It really bothers me that escaping from prison is so common that they can do a weekly TV series about it. I thought it was really rare when somebody broke out of jail. Well, if there’s going to be a priso break every week, at least they know how to find the escaped convicts.
Deputy Charlie Duchamp (Laz Alonso) assembles a dirty half dozen of convicts to use their powers for good and not evil. Since they know how escaped convicts think, for every convict they catch they each get a month off their sentence. If they try to run, they get a stiffer sentence.
Ray Zancanelli (Domenick Lombardozzi) was a dirty cop. Gunderson is an underground fighter. Philly (Nicole Steinwedell) is a former Miss Idaho and con artist with her feminine wiles. Lloyd Lowery (Jimmi Simpson) is a gambler, socially awkward but an expert in psychology. Shea (Malcolm Goodwin) was a gang banger, but his skill is really the fast talking black guy.
The first criminal is pretty vicious. Tillman (Jason Cerbone) hides under a truck Cape Fear style and beats the driver as soon as they’re clear of the gate. There’s pretty big action in the pilot. Three dudes go through a window. There’s a car chase and som fighting, and since it’s the producers (and director Brett Ratner) of “Prison Break” we can probably count on them to keep the pace every week.
The gang has chemistry right from the pilot. Lowery blackmails Philly to keep her secret when he finds out her real name. Philly sexes up to attract Tillman’s contact for info. Shea names the crew Breakout Kings. Gunderson tries to pull one over on Charlie and that’s when Charlie shows he’s in control of this group. Lowery is actually the major player on the team. His psychological skills turn a fart joke into a lead. He actually gives office assistant Julianne (Brooke Nevin) good therapeutic advice.
I don’t like Ray. He’s supposed to be the counterpoint to Charlie, but Ray is just a gruff curmudgeon. He tough talks Tillman when Tillman has the upper hand, which seems like poor judgment. Charlie even points out he blew a chance to feed Tillman false intel. Now that’s a plan I could get behind. Hothead Ray shoots first and the testosterone cliché is weak. Perhaps the counterpoint illustrates just how smart Charlie is, but I don’t think Charlie needed any help.
Except for Ray, it’s a likeable crew and their caper dialogue is very “Leverage”-esque. It probably won’t require watching every single week if they keep doing a standalone convict each week, but if the plots remain snappy there’d be no reason to miss “Breakout Kings.”