Production has begun in New York on “Life on Mars,” ABC’s new drama series to premiere Thursday, October 9 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), after the hit drama “Grey’s Anatomy.”
NYPD Detective Sam Tyler (Jason O’Mara) finds himself in 1973 in the cultural hotbed of New York City during the tumultuous times of the Vietnam War, Watergate, women’s lib and the civil and gay rights movements without a cell phone, computer, PDA or MP3 player — suddenly hurtled back in time when he’s ripped from 2008 after being hit by a car while chasing down a criminal. He’s trying mightily to understand what has just happened to him and how he can get back “home.”
Sam feels like he is on a different planet. It’s the Wild West out there: uncontrollable criminals, police on the take. Forced to use a different moral code and without hi-tech crime fighting techniques, he clashes with his new boss at the 125th Precinct, the irascible Lieutenant Gene Hunt (Harvey Keitel), who would rather use his fists than his brains to solve a crime. The other squad members of the 1-2-5 include Detective Ray Carling (Michael Imperioli), a big, mean guy in a street-fight with life. Ray may be a rough, tough sexist, but he’s a handy guy to have in your corner. Annie Norris (Gretchen Mol) is a member of the Police Women’s Bureau. At a time when females were only allowed to do menial tasks and not real police work, she’s the smartest person in the room. Struggling to deal with being undermined, under-used and, in general, against the sexism of the times, she dreams of becoming a real cop. She’s also the one person Sam can turn to to help guide him in his new reality. Then there’s rookie Detective Chris Skelton (Jonathan Murphy), a sweet guy trying to make it in this uncompromising world, but out of his league right now with Gene and Ray.
In his 2008 life, Sam was in love with Maya Daniels (Lisa Bonet) and, although Maya and Annie will never meet, Annie’s workplace battles have paved the way for Maya to become a full-fledged cop. A fascinating, unique love triangle evolves between Sam’s “real” in-the-moment friendship with Annie, his longing to get back to Maya and the fantasy of what could be. Just how will Sam deal with all this ambiguity while trying to remain a top detective, as he desperately attempts to get back to 2008? He might just find things aren’t so dissimilar in New York circa 1973 and 2008.
“Life on Mars” stars Jason O’Mara as Sam Tyler, Harvey Keitel as Lieutenant Gene Hunt, Michael Imperioli as Detective Ray Carling, Gretchen Mol as Annie Norris and Jonathan Murphy as Detective Chris Skelton. Lisa Bonet will appear as a recurring guest star as Maya Daniels.
Josh Appelbaum (“Alias,” “October Road”), Andr Nemec (“Alias,” “October Road”) and Scott Rosenberg (“October Road”) are executive producers. “Life on Mars” is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and ABC Studios.