Same place, same job. Different time, different rules. That's the situation facing detective Sam Tyler (John Simm, State of Play) in this British drama that TV Guide calls "an entertaining collision of bare-knuckled police-procedural realism and mind-blowing surrealism."
Knocked unconscious by a hit-and-run driver in 21st-century Manchester, Tyler wakes up in 1973. Is he dreaming, time traveling, or just plain crazy? Whatever happened, he might as well have landed on another planet. Although shocked by the brutality of his bullying boss (Philip Glenister, Cranford) and the callousness of his squad mates, Sam gamely adapts to crime solving in this retro world. But even as romance blossoms with policewoman Annie (Liz White, The Fixer), mysterious voices from his former life keep calling him home. Trapped in the past, he must decide where his future lies--and how to get there--in the tension-filled finale. 8 episodes, approx. 468 min., 4 DVDs, SDH. For mature audiences.
The team tracks a series of gruesome killings to local casino owner Tony Crane. Under scrutiny from the press and Superintendent Woolf, Gene wants a by-the-book investigation for once. But Sam, having encountered Crane before, is convinced of his guilt--and willing to break the rules to take him down.
When crack thief Dickie Fingers gets sprung from prison, Gene's former boss takes a personal interest. The department recruits its first black detective--and Sam's old mentor--to help with the case. But as the investigation deepens, both Sam and Gene must face their heroes' frailties.
The station is peppered with bomb threats purportedly from the IRA. Gene rounds up nearly every Irishman in town before focusing on labor activist Patrick O'Brien. Meanwhile, Sam argues that it's all a hoax, until a dangerous incident makes him doubt his instincts.
A young woman's death brings back fears of a serial killer supposedly caught years ago. The investigation leads to Roger Twilling, a wealthy businessman with a fondness for key parties. Sam and Annie pose as a married couple to enter Twilling's social circle and uncover the intimate details of his life.
Despite being sick as a dog, Sam returns to work when a kidnapper demands the release of a convicted killer in exchange for the hostages. Exhausted and at a dead end, the team depends on Sam, who digs into the original murder case for answers to the current crisis.
When a Ugandan Asian immigrant gets shot in his record store, Gene pegs the man and his brother as heroin dealers. Sam, however, suspects it may be a hate crime and becomes entangled in the affairs of the only witness, the victim's strong-willed girlfriend.
After a bout of heavy drinking, Gene wakes Sam with a startling revelation: "I appear to have killed a man." Left with little memory of the preceding night, he asks Sam to head the inquiry and clear his name. But Sam grudgingly respects acting DCI Morgan's meticulous methods--and the evidence against Gene mounts.
Frank Morgan reveals Sam's true purpose in the past, and Sam struggles more than ever with his sanity and his will to survive. If he does as Morgan instructs, he may be able to return home. But can Tyler betray those he cares about in the process?
- "The Return of Life on Mars" documentary
- Behind-the-scenes footage for episodes 3, 5, and 7
- Tour of the CID set
- Behind the scenes of Tuffy's Cameo
- "The End of the Life on Mars" featurette
Run Time: 468 minutes, plus 2 hours of bonus material
Number of discs: 4
Color or B&W: Color
Region Code: 1
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
"An intoxicating treat"--Variety
"Compulsive viewing"--Daily Mail (UK)
"Terrific performances"--Los Angeles Times
"Intelligent...refreshing...brilliant...seductive...cool"--San Francisco Chronicle
"The bottom line here: get it. Well-acted, well-written trip with some fabulous chemistry between the actors."--Blogcritics Magazine
"Enthralling saga recommended for mystery and time-travel fans alike!"--Midwest Book Review
"Top 5 crime dramas to watch this summer includes Life on Mars and Prime Suspect."--Examiner.com
"A genre-bending show of the best sort: character driven, intriguing, and full of conflict."--Examiner.com
"Clever, funny and tough, a truly unique addition to the genre"--Venice Magazine
International Emmy Winner for Best Drama Series 2006
International Emmy Winner for Best Drama Series 2008
Edgar Allan Poe Award Winner for Best Television Episode Teleplay (Matthew Graham, Episode 1, 2007)
BAFTA Audience Award Winner (2007)
Broadcasting Press Guild Award Winner for Best Drama Series (2007)
Television and Radio Industries Club Awards Winner for Best TV Crime Program (2008)
Banff Rockie Award Winner for Best Continuing Series (2006)
BAFTA Nomination for Best Actor (John Simm, 2007)
BAFTA Nomination for Best Director (2007)
BAFTA Nomination for Best Drama Series (2007)
BAFTA Nomination for Best Editing (2007)
BAFTA Nomination for Best Production Design (2007)
BAFTA Nomination for Best Sound (2007)
BAFTA Nomination for Best Writer (2007)
BAFTA Nomination for Best Production Design (2008)
Saturn Award Nomination for Best International Series (2008)
Saturn Award Nomination for Best Presentation on Television (2007)
National Television Award Nomination for Most Popular Drama (2007)
Royal Television Society Award Nomination for Best Actor (Phil Glenister, 2007)
Royal Television Society Award Nomination for Best Drama Series (2007)