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‘Life,’ to live as he chooses, Los Angeles Times, September 16, 2007

 ‘Life,’ to live as he chooses

British actor Damian Lewis heads to L.A. to portray a guy who gets back his existence and, his ordeal over, turns mellow.

by Lynn Smith, Los Angeles Times, September 16, 2007
Damian Lewis, the British actor known for dark dramas, has left London for L.A. sunshine and the lead in NBC’s quirky “Life,” a series about an ex-cop still optimistic after being freed from years of wrongful imprisonment.

Charlie Crews, the eccentric LAPD detective he portrays, was sentenced to life and spent 12 years in jail before being released with a $50-million settlement. Now he drives a Bentley, chomps green apples and drops Eastern spiritual tidbits like, “You don’t have to understand here to be here.”

“The central thing to hang on to is that because of his experience, he’s undergone an experience no one else has,” Lewis said.

“So when he comes out of jail and is given his life back, he isn’t bound by the minutiae and banalities of everyday life. He rises above that. He sets his own behavior codes. He’s been changed by the physical and psychological abuse that he suffered in jail.”

Despite the brutality of his character’s imprisonment, the show, which debuts Sept. 26, is meant to be a light entertainment, Lewis said. “He is almost a naif. He’s an optimist; he has childlike qualities. He’s fun, light, all the things he hasn’t had. He chooses to live his life to the full. He’s not always successful. He chooses to see the good in every situation.”

He may be one of those quirky detectives TV seems to like lately, but he’s not “quirky for quirky’s sake,” Lewis said. “He possibly lives in a state of mind we all wish to be in,” he said.

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