We’re super-stoked that Prison Break is coming back, because since Michael and the gang departed our screens, nothing else has come close to replicating its addictive blend of suspense, thrills and utter absurdity.
Before the new nine-part revival kicks off, here’s a refresher course on a few of its most brilliant – and bonkers – moments:
1. The break goes wrong – BRILLIANT!
It has all been building to this. Across the first 13 episodes of Prison Break, architect / engineer Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) had reunited with his falsely-convicted brother – held in the same prison Scofield helped design – and hatched an ingenious escape plan.
Episode 13, ‘End of the Tunnel’ sees the prison break finally get underway… and unravel spectacularly as a devastated Scofield discovers that their exit is blocked.
Michael is trapped along with a gang of vengeful criminals who have been promised their freedom, and then Prison Break goes on mid-season break for four months!
Thank goodness Twitter didn’t exist back in 2005…
2. Prison Break(down) – BRILLIANT!
Key to the show’s original (ludicrous) premise was Michael tattooing the blueprints of Fox River prison in cryptic form on to his own body – but in episode 1.15, a serious burn on his back obscures part of the fleshy “map”.
The setback appears to send Michael spiralling – but his nervous breakdown is later revealed to be a ploy to infiltrate the prison asylum and reach his obsessive ex-cellmate Haywire (Silas Weir Mitchell)… the one man who can help him.
Ridiculous? Yes. But just the sort of daft plot twist that Prison Break excels at.
3. Escape from Fox River – BRILLIANT!
Finally, finally, the Fox River Eight – Michael, brother Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) and six more inmates caught up in their breakout – make it outside of the prison walls in the first season’s two-part finale, ‘Go’ and ‘Flight’.
But even their second “successful” escape doesn’t go off without a hitch. The plane intended to carry the convicts to safety takes off without them, leaving them stranded, with the authorities closing in.
“What do we do now?” gasps sweet-natured Sucre. “We run!” fires back Scofield. End season. BOOM.
4. Veronica Done-avan – BONKERS!
Ah, Robin Tunney’s dogged, peerless Veronica Donovan. Heroine of Prison Break‘s first season. Champion for truth and justice. Lifelong friend of Michael and Lincoln.
Shot in the head in the season two premiere and scarcely mentioned ever again.
Sometimes, the shock demise of a series regular can make for top television – just ask Game of Thrones. But after serving up 22 episodes of Veronica’s fight to free Lincoln, Prison Break‘s unceremonious offing of the character felt damned cold.
5. Mahone’s murder spree – BRILLIANT!
Less a particular moment, more a string of spectacular and heartbreaking incidents, as corrupt FBI bloodhound Alexander Mahone (the superb William Fichtner) either orchestrates or personally carries out the executions of Fox River’s escaped convicts.
He takes out mob boss John Abruzzi (Peter Stormare) in a hail of bullets, manipulates the troubled Haywire into taking his own life and – most tragic of all – guns down tragic Tweener (Lane Garrison) in cold blood.
Brutal, breathtaking, brilliant.
6. Inside (Keller)man – BRILLIANT!
For 35 episodes, he’s been one of Prison Break‘s most formidable antagonists – working to keep Lincoln behind bars, torturing Sara Tancredi (Sarah Wayne Callies) and even murdering his own partner.
So it comes as a big surprise when Paul Kellerman – now a disavowed agent of sinister syndicate The Company – turns on his former employers and the double-dealing US President.
“President Reynolds ruined your life, she ruined my life,” he tells Michael and Lincoln. You want to take that bitch down? You just found your inside man, but it’s got to be right now.”
Cue another midseason hiatus. Dammit, Prison Break!
7. What’s (not) in the box? – BONKERS!
The daftest of the daft. When Sarah Wayne Callies opts to leave the show following a contract dispute, Prison Break‘s writers decide to go for the jugular – literally – and kill the character off in brutal fashion.
Her decapitated head is even delivered to Lincoln in a box, but when Callies opts to return to the show the following season, her demise is retconned, with the box’s contents revealed as a fake.
Sure, Linc’s not a genius like his brother… but you’d think he’d notice the difference between some papier mâché and a human head.
8. So long, Sona – BONKERS!
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After a season on the run, Prison Break‘s third year threw our heroes (and villains) back behind bars, this time, at Sona Federal Penitentiary in Panama.
But with their Sona stint taking a bashing from the critics, the decision is made to hit a hard reset for the next season.
After 13 episodes inside its walls, the prison burns to the ground and all of the inmates escape. All between seasons. All off-screen.
Oh, and the mysterious Whistler (Chris Vance) – central to the Sona arc’s big mystery? Shot dead, mere minutes into the fourth season premiere. Madness.
9. Bye Bye Bellick – BRILLIANT!
Much-maligned by fans, the fourth and final season of Prison Break does have its saving graces – chief among them, knowing when a once pivotal character has outlived their usefulness.
Brad Bellick was the prison guard who terrorised Michael and his fellow inmates at Fox River and so compelling was Wade Williams in the role that the writers found ways to keep him around in the second and third seasons.
But by season four, it felt like a stretch to keep Bellick around. He’s lost his job, become a bounty hunter, been jailed, tortured and gone on a path of redemption – there’s little else to do with the character.
So he is gifted a heroic exit in 4.09, ‘Greatness Achieved’ – sacrificing himself to save Michael and the other runaways, men and women he now considered friends.
10. Company Mom – BONKERS!
The biggest, most bonkers twist of all sees Michael and Lincoln discover that their late mother is in fact alive!
And a former operative of the evil Company!
And a terrorist using The Company’s data file, Scylla, to provoke a war between the US and China!
She betrays and attempts to murder both of her sons, before herself being killed by Sara.
But not before revealing that Lincoln isn’t really Michael’s brother! Or something. To be honest, we’ve lost track by this point.
And then Bobby woke up in the shower and it was all a dream.