50 Cent’s For Life On ABC
Written By Zaina Cummins
For Life is not an easy sell as a broadcast drama. Inspired by the life of Isaac Wright Jr., who was wrongfully convicted but got his conviction overturned while in prison and became a licensed attorney, the series’ first season was set in prison. It followed Aaron Wallace (Nicholas Pinnock) as he represents himself and his fellow inmates in court, while also exposing injustices and racial profiling in the American legal system as well as the flaws in the prison system.
The series, from creator/executive producer Hank Steinberg and executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, was a modest linear ratings performer but drew solid digital viewership, earning a Season 2 renewal in the weeks following the death of George Floyd when the themes explored in the show became part of the national conversation.
In an interview with Deadline, Steinberg and Jackson discuss For Life‘s increased timeliness and the bigger responsibility that comes with it. Steinberg talks about the difficult, emotional and sometime cathartic conversations in the show’s writers room over the last few weeks. The two share details about the upcoming second season, which will see Aaron get out of prison, how the show will incorporate COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests, and whether Jackson’s character will be back.
Going through the show’s first Emmy season, Steinberg and Jackson also address For Life‘s unique status of a premium drama on broadcast TV that defies the rules of a legal procedural, and the three characters the series’ leading man Pinnock play in each episode. Jackson also shares how he was personally affected by Floyd’s death and the mass protests that it ignited. “Creatively, we couldn’t ask for a better time for anything to take place. I’d always known that For Life was at the apex of social justice – it’s one of the reasons I was so enthused about the project when I heard Isaac’s story. Now that so many more people are paying attention and dissecting these issues, we expect that audiences will be tuning in with a new perspective,” said Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson.
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