Lisa Ling Has Witnessed Just About Everything, But This Experience Tops All

By A.J. Katz 

CNN’s original series, This Is Life with Lisa Ling, returns for its third season Sunday for an eight-episode run. The docuseries features Ling traveling across America and immersing herself in communities that are “unusual, extraordinary and sometimes dangerous.” Ling, who hosts and executive produces the series, explores new locales this season, including the L.A. County Jail (which is America’s largest), legalized prostitution in Nevada, and inner city Chicago to study the heroin epidemic. But how else does season 3 stand out from the rest?

“Last season was very action-packed and adventurous, and this season is more provocative and issue-oriented,” Ling told TVNewser. “I believe that each episode will ignite an important conversation, and that is something that I am particularly proud of.”

Given recent police shooting in Charlotte and Tulsa, Ling feels the “Wired Philly” episode may be the most relevant of the season. In it she embeds with the Philadelphia Police Department to learn how new technologies are changing law enforcement. “The Philly PD is also no stranger to violence and guns. It is a police department that has implemented a number of things that seem to be working, and have really reduced officer-involved shootings pretty dramatically,” said Ling. “We are in the midst of a very tense and angry environment and understandably so, and I hope police departments from across the country take a page out of what they’re trying to accomplish in Philly.”


What is the craziest event Ling has witnessed over the three seasons of This is Life? It was actually during an episode from this season and it focuses on rape. “We actually watched a young woman have to give her daughter up to the man who raped her for an unsupervised parental visit,” said Ling. “If a child is born out of a rape in most states of this country, the rapist often gets parental rights to that child. It’s shocking.”

What does Ling want the viewer to take away from each episode of this powerful season? “I want each viewer to come into the episode with an open mind because we often tackle subcultures and issues that people have a very strong opinion about,” said Ling. “I hope that people watch, and be prepared to think a little bit differently after the episode.”