Life ran for two seasons on NBC from 2007-2009. It starred Damian Lewis
as Detective Charlie Crews, a wrongly-convicted cop, newly-exonerated for the crime. The pilot episode establishes Crews as he is released from San Quentin after having won his freedom, a multimillion-dollar settlement from the city of Los Angeles, and reinstatement in the LAPD as a Detective. Crews is partnered with Detective Dani Reese, played by Sarah Shahi
, the daughter of one of the cops who sent Crews to jail and a recovering cocaine addict. Rounding out the cast is Adam Arkin
as disgraced businessman, Ted Earley, Crews' former cellmate and current financial advisor.
While in prison, Crews studied Taoism, and tries to use it in his daily life to be at peace with the things that happened to him. The series thread of Life follows Crews' unofficial investigation into just who set him up for the murder of his best friends. Individual cases are solved each episode with the continuing storyline of his betrayal as a thematic link.
The show was not the typical crime procedural. Lewis was charming as the quirky Crews, whether he was opining on kumquats or spouting oxymoronic Taoist wisdom. Shahi and Arkin were equally excellent as the long-suffering partner and friend who came to understand the keen insight underneath Crews' sometimes-bizarre behavior.
With a brilliant cast, some exceptional writing – especially those episodes penned by creator Rand Ravich
– and intriguing, often bizarre cases, Life was a show that never hit with the general public. Fortunately it lives on in DVD.