Life on Mars

Episode 1.02 : The Real Adventures of the Unreal Sam Tyler

  • Life on Mars
    • Episode Premiere : October 16, 2008
    • Distributor : ABC
    • Genre : Drama, Mystery, Crime
    • Seasons : 1
    • Show Period : 2008 - 2009
    • Production Company: 20th Century Fox Television
    • Official Site :

Cast and Crew

  • Director Michael Katleman
  • Screenwriter Brian Oh
  • Main Cast

  • Additional Cast
    • Lee Tergesen,
    • Danny Aiello III,
    • Mike Russo,
    • Rob Falcone,
    • Patrick Noonan,
    • Bruce Kirkpatrick,
    • John Cenatiempo,
    • Sylvia Miles,
    • Tanya Fischer,
    • Pablo Schreiber,
    • Heather Matarazzo

The Story

Sam still dreams of Maya, but wakes up to his new "reality" of 197 in an apartment with a communal bathroom and a run-in with a naked hippie named Windy.

Lt. Hunt, Chris, Ray, and Sam catch an armed robbery suspect, Kim Trent, in Central Park. While questioning Trent, Hunt throws the man, who can't swim, into a lake. Trent almost drowns, and Sam has to dive in and pull him out. In the process, Trent punches Sam in the face.

Back at the 125, the detectives question Trent about the robbing of several AAA Check Cashing businesses and three related murders. Again, Sam is horrified by Hunt's rough technique, but Trent refuses to answer any questions. They're interrupted by June, the precinct's administrative assistant, who tells them that the Assistant District Attorney has come to see Hunt.

Hunt and his men meet with Annie and ADA Lee Crocker, who's more politician than District Attorney. Lee tells Hunt that they don't have enough evidence for a case against Trent. Sam agrees, and Hunt pulls Sam aside to show him how they can plant evidence against Trent. Sam is appalled and recommends that they let Trent go and follow him. Hunt gives in, but if anything goes wrong, it will be on Sam's head.

Sam suggests Chris and Ray take the first watch on Trent, and Chris reveals that Ray might not go along with the plan, since he doesn't like Sam very much. While Chris and Ray go to let Trent out of his cell, Sam thinks he sees a strange robotic machine in the next cell. As soon as he sees it, it's gone. What else will he see in his new "reality"?

The next day, Hunt and Sam show up to relieve Chris and Ray, only to find that they're not there. As they look for them, the radio crackles about a robbery of a AAA Money Store. Sam and Hunt race to the scene and find Trent in the middle of the crime. Trent opens fire on the detectives, as they dive into a car. Hunt fires back and shoots Trent dead, but when they look in the front seat of the car, they find June, who's been shot.

As Hunt tends to June, Sam rushes behind the check-cashing place. He runs into two uniformed cops, who inform him that an employee has been shot and killed. Hunt scolds Ray and Chris for letting Trent slip past them. As Annie escorts June in the ambulance, they wonder what June was doing at the scene with a police radio. Hunt tackles Sam, blaming his plan for this debacle. As they scuffle, Sam screams out his frustration at the "cosmic joke" being played on him.

Annie approaches Sam at the 125, where he writes on a chalkboard as he tries to figure out his bizarre situation. Annie tells him to stop talking crazy. Sam visits the check-cashing place and sees a middle-aged woman watching him from her apartment. Sam goes to ask Mrs. Salvaggio if she may have seen anything. She tells him every Tuesday and Thursday, uniformed policemen show up "to keep the money safe."

Sam visits the hospital, where he finds Lt. Hunt reading the paper to an unconscious June. As soon as he sees Sam, Hunt sucker-punches him. They engage in a violent fistfight in June's room. A while later, after the men have gotten all their anger out on each other, Sam and Hunt talk. Hunt seems to believe June would make a good cop if she weren't a woman in 1973. Sam tells Hunt what he found out about the uniformed cops, and Hunt takes exception to Sam's intention to rat out dirty cops. In a blink, the two men get into another fistfight in front of the unconscious June.

The next day, Sam approaches Ray in 125's men's room. Apparently, Ray has moonlit as security for AAA Check Cashing in the past. Ray is unaware of any dirty cops also working for AAA and advises Sam if Hunt won't listen to him, perhaps he should go directly to Lee Crocker.

Sam meets with Lee later that night in an empty park to secretly mention his suspicion that 125th Precinct officers might be involved in the robberies. As Lee takes off, Sam sees the robotic machine again, but it quickly disappears behind trees, leaving Sam spooked.

In his apartment, Sam writes again on his mirror in grease pen, trying to figure out what the hell is going on with his life. Windy shows up with some lasagna for Sam. Somehow, Sam feels able to relate to her hippy-dippy talk.

Sam reports to work the next day to find that Hunt knows about his meeting with Lee Crocker, is furious, and it was Ray who set him up. As Hunt slams his door in Sam's face, Sam sees his 2008 squad room in the window's reflection. He looks back and forth between the reflection and "reality." 2008, 1973. 2008, 1973. He ponders what's real and unreal. Then, like a bolt of lightning, he realizes: The uniformed cops he saw at AAA weren't real cops!

Sam and Annie revisit the back door of AAA Money, and Sam retraces his steps aloud. Just then, a dispatcher radios them to tell them June is awake. The two high-tail it to the hospital, where they find a relieved Lt. Hunt. Sam begins questioning June about AAA, much to the consternation of Lt. Hunt. As they argue and mention that Trent is dead, June begins to cry.

June admits she gave Trent information, provided him with police uniforms, called Chris and Ray away from their stakeout, and helped Trent out in other ways. Annie feels betrayed, thinking June wanted to be in the Bureau of Policewomen, but June is more cynical; she's seen the men of 125 treat Annie as a joke for too long. Eventually, June tells Sam the names of Trent's accomplices: Dax Benson and Freddy Gerald.

Sam, Hunt, Ray, and Chris move quickly to a shipping terminal, where they find Dax and Freddy in their police uniforms. Dax bolts, and Sam chases him through the shipyard. During the chase, a policeman sees the plain-clothed and armed Sam running after the uniformed Dax and calls for backup. Sam corners Dax to arrest him, but three squad cars show up and several officers tackle Sam. He pleads that he's the real cop and Dax is the fake one. Dax tries to run, but Hunt stops him using brute force before ordering the officers to get off of Sam.

In the aftermath of the arrests, the detectives search the shipping terminal. They open a crate, which is full of boxes toy rovers, which look exactly like the strange machine he's been seeing in his visions. Behind the toy boxes, Hunt finds several bricks of heroin. Hunt congratulates Sam, warning him not to go behind his back to Lee next time. Sam, however, is transfixed by the rover. He's still not sure what is real and what is not.

That night, as he sits on his fire escape, Sam is comforted to hear Maya's voice again, saying she misses him. Windy enters Sam's apartment, puts on some music, and pulls him up to dance. As they dance, Sam contemplates whether he's in a coma, whether he's crazy, whether there are any answers to his questions, still not sure what is real and what is unreal.






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