‘Breakout Kings’ Pilot Episode Premiere Review

by on March 13, 2011

in Entertainment, tv reviews

Laz Alonso and Domenick Lombardozzi in 'Breakout Kings'I just cranked out DVR’s pilot episode of Breakout Kings and I have to say that A&E has an incredibly entertaining and unique police procedural drama on their hands.  No wonder it cranked out incredible TV ratings.

Breakout Kings is brought to us by Nick Santora & Matt Olmstead.  These two bring a wealth of entertainment with them in their resumes.  Mr. Olmstead has Lie to Me, Prison Break & NYPD Blue in his work history, while Mr. Santora has Lie to Me, Prison Break & Law & Order in his back pocket.  Wow.

In the show we follow some U.S. marshals who “hire” some ex-cons and actively imprisoned cons to help them track down escaped prisoners.  Each con gets a month off their prison sentence with each bad guy they bring to justice.  If they screw up, their sentences get doubled.  Incredible incentive if you ask me.

The pilot episode is slightly similar in tact as most police procedurals, but the marshals have to keep close tabs on their con-partners, or at least feel they need to.  What they don’t realize is that the cons have their own reasons to play it straight and do what they can to make this work.

The team consists of Charlie Duchamp (Laz Alonso, Southland) as the lead U.S. Marshal ultimately in charge of this potential fiasco.  His partner, Ray (Domenick Lombardozzi, The Wire) is the guy who leads with his gun first and is one of the ex-cons, as an ex-cop who only did one thing wrong, ever, in his career and got busted for it.  He lives in a half-way house.

The team in the pilot episode included the behind the scenes analyst, Julianne (Brooke Nevin, The 4400).  She has a bit of a phobia with going outside and dealing with people.  There’s Lloyd (Jimmi Simpson, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), the child prodigy who could lead the BAU in Criminal Minds due to his hugely insightful observational skills.  We also have Shea (Malcolm Goodwin, Leatherheads), the gangbanger who has a sharp entrepreneurial eye, and ex Miss Idaho 2001, Philly (Nicole Steinwedell , The Unit).

Later on, everyone’s favorite, OK, this site’s favorite, Erica (Serinda Swan, Smallville, Tron: Legacy) joins the team.  She’s a bit of a manic murderer who is also an expert tracker.  Eh, we all have our slight flaws.

Aside from Charlie, who seems to have a medical condition we need to worry about, every character could be in their own right, a bad guy in any TV series.

And with the premiere episode, we were treated to a light outline of the con’s  motivations, letting us realize that they need this.  This is good for them.  Now if they can just resist their own nature that could work against them.

I know we didn’t touch much on why our cons are cons, but that’s fine.  Most cheap dramas tend to shove all their character histories into a pilot episode and that’s usually my first clue just how far south a show will go.  But when a series leaves a lot to be learned about their characters while still teasing us with great writing, we know we have future stories to look forward to.

That is a great sign and I look forward to watching this new series from A&E, Breakout Kings, on either Sunday nights or when I crank it up on my DVR system.

Oh, PS!!!  Keep your eye out for T-Bag (Robert Knepper)!  He’ll be showing up in the eighth episode, titled “The Bag Man!”

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