Breakout Kings, while initially developed for FOX landed at A&E, is a show about a group of US Marshalls who use prisoners as a way of catching other prisoners. If you are thinking this sounds like a twisted version of Prison Break you aren’t alone in your thinking. Of course the fact that the show was created by two of the writers/producers of Prison Break, Matt Olmstead and Nick Santora kind of helps push that type of thinking along.
Luckily for Breakout Kings, the premise goes well beyond breaking out of jail, which as we have learned if you are going to base your show on breaking out of a prison it is probably not the best idea to do it all in one season. Hey I’m just saying. Fortunately Breakout Kings is all about catching those who breakout and putting them back in. Let me just say this and that is I really, really hope that breaking out of prison isn’t as easy as they are portraying it to be. Because if it is than I am moving to a place that doesn’t have a major prison within a 100 miles of my house.
Breakout Kings also appears to be about redemption. Not the redemption of those they are chasing but the ones doing the chasing. None of the characters are saints. They are all atoning for some sin they have committed whether it be a normally above board cop who gives in to temptation or a genius with a gambling addiction. Instead of being intrigued by the rag tag group of misfits, I couldn’t help but to wonder why I was supposed to be cheering for them in the first place. The nicest thing I can come up to say about any of the characters is that I don’t hate them, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing either. I say this because I hated Tony Soprano. I mean really hated him. I would watch The Sopranos on HBO just waiting for the moment that Tony would finally get what he had coming to him. When the show finally ended I was one of those people that were pissed because it just faded to black, but that was only because I didn’t get to see Tony gunned down on some deserted street or thrown off a boat or something to that effect. I hated him, but I watched him every Sunday without fail.
These guys I can barely muster an “Eh” feeling. What’s even worse is that as I sit here typing this out I can’t help but to think back to the premiere episode and chuckle at the absurdity of it all. One scene in particular comes to mind and that is when we first meet Shea Daniels, played by Malcolm Goodwin. In this scene you see Shea brokering a deal with another inmate to do more work and give Shea half of the money in which this no-named inmate is going to earn. The whole time this scene played out I couldn’t help but to wonder why in the world was this obviously bigger and scarier guy even contemplating a jacked up deal as the one he was agreeing to with this know nothing guy? There was not one moment during the entire scene that I actually believed Shea had the balls to broker anything let alone an extra $3 dollars a week.
Which of course brings us to the token sex kitten grifter who has the dubious honor of being called Philly. No I am not kidding she really is called Philly. Now they do attempt to make fun of her moniker in the episode but it doesn’t come close to what I pictured every time they said her name and that was a horse. I know, I know that’s mean but I can’t help it, it’s what I thought. Luckily for me Philly only sticks around for the Pilot episode which is a godsend because if she had stuck around longer I would have started to think of Breakout Kings as the horse show and no one wants that.
The problem with the whole episode is that in their apparent rush to establish the group they forgot to establish the characters and in their place we were given caricatures. The show wasn’t all groans Jimmi Simpson who plays the genius gambler (why the hell a gambler was in a maximum security prison is beyond me, but whatever) Lloyd Lowery cracked me up repeatedly and I am almost positive that it was intentional. Plus Domenico Lombardozzi plays a great Vic Mackey, Jr. granted his character’s actual name is Ray Zancanelli but you can tell he is channeling the Vic man. Although I am not holding out much hope they still have a chance to flush the characters out and fill in some holes. Let’s just hope they do it before they get cancelled. My final score is:
Watch it on the internet! Not worth keeping up with but good enough to waste some work time.
Until next time,