The other thing is a complex andcompelling conspiracy that creates links where you would least expect them,while still remaining convincing. The show does suffer towards the end,however, as the producers, realizing they needed to wrap things up, rushed toanswer as many questions as possible. The episodes themselves are great TV, butit’s disappointing to get a hint of what might have been, knowing there isn’tgoing to be any more.

Re-reading what I’ve written so far, I realize I’ve made theshow sound a lot darker than it is. This is not dark show. Crews’ situation bringsa sense of absurdity into the show that never far away. He’s joined by AdamArkin as his ex-con roommate and financial advisor, and Sarah Shahi as hispartner Dani Reese. And, yes, the show is on Netflix.

Originally Pubished at: David Bird


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