A little over a week ago A&E’s hit series Breakout Kings shocked it’s fans by killing off one of it’s main characters in a violent shooting at the end of the season premiere. I’m still a little slack jawed just thinking about it. I called co-creator Nick Santora for his first interview after that major death and to talk about the implications it will have on the rest of the season.
Now, if you aren’t caught up with the first two episodes of Season 2 of Breakout Kings, fair warning. This interview is about a MAJOR death so stop reading and go Hulu the episodes. Right now. Off you go. I’ll wait. Okay, the rest of you…. who else was completely shocked when at the end of the episode not only did the fugitive of the week, Damon Fontleroy (the fantastic Jason Behr) get away, but he also shot and killed team leader Charlie Duchamp (Laz Alonso)? So, of course, the first thing I asked was:
Major Breakout Kings spoilers below.
Melissa Miller: Charlie died. Why? Whyyyy? What happened??
Nick Santora: Charlie’s death was definitely an emotional ride for not only the fans, but the entire creative team for Breakout Kings. The A&E network is phenomenal at promoting shows. You just have to see what they see do with the trailers for Breakout Kings. And the posters, and the bus ads and the “Catch a Con” contest from last year. They are, for lack of a better term, phenomenal carnival barkers. They know how to get people to watch shows. And they felt that the beginning of season 2 needed a really strong promotional event. Something shocking. Something that would get people talking about the show. And they determined that the death of a very popular character in a very violent manner would fulfill that need. No one wanted Charlie to be killed off because Laz Alonso asked to be off the show or had done anything wrong or had done anything like that. I’ve seen those rumors online and they’ve gotten me angry. Because Laz is the greatest guy you’d ever want to work with. He’s a movie star, he’s a super talent and a complete gentleman. A&E loved him. The studio loved him. And all the creatives on the show, the creative executives loved him. The truth is Laz Alonso was a victim of his own success because A&E felt that killing off a really popular character in that manner would really get the buzz oing about the show in the sense that people would say “Holy cow. This show pulls no punches. Anything can happen at any time.” But, if the creatives on the show had their druthers, we would be writing for Charlie Duchamp and the great talent that is Laz Alonso forever.
MM: If only…
NS: But sometimes these things happen…
MM: It was a shocker!
NS: It was. Sometimes these things happen and characters die. And the result has been a season 2 that we’re all incredibly proud of in the sense that we took Charlie’s death and made it into a rallying cry for the Breakout Kings for the whole season. The man who killed Charlie Duchamp is not just going to ride off into the sunset. He will re-intersect with the Breakout Kings. They will never stop obsessing over him. He will never stop affecting their lives. And, frankly, he will never stop screwing with them. He is a twisted, sick man who has it out for Lloyd Lowery and Damian still wants his pound of flesh. So the storyline continues throughout the season and culminates in the last two episodes of season 2 which I feel are two of the best episodes of TV that I’ve ever been involved in.
So there you have it…. I’ve been seeing on Twitter a lot of back and forth like Santora mentioned about why Charlie was killed – was it Laz wanting out? Was it the studio or Santora or co-creator Matt Olmstead hating him? No. It’s just a creative decision on the part of the network. And while it sucks because, man, I miss Charlie, like Santora said, it has brought a new creative vigor to the season, which I could already see starting to build in the second episode. And who is excited to see more Jason Behr? I mean sure, he is playing a psychopath, but isn’t he sooo pretty?? And talented. And Santora says that Behr is one of the nicest guys out there. I love hearing these things about actors I enjoy.
And speaking of pretty people, let’s talk about some of the rest of the Breakout Kings that are left and what is coming up for them this season. As sad as Charlie’s death was, it did set up a very interesting dynamic for the season as each of the characters deals with it. My first question was about Lloyd (Jimmi Simpson), my favorite of the kings.
MM: Will [Charlie’s death] continue to eat at Lloyd throughout the season?
NS: Yes, throughout the season Lloyd is going to carry this emotional burden that Charlie’s death is his fault. If he had done his job, Lloyd believes if he had done his job, Damien would have been drugged to a stupor in a criminal medical facility and never been let out. But he didn’t convince the powers that be in the court system that that was necessary. Lloyd will carry the weight of Charlie’s death throughout the season and it will affect Lloyd in ways… You will see Lloyd be driven to points you never thought someone of his intellect and education could reach. Lloyd at times will become borderline feral in his quest for righting a wrong.
MM: I’m excited for Jimmi Simpson. I love him – he’s fantastic.
NS: This was a great season for Jimmi. We really wrote a lot to his character. We have an amazing Lloyd/Julianne storyline.
MM: Oh good! I love those two. Julianne in the first episode was all out of whack. Is that part of their story? Because she was definitely off.
NS: Yes. Julianne gets a little, quote unquote, off, this season. And we find out why. We find out the genesis of why Julianne is the way she is. And it’s not pretty. And Lloyd really tries to help her because she is getting to the point where she might lose her job. And in process of helping her, he falls in love with her. And he might even tell her that, I don’t know.
Awwww…. Julianne and Lloyd forever! Side note: Why is it on any given show, no matter what kind of show it is, I automatically gravitate toward the possibly romantic story line? I may need to seek therapy of some kind. Anywhoooo…. speaking of love interests I asked Santora what was up with Pete Gilles (Ian Bohen) and Erica. I’d recently seen Bohen on the MTV series Teen Wolf where he played a not so nice character, so naturally, I’m suspicious. Here’s what Santora had to say about this new mysterious man.
NS: It’s funny. Everyone is all over the map and there are some really good theories. Some people have said that he’s there to set [Erica] up for something. Some people feel like he might be involved with the guys that [Erica] killed to avenge her father. Some people feel he’s just a hunk of man meat down on the second floor that [Erica] wants to get a piece of. There’s a million theories, but the only way anyone is going to find out the right one is to watch every week.
What a tease. It’s like he does this for a living or something. But we both agreed that the story arc is great for both the character of Erica Reed and the actress who plays her, Serinda Swan. It gives her a chance to be a girl. Erica is kick ass, but she is also a woman and she is a mother and it is nice to see her display a little bit more of that side. But even when she is being girly – she is still a BAMF. She also continues her more expanded role in the group that Ray gave her in this week’s episode. Santora says it is because Ray (Domenick Lombardozzi) knows that because Erica has a kid, she has the most to lose and is probably the most trust worthy.
Being a huge Prison Break fan, I had to ask if there were any familiar faces coming up this season. So here’s a little scoop for you – Camille Guaty (Maricruz on Prison Break) will be on this season, but not as her former character. But never fear PB fans, you will get a glimpse of one of your favorite characters at one point this season. And that’s all I have to say about that. (I can tease things too!)
So that’s the scoop on Breakout Kings. But one more thing…. if you love Nick Santora’s shows and his writing for them (and why wouldn’t you?) go pre-order his book, Fifteen Digits. Right now. It comes out April 24, but there are all the links to order it on Santora’s website, www.nicksantora.com. His first book, Slip & Fall (which you can also buy from the normal book outlets, like Amazon and Barnes & Noble), was great and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one. It’s like his shows, but you know, you have to read. Yay reading! I’m an English Lit major!
Be sure to check out Breakout Kings every Sunday night on A&E at 10pm!
Photo Credit: AMC, Amazon
Written by Melissa Miller. Find her on Twitter @serrae