Awake is an American television police procedural fantasy drama that originally aired on NBC for one season from March 1 to May 24, 2012. The pilot episode had an early release on Hulu on February 16, 2012, two weeks before the series' premiere on television. The show's central character is Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs), a detective who works for the Los Angeles Police Department. Kyle Killen, the series' creator, was primarily responsible for the program's concept; although he served as a writer, he avowed that writing episode scripts was difficult. Killen also served as an executive producer (with David Slade) of the pilot episode. Jeffrey Reiner and Howard Gordon then continued producing (with Killen) for Gordon's Teakwood Lane Productions.
Michael lives in two separate realities after a car accident. In one reality (where he wears a red wristband), his wife Hannah (Laura Allen) survives the accident; in the other reality (where he wears a green wristband), his son Rex (Dylan Minnette) survives. Michael does not know which reality is real and uses the wristbands to differentiate between the two. He sees two therapists: Dr. Jonathan Lee (BD Wong) in the "red reality" and Dr. Judith Evans (Cherry Jones) in the "green reality". At work, Michael's erratic behavior triggers clashes with his team; they do not know about Michael's uncanny ability to solve crimes using details from both realities.
Awake averaged 4.8 million viewers per episode, ranking 125th in viewership for the 2011–12 season. A critical success, Awake's cast was praised, particularly Isaacs' performance as Michael. On May 11, after 11 of the 13 produced episodes had aired, the show was canceled due to low ratings, although NBC aired the remaining episodes in the series' original time slot. Fans of the show created a "Save Awake" campaign to convince networks to revive the show, which was unsuccessful. Awake was one of eight honorees for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Most Exciting New Series.
Michael Britten, a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), and his family are involved in a car accident. After the crash, Michael is confronted with two separate realities. His wife Hannah has (apparently) survived the accident; however, in a second "reality", his son Rex survives instead. To distinguish the two realities for the viewer, Michael wears a red wristband in the first reality and a green one in the second. Michael does not know which "reality" is real; he has therapy sessions with Dr. Jonathan Lee in the "red reality" and Dr. Judith Evans in the "green", both of whom attempt to diagnose what is happening to Michael. Each therapist sees it as a coping mechanism, insisting that the other reality is a dream. Dr. Lee is confrontational about the accident, while Dr. Evans is more nurturing. In the "red reality" Hannah plans to move to Portland, Oregon, but later decides against it (partly due to Michael's objections).
Before the crash Michael worked with his long-time partner, Detective Isaiah Freeman (known to his LAPD team as "Bird)". After the accident, Michael is assigned to Detective Efrem Vega in the "red reality." Vega was previously an officer, when Bird was transferred to the western division to work with Detective Ed Hawkins. In the "green reality," Michael stays with Bird and Efrem remains an officer. While working on cases in both realities, Michael begins to realize that the details of one case can help him with another case in the other reality. Due to this, he often clashes with his partners (who are unaware of this). Rex and Hannah grieve each other's death after the accident, coping in different ways: In the "red reality" Hannah begins to redecorate the house, while in the "green reality" Rex begins to play tennis with Hannah's former partner Tara. In "Turtles All the Way Down", in a dream Michael sees Hannah at a restaurant. He was "dreaming while he was dreaming", and Hannah told Michael to give her "one last kiss goodbye". This causes Dr. Evans to note that Michael realizes the "green reality" is life. However, soon afterwards Michael sees Rex and Hannah together and is happy.
Details surrounding the accident are slowly revealed as the series progresses. Shortly after the crash, Michael's commanding officers (Tricia Harper and Carl Kessel) meet to talk about the accident and how they set up a "short" guy. Later a microphone at Ricky's Tacos speaks to Michael, claiming that if he moved to Portland he would "never know the truth". Michael slowly begins to remember what happened in the accident; after realizing that Ed caused it, he speaks with Dr. Evans and Dr. Lee. His therapists insist that he is imagining it all to help cope with the pain. However, when Michael later breaks into Ed's house Ed admits that he and an accomplice were hiding heroin at the Westfield Distribution Center; "they decided he had to go", after Michael began to uncover it. Michael does not know who "they" are, demanding that Ed tell him. Ed asks for protection before telling him, and attacks Michael when he is distracted. During the struggle Michael kills Ed, and Bird comes into the house after speaking to Dr. Evans. Michael later discovers that Carl and Tricia are involved in the setup. Tricia shoots Carl in the "green reality" (in an attempt to hide her involvement in the accident), but is later imprisoned. At the end of the series finale ("Turtles All the Way Down"), Michael sees Hannah and Rex together. Concerned about his odd behavior, they ask if he is all right. Michael replies, "I'm perfect," and closes his eyes.