Genre Action Crime Thriller
Country of origin United States
First episode date 6 March 2011
Network A&E Network
Composer(s) Ramin Djawadi
Original language(s) English
Final episode date 29 April 2012
|Created by Nick Santora
Starring Laz Alonso Domenick Lombardozzi Brooke Nevin Malcolm Goodwin Serinda Swan Jimmi Simpson
Cast Serinda Swan, Jimmi Simpson, Brooke Nevin, Domenick Lombardozzi, Laz Alonso
Breakout Kings is an American drama television series that aired on the A&E network. It is a production of Fox 21. The series was created, written, and executive-produced by Nick Santora and Matt Olmstead, who previously worked together on Prison Break. Peter Chernin, Katherine Pope, and Gavin Hood also served as executive producers. The series premiered on March 6, 2011, and was the most-watched original drama series in A&E’s history among adults 25–54 and adults 18–49, delivering 1.6 million adults 25–54 and 1.5 million adults 18–49.
- Breakout kings trailer official
- The team
- The fugitives
- Development and production
- Critical response
- Broadcast history
The series follows a task force assembled by the U.S. Marshals to capture prison escapees. Several current convicts are offered a chance to aid in this effort, with the promise of a transfer to a minimum-security prison and a reduction in their sentences for every fugitive they catch. However, if any of them tries to escape, they will all be returned to their original prisons and their sentences will be doubled.
The series was picked up for a second season which premiered on March 4, 2012. The second season finale aired on April 29, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET/PT and featured two back-to-back episodes, "Freakshow" and "Served Cold", instead of the usual one-hour installment at 10 p.m.
A&E canceled Breakout Kings on May 17, 2012, after two seasons.
Breakout kings trailer official
Development and production
Breakout Kings was originally in development for the Fox network. Matt Olmstead and Nick Santora wrote the pilot, after receiving a script commitment from Fox in August 2009. In January 2010, Fox greenlit a pilot episode. On May 12, 2010, it was announced that Fox did not pick up the series for the 2010–11 television season. Fox attempted to sell Breakout Kings to other networks, and in June 2010, it was reported that A&E had picked up the drama for 13 episodes.
Production was expected to begin in fall 2010 in Toronto for a 2011 premiere. Robert Knepper appeared as his Prison Break character T-Bag in episode 3 of season one. The other characters from Prison Break are also mentioned as "the Fox River 8" in that episode.
The show received mixed reviews. The Daily News's David Hinckley opened, "This is what cable dramas can do well: a simple, stripped-down, focused drama with characters we like." Jonathan Storm of Philadelphia Inquirer wrote, "Breakout Kings, an exciting crime drama that adds to its appeal with some character types we don't often see, will attract a much wider audience, as our flawed heroes seek to round up escapees." Mary McNamara of Los Angeles Times opined that "Breakout Kings" starts out with a promising blend of character and plot, action and dialogue, sweet and savory. Maureen Ryan of Huffington Post opined that it isn't a particularly creative drama but, as was the case with Prison Break in its early seasons, 'Breakout Kings' is sustained by a workmanlike momentum. It has its share of clunky characters and predictable moments, but it also has a lot of earnest energy. It's enlivened by a terrific performance from Jimmi Simpson, who plays Lloyd Lowery, the show's all-purpose weirdo.
Rob Owen of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote, "There are no television breakthroughs in "Breakout Kings," a pretty pat procedural that tries a little harder than some of its predecessors. It has all the hallmarks of one of those shows that nobody talks about but plenty of people watch." Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter opined,"Kings is mostly closed-ended with snippets of each con's past revealed in the episodes, so there's enough interest to keep the show moving. The leads' backstories might have some meat on the bone as well.It's not The Wire or The Shield but falls comfortably within that basic-cable safe zone where a little edge and bountiful entertainment pass the time just fine." Kregg Janke of Breitbart.com opined that
On the contrary, Hank Stuever of The Washington Post opined,"It doesn't work. There's a bit of banter well-delivered and some artful action, yet "Breakout Kings" lacks a certain vim and chemistry required for a real breakout series. It's all very quick but rather flavorless. They'll catch the escapee, no doubt, but they can't catch us." Robert Bianco of USA Today opined,"Breakout Kings is an uninspiring attempt by the producers and their network to be the last on the procedural match. It's stamped with many of the Prison hallmarks: the same affection for intricate plot mechanics, the same flair for the dramatic—and the same disdain for logic and character motivation." Variety's Brian Lowry wrote,"The premise doesn't really make much sense.It's a tough, competitive cable world out there, and as the cons might testify, coming away with a big score requires risks. By that measure, "Breakout Kings" doesn't do enough to stand apart, diminishing its chances of breaking out." Brian Ford Sullivan from The Futon Critic reviewed Breakout Kings in June 2010. The review called the show a "violent version of Leverage" with colorful characters and a great performance by Jimmi Simpson as Dr. Lloyd Lowery, but with some inconsistencies like the character of Brooke Nevin and a bunch of ideas that don't quite fit. To garner more publicity, the network screened the show for a number of reviewers in the weeks prior to official airing. One such review came out on SpoilerTV (February 22, 2011) and echoed Sullivan's initial problems with characterization and writing. Indications were that Breakout Kings seems to suffer from rough writing in the pilot, but there was slight improvement in a subsequent episode. However, the overall impression was that the flaws of the show may handicap its success. Echoing these issues, FlickDirect's review points out that character background or explanation is lacking in many cases.
The series premiered on March 6, 2011. It premiered as the most-watched original drama series in A&E’s history among Adults 25–54 and Adults 18–49,delivering 1.6 million adults 25–54 and 1.5 million adults 18–49. The series was picked up for a second season of 10 episodes on July 6, 2011 which premiered on March 4, 2012. The season finale of the second season aired on April 29, 2012 at 9 pm ET/PT featured two hours of back-to-back episodes "Freakshow" and "Served Cold" instead of the usual one-hour episode at 10 pm. One of the executive producer and creator Nick Santora once opined, "Our DVR+7-day numbers are really strong. A lot of people are watching the show; a lot of them just don't watch it on the night it premieres."