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"Alcatraz" is new breakout show on FOX

Holding some of the most notorious prisoners in American history - Al Capone among them- Alcatraz has become legendary. Before it closed in 1963, the prison was one of the most feared places in the world. Since becoming a national landmark in 1986 it has been the subject of numerous prison break films and most recently a show that offers an alternate explanation as to why the facility closed.

"Alcatraz," premiered on Jan. 16 on Fox with a haunting monologue that forms the basis for the show: "On March 21, 1963, Alcatraz officially closed due to rising costs and because of the outdated facility. All the prisoners were transferred off the island. Only that's not what happened. Not at all."

In true sci-fi style, the viewer's first view of Alcatraz is a prison void of inmates or staff. While mystery surrounds their disappearance, the real attraction of "Alcatraz" stems from the premise of what if all the criminals suddenly reappeared in today's society, each just as young and dangerous as when he was locked up. What follows is a young detective's quest to contain the horrors of Alcatraz. With the help of her partner, who is a comic book expert, she will find out if the law enforcement practices of the future are enough to capture the worst criminals of the past.

One of the most refreshing features of "Alcatraz" is that it brings together a cast with varying degrees of notoriety. This show marks the first major role for series lead Sarah Jones who portrays Detective Rebecca Madsen. Alongside this tough and sexy character is the lovable Jorge Garcia as Alcatraz expert Dr. Diego Soto and sci-fi veteran Sam Neill as the enigmatic Agent Emerson Hauser. Each week these three characters will come together to stop new inmates and to solve the mystery of Alcatraz.

After three positively received episodes, "Alcatraz" may become a long-running fixture of the Monday, 9 p.m. time slot on Fox.

Christopher Spall can be reached at christopher.spall


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