Breakout Kings Review: Series Premiere

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It takes a con to catch a con. That’s the premise of Breakout Kings, as it’s filled with characters looking for a second chance.

Coming from the producers of Prison Break, I was expecting more seriousness from this A&E series. Delightfully, what I found in the pilot episode was a procedural that laced its story with quick dialogue and edgy humor. 

Breakout Kings Pilot Pic

In a nutshell, the U.S. Marshals offer a deal to some of their most difficult to catch fugitives. If they help them catch fugitives on the run, they will get moved to a minimum security prison and get one month knocked off their time for each criminal caught. If they try to escape or step out of line, they’re sentences get doubled.

We learn more about the characters’ personalities than their crimes here. Dr. Lloyd Lowery is the creepiest con of the bunch. He has the least physical prowess but can analyze his fellow cons and other criminals in a way that reminds me of Patrick Jane in The Mentalist. Still he is far more disturbing. He’s a former child prodigy, behaviorist, professor, a gambler with Mommy issues, and is doing 25 years behind bars. We aren’t told what he did to deserve that sentence and I look forward to finding out the rest of his story.

Shea comes across as the smart, charming bad boy of this group. He's the street smarts to Lowery's book smarts. Although I liked Philly, the former Miss Idaho con artist, it looks like she’s only around for the pilot; a new female con takes her place next week.

The two Marshals also left me with lots of questions. Charlie’s a former Marine and specializes in Criminal Program Analysis. He’s been behind a desk for years and although we aren’t told why, we see him taking mystery pills in the bathroom. Charlie is the by-the-book guy and makes it very clear he’s the man in charge.

Ray is a bit of a mystery. He’s definitely the bend-the-rules type and this entire rag tag team was his brainchild. But at the end of the episode, we find out he’s living in a halfway house and he was busted for taking money from a perp to buy his daughter a car. Can you still work in law enforcement if you’ve committed a crime? I’m a little fuzzy on Ray’s status and I hope they clear that up in the coming weeks.

Overall, the Breakout Kings pilot did what it needed to do. It gave me an interesting story with intriguing characters. This fun, fast-paced hour left me wanting to know more and I’ll definitely tune back in next week.


Editor Rating: 3.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (53 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.


Good action and dialog,need more Serinda Swan. Surely they can chase a bad guy to a nice hotel pool and give us a gratuitous bikini scene? Also, let's have her barefoot in shorts or something casual yet sexy, instead of dull prison garb. Have the bad guys grab her and tie her up. Let's face it, she's the eye candy for men watching, ramp up her character's participation other than having daddy issues and showing disdain for Jimmi Simpson's charachter. Otherwise good show.


tight movie but the boring thing is non of the conv was hard to track compared to how we kno these convicts


I was a little confused about Ray at the end too. If he's not a cop any longer then why is he allowed to use a gun while working on the case? Other than that I liked the show. It was fun and had some great characters. I kind of liked Philly but we'll see what the new girl brings. I'll be back next week to watch again.


I'm a sucker for a good Con working with the police thing. I'm a fan of Leverage and White Collar for that very reason. I was interested in the premise of the show but hesitant about it being a write off of Leverage. I was thankfully wrong. They did a spectacular job of introducing the characters. They did just enough to give us the vibes that we kinda "know" the characters but not enough to make the characters any less enigmatic. It worked. While it was easy to try and compare each character with another version on some other crime show...Dr.Lowery being a cross between Patrick Jane from The Mentalist and Dr.Reid from Criminal Minds....the characters still seemed to come off as fresh. The dialogue was risque and edgy enough to be interesting w/o going overboard or trying to come across as "cool". It was a great balance with humor and drama...which is what makes for the best crime shows imo (Castle,NCIS,Criminal Minds, The Mentalist). It was fun, and I'm looking forward to watching more and learning about these rather interesting characters! Dr.Lowery is a standout character, as is Shea. Ray and Charlie will be the perfect partners to balance one another out and get the job done. Philly wasn't remotely interesting and not an impressive Grifter imo. I'm curious as to what the new girl will be like, they've nailed the other characters so hope they'll do the same with her. I was surprised that Ray was pretty much a criminal like the others. I wonder what will come of their overall vibe if the others figure that out and he loses his authority over them. It seems like they are all in the same boat, as there has to be a reason for Charlie riding the desk. I don't believe Ray is still a cop but they are giving him a lot of leeway.


I don't think Ray works in law enforcement any more...I think he is just another con working on the team. This seemed like it was his brainchild when he was a cop but now he is one of the ones working to get his sentenced reduced, highlighted when Charlie tells him cons don't get weapons at the end when he dropped him off. I just don't think they are telling the other cons that the cop that busted them is also a con.


Looks like an attempt to copy's TNT Leverage. We'll see how this show fares.

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Breakout Kings Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Lowery: Acute emotional deregulation, elevated rage distortion, no..
Charlie: So, Tilman is dangerous. OK. That's some insight.

Ray: And necessity being the mother of all evil...
Charlie: Invention.
Ray: Whatever.