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TV Review: “For Life” (2020 – ) ★★★★★


With so many new TV shows around, we can barely decide which ones to watch. In fact, do we really have that much time go through each and every single pilot to see whether it’s worth a shot? The truth is, there is bad TV, it just lacks the required audience to acknowledge it. However, that can’t be said about ABC’s “For Life” for it’s what we need nowadays to watch. It is inspired by true events and has been partly fictionalized – for our own sake.

“For Life”, created by Hank Steinberg, follows Aaron Wallace, a man who was sent to prison for life after being accused of drug dealership. As the indictment itself was wrong, the man finds only one way to fight against the system – begins using the same to help those who can’t help themselves. He studies law while in prison, gets the license to become a lawyer, and with the help of a progressive female prison warden (Indira Verma) begins to challenge the U.S. penal and legal system.

While his main goal, which we learn from him, was to prove that he was not a ’drug pin’, the man still ignores all the pleas when asked about slowing down and goes after the system. His first legal case is to help a Hispanic man who was, as he claims, wrongly sent to prison. As we get deep into the case of the man, we begin sympathizing with him as well as learn more about Wallace and his level of intelligence. Safiya, a prison warden, is all about progressive change in prison reforms. Her new approach has forced some guards to quit their job which she interprets as a positive sign.  As she reveals it quickly, the number of suicides and fights in prison went significantly down and believes that with the help of Wallace, she can achieve far better results.

The show itself is not what we’re used to seeing on TV nowadays. It’s smart, well written, and super important. As it is inspired based on Isaac Wright Jr.’s experience, the creators made sure that all the events which have been told are fictionalized. The importance of the premise, however, is undoubtedly what our current TV realm needs to redeem itself. Despite so many unnecessary shows out there, with “For Life” we get something new which is refreshing in its own way. Because we need to know more stories like this that are truly unforgettable, sad but with a happy ending not because it was scripted but because it happened in real life.

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