“For Life” Tells a Story Just as Important as “When They See Us” (Trailer)

The only thing that ABC’s new prison redemption drama For Life has in common with Netflix’s Exonerated 5 miniseries When They See Us is that in both cases, the men were wrongly accused, imprisoned, and then eventually had their charges reversed. However, that’s pretty much where the similarities end, according to Isaac Wright Jr., the real man whose life inspired the new ABC series. Like the main character, Wright became a lawyer while serving time and worked to have his conviction overturned.

On the show, Aaron Wallace (Nicholas Pinnock) is wrongfully accused of being a drug kingpin and given a life sentence that snatches away his freedom, wife and child. To prove his innocence, Aaron becomes a lawyer while behind bars and not only works to overturn his conviction, but that of other innocent prisoners. For Life also stars Joy Bryant, Indira Varma and Timothy Busfield.

It’s a serialized show with procedural elements inside it. You look at the case of the week in the pilot, it’s really a three or four beat legal story. It’s not a lot of complicated moves, but what it is is incredibly emotional, and that is what is going to distinguish it from any other ‘legal procedural dramas.’

It’s a quest. It’s an odyssey, and he’s really Odysseus trying to get back home, and that’s why it needed to be a show and not a movie. This is a hundred chapter novel about this incredible character. There’s a defiant element that is running through the heart of the show that we think is what people are connecting to. It’s an underdog story.

For Life on ABC.