Picks and Pans Review: Life

updated 10/06/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/06/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

NBC, Sept. 29, 10 p.m. ET

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Life barely had one in its debut season: It was among the new shows that vanished with the writers' strike. The opening two episodes marking its return involve outlandish killings—there's even a freeze-dried corpse—but the tone matches the odd perspective of Det. Charlie Crews (Damian Lewis). Victim of a frame-up, he spent years in jail, channeling rage into zen calm. Now he says things like, "Violence against one is violence against all. Violence against all is violence against myself." The show playfully warps cop formula and, as Crews, Lewis has the detachment of a bemused android. He also has stunning orange hair—the show's bright palette seems designed around it.

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