Last season A&E finally broke into the scripted television game with their hit series, Breakout Kings, from creators Nick Santora and Matt Olmstead (who previously worked together on Fox’s Prison Break). Season 2 started last week, but in case you are new to the show, let me break down what’s been happening on the series and highlighting what can be found on the Season 1 DVD.
The show follows a group called, you guessed it, the Breakout Kings. They are made up of a group of people that, frankly shouldn’t work well together – Federal Marshalls and current convicts who work in this group to get months off their sentence and stay out of maximum security prison. But somehow they create the perfect team to go out and hunt down escaped fugitives.
Here’s the team:
Charlie Duchamp (Laz Alonso): The leader of this team, a Federal Marshall, was recently put on desk duty due to a heart condition. But when someone was needed to babysit this group, he volunteered. He’s proud papa to this task force, but trying to reign in this group can be more difficult that he imagined.
Ray Zancanelli (Domenick Lombardozzi): Ray’s also a Federal Marshall but (spoiler alert), he is currently on parole and living in a half-way house. This group was his idea and helping Charlie run this group is his way back into the good graces of the Feds. He helps Charlie put together the crew.
Julianne Simms (Brooke Nevin): Julianne is Ray’s first member of the group, but unlike the rest, she is not a fugitive. She too worked with the Marshall’s, but she suffers from a social anxiety disorder and has a hard time leaving her home or office. She is essentially their “finder” and can use the computer to help hunt down the fugitives.
Lloyd Lowery (Jimmi Simpson): Lloyd is the first of the fugitives. He is a genius who graduated med school by 20 and was working as a psychiatrist before he was convicted of a crime that landed him 25 years in jail. He contribution to the team: his 210 IQ and ability to profile the fugitives.
Shea Daniels (Malcolm Goodwin): Shea was the head of a large conglomerate of gangs on the eastern seaboard before being caught and sent to prison. He brings his street smarts and business sense to the crew and helps the team figure out how a fugitive would get around once he makes it on the outside.
Erica Reed (Serinda Swan): Erica’s father, a bounty hunter, was killed by five men, who Erica then hunted down and killed, which is what landed her in prison. She is part of the crew because she has a daughter who she is trying to get back to, but her quick temper can often get her in trouble. Her addition to the team is her ability to track criminals using the skills her father taught her.
Over the course of the first season we get to know each of these six characters and their complex personalities. It is fascinating to watch them learn from each other and how to deal with each other. The relationships grow quickly and in unexpected ways and each “criminal of the week” offers new challenges for the crew. In the first 13 episode season I will admit I feel more than a little bit in love with each of them for different reasons. I recommend checking it out and catching up before we get much further into season 2 (you can catch up with those episodes on Hulu, Amazon Instant and iTunes. Thanks technology!).
Breakout Kings season 1 DVD Special Features
As with any good DVD, Breakout Kings Season 1 DVD comes with some special features including audio commentary on several of the episodes and a couple minutes of deleted scenes. I love audio commentaries, so I was happy to have them on a few. The deleted scenes didn’t offer much insight on the episodes, but Jimmi Simpson was very funny in a couples, so watch those. But let’s get to the featurettes—
Good Cons, Bad Cons
This 10 minute featurette takes a look at the basic concept of the show via interviews with the primary cast members, as well as some of the creators and producers. As the title suggests, it talks about the different cons on the show. The “good cons” are those on the team, the “bad cons” are the ones they are trying to chase. Of course, there is a fine line between the two as letting the good cons out to chase the bad cons can provide temptation for them to run themselves. It is a good breakdown of the show and the characters and fun if you enjoy exploring their quirks and the relationships on the show. There isn’t a lot of insight, but it is nice to see some of the actors’s opinions on the people they play.
Hosted by Brooke Nevins, this short feature is a look at the so-called “bullpen” where the group meets and discusses the fugitive of the week. Again, you don’t learn too much. But, Nevins is ridiculously adorable and totally worth the few minutes even if you learn absolutely nothing new. Except maybe what a c-stand is.
T-Bag: Dealt a Bad Hand
As I mentioned, the creators of this show also worked on Prison Break which was where the character, Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell (the incomparable Robert Knepper) first graced our screens and creeped us out. So when the chance came to bring T-Bag back as a fugitive on this show, of course they jumped on it. If I was going to choose one thing that helped Breakout Kings, ahem, break out last season it would be bringing this character back. He is legendary.
The featurette is a background on the character and discusses how Santora and Olmstead felt about bringing him back and how the actors felt about working with this familiar face. The episode itself was fantastic. It finally gave some insight into a character that for years was a mystery. As a fan of Prison Break, I found the episode to be just what I was looking for in the way of some closure for T-Bag. And as a fan of Breakout Kings it was a way to show these guys were going to be facing some extreme challenges. As far as the feature – Knepper is as fascinating a man as T-Bag himself, although decidedly less frightening, and it was wonderful to see just how much this episode meant for him, personally. Of all the features, this was by far my favorite.
While the features are few, I still recommend the DVD. The series is a lot of fun, and I think it would benefit from a rewatch.
As for the currently airing season 2, well, SPOILER: A King Falls in episode one. I’ll be talking to Nick Santora this week about the huge events that happened in the Season 2 premiere as well as getting an address where I can send my therapy bill. Because I’m traumatized.
Be sure to check out Season 2 of Breakout Kings Sunday nights at 10pm on A&E. Season 1 can be found on DVD wherever DVDs are sold.
DVD provided by Fox Entertainment.
Written by Melissa Miller. Find her on Twitter @serrae