A Toast to the Greatest Cop Show Time Forgot
by Karen Han – The Daily Beast – September 30, 2017
Happy 10th, ‘Life’
On its tenth anniversary, it only seems fair to give ‘Life’ another day in court.
Life is a difficult name to live up to. There’s the board game, there’s the cereal, there’s the thing itself—and then there’s the TV show. The series, created by Rand Ravich, ran for two seasons and a total of 32 episodes from September 2007 to April 2009. Over the course of its run, it didn’t quite seem to gain any real traction; much of what was said about it was less original observation and more comparison to other shows, specifically Monk and House, which also followed a procedural structure and featured a straight man/weird man routine. Unfortunately, Life hasn’t fared much better in the decade that’s passed since the pilot. The only context in which it’s been mentioned has—in a stroke of irony—been in reference to its generic name. But even just a quick survey of the show will make it clear that Life is far from generic.
The show centered on Charlie Crews (Damian Lewis), a detective recently reinstated after serving 12 years out of a life sentence for a triple murder he didn’t commit. He was partnered with Dani Reese (Sarah Shahi), a recovering alcoholic and drug addict working her way back into the good graces of the department. While the show followed the typical “cop show” template of solving a murder each week, it also set up a larger arc: that of Crews’ solo investigation into who’d actually committed the triple murder, and why he’d been set up to take the fall.