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October 9, 2015

Life: Tear Asunder

by Richard Keller, posted Oct 3rd 2007 11:02PM

Damian Lewis is Charlie Crews on NBC's new drama Life(S01E02) I'm trying to figure out Officer Bobby Starks, former partner to Charlie Crews. We know from the snippets of documentary that are interspersed throughout an episode of Life that Starks was one of the people who turned Charlie in for the triple-murder he didn't commit. Now that Crews is out of prison I'm not sure how Bobby feels about that.

I'm sure that he's feeling guilty about turning in his former partner, and he's doing his damnedest to make Charlie feel like nothing has changed between them. Hence, the reason he invited Crews to a barbecue under the premise that his wife wanted him there (Turns out, Stark's wife wanted nothing to do with the man who left his husband without a partner for four years). But, somewhere down deep inside, I have a feeling that Starks is really unsure of Crews' innocence and is rightfully pissed that he got away with it.

You could see that potential when he invited Charlie into his garage. He turned out the outside lights and locked the door so prying eyes wouldn't see anything. With the ominous soundtrack in the background you could just feel that a confrontation between the two former friends was about to take place. Instead, all that happened was the return of Crews' badge and gun by Bobby; he stored them in his garage after Crews' conviction. A little messing with our minds by the producers? Perhaps. Personally, I think that Starks is hiding something very big from Charlie.

Then again, in Life it seems that everyone is hiding something from Charlie. So, Bobby is in good company.

This week's episode felt stronger to me than the pilot, which suffered from too much data packed into 43 minutes of show. Much of the previous episode's introductions were out of the way, which gave the viewer a bit more time to explore the personal lives of Crews and Reese. Oh, and there was a crime to investigate as well. However, if you've seen one criminal investigation on <insert your favorite procedural drama here> you've seen them all. It wasn't the crime we were concerned about, however . . . it was how the crime was solved.

As I mentioned in previous reviews of this show Charlie reminds me a bit of Shawn Spencer from Psych. Because of his Zen disciplines he has a fine-tuned sense of what is askew in life. He displayed this in detail during this week's investigation, which focused on a very new bride who was murdered in her honeymoon suite. The discovery of keys and wallet in the very new husband's shoes intrigued me: I saw Charlie looking at the shoes, but I just didn't know what he was looking at. What got me was the way he found out that the murder suspect was not the husband. He noticed the tiniest detail and was able to pounce on it by viewing all of the disposable camera photos.

Besides the murder investigation, this is a criminal procedural after all, there were other things going on. So as to keep the viewers interested in Charlie's back story, there were a few moments featuring Charlie's own investigation on who framed him for the triple murder. Through flashbacks we got to see the bloodied victims throughout the house that Charlie was visiting in present time. We also saw one of the first pieces of the puzzle put into place: the fourth member of the family that was murdered was able to escape the actual killer. This means that there is someone out there who saw what really happened. Now, all Charlie has to do is find this girl.

We also got a better glimpse into the life of Detective Dani Reese. I'm still undecided on how I feel about this character. I like how she stands up to her lieutenant (whom I've decided I don't like) when it comes to Charlie, and the way she handles the uncooperative suspects (nothing like a high-voltage taser dipped into a swimming pool to calm a crazed person down), but I'm not particularly interested in her after-work hobbies. It seems to me that she has replaced her drug addiction for a sexual one. And, not just sex with any old guy off the street, but with married guys. This is leading her down a bad path.

Another event taking place was the introduction of the young lady who was going to marry Charlie's father. This is a bone of contention for Crews, who feels that his mother's death was due to his father's insistence that she never visit him in prison. Now, he feels a bit uncomfortable meeting the woman who is going to take his father's place. This brings me to Ted, who brings Charlie's future stepmom to the bus stop for their first meet-and-greet. What is his role on this show? Give this character more meat or send him on his way, please.

So, with two episodes out of the way I want to know if you feel that this show still has promise or has already fallen off the tracks. Let me know in the comments and I'll see you here next week.

What's your opinion of Officer Bobby Starks
I think that he's genuinely sorry about what happened and trying to make amends35 (14.8%)
He's really not sure how he feels about Charlie's return to the force136 (57.6%)
He hates Charlie for what he did and is trying to lull him into a sense of safety before taking him down58 (24.6%)
Wait. I thought this was Law & Order7 (3.0%)

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I love this show. It isn't a run of the mill procedural and for that it works--I think better than zany cousins Psych and Monk have lately. Of course it's only two shows in so it's a bit hard to go out on a limb and say that wholeheartedly.

My only fear is the show catches on and NBC puts it in harm's way come when Lost returns. It's strong but not that strong.

October 04 2007 at 9:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'd say Crews's style reminds me most of Raines. I liked Raines. Also, what about the possibility that his ex-partner was in on the frame up? I'm not saying he was, but maybe he knew something more and kept quiet on advice from above.

October 04 2007 at 6:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I couldn't believe Bobby's wife bitching Charlie out. Four years of being Cootie Boy at the office is nothing compared to twelve years of getting your ass beat/in solitary when you're innocent. NOTHING.

October 04 2007 at 5:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gary klein

NBC is doing a great job with their new shows, especially as mentioned, "Life", and "Journeyman". The lead actor in Life is so likeable(maybe a residual effect from his wonderful roll in "Band of Brothers")you are really pulling for him to succeed. Rest of the cast is outstanding. I don't think it ever hurts a show to have a beautiful woman in a main roll who is also a fine actress.
And Journeyman is equally great. Maybe we need more shows with Brit's using American accents.

October 04 2007 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff N.

How is it doing in the ratings?

October 04 2007 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The best new show of the new season. This and cane are the only two shows i care about. I refuse to watch any of the ten thousand CSI's, so this is a nice break.

October 04 2007 at 12:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah,.. way better than Bionic Woman, but Journeyman still tops my list of favorite new shows. Then Life, followed by Reaper.

October 04 2007 at 12:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't know where you see Psych, he is more Monk than Spencer. The one shoe was sunk deeper into the carpet than the other one??

I think his ex-partner is off. There is something wrong there. Why would he tell Crews that his wife wanted him over, and not think he wouldn't actually talk to her and find out he lied?

I think they are trying a bit to hard to make him "quirky".
I disagree with hating the lieutenant. I think she is just watching over her division.

October 04 2007 at 12:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Haven't watched this episode yet. (still on DVR) But I have to say from last week's episode I knew it was a keeper. Just hope we aren't the only ones. The Network doesn't seem to have promoted it much.

October 04 2007 at 12:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff N.

Christina Hendricks, Mad Men, that's where I had seen her before. And Charlie's dad is going to marry her on the show. Interesting!

October 04 2007 at 12:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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