life-sarahI love watching TV series, mostly those which deal with the law / police work and those which are set in hospitals, and of course Star Trek. Never those set at schools – I wonder why? Those last months, my very favorite show has been Life. We are a year behind here in Germany, so they only aired the first season’s finale the week before last, so I have a lot of episodes to look forward to, in spite that the series has been cancelled, to my deepest regret. (I just hope that they have wrapped things up properly in the second season’s finale – not that I trust the studios to do that, more’s the pity.)The series, if you haven’t watched it, is about Charlie Crews (Damian Lewis), a policeman who was wrongfully accused of killing his partner and the latter’s family and spent 12 years in prison. On his release, he gets a substantial settlement from the state, but still insists of rejoining the police force. He is received with great reluctance, even enmity there, and the only detective who can be pressured into partnering him is Dani Reese (Sarah Shahi), who is on probation because of difficulties of her own.

What is so fascinating about Life? Most impressive is the way that the overarching storyline – who really killed the family for whose murder Charlie Crews, the hero, was sent to prison for – is integrated into each episode, bringing Charlie and the viewers closer to the truth step by small step. I’ve watched other shows with such story arcs, but rarely is it done as well as here.

In addition, Sarah Shahi is quite possibly the most beautiful woman on TV right now. I can’t quite explain it – she is fairly small, and although she is very lovely, her beauty is not of the perfect, completely symmetric kind. For the role of Dani, she dresses down rather than up, and scowls more often than she smiles. Whatever it may be that makes her so special, I just love watching her, closely followed by hugely enjoying the kick-ass, rather cynical, deeply loyal character she gives to Dani.

Last but not least there’s Charlie. Prison life has changed him irretrievably, and he is now addicted to eating fresh fruit and has severe struggles holding in his anger at the way he was treated. He tries to achieve the latter with the help of Zen Buddhism, but Zen and Charlie have a very uneven relationship, with both his irrepressible zest for life and his deep anger sometimes winning out. Charlie’s isolation during the last years makes him curiously innocent at times, and gives him an angle quite different from the other detectives. Damian Lewis is excellently cast, and not bad-looking either!

I was deeply disappointed when Sandy told me that Life has been cancelled in the US, so here is my tribute to it. May the powers that be produce more clever, amusing and moving shows like it!

-Rike Horstmann

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