The new NBC series Life stars Damian Lewis as an LAPD police officer who gets framed for a murder and serves twelve years in prison before being released after he is proven to be innocent. Although he gets a sizeable sum from the city for his mistaken confinement, the man returns to his old job with the police department, which has the other officers in a quandary as to how to relate to him. His character, Detective Charlie Crews, just wants his life back, but after twelve years of wrongful imprisonment, he discovers things are not exactly the same as when he left.
Charlie Crews has picked up some interesting habits and quirkiness the past twelve years. This is a man who had been in solitary confinement and now is released back to his old life. He wants to live normally, but his idiosyncrasies isolate him somewhat from the other officers. The series is not only about how Crews brings his intelligence and understanding to his job and life, but it will also focus on the hunt to find whoever framed him for the crime and subsequently took twelve years out of his life.
"There's a dichotomy in the character which is borne out of his experience of being 12 years in the maximum-security prison," says Lewis. "I think he comes to life with fresh eyes. I think he's liberated by his experience in some ways but with great freedom, with great liberation." The actor adds, "Before he went to prison, he was really a regular guy like you or me, looking for a career in the LAPD and a pension. And something extraordinary happened to him that changed him."
Lewis says having spent over a decade in prison, Crews has a new outlook. "I think he brings his experience with him into his new life, which he's trying hard to reintegrate himself into. That's a hard thing to do. He has a job, which is one thing a lot of people who are exonerated for the crimes they do are not able to get jobs immediately. He is. That's a stab at normalcy for him. But he nevertheless brings with him the animal instincts of the prison courtyard, where your life is under threat every minute you're out there during your recreational periods."
Life premiers Wednesday, September 26 on NBC 10 PM ET/PT.