Review: 'Breakout Kings'

A&E’s new scripted series Breakout
looks to break from the mold of traditional
crime drama by featuring a unique and
eclectic group of crime fighters tracking down
escaped convicts.
The series, from Prison Break producers Matt
Olmstead and Nick Santora, stars Laz Alonso
(Southland, Avatar) and Domenick Lombardozzi
(The Wire) as U.S. marshals Charlie Duchamp
and Ray Zancanelli, who head up a team of
convicts pulled from jail to track down and capture
prison escapees. Former escaped convicts
themselves, the crew — which includes a brilliant
psychiatrist-turned-gambler (Jimmi Simpson),
a gang-banging entrepreneur (Malcolm
Goodwin) and an alluring con artist (Serinda
Swan) — teams with the marshals to obtain a
transfer from a minimum-security prison and
to get their sentences reduced by one month
for each
they help

The pilot
is fastpaced
as the
team is
hastily put
to try to
track down
an escaped convict looking to find a large sum
of money he stole with a couple of childhood
friends years ago.

Duchamp, a career desk jockey, has to
quickly assume control of the ragtag group of
cons while reining in the renegade Zancanelli.
Each character’s back story is nicely woven
into the action of the chase to find the convict,
and the series does a good job portraying the
team members’ internal struggle to track down
prison escapees while not giving into the temptation
to go on the lam themselves.

While the premise of convicts chasing convicts
is nothing new, the strength of the characters
and the surprising twists and turns
of the episode plotlines will allow viewers to
look past the unusual series premise. A&E’s
BreakoutKings is a smart, interesting series
that should capture the attention of cable

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.