U.S. Marshals Charlie Duchamp (Laz Alonso, "Avatar") and Ray Zancanelli (Domenick Lombardozzi, "The Wire") assemble a ragtag team of ex-cons to help find and catch dangerous prisoners on the lam. Their incentive? Immediate transfer to a minimum security prison, and the promise that with each criminal they help catch one month will be slashed off their prison sentence. (One of the cons is serving a 25 year sentence, so at least the show's writers have budgeted a lot of months to work with.)
Sound far-fetched? It is. Does it work? Sorta-kinda.
The buzz: "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"-philes will be excited to see Jimmi Simpson, one of the creepy-as-folk McPoyle siblings, playing Lloyd Lowery, a socially inept genius and recovering gambling addict, and the show's much needed comic relief. Rounding out the team of ex-convicts is Shea Daniels (Malcolm Goodwin) and super-sexy-expert-of-something-or-other Erica Reed (Serinda Swan).
The verdict: Fans of TNT's "Leverage" will enjoy the smart-alecky, borderline smarmy, tone and the mixture of action and humor. Still, the premise is a bit too preposterous, even for a rollicking, high octane show like this. The problem is the audience isn't given a good sense as to why these cons want to aid the cops beyond the month-off-per-baddie incentive, nor why their help is deemed so necessary to their cop bosses. "Who... who are we rooting for?" posits Lowery, in the episode's funniest, and most telling, line. Good question, dude.
Did you know? There's a major twist in "Breakout Kings," of course, but you'll have to watch the series premiere to find out what it is...
"Breakout Kings" premieres Sunday, March 6, at 10 p.m. on A&E.