Episode 1.01 : Merit Badge

  • Life
    • Episode Premiere : September 26, 2007
    • Distributor : NBC
    • Genre : Drama
    • Seasons : 1
    • Show Period : 2007 - 2009
    • Production Company: NBC
    • Official Site :

Cast and Crew

  • Director David Semel
  • Screenwriter Rand Ravich
  • Main Cast

  • Additional Cast
    • Matt Gerald,
    • Chad Lindberg,
    • Michele Marsh,
    • Monique Daniels,
    • Michelle Wolff

The Story

When LAPD Detective Charlie Crews was sentenced to life for a heinous triple murder he didn't commit, everyone turned their backs on him, including his former partner, Robert Stark, and his wife, Jennifer Conover. Charlie spent the first half of his 12 years served in the hospital, and the latter half locked up in isolation, where he became a student of Zen Buddhism to pass the time. When his best friend, lawyer Constance Griffiths got the case re-opened, DNA evidence exonerated Crews and he reached a fat settlement with the state, including returning to his job at the LAPD as a detective.

Four months after his release, Charlie has an addiction to fruit, a furnitureless mansion, a new Bentley, and a penchant for the ladies. Detective Dani Reese reports to the murder scene of an 8-year-old boy. A golden retriever sits ten feet from the body. Uniformed officers Krebbs and Zerco rib Dani about her new partner - Crews! Crews arrives and zeroes in on the dog, who he discovers has been shot, too. Further conversation with the dog yields a severed finger buried nearby.

Figuring Dani doesn't want to be partnered with him, Crews asks if she wants to talk - she doesn't. They question the stepfather of the victim, John Gribley. John's biological father, Mark Rawls, is serving ten years for dealing drugs, and John belonged to a Boy Scout troop for kids with incarcerated fathers. Last month the Gribley house was robbed. Crews begins sniffing, and despite Dani's protests, warns Gribley to flush his pot down the toilet, as his house will soon be swarming with cops. Outside, Dani reminds him that as supervisory detective, she's responsible for Charlie's actions, and he just broke the law.

Dani questions John's mother Alissa about John's biodad, Mark. Alissa claims Mark changed so terribly after his first prison stint that she had to get away from him. Thinking aloud, Charlie muses that she just dumped the divorce papers in the mail. All jaws drop. Later, when Dani quietly demands an explanation, Charlie takes responsibility, claiming his mistake was not being in the moment. He was thinking about where they were going next - to question Mark in jail.

Mark yells at Dani, angry that he's not allowed to attend John's funeral. After bonding with Crews over their mutual resentment of cops, Mark admits that he lied to John when he visited two weeks ago, allowing his son to believe that he didn't deserve to be in prison. Leaving the jail, Charlie faces off with prison guards - he may be innocent, but they know what he did to another guard while in jail, which makes him forever a "con." Charlie offers some zen wisdom about overcoming anger and backs off.

Back at the station, Dani interviews Tyler, John's pal from Boy Scouts. Charlie butts in, remarking how hard Dani must have to fight, as a woman in the PD. Insisting on a hug, Charlie pisses off Dani, but wins laughs from Tyler, which eases out the info Tyler has been holding back: Tyler and John met a man online who offered evidence that would get Mark out of jail, in exchange for money.

Charlie is just asking Dani what an IM is when his ex-partner Stark shows up, still wearing patrol blues. He asks for a cell phone pic with Charlie, now that he's a celebrity detective. When Stark's new partner busts on Charlie, Dani jabs back: Stark turned his back on Charlie, so how can he be trusted?

Dani drops by a girls night at the home of her mentor, hard-bitten cop Lt. Karen Davis. Karen was Dani's father's partner, and immediately asks Dani what's up with her new partner. Did Crews return to the force to seek revenge? Reminding Dani that she's responsible for Charlie, Karen asks point blank, has he done anything to jeopardize them both? Dani admits that Crews may have allowed a suspect to dispose of marijuana prior to a police search.

Ted Earley was once CEO of Aftercliffe Capital, but after being convicted of insider trading, credits Charlie for saving his life in prison. Now, he lives over Charlie's garage, and helps him manage his settlement, arranging for purchase of an orange grove, amongst other duties. After frolicking through his empty mansion with a hot blonde, Charlie decides to question Alissa with a new approach. She confesses that she caught John stealing, and lied for him, allowing everyone to believe it was a random break-in.

Since Charlie missed the internet revolution while in prison, Ted shows him how to google someone. Despite Ted's protests, Charlie googles himself and finds a wealth of online material regarding his case. Charlie spends an evening with Constance. His father has been pestering her since Charlie won't return his calls. Charlie doesn't want to attend his father's wedding, claiming that he's marrying an 8-year-old, and that he killed Charlie's mother by not allowing her to visit him in prison. Zenning out, Charlie asks Constance if she ever thinks it's the two of them against the world? She does, all the time.

Charlie is amazed when Dani calls him and his car answers. She's got a hit on the severed finger, and is emailing a photo of junkie Lonnie Garth to his phone. The next day, Charlie and Dani don bulletproof vests to go after nine-fingered Lonnie, who is holed up in a crack den, shooting wildly. Lonnie screams that he didn't kill the kid, someone named Arthur did, before taking Charlie's bullet in the chest. After helping Lonnie die, Charlie notices Dani freaking out in a corner. She rips off her shirt and scrubs herself in the crack den's shower, then refuses to talk about it with Charlie.

Dani and Charlie consult the list of Boy Scouts parents, looking for any recent scam artist parolees, and find Arthur, whom they bring in for questioning. Arthur needles Charlie, knowing the cops have no proof. Surprise - Arthur is arrested for parole violation for communicating with known felon Lonnie. Arthur recovers his sarcasm, claiming he can do one more year of jail in his sleep. Dani and Charlie meet Arthur as he arrives at the prison. Charlie points out that Mark, John's very angry father, is waiting for Arthur to be released into the yard. Arthur begs to be sent elsewhere, quickly confessing to murdering John.

Dani bumps into Karen while on an early morning jog, who informs her that the department is prepared to go ahead with Dani's complaint against Charlie. When Dani recants, Karen asks if it's related to Dani's own history with drugs? Dani insists she's been clean for 21 months, which means she's on probation, too. Meanwhile, Charlie returns home, withdrawing Karen's photo from an LAPD file marked confidential. Moving into an inner sanctum, Charlie beholds a wall filled with photos and information from his case.






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