For Life – Season 1 Episode 13 (The Finale) Recap & Review

The Last Trial?

It’s been quite the tumultuous ride over the weeks for Aaron Wallace and ABC’s crime drama. The show has had a few flashback episodes that have stifled the momentum but the arrival of wild-card Cassius Dawkins has certainly spiced things up a bit. With still no word over who survived the prison riot (more on that later) and a cliffhanger ending that leaves things wide open for a second season, there’s still plenty of questions left hanging over this one.

We begin the season 1 finale of For Life with Wallace in prison lock-down and finding all of his belongings gone. Given he needs that to prep his case, it certainly poses another problem for him to tackle. At the same time, Glen Maskins tries to stifle the headache of Wallace getting his retrial and is encouraged to speak to Cyrus and obtain the footage of the riot inside the prison.

With Cyrus listening from afar and watching the cameras like a hawk, Wallace tries to gather his witnesses before heading to the courtroom. On the way Safiya manages to stop the bus and tells Wallace he needs to file for a transfer given what’s happened, especially if things turn sour in court.

Wallace is dealt another blow as a new Judge is assigned the case – Reginald Cummings. This man happens to be the same Judge Glen Maskins was getting cozy with at the start of the episode. However, he listens to the details of the case and upon learning that the NYPD did only use one photo, agrees to let Wallace call forth his witnesses to get to the bottom of what really happened.

Unfortunately Maskins makes his move and releases the surveillance of the prison riot to the press. Even worse, he gets to the nurse Wallace was going to use as a witness and she decides against testifying. Things don’t look good for Wallace and to add fuel to the fire, Glen Maskins uses this to gain crucial political points and speaks to a whole group where he condemns Wallace’s behaviour, calling him a hardened criminal.

Back in court, Wallace is told by the Judge to get rid of the two witnesses used to prove racial bias. However, Wallace had come prepared and has an ace up his sleeve – one more witness by the name of Lexie Richarson. For now though, he’s taken back to Belmont where he finds Jamal alive but in a rough way. Because of what happened, he tells Jamal that they’ve filed for a transfer which should go through shortly.

Wallace changes his tactics and speaks to Lexie’s father instead and convinces him to testify to prevent dragging Lexie through this. It’s here her Father mentions how she overdosed and he phoned Maskins to help. He assured them that the men at the club would be dealt with no matter what, going on to admit he’s given donations to Maskins and this constitutes as a breach of power.

Maskins is then called to the stand but before he does, the Judge speaks to him personally in his chambers where Maskins confirms that he went after Wallace to get retribution for Lexie’s overdose. Wallace then chirps up and mentions about the witnesses being quietened and the shady, under-handed things Maskins has been doing.

As things start to flare up, the Judge tells them he’s going to deliberate on what to do and adjourns court for the day. On the way out, Jasmine’s water breaks and she’s taken into hospital where she gives birth 5 weeks early, right on the eve of the election results. Anya loses the election and when she returns home she blames Safiya, admitting she doesn’t know how they can move past this.

In the morning, Wallace receives the Judge’s verdict and learns that he’s getting a re-trial; thanks to Lexie’s father, there’s hope for him yet. With Maskins on the back foot, he visits Wallace in prison and tells him he can make a case for evidence being tampered with.

Now that he’s attorney general, he tells Wallace to drop the retrial in exchange for getting out in 6 months, dropping the charges against Jamal and nothing being held against his family.

It’s a convincing argument for sure but realizing that he’ll still be a felon in the eyes of the law, decides to keep fighting for his freedom and honour, stalling over what to do. If he declines the offer however, his transfer out of Belmont will also be declined. As Maskins walks away, Wallace stares down Cyrus as things are left on a tantalizing cliffhanger.

With an uncertain future ahead for this network crime drama, For Life certainly leaves things hanging with big questions. Given 4 inmates died during the prison riot and Jamal is still alive, albeit in a beat up state nonetheless, just who could have passed away? At a guess, I’d imagine Cassius and Wild Bill are two of the victims but it also seems like a pretty big plot point to leave unanswered.

Safiya’s marriage looks to be on a rocky road now too and even worse, Wallace’s future hangs in the balance with a big decision over what to do going forward. As a first season though. For Life gets off to a really strong start and despite a few wobbles along the way, has a lot going for it if this is renewed.

For now though, For Life bows out on a high and while it may not be the triumphant, heartwarming ending some may be expecting, there’s enough here to make for a decent finale that bows out on a high.

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3 thoughts on “For Life – Season 1 Episode 13 (The Finale) Recap & Review”

  1. The life account of Aaron Wallace is Not uncommon. Many brilliant women and men housed in prisons across the U.S., have taken correspondence courses in law, in order to gain release from over-sentencing or outright frame-ups. Going back to court, after schooling themselves, is risky because they face the same system that incarcerated them in the first place. Bravery, stamina, the knowledge that there is no other way than to struggle for freedom, is what drives people to accomplish the seemingly impossible: justice. This series is Superb! Yes, Continue!
    There are many examples around the world, on how courts can deal with criminal behavior in a logical way.

  2. The black man praising Glen Maskins at the beginning of the episode was Spencer Richardson, the father of Lexi Richardson who was the girl that overdosed on drugs at Aaron’s club, not Judge Reginald Cummings. Motivated by Maskins, the current Attorney General Burke got Judge Gina Sorensen elevated to the appellate court so that Judge Reginald Cummings replaced her for Aaron’s hearing on the motion for a new trial.

    Judge Sorensen had earlier ruled in Aaron’s favour regarding the Brady violation because the prosecution failed in its evidentiary disclosure obligations at Aaron’s original trial. Meanwhile, Judge Cummings had twice been critical of Aaron’s lawyering ruling against him when he was trying to get Hassan Nawaz released because Hassan had been over-charged and his lawyer was ineffective.

    The episode ended with Cassius’ crew and other inmates, released by the warden and having been told that Aaron was a rat, circling Aaron in the exercise yard and perhaps about to beat down or even kill Aaron.

  3. I happened upon this show when it was already 4 episodes in on TV, but I watched it on Hulu. I was hooked after watching the first episode and could hardly wait until the next one aired. I hope they renew this for another season. I think more people need to view it and they’ll be hooked, too. This may be a case where the momentum will finally build and viewing will reach higher marks from the Hulu factor. Was wondering who the actor was who played Judge Reginald Cummings in the finale.

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