Prison Break Wiki
Prison Break Wiki
PrisonBreak intro.jpg
Opening title for Season 1

Prison Break is an American television series that premiered on the Fox Network on August 29, 2005. The story revolves around a man who was sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit and his brother's elaborate plan to help him escape his death sentence. Created by Paul Scheuring, the show is produced by Adelstein-Parouse Productions in association with Original Television and 20th Century Fox Television. The current executive producers are Paul Scheuring, Matt Olmstead, Dawn Parouse, Marty Adelstein, Neal Moritz and Brett Ratner. Its theme music is composed by Ramin Djawadi, and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in 2006.

The serialized story structure of Prison Break is attributed to the format of storytelling adapted by the writers aswelw

each episode covers a part of the escape plan, a similar format used by Lost and 24. The first season of Prison Break was primarily filmed at Joliet Prison, which also contributed to the uniqueness of the show. Its success and recognition as a prison drama also revived interest in the genre.

Opening title for season 2
Opening Title for Season 3
Season 4.jpg
Opening Title for Season 4


The origins of Prison Break began as a concept (a man deliberately getting himself sent to prison in order to help someone else escape) that was suggested to Paul Scheuring by producer Dawn Parouse, who had wanted to produce an action oriented series. Although Scheuring thought it was a good idea, he was initially stumped as to why someone would embark on such a mission or how he could develop it into a viable television show. He later came up with the story of the wrongfully accused brother and the conspiracy subplot. He then began working on the plot outline and devising the characters. In 2003, he pitched the idea to the Fox Broadcasting Company, but was turned down as Fox felt somewhat nervous about the long-term possibilities of such a series. He subsequently showed the concept to other channels with no luck. Scheuring and his fellow producers later remarked that many had thought that the story would be more suited for a film project than a television series. The show was later considered as a possible 14-part miniseries, which drew the interest of Steven Spielberg before his departure due to his involvement with War of the Worlds. Thus, the miniseries never materialized. Following the huge popularity of serialized prime time television series such as Lost and 24, the Fox Network had a change of heart and backed the production in 2004.

On October 24, 2006, it was reported by the Associated Press that Donald and Robert Hughes filed a lawsuit against Fox Broadcasting Company and the show's executive producer and creator, Paul Scheuring, for copyright infringement, seeking unspecified damages and other costs. They claimed that in 2001, they had sent Fox their manuscript which was based on their own experiences of a prison break at a juvenile facility. In the 1960s, Donald Hughes planned and successfully executed a prison escape for his brother, Robert Hughes, who was wrongfully incarcerated. On March 27, 2007, a third season was announced.


Season 1

  • Break In. Break Out. Save Your Brother's Life.
  • Escape is just the beginning.
  • Most men would do anything to get out of prison... But Michael Scofield would do anything he can to get in.
  • Your brother is innocent, but you are not.
  • He ain't heavy, he's my wrongly accused brother.
The main plot for Season 1 is breaking out
Premiered on August 29, 2005 in the United States and Canada, the first season featured a total of 22 episodes. Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell) is accused of the murder of Terrence Steadman, who is the brother of the female Vice President of the United States. With strong evidence supporting the charges of first degree murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm against him, Lincoln is sentenced to death and is sent to the Fox River State Penitentiary to await his execution. Lincoln's brother, Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller), is convinced of Lincoln's innocence and hatches an escape plan. After installing himself at Fox River, time works against Michael as he must overcome various obstacles and make the right connections among the inmates and prison staff to be successful in breaking out his brother. The actors who were cast as the protagonists Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows were the last to join the main cast. Miller was chosen six days before the start of production and Purcell was cast three days later. The protagonists are aided by Veronica Donovan (Robin Tunney), who begins to investigate the conspiracy that put Lincoln in jail. However, they are hindered by covert agents, who belong to an organization known as "The Company".

Season 2

  • Breaking out was easy, getting away will be hard.
  • Escaping prison was just the beginning, escaping the country is now the priority.
  • The Most Wanted Men in America
  • Stay Out. Stay Free. Stay Alive.
  • Freedom is an illusion. All that matters is staying alive.
  • The Manhunt is on!
Michael and Linc in Season 3.

The second season of Prison Break consists of 22 episodes, which began airing in the United States and Canada on August 21, 2006. The story continues eight hours after the prison escape from Fox River State Penitentiary, focusing mainly on the escapees. New characters are introduced, including a federal agent Alexander Mahone (William Fichtner), who is assigned to track down and capture the eight escapees. Series creator Paul Scheuring describes the second season as "The Fugitive times eight" and likens it to the "second half of The Great Escape". The fugitives journey to locations across America with the authorities close behind them as they each pursue their individual goals. Meanwhile, the conspiracy plot develops as "The Company" continues their plan to locate and eliminate Lincoln Burrows and others who get in their way. Much of the storyline concerning the conspiracy concludes by the season finale.

Season 3

Prisons were made to be broken. New Prison. New Break.

Prison Break season 3 premiered on August 29, 2007 in the United States and Canada. Season 3 continues from the second season finale, where most of the main characters ended up in Panama. While Lincoln is exonerated from his alleged crimes, Michael is imprisoned at Sona Federal Prison facing a homicide charge with agent Mahone, T-Bag and Captain Bellick. They are coerced by The Company into helping fellow convict James Whistler escape in exchange for the release of Sara and LJ. Although the conspiracy storyline has not finished, the third season's plot will be "as different in tone as Season 2 was from Season 1". Series creator Paul Scheuring has commented that the overall theme of it will be "redemption".

Cast and Characters

Season 1

Season 1 Main Cast.jpg
Promotional picture for Season 1

The series premiere had eight major speaking roles with star billing. Death-row inmate Lincoln Burrows is played by Dominic Purcell, while Lincoln's brother Michael Scofield is played by Wentworth Miller. Robin Tunney was cast as Veronica Donovan, the brothers' childhood friend and lawyer. Amaury Nolasco plays Michael's Fox River cellmate, Fernando Sucre. Marshall Allman plays Lincoln's son, Lincoln "L.J." Burrows, Jr.. Peter Stormare was cast as John Abruzzi, a Fox River prisoner and Chicago mob boss. Brad Bellick, the captain of Fox River's correctional officers is played by Wade Williams. Sarah Wayne Callies, who plays Dr. Sara Tancredi, was the first actress the producers saw at the audition for the role and was also the first to become a principal cast member. The eight initial main cast members were subsequently joined by Paul Adelstein, who plays Agent Paul Kellerman, a secret service agent involved in the conspiracy behind Lincoln's conviction, Robert Knepper and Rockmond Dunbar, who play Fox River prisoners Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell and Benjamin Miles "C-Note" Franklin respectively. After the thirteenth episode, Peter Stormare became a guest star with Rockmond Dunbar switching from being a recurring guest star to a regular cast member.

Major recurring cast members from the first season include Stacy Keach as Warden Henry Pope and Frank Grillo as Project Justice lawyer Nick Savrinn. Lane Garrison, Muse Watson and Silas Weir Mitchell play Fox River prisoners David "Tweener" Apolskis, Charles Westmoreland and Charles "Haywire" Patoshik respectively. Additionally, some of the walk-on characters who played prisoners actually served time at the Joliet Prison.

Season 2

Pb cast season2.jpg
Season 2 promotional picture

The second season began, with eleven principal speaking roles with star billing. FBI agent Alexander Mahone, played by William Fichtner, was introduced and assigned to locate the fugitives. This coincided with the quick exit of Robin Tunney, whose character was killed in the season premiere. There were other shifts in the casting with Jeff Perry replacing John Billingsley as Terrence Steadman as the latter was cast as a regular on the ABC series The Nine. Camille Guaty, who played Sucre's girlfriend Maricruz Delgado, was also cast on the same show. Similarly, Patricia Wettig, who plays Caroline Reynolds, has been cast on an ABC drama, Brothers and Sisters. Both Guaty and Wettig returned to reprise their roles towards the end of the season. As of the fourteenth episode of the second season (the first to air in 2007), Marshall Allman has been removed from the cast listing in the opening credits.

Promotional picture for Season 3

Season 3

After the exit of three main characters, Season 3 sees the addition of four major characters. Lechero (played by Robert Wisdom) is a prisoner at Sona and a Panamanian drug kingpin, James Whistler (played by Chris Vance) is incarcerated in Sona for the murder of the Mayor's son, Gretchen "Susan B. Anthony" (played by Jodi Lyn O'Keefe) is an operative for the company who is in charge of ensuring the escape of James Whistler and Sofia Lugo (played by Danay Garcia), who is Whistler's girlfriend. Sarah Wayne Callies' character Sara Tancredi was killed off in the season's fourth episode. Wentworth Miller later commented on Callies' departure as a "loss" to the series.

Promotional picture for Season 4

Season 4

Season 4 sees the addition of one new main character, Homeland Security Agent Donald Self (played by Michael Rapaport). James Whistler is killed off in the season premiere, and Sofia Lugo has only made two appearances: in the season premiere and the season finale. Danay Garcia's name was taken out of the star billings after the premiere.

Major recurring characters include the leader of The Company, General Kranz (Leon Russom), a ruthless tracker for the Company, Wyatt Mathewson (Cress Williams), a computer hacker and identity thief who helped the crew obtain Scylla cards before his death, Roland Glenn (James Hiroyuki Liao) and the receptionist at GATE, who is also a federal agent, Trishanne aka Miriam Holtz (Shannon Lucio).

Filming Location

Season 1

The majority of the first season of Prison Break was filmed on location at Joliet Prison, Illinois. After it was closed down in 2002, Joliet Prison became the set of Prison Break in 2005, and was immortalized as Fox River State Penitentiary on screen. Scenes set in Lincoln's cell, the infirmary and the prison yard were all shot on location at the prison. Lincoln's cell is the same one that John Wayne Gacy was incarcerated in. Most of the production crew refused to enter the cell, thinking that it was haunted. The cells that housed the general prison population were specially built with three tiers whereas the actual cells located in Joliet Prison only had two tiers and were smaller. Exterior scenes were filmed in areas around Chicago, Woodstock and Joliet in Illinois. Other locations included O'Hare International Airport in Chicago and Toronto, Ontario in Canada. Prison Break spent $2 million per episode in the state of Illinois, which cost them a total of $24 million in the 2005 year.

Season 2

Renewed for a second season, Prison Break resumed filming on June 15, 2006 in Dallas, Texas due to the close proximity of rural and urban settings. Locations within a 30-minute radius of Dallas were chosen which included Little Elm, Decatur and Mineral Wells. Many of these locations were used to represent various American towns. Each episode takes eight days to film and approximately $1.4 million goes to the local economy per episode. The show is expected to spend in excess of $50 million in Dallas.

For the final three episodes of the second season, filming took place in Pensacola, Florida to represent Panama. Each episode takes eight days to film and approximately $1.4 million goes to the local economy per episode.

Season 3

The third season continues to be shot in Texas and has a budget of $3 million per episode


The first season of Prison Break premiered on Fox in the United States on August 29, 2005 at 9:00 pm ET and went on hiatus on November 28, 2005. After the show resumed on March 20, 2006, it was moved to an earlier timeslot to 8:00 pm ET, followed by 24. Season 1 reached its completion on May 15, 2006. The return of Prison Break for its second season in the United States on August 21, 2006 retained its 8:00 pm ET timeslot. Canada has the same schedule as the United States via Global TV's simulcast.

Prison Break has also premiered in other countries around the world including non-English speaking countries including Hong Kong, Israel, South Korea, Greece, Belgium and Spain.


Inside USA

The following seasonal rankings are based on average total viewers per episode as recorded by Nielsen Media Research. The recording period begins in late September (the start of the U.S. network television season) and ends in late May.

Season Broadcast period Timeslot Ranking Viewers (in millions)
1 2005 - 2006 Monday 9:00pm ET
(8:00 pm ET midseason)
#55 9.2
2 2006 - 2007 Monday 8:00 pm ET #51 9.3
3 2007 - 2008 Monday 8:00 pm ET #73 8.2
4 2008 - 2009 Monday 9:00 pm ET #68 6.1

Fox backed Prison Break with a large advertising campaign. The show debuted on August 29, 2005, to an estimated audience of 10.5 million viewers. Fox has not seen such success for summertime Monday numbers since Melrose Place and Ally McBeal aired in September of 1998. The two-hour premiere was credited as two episodes by the network. The premiere was the seventh most watched show in America that week according to Nielsen Research, ranking first in both the 18-49 and 18-34 demographics. The strong debut performance was also matched by various positive reviews. According to The New York Times, Prison Break was "more intriguing than most of the new network series, and it certainly is one of the most original", complimenting on its ability to create a "suspenseful thriller" and its "authentic look". Entertainment Weekly has dubbed it as one of the best new shows of 2005. On the other hand, The Washington Post criticized the show for its "somber pretentiousness" and "uniformly overwrought" performances. The show regularly attracted an average audience of 10 million viewers each week and led the debuts of television in the 2005 American fall season. Prison Break was originally planned for a 13-episode run, but was extended to include an extra nine episodes due to its popularity.

The premiere of the second season of Prison Break obtained an average of 9.4 million viewers, down from 10.5 million for the series premiere in August 2005. The decline was steeper among young-adult viewers with a decrease of 20 percent in the 18-49 demographic compared to its series premiere, but its household rating grew from 3.6% to 3.9% during the last half hour. A critic from USA Today commented on the "harebrained absurdities that have swamped this show", and blamed the writers for being "incredibly lazy" for the continuous use of the tattoo as an "all-purpose plot fix". Contrastingly, Detroit Free Press commended the second season premiere on matching the standard set by the first season, which delivered a "rocking good entertainment" due to its "motley crew of cellblock characters" and the "taut, ingenious storytelling of series creator Paul T. Scheuring and his staff." The broadcast of the second episode of the second

Outside USA

As the only new television series to be positioned in the top 20 television shows of 2005/2006 in Canada, Prison Break achieved an average of 876,000 in the key demographic of 18-49 and 1.4 million viewers nationally for its first season. After its second season premiere on 21 August 2006, the show has consistently retained the highest number of viewers in its timeslot in Canada with approximately 1.7 million viewers recorded for the November 20, 2006 episode.

Following a huge advertising campaign on Australian television network, Seven, which hyped the success the show found in North America, Prison Break premiered on February 1, 2006 with an average audience of 1.94 million as well as making its peak with 2.09 million viewers. The hype of the show was later complemented with encore screenings in the second week, before being set into a concrete time of 8:30 pm on Wednesday nights. The first season ended on July 12, 2006 with an average of 1.55 million viewers and a season average of 1.353 million viewers. The second season, promoted by the network as Prison Break - On the Run, premiered on January 31, 2007 at a new time of 9:40pm, with 1.226 million viewers (47% share).

The series premiered in France on August 31, 2006 with an average of 5.5 million viewers (25.8% share). Ahead of Prison Break's second season premiere in France, it was heavily advertised by its local television network, M6 and Fox. In early October, Wentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell and Paul Scheuring appeared at MIPCOM in Cannes, along with rapper Faf Larage. Larage's song, "Pas Le Temps" is used to replace the show's original music in the title sequence, which generated publicity and helped to localize the show. The second season premiered on November 8, 2006 with an average number of 7.5 million viewers (29.0% share), making it one of the most watched programs for the 2006 year in France.

The first season's broadcast in Hong Kong on TVB Pearl during September 5, 2006 and January 21, 2007 was a success, receiving the largest audience Hong Kong has ever had for a foreign drama and broke the record previously set by The X-Files. The series premiere obtained an average of 260,000 viewers (99% share) while the first season finale obtained an average of 470,000 viewers and peaked at 590,000. Due to its overwhelming response in Hong Kong, TVB Pearl purchased the copyright of Season 2 and started to air it from March 6, 2007. The second season premiere received an average of 270,000 viewers (100% share) while peaking at 310,000. TVB Pearl expects the second season's ratings to exceed the ratings of Season 1.

In Poland, the series premiered on January 28, 2007 to 7 million viewers (38% share) making it the highest rated episode of any foreign series in Polsat history. It was also the highest rated show of the week in the 16-49 demographic (46% share).


Due to its storyline and setting, Prison Break's target audience is the 18-34 age group. The show contains adult content including violence, coarse language, sexual and drug references. Concerns have been raised by the Parents Television Council in the United States about the timeslot in which Prison Break is broadcast (8:00 pm ET) since the show features some scenes which contain graphic content. The series is given a TV-14 rating in both the United States and Canada.

A similar rating is also used in other countries. Prison Break is rated M in Australia, A+18 in Chile, PG in Hong Kong, PG13V in South Africa, 15 in the United Kingdom and 12 in The Netherlands. In France, the broadcasting watchdog, Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA), also complained that the violence in some episodes exceeded the amount allowed for its rating, which is "not for under 10s". Under France's regulations, any higher ratings would move the show away from its current primetime timeslot to a later timeslot. However, their decision to change the rating will only affect the first season, which has already been broadcast, and not the second season. In Brazil, the show is aired at 10:00pm, indicating that it's not suitable for children under 14.


A three-day Prison Break convention will run from May 18, 2007 in England. It is the world's first Prison Break-related convention set up by Starfury. Guests include Robert Knepper (T-Bag) and Stacy Keach (Henry Pope).



  • 2006 People's Choice Awards|People's Choice Award
    • Favorite New TV Drama


  • 2006 Golden Globe Award
    • Best Drama Television Series
    • Best Performance by an Actor in a Drama Television Series - Wentworth Miller
  • 2006 Eddie Award
  • 2006 Saturn Award
  • 2006 Television Critics Association award
    • Best New Drama Series
  • 2006 Primetime Emmy award
  • 2006 Satellite Awards
    • Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television - Robert Knepper

Other Media and Releases

In addition to the television broadcast of the show, episodes of Prison Break has also been released in other forms of media. Furthermore, derivative work of the show has been produced in the form of short videos for mobile phones. There has also been several official tie-ins in print and on the internet.

Currently, only the first season has been released on DVD. At the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment announced that the complete first season of Prison Break will also be released on the Blu-ray Disc format in early 2007.

Towards the end of the first season, episodes of Prison Break were made available for purchase online at the iTunes Music Store, which began on May 9, 2006.

After the premiere of the second season of Prison Break, Fox began allowing online streaming of the current episode for free via more than 50 websites including AOL, Google and Yahoo!, as well as its own extensive network. However, this was restricted to the United States only. The first three episodes of season 2 were broadcast commercial free, available for a week after their television broadcast date. Online streaming of episodes was postponed after the third episode. However, due to the show's three-week broadcast hiatus prompted by Fox's broadcast of the Major League Baseball playoff games in October, a strategy was developed by News Corporation (the parent company of Fox Broadcasting Company and MySpace) in an attempt to maintain their viewers' interest in the show. Starting from October, Fox began to stream past episodes of the second season on the social networking site MySpace and websites of the network's owned and operated stations (the stations are part of the Fox Television Stations Group). Although commercials are to be aired throughout the broadcast, the episodes are free of charge.

A spinoff series, Prison Break: Proof of Innocence, was produced exclusively for mobile phones and was broadcast first to Sprint customers in April, 2006 via on SprintTV's Fox station. The first episode of Prison Break: Proof of Innocence became available on the internet for viewing on May 8, 2006. This was an exclusive deal made between Toyota Motor and News Corporation's Fox network, allowing Toyota to sponsor exclusive content of the show and to obtain advertising exclusivity.

In printed media, the show's tie-in products include an official magazine and a book written in an in-universe perspective. The official magazine, published by Titan Publishing, was launched on 21 November 2006. Each issue contains interviews with selected cast and crew members with other feature stories. The tie-in novel, Prison Break: The Classified FBI Files, contains details of the show's characters pertaining to the second season's storyline. Written by Paul Ruditis, the book is published by Simon & Schuster and is due to be released in May, 2007.

External links

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Prison Break. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Prison Break Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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