Damian Lewis, Life

Life (1999)

If there weren’t 487 other eccentric cop crime-solvers in prime time, Life — starring Damian Lewis as an eccentric cop crime-solver in the red-haired, fruit-eating, ?Zen-spouting division — might have made more of an impact when it premiered last season. Making matters worse, in its second season, NBC is continuing to show it less promotional respect than the network does for its worthless Knight Rider.

It’s unfortunate, as there’s a bright glow to Life: Lewis, playing Charlie Crews, a cop? reinstated after serving 12 years for a crime he didn’t commit, is a genial cleverboots with a raw edge. In his professional and personal life, Charlie asks obvious or inappropriate questions to throw a suspect or a civilian off balance and thus reveal something. (He ? recently asked the husband of his ex-wife, for whom he still carries a flaming torch, whether he could sleep with her again. He got punched in the mouth.) But unlike a mere smart aleck, such as that doofus in Psych, Charlie is seriously out for both law and order (he pummels perps with pops he learned in the pen) and ? revenge on the guys who set him up.

It’s too bad the fine actor Donal Logue (The Knights of Prosperity) has joined this season as dud cliché The Boorish Boss, and that Sarah Shahi plays Charlie’s partner, Dani, with one-note broodiness. (To creator Rand Ravich: If you’re planning any drastic overhauling, I could easily watch an hour of Charlie working solo.) Life is currently dying a ratings death ?opposite crap like Numb3rs and 20/20. Help save the charming redhead, won’t you? B+

Life (1999)
  • Movie
  • 112 minutes