For Life (TV series)

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For Life
For Life (2020) logo.png
Genre
Created byHank Steinberg
Starring
Music byJames S. Levine
Dustin O'Halloran
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes15 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
CinematographyMihai Malaimare, Jr.
Editor(s)Michael Hathaway
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time43 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor
Release
Original networkABC
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Original releaseFebruary 11, 2020 (2020-02-11) –
present (present)

For Life is an American legal drama television series created by Hank Steinberg that premiered on ABC on February 11, 2020. The series is loosely based on the true story of Isaac Wright Jr., who was imprisoned for a crime that he did not commit. While incarcerated, he became an attorney and helped to overturn the wrongful convictions of twenty of his fellow inmates, before finally proving his own innocence.[1] In June 2020, the series was renewed for a second season which premiered on November 18, 2020.[2][3]

Premise[edit]

The series centers on Aaron Wallace, who has been sentenced to life in prison for a crime he did not commit. While incarcerated, Wallace becomes a lawyer and works as a defense attorney for others while striving to get his own sentence overturned.[4] The series is loosely based on the life of Isaac Wright Jr.[5]

Cast[edit]

Main[edit]

  • Nicholas Pinnock as Aaron Wallace, a former club owner convicted of drug trafficking, although in truth, the drugs actually belonged to one of his friends. Now serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole, he earns a license to practice law and works to help his fellow inmates in court.[6]
  • Indira Varma as Safiya Masry, the warden who oversees the prison where Wallace is serving his sentence. She is reform-minded, and helps him as best she can, but their relationship is strained by her need to look out for her own family's interests.[7]
  • Joy Bryant as Marie Wallace, Aaron's wife, who has entered into a new relationship with Darius, one of his friends. Although she is sympathetic to her husband's plight, she also feels a need to move on and leave him in the past.[8]
  • Mary Stuart Masterson as Anya Harrison (season 1), Safiya's wife, who is running for Attorney General of New York State.[9]
  • Dorian Crossmond Missick as Jamal Bishop, Aaron's closest friend in prison. He occasionally helps Aaron prepare cases.[10]
  • Tyla Harris as Jasmine Wallace, Aaron's teenage daughter. Unlike her mother, she has never stopped believing in her father and dreams of him returning home one day.[11]
  • Glenn Fleshler as Frank Foster (season 1), a senior corrections officer at the prison. Like most of his fellow guards, he dislikes Aaron.
  • Boris McGiver as Glen Maskins (season 1; guest season 2), the prosecutor who led the team that put Aaron away, and who is now running for state Attorney General. He scorns his old foe's desire to clear his name, and will do whatever it takes, including blackmail, to keep him locked up for good.[11]
  • Timothy Busfield as Henry Roswell, A former New York state senator who assists Aaron in his quest to become a lawyer, and later helps him prepare to argue for his retrial in court.

Recurring[edit]

  • Brandon J. Dirden as Darius Johnson, Aaron's best friend who initially doubted him but later assists him during his retrial after finding new evidence suggesting Aaron is not guilty.
  • Erik Jensen as Dez O'Reilly, An assistant district attorney who works for Maskins.
  • 50 Cent as Cassius Dawkins, A dangerous inmate that is transferred to Bellmore by Maskins. Once there, he immediately causes problems for Aaron, Frank, and Safiya.[6]
  • Peter Greene as Wild Bill Miller, The leader of the white supremacy gang at Bellmore.
  • Felonious Munk as Hassan Nawaz, A prisoner at Bellmore.[12]
  • Joseph Siravo as Jerry McCormack, The head of the prison board who oversees Bellmore and other correctional facilities. He signed the order that allowed Cassius Dawkins to be transferred to Bellmore.
  • Matt Dellapina as Tom Hansen, Safiya's assistant who helps her in monitoring all areas of the Bellmore Correctional facility.
  • Toney Goins as Ronnie Baxter, Jasmine's boyfriend and the father of her child.

Episodes[edit]

Series overview[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113February 11, 2020 (2020-02-11)May 12, 2020 (2020-05-12)
2TBANovember 18, 2020 (2020-11-18)TBA

Season 1 (2020)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date [13]U.S viewers
(millions)
11"Pilot"George Tillman, Jr.Hank SteinbergFebruary 11, 2020 (2020-02-11)3.15[14]
Newly certified as a defense attorney, Aaron Wallace picks up his first case by agreeing to represent José Rodriguez. José was convicted of purchasing drugs that his girlfriend, Molly, overdosed on and nearly died from. The case pits him against O'Reilly, a prosecutor under Glen Maskins, his nemesis and the man responsible for his life sentence. Maskins orders O'Reilly to sabotage Aaron's defense by removing the only two witnesses he has. With no other evidence, the case seems doomed and Wallace finds himself contemplating failure. Wallace resorts to deception, forging a note from Molly to get the judge to put her on the stand. He then reveals she lied under oath in the original trial, meaning José's sentence is reversed and he is allowed to go free. Wallace's ally, Warden Safiya Masry, tells him to stop antagonizing Maskins as she fears it will harm her wife's campaign for District Attorney. Aaron seems to agree, but when his daughter Jasmine visits him and says she's pregnant, he decides to do whatever he has to in order to get his conviction overturned.
22"Promises"Russell FineHank SteinbergFebruary 18, 2020 (2020-02-18)2.58[15]
Aaron must honor a debt he owes to Wild Bill, the leader of a white supremacist gang who wants one of its members, Joey Knox, released from solitary. Aaron takes the case knowing that doing so will make him enemies with the guards and other black inmates. He discovers that Knox was in a secret gay relationship with his Asian cellmate, for which Bill intends to kill him. At the hearing, a guard is forced to admit that he deliberately ignored Knox's pleas for help. This causes Joey to be released while Warden Masry arranges for him to be transferred to a different prison. With his debt cleared, Aaron is free to continue with his plan to sue the NYPD so his police file will be released. However, Maskins' office persuades a judge that doing so would endanger a confidential source, and so the request is denied. Aaron is contacted by Ronnie, Jasmine's boyfriend, who asks him to agree to stop letting Jasmine visit him every week. After learning the real reason why Aaron is trying to get his sentence reversed, Masry tells him she won't object to his plan to go after Maskins.
33"Brother's Keeper"Russell FineHank SteinbergFebruary 25, 2020 (2020-02-25)2.50[16]
44"Marie"Charles MartinSonay HoffmanMarch 10, 2020 (2020-03-10)2.60[17]
55"Witness"Guillermo NavarroHank SteinbergMarch 17, 2020 (2020-03-17)2.35[18]
66"Burner"Guillermo NavarroEric HaywoodMarch 24, 2020 (2020-03-24)2.38[19]
77"Do Us Part"Russell FineHank Steinberg & Garen ThomasMarch 31, 2020 (2020-03-31)2.37[20]
88"Daylight"Russell FineDavid FeigeApril 7, 2020 (2020-04-07)2.33[21]
99"Buried"Erica WatsonHope MastrasApril 14, 2020 (2020-04-14)2.18[22]
1010"Character and Fitness"Jann TurnerZach CaligApril 21, 2020 (2020-04-21)2.18[23]
1111"Switzerland"Darnell MartinKaren StruckApril 28, 2020 (2020-04-28)2.19[24]
1212"Closing Statement"Debs PatersonLee Edward Colston IIMay 5, 2020 (2020-05-05)2.17[25]
1313"Fathers"Hank SteinbergHank SteinbergMay 12, 2020 (2020-05-12)2.82[26]

Season 2 (2020)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title [13]Directed byWritten byOriginal air date [13]U.S. viewers
(millions)
141"Never Stop Fighting"Russell FineHank SteinbergNovember 18, 2020 (2020-11-18)1.96[27]
152"Homecoming"Russell FineHank SteinbergNovember 25, 2020 (2020-11-25)TBD
163"The Necessity Defense"[28]Marisol AdlerHank SteinbergDecember 2, 2020 (2020-12-02)TBD
174"Time To Move Forward"TBATBADecember 9, 2020 (2020-12-09)TBD
185"Collars for Dollars"TBATBADecember 16, 2020 (2020-12-16)TBD

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

On October 11, 2018, Deadline Hollywood reported that the then-unnamed series was under development at ABC.[29] The pilot was written by Hank Steinberg who was also set to executive produce alongside Alison Greenspan, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Doug Robinson, Isaac Wright Jr., and George Tillman Jr. Production companies involved with the pilot include G-Unit Film & Television, Doug Robinson Productions, ABC Studios and Sony Pictures Television. On February 8, 2019, Deadline reported that the production had officially received a pilot order.[30] In May 2019, Deadline reported that ABC had ordered the series, now titled For Life,[31] and that it would premiere as a mid-season replacement.[32] On November 21, 2019, TV Line posted an exclusive series trailer and announced a premiere date of February 11, 2020.[33] On June 15, 2020, ABC renewed the series for a second season which premiered on November 18, 2020.[2][3]

Casting[edit]

In March 2019, it was announced that Nicholas Pinnock, Indira Varma, Joy Bryant, Mary Stuart Masterson, Boris McGiver, Tyla Harris and Dorian Missick had joined the cast in the pilot's lead roles.[34]

Filming[edit]

On August 31, 2020, it was reported the second season had resumed production in New York.[35] However, on September 11, 2020, it was reported that the second season would suspend production for the day due to the COVID-19 test results. Two days later, it was announced that the second season would suspend production for two weeks.[36]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an 86% approval rating with 14 reviews, with an average rating of 7.12/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Guided by Nicholas Pinnock's powerful performance, For Life eschews procedural pitfalls with a sturdy, empathetic script and an impressive ensemble to bring it to life."[37] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 64 out of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[38]

Ratings[edit]

Viewership and ratings per season of For Life
Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes First aired Last aired TV season Viewership
rank
Avg. viewers
(millions)
Date Viewers
(millions)
Date Viewers
(millions)
1 Tuesday 10:00 p.m. 13 February 11, 2020 (2020-02-11) 3.15[14] May 12, 2020 (2020-05-12) 2.82[26] 2019–20 82 4.36[39]
2 Wednesday 10:00 p.m.[13] TBA November 18, 2020 (2020-11-18) 1.96[27] TBA TBD 2020–21 TBD TBD

Season 1[edit]

Viewership and ratings per episode of For Life
No. Title Air date Rating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "Pilot" February 11, 2020 0.7 3.15[14] 0.6 2.33 1.3 5.48[40]
2 "Promises" February 18, 2020 0.6 2.58[15] 0.7 2.52 1.3 5.10[41]
3 "Brother's Keeper" February 25, 2020 0.6 2.50[16] 0.5 2.14 1.1 4.65[42]
4 "Marie" March 10, 2020 0.6 2.60[17] 0.6 2.09 1.2 4.70[43]
5 "Witness" March 17, 2020 0.6 2.35[18] 0.5 1.95 1.1 4.30[44]
6 "Burner" March 24, 2020 0.6 2.38[19] 0.5 1.88 1.1 4.26[45]
7 "Do Us Part" March 31, 2020 0.6 2.37[20] 0.4 1.72 1.0 4.09[46]
8 "Daylight" April 7, 2020 0.6 2.33[21] 0.5 1.83 1.1 4.16[47]
9 "Buried" April 14, 2020 0.5 2.18[22] 0.5 1.84 1.0 4.02[48]
10 "Character and Fitness" April 21, 2020 0.4 2.18[23] 0.6 1.75 1.0 3.90[49]
11 "Switzerland" April 28, 2020 0.5 2.19[24] 0.4 1.62 0.9 3.81[50]
12 "Closing Statement" May 5, 2020 0.4 2.17[25] 0.5 1.69 0.9 3.86[51]
13 "Fathers" May 12, 2020 0.5 2.82[26] 0.5 1.59 1.0 4.41[52]

Season 2[edit]

Viewership and ratings per episode of For Life
No. Title Air date Rating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "Never Stop Fighting" November 18, 2020 0.4 1.96[27] TBD TBD TBD TBD

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nellie Andreeva (October 11, 2018). "Isaac Wright Drama From 50 Cent, Hank Steinberg & Doug Robinson Set At ABC". Deadline.
  2. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (June 15, 2020). "'For Life' Drama Series Renewed For Season 2 By ABC". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (September 17, 2020). "ABC Sets Fall Drama Premiere Dates; 'For Life' Replaces Canceled 'Stumptown' On Schedule, 'The Rookie' Pushed". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
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External links[edit]