After an accident in 2006, Sam (John Simm, “Doctor Who”) finds himself a Manchester police detective in 1973, his modern sensibilities often putting him in conflict with his boss, the brash detective chief inspector Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister).
In the first series, Sam’s time displacement was his primary concern. By the second series, Sam has become more at home in 1973, and while he has conflicts with Hunt and with brutish co-worker Ray Carling (Dean Andrews), the police officers of 1973 have grown to give Sam a grudging respect. (Of course, they don’t know he’s from the future — his often unusual ways are believed to be a by-product of his being a transfer from Hyde.)
Annie Cartwright (Liz White) becomes the first female detective inspector in Manchester in series 2, and is a key contributor to solving cases. Her willingness to listen to Sam and her ability to handle the often-churlish attitudes of the precinct are among her best qualities.
Whether Sam is truly in 1973, or in a delusion caused by his coma, is played close to the vest by series creators Matthew Graham, Tony Jordan and Ashley Pharoah, making viewers wait until the very end for a resolution. Overall, “Life on Mars” Series 2 is an excellent conclusion to a top-notch series.
Extras include a 45-minute documentary, “The Return of Life on Mars;” a 30-minute reflection on the last episode, “The End of Life on Mars,” behind-the-scenes footage and a tour of the sets.
— Matthew Price