Breakout Kings Breaks the Mold! Massive Plot Changes for the Cons? Character Rundown and Series Primer!


By: Adam Bernard

There’s an old saying that goes “it takes a thief to catch a thief,” and that’s the basis for A&E’s Breakout Kings, which just debuted its second season on March 4, 2012.

Breakout Kings features a team of three convicts, a disgraced former officer, and a civilian who was on her way to being a U.S. Marshal; all led by a U.S. Marshal, on the hunt for escaped convicts. In exchange for their services the convicts on the team get placed in a minimum security prison, and get a month off of their sentence for every escaped convict they capture. If at any point they attempt to run they get sent back to a maximum security prison and have their sentences doubled.

The Season 1 DVD set will be released on March 13, 2012 so is giving you the run-down on what to expect if you’re just catching up on this exciting series.

The Breakout Kings team is made up of:

Lloyd Lowery
Played by Jimmi Simpson (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Date Night)

Lloyd is a certified genius and psychiatric expert. Unfortunately for him, he made a mistake that earned him quite the jail sentence (we find out his mistake as the first season progresses). His job is go through all the information the team has and attempt to get into each escapee’s mind.

Once Lloyd has a read on how an escapee ticks he can figure out what they’ll do next, and what the correct approach is in dealing with them.

Shea Daniels
Played by Malcolm Goodwin (American Gangster, Miracle at St. Anna)

Shea is an ex-gang banger, or as he calls it, a “street entrepreneur,” who had an impressive reputation in the streets and prisons as someone who ran things. Many of his contacts are still good, and the team utilizes his mind for how crimes are done at the street level, sometimes extrapolating that into how the same thing could end up being done on a grander scale.

Erica Reed
Played by Serinda Swan (Tron: Legacy, Percy Jackson and the Olympians)

Erica joined the team in episode two of Season 1. She’s an expert tracker and the daughter of a slain bounty hunter. The five marks on the inside of her forearm represent the five of the six people she’s killed, all involved in the murder of her father. Erica also has a daughter.

Ray Zancanelli
Played by Domenick Lombardozzi (The Wire)

Ray is a disgraced cop working his way back to re-earning his badge. The team was his idea, and the convicts have no idea he’s not still a cop until midway through Season 1, which is when we find out why he lost his badge. He, like Erica, has a daughter.

Julianne Simms
Played by Brooke Nevin (Call Me Fitz, Imaginary Bitches)

Julianne is the lone civilian in the group. She was well on her way to becoming a U.S. Marshal until a host of social disorders took over her life. She’s the computer genius of the group, and all information and tips go through her, but due to her issues she rarely leaves the home base.

Charlie DuChamp
Played by Laz Alonso (Avatar, Fast & Furious)

Charlie is a U.S. Marshall who’d been behind a desk up until this point in his career, and we quickly find out why – he has a bad heart. His relationship with the convicts differs greatly from his relationship with Ray, whom he seems to have a deep respect for, even though he asserts his authority on him on a semi-regular basis.

Throughout Season 1, each episode has the same outline – things start with a breakout, and we see how the convict made it happen. Some escapes start subtly, like the guy who slips a magazine into his shirtsleeve before getting cuffed, so he’d be able to easily slip out of said cuffs. Others are a bit more blunt, like the 18-wheeler that barrels through a prison wall.

So right away we know “who done it” and we know at least a little bit about how they did it, the team then assembles to piece together all the information they can find to figure out where the escapee will be going next. Oftentimes it’s not as simple as just following the trail of bodies that are left in the escapee’s wake. The potential motivations for why each escapee has escaped come into play as a fast-paced mind game that’s also played out on a street level ensues.

Season 1 of Breakout Kings makes sure to have each case come to a conclusion by the end of each episode, with no carry over in terms of the escapees. What does carry over, however, are little bits and pieces of information about each character. It’s actually very cool to have this information revealed to us slowly, as we learn who these characters are at the same time the characters themselves are learning the deeper aspects of who they’re working with.

The first episode of Season 2 has already altered the Season 1 episode blueprint, so it’s clear there will be some escapee carryover this season. The group also loses a key member in the first episode. Overall, Breakout Kings is an intense and addictive show, well worth the time you’ll take to catch up!

You can tune in to the Breakout Kings on A&E every Sunday at 10:00pm / 9pm Central.

Here’s a quick preview of the Season 2 debut episode:

CLICK HERE to watch the Breakout Kings Season 2, Episode 1 “An Unjust Death” in its entirety at

CLICK HERE to find out more about Breakout Kings and watch exclusive behind-the-scenes features and interviews at

CLICK HERE to get the Season 1 DVD set at the A&E / History shop

About Author

Adam is an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. A lover of good music, fringe movies, day baseball & chicken shawarma, he has been described as "nerdy, but awesome."

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