TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
Life TV Poster Image
Mature cop drama lacks spark; not meant for kids.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

As a cop, Charlie generally adheres to the rigid hierarchy of the force, though his quirky habits tend to annoy his coworkers. His supervisor seems to be looking for a way to kick Charlie off the force and leans on Charlie's partner Dani for evidence of misbehavior. Meanwhile, Charlie is quietly investigating the case the led to his own wrongful conviction, despite being warned to refrain from pursuing vengeance.


Frequent flashbacks to violent beatings in prison, as well as graphic shots of murder victims that include blood, dismembered fingers, and other unpleasant images. Detectives carry (and sometimes use) guns.


Some onscreen love scenes and brief flashes of naked bodies, but no sensitive parts shown. Charlie's sudden fame (and perhaps his massive settlement) has made him a magnet to women, who stream in and out of his bedroom, often without being introduced to viewers (apparently, there's no need for names, as they won't be seen again). Charlie's new partner has addiction issues and seems to have taken to anonymous sex as a substitute for drugs.


Words include "bitch," "damn," "hell," etc.


Mild, although Charlie, who became a Zen convert while incarcerated, is clearly having a tough time avoiding attachment to some material objects, especially a fancy new sports car.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters drink, sometimes to excess. Dani seems to like going to bars to pick up men, and there are references to her past drug use. Some scenes feature drug dealers and their merchandise.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this police drama touches on some heavy, mature topics, including revenge, addiction, and casual sex. The main character has adopted a Zen-like attitude to cope with his years behind bars, but he's secretly trying to find whoever framed him. Meanwhile, he pursues pleasure, whether in the form of anonymous and attractive young ladies or tasty fresh fruit. His partner is a recovering drug addict who likes to pick up men in bars. There's also plenty of violence as the two gun-carrying detectives investigate crimes; expect images of bloody dead bodies, dismembered fingers, and more.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 18+ and 18+-year-old Written byrobertbrenner7 March 20, 2009
Adult Written bya7pointstar April 9, 2008
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

Great Show

This is a great show, because Charlie Crews (the mian star of the series) either killed a family or was framed for it, but they don't tell you in the serie... Continue reading

What's the story?

Prison changes a man. For Charlie Crews, a police officer who spent a dozen years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, the time could have made him bitter and angry. Instead, he studied Zen to learn to accept his life behind bars. And now that he's finally been exonerated and rejoined the force, his spiritual attitude gives him a unique perspective when it comes to solving crimes. That's the basic idea behind LIFE, a cop drama that tries to mix adult themes of loss, revenge, and acceptance with the standard police procedural format. Crews (Damian Lewis) is now a homicide detective, partnered with Dani Reese (Sarah Shahi), whose history of drug addiction has left her with so little pull in the department that she's forced to work with him.

Is it any good?

Charlie and Dani make an odd pair. She's angry with the world -- as well as with her partner -- and eager to vent her feelings on any suspects who need to be questioned, a tactic that makes for interrogation scenes that could have appeared in dozens of other cop shows. But Charlie is focused on enjoying the moment, every moment, which helps him gain witnesses' trust and glean suspects' motives. His quirky mannerisms are certainly a gimmick and, while amusing, Charlie isn't a believable character. He irritates his colleagues on the force, and his repeated efforts to stay focused on the moment can get tiresome for viewers.

Life is actually trying to meld several major threads. First, there's Charlie the Zen-cop, who's learning to live on the outside. His sudden fame -- and the massive financial settlement he received -- have made him very popular with women, who stream in and out of his bedroom anonymously. Meanwhile, Charlie is secretly trying to find out who framed him more than a decade earlier, a task that will clearly take a whole lot of episodes to come to fruition. And, finally, there are the individual murder mysteries, which must be neatly tied up by the end of each hour. But one of the problems with Life is that the show spends so much time focusing on the other aspects of the show that there's little left over for the stand-alone cases, which often seem simple and underdeveloped.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about cop shows. What things do TV series about police officers and other law-enforcement figures tend to have in common? How does Charlie compare to other TV cops? Families can also discuss justice and revenge. Charlie was wrongfully convicted of murder and spent 12 years in prison before being exonerated. Now he's secretly trying to find out who framed him. What do you think he might do if he finds out who's behind the crime? What should he do? Can any amount of money (for example, the big settlement Charlie gets) make up for losing such a big chunk of your life?

TV details

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