For Life (TV series)

Last updated

For Life
For Life (2020) logo.png
Genre
Created by Hank Steinberg
Starring
Music by James S. Levine
Dustin O'Halloran
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes23
Production
Executive producers
EditorMichael Hathaway
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time43 minutes
Production companies
Distributor
Release
Original network ABC
Picture format 720p (HDTV)
Original releaseFebruary 11, 2020 (2020-02-11) 
February 24, 2021 (2021-02-24)

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 overturn the wrongful convictions of twenty of his fellow inmates, before finally proving his own innocence. In June 2020, the series was renewed for a second season which premiered on November 18, 2020. In May 2021, the series was canceled after two seasons.

Contents

Premise

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. The series is loosely based on the life of Isaac Wright Jr. [1] [2]

Cast

Main

Recurring

Episodes

Series overview

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1 13February 11, 2020 (2020-02-11)May 12, 2020 (2020-05-12)
2 10November 18, 2020 (2020-11-18)February 24, 2021 (2021-02-24)

Season 1 (2020)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date [10] U.S viewers
(millions)
11"Pilot" George Tillman, Jr. Hank Steinberg February 11, 2020 (2020-02-11)3.15 [11]
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 [12]
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 [13]
44"Marie" Charles Martin Sonay HoffmanMarch 10, 2020 (2020-03-10)2.60 [14]
55"Witness" Guillermo Navarro Hank SteinbergMarch 17, 2020 (2020-03-17)2.35 [15]
66"Burner"Guillermo NavarroEric HaywoodMarch 24, 2020 (2020-03-24)2.38 [16]
77"Do Us Part"Russell FineHank Steinberg & Garen ThomasMarch 31, 2020 (2020-03-31)2.37 [17]
88"Daylight"Russell Fine David Feige April 7, 2020 (2020-04-07)2.33 [18]
99"Buried"Erica WatsonHope MastrasApril 14, 2020 (2020-04-14)2.18 [19]
1010"Character and Fitness" Jann Turner Zach CaligApril 21, 2020 (2020-04-21)2.18 [20]
1111"Switzerland" Darnell Martin Karen StruckApril 28, 2020 (2020-04-28)2.19 [21]
1212"Closing Statement"Debs PatersonLee Edward Colston IIMay 5, 2020 (2020-05-05)2.17 [22]
1313"Fathers"Hank SteinbergHank SteinbergMay 12, 2020 (2020-05-12)2.82 [23]

Season 2 (2020–21)

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title [10] Directed byWritten byOriginal air date [10] U.S. viewers
(millions)
141"Never Stop Fighting"Russell Fine Hank Steinberg November 18, 2020 (2020-11-18)1.96 [24]
152"Homecoming"Russell FineHank SteinbergNovember 25, 2020 (2020-11-25)2.14 [25]
163"The Necessity Defense"Marisol AdlerHank SteinbergDecember 2, 2020 (2020-12-02)1.95 [26]
174"Time To Move Forward"Russell FineKirk A. MooreDecember 9, 2020 (2020-12-09)2.12 [27]
185"Collars for Dollars"Jono OliverTerri KoppDecember 16, 2020 (2020-12-16)2.26 [28]
196"354"Russell FineGaren ThomasJanuary 27, 2021 (2021-01-27)1.53 [29]
207"Say His Name"Eif RiveraSonay HoffmanFebruary 3, 2021 (2021-02-03)1.41 [30]
218"For the People"Jono OliverDavid FeigeFebruary 10, 2021 (2021-02-10)1.50 [31]
229"The Blue Wall"Laura BelseyT. Zhang & Jake GillmanFebruary 17, 2021 (2021-02-17)1.52 [32]
2310"Andy Josiah"Russell FineHank Steinberg & Sonay HoffmanFebruary 24, 2021 (2021-02-24)1.76 [33]

Production

Development

On October 11, 2018, Deadline Hollywood reported that the then-unnamed series was under development at ABC. [34] 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. [35] In May 2019, ABC announced that they had ordered the pilot to series, now titled For Life, [36] and that it would premiere as a mid-season replacement during the 2019–20 television season. [37] On November 21, 2019, TVLine posted an exclusive series trailer and announced a premiere date of February 11, 2020. [38] On June 15, 2020, ABC renewed the series for a second season which premiered on November 18, 2020. [39] [40] On May 14, 2021, ABC canceled the series after two seasons, but is expected to shop to other networks. [41] One possibility is IMDb TV, where the first two seasons of the series are currently available for streaming. [42]

Casting

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. [3]

Filming

On August 31, 2020, it was reported the second season had commenced production in New York City. [43] However, on September 11, 2020, it was reported that the second season would suspend production for the day due to the COVID-19 test delayes. Two days later, the suspension was extended by two weeks. [44] Filming resumed at the end of the month. [45] [46]

Reception

Critical response

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." [47] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 64 out of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [48]

Ratings

Viewership and ratings per season of For Life
SeasonTimeslot (ET)EpisodesFirst airedLast airedTV seasonViewership
rank
Avg. viewers
(millions)
DateViewers
(millions)
DateViewers
(millions)
1 Tuesday 10:00 p.m.13February 11, 2020 (2020-02-11)3.15 [11] May 12, 2020 (2020-05-12)2.82 [23] 2019–20 774.36 [49]
2 Wednesday 10:00 p.m.10November 18, 2020 (2020-11-18)1.96 [24] February 24, 2021 (2021-02-24)1.76 [33] 2020–21 973.20 [50]

Season 1

Viewership and ratings per episode of For Life
No.TitleAir date Rating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1"Pilot"February 11, 20200.73.15 [11] 0.62.331.35.48 [51]
2"Promises"February 18, 20200.62.58 [12] 0.72.521.35.10 [52]
3"Brother's Keeper"February 25, 20200.62.50 [13] 0.52.141.14.65 [53]
4"Marie"March 10, 20200.62.60 [14] 0.62.091.24.70 [54]
5"Witness"March 17, 20200.62.35 [15] 0.51.951.14.30 [55]
6"Burner"March 24, 20200.62.38 [16] 0.51.881.14.26 [56]
7"Do Us Part"March 31, 20200.62.37 [17] 0.41.721.04.09 [57]
8"Daylight"April 7, 20200.62.33 [18] 0.51.831.14.16 [58]
9"Buried"April 14, 20200.52.18 [19] 0.51.841.04.02 [59]
10"Character and Fitness"April 21, 20200.42.18 [20] 0.61.751.03.90 [60]
11"Switzerland"April 28, 20200.52.19 [21] 0.41.620.93.81 [61]
12"Closing Statement"May 5, 20200.42.17 [22] 0.51.690.93.86 [62]
13"Fathers"May 12, 20200.52.82 [23] 0.51.591.04.41 [63]

Season 2

Viewership and ratings per episode of For Life
No.TitleAir date Rating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1"Never Stop Fighting"November 18, 20200.41.96 [24] 0.41.600.83.56 [64]
2"Homecoming"November 25, 20200.52.14 [25] N/AN/AN/AN/A
3"The Necessity Defense"December 2, 20200.31.95 [26] 0.41.340.73.29 [65]
4"Time To Move Forward"December 9, 20200.42.12 [27] 0.31.280.73.40 [66]
5"Collars for Dollars"December 16, 20200.42.26 [28] N/AN/AN/AN/A
6"354"January 27, 20210.31.53 [29] N/AN/AN/AN/A
7"Say His Name"February 3, 20210.31.41 [30] 0.20.960.52.36 [67]
8"For the People"February 10, 20210.31.50 [31] 0.31.370.62.87 [68]
9"The Blue Wall"February 17, 20210.31.52 [32] 0.31.330.62.85 [69]
10"Andy Josiah"February 24, 20210.31.76 [33] 0.41.310.73.07 [70]

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