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Breakout Kings

A squad of U.S. marshals team up with ex-cons to work together on tracking down prison escapees.

This is the premise of the drama series on A&E. I saw a few previews and decided to give it a shot. Opening scene is a prisoner counting as he hangs onto the underside of the bunk above him. He finishes at 230, writes it down, and the scene changes. Okay, I am intrigued. The opening sequence goes on to show this particular inmate collecting license plates and eventually making a very clever escape.

After 72 hours, the odds of finding an escaped convict drops to less than 5 percent.

Ray Zancanelli, the arresting officer of this escaped criminal, is put together with Agent Charlie Duchamp, an officer from a department called Criminal Program Analysis. The two of them are put in charge of this new task force, using selected fugitives to help find escaped and dangerous fugitives.
The incentive, all participants are moved to a minimum security prison and for every convict they catch, the justice department will shave time off their sentence, one month per criminal caught.

We are then introduced to our cast of criminals. Shea Daniels, aka the entrepreneur, a suave street business man. Dr. Lloyd Lower, a former child prodigy and behaviorist, with a nasty gambling habit that somehow got him 25 years in jail. Last, but certainly not least, is Philly, literally the beauty queen of con artists.

Pretty cut and dry, straight forward, Cop/Criminal + Criminal= Suspense.

Well, not quite. The glint of hope I found in this program’s trailers was the witty writing. Not just a few lines here or there, it is prevalent throughout. The characters are highly developed in just the pilot, revealing bevels in the road previously unbeknownst to the viewer, adding additional tension even in the end. The biggest being the revelation that the “cop” is also actually a con. Each character has their own “thing” early on, and it is subtly pulled through the end of the story. Overall, an outstanding pilot, putting all the elements in place for a break out hit in line with “The Closer”, “The Shield”, and “Burn Notice”.

However, I am concerned. While I became hooked on the pilot, in researching the series itself it looks as if it has already hit some road blocks. The first being immediate cast changes, namely the exit of the beauty queen con-artist, and the entrance of a new female cast member. Also, looking at the canned episodes, it seems we might lose the cop and the agent within the first five episodes. This information is all via IMDB, so the data could be fractured, but it does cause concern for the viewer who already has a full DVR.
This being the case, we are going to put it to the three episode test. My husband and I will give a new show three chances to hook us in and join the DVR list. The logic being, if you can’t convince us in three, it is not going to be worth our time. There are always exceptions to the rule but they are rare.
I have high hopes for the show as it has huge potential. We shall have to wait and see.

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