Breakout Kings uses criminals who get time off their sentences if they help to capture escaped convicts led by two U.S. Marshals but even the Marshals bring their own baggage to the team.
Film making 21/25
Bonus Features 6/25
I watched the series Breakout Kings back to back over a single day with only a few interruptions and kept asking myself a few questions. What would happen if their involvement in the team helping catch other criminals got out to the general population of the prisoners?
What would happen if a really well connected criminal escaped and found out about the Breakout Kings, would families of the kings be at risk? Well we see all that by the end of the season and Breakout Kings does not disappoint in other ways as well, but first a little introduction.
Breakout Kings is a new series that premiered on the A & E network back in March of 2011 and the DVD has just released with 13 episodes for the first season. The show, like many on cable channels is only being released on DVD and has been created by Nick Santora and Matt Olmstead.
Nick and Matt were both responsible for Prison Break along with other criminal and police drama shows but unlike Prison Break I am giving this one a chance. Breakout Kings has a plot that will no doubt last more than a few seasons without having to twist so badly that a chiropractor is needed.
Breakout Kings is the nickname of a task force created to apprehend high risk prison escapees that include several expert prison escape artists. Two U.S. Marshals head up the team while the rest are criminals who have the opportunity to reduce their sentence by helping to capture fellow criminals.
Breakout Kings stars Laz Alonso as Charlie Duchamp, a deputy U.S. Marshall who is head of the task force that no one is really giving much of a possibility of succeeding. Domenick Lombardozzi plays Ray Zancanelli, the tough cop type who keeps the inmates inline and is the originator of the idea behind the task force.
The three main inmates that help the task force are Jimmi Simpson who plays Dr. Lloyd Lowery, Malcolm Goodwin who plays Sean Daniels and Serinda Swan who plays Erica Reed. The team gets analysis, research and quick updates while in the field from Brooke Nevin who plays Julianne Simms, an ex-student who was expelled from training for U.S Marshals service due to her personality disorders.
The criminals all bring their own specialties to the mix with Sean being the ex-gang leader, Erica was a big bounty hunter and Dr. Lowery a child prodigy with degrees in both medicine and psychology. The task force seems to be given no chances of success by anyone outside the group due to the background of the criminals and the leaders.
Duchamp is the only one on the team who is currently an active member of law enforcement but comes straight from a desk job because of a heart condition. Ray is a former U.S. Marshal who got into trouble when he stole money from a crime scene but has already been to prison and is currently on parole.
The three criminals take a few episodes to meet and adjust to their situation but in the first couple of episodes we have what is the weeding out of some that don’t cut the mustard. They introduce and quickly throw out two characters that join the task force and because of one reason or another are tossed back to jail with double sentences.
The main theme of criminals helping to catch escapees’ works very well and the team does a great job of catching these dastardly felons who are not only fleeing but are killing and rampaging as they do it. By the end of the season the killing has become pretty standard fare and unlike other shows like Leverage and White Collar the violence is not toned down.
Breakout Kings takes some cues from those others shows and even from Prison Break but has a unique style and flavor all its own that does need a little seasoning. As some of the early reviews of the series pointed out the show does need a bit of work with writing but by the end of the season the show has really improved.
A season one cliff hanger does have the team exposed in their once hidden endeavors and fellow inmates will surely know what they have been up to which brings an interesting aspect to season two. A major criminal figure is recaptured but not before the team is forced into the public eye and their families become potential targets.
Video has good color and nice skin tone with some great shots in the outdoors during several of the chase scenes that stood out to me. The DVD is a pretty standard quality but the video looks really good for the most part with only an occasional grain or odd aspect here and there.
Audio for all 13 episodes is in 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound with great use of both bass and surround sound that overall is great. The voice for pretty much all the episodes is clear and there were no glaring problems in any of the episodes for sound.
Bonus content includes audio commentary on some of the episodes, deleted scenes and a few making of features but mostly they just talk quickly about the show and where they film. The first disc has two audio commentaries on the episodes they talk about and that’s it for the commentaries, the rest of the bonus content is on the fourth disc.
The three extras are pretty short and don’t give much insight into the show that much but they do talk a little about the main theme and the set. One of the features is all about the cross show character of T-Bag from Prison Break and his episode here along with the hint of his obvious return in a later episode.
Bonus content is short and to the point but not that great, the series being in the first season seems more of a test the waters and the extras make this point stand out to me. Of course the show will stand or fall on its characters and the Breakout Kings does promise some good acting and is also well written so there are off to a good start.
While not the most rousing endorsement I really cannot wait for season two and I cannot give a better recommendation for a show than I want more of the Breakout Kings.
Breakout Kings Website