Prison Diaries

Alcatraz

Star World

10pm, Saturday and Sunday

What's it about? In 1963, America's maximum security fortification prison, Alcatraz Island Prison located offshore from Los Angeles was closed down due to high maintenance costs. Also known as The Rock, the prison, in its 29 years of operation, enjoyed the reputation of being inescapable due to the cold waters and high currents surrounding the island. The facility also housed guards and their families apart from some of America's ruthless criminals, all of who were transferred to prisons across the country when Alcatraz shut down. The place is now a public museum.

The show builds upon these facts and creates a fiction that is also likely to have a strong fringe science element. In the show, 256 criminals and 46 guards vanish into thin air. The government hushes up the incident by claiming to close the prison due to maintenance issues, with the subsequent transfer of prisoners. Known as the 63s, the ones who had disappeared begin to show up one by one in present day but, oddly, without having aged. They seem to have been assigned tasks, most of which are crimes. A special team, led by Emerson Hauser, takes over the case with cop Rebecca Madsen and Alcatraz expert Dr Diego Soto, helping him track the 63s and find out where they were all these years.

Who's in it? American actor Sarah Jones plays Madsen, a tough-as-nails cop who is distraught after losing her partner to a crime. Her arrival at a crime scene, where Alcatraz's ex-deputy warden EB Tiller has been murdered, puts her at odds with Hauser. Played by Sam Neill, Dr Alan Grant of Jurassic Park, Hauser is a Federal agent and one of the two people who discovered the disappearance of the 63s. When he makes it clear that Madsen shouldn't interfere, she forges an alliance with Dr Soto (Jorge Garcia, Hogo Reyes of Lost), also, somewhat obviously, the comic relief in the show. The two are later absorbed as part of Hauser's team. The first inmate to reappear, Jack Sylvane, is played by Jeffrey Pierce. He goes on a killing spree after being discovered in his own prison cell and mistaken as a tourist. One of the producers on Lost, JJ Abrams is part of this show in the same capacity.

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