Awake stars Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan, The West Wing, Harry Potter) as Detective Michael Britten, a man who is in a car accident with his wife and son. And from there his life takes an interesting twist. He keeps waking up to two different realities, one in which it's his son, Rex (Dylan Minnette, Lost, Saving Grace, Let Me In), who's died, in the other it's his wife, Hannah (Lauren Allen, All My Children, The 4400, Dirt). He has a different partner in each, a different counselor, and he works a different case. Information from one becomes relevant in the other and he has to walk a fine line, using the information while having to (not) explain how he came by it.
First, let me say that you shouldn't have difficulty following which world is which if you pay attention; aside from the different people and cases, there are visual cues, most notably a different color pallet for each reality. It shouldn't take long for you to be able to easily recognize which reality you're in at any given moment.
Now, for the show, itself. Each episode covers four different angles; two different cases, how Hannah is dealing with the loss of their son and Rex's dealing with the loss of his mother, interspersed with Britten's visits to his counselors. None of it is easy, not for Rex, not for Hannah, and certainly not for Britten, who has to help his loved ones deal with a loss he doesn't truly feel. So far he only speaks of this dichotomy to his psychologists, one of whom is fascinated by the way he has come up with a dream world, the other feeling that he is spinning out of control. And in a way he is even as, in another way, the two realities help him keep his own world(s) together. The acting is wonderful, the scripts are great, the characters are deep and realistic, changing as they come to terms with what is happening in their lives, and the cases are interesting. Some of the things Britten does is likely not truly legal, but that is something that's easily overlooked, especially if you're a veteran of police procedurals. Through it all, it remains difficult to tell which of the realities, if either, are real, keeping at least one mystery for the viewer to puzzle over.
Awake airs on NBC Wednesdays at 10, or you can watch online at NBC.com or Hulu.com.