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TV Review: “Alcatraz”

Paul Kalis

Alcatraz, America’s most infamous prison, which housed the nation’s most notorious murderers, rapists, kidnappers and thieves until 1963, is the premise of FOX’s new thriller from executive producer J.J. Abrams.

When Detective Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones) is assigned to a homicide case, she runs a fingerprint in the police database only to learn that it belongs to Jack Sylvaner (Jeffrey Pierce), a former Alcatraz inmate who died decades ago. He is not only alive, but he also has not aged a day. She remembers that her grandfather and uncle were guards at the prison and wonders what really happened.

Government agent Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill) involves himself with Rebecca’s investigation after she turns to Doctor Diego “Doc” Soto (Jorge Garci), an Alcatraz expert and comic book enthusiast, for help in capturing the convict back from the dead. It becomes apparent that Sylvane won’t be the last prisoner to reappear from Alcatraz and that Agent Hauser has known about the prison’s secret history, how the prisoners just disappeared, and how he has been awaiting their return.

“Alcatraz” is the third television series this season to be set, well, at least partially, in the early 1960’s following NBC’s “The Playboy Club” and ABC’s “Pan Am.” New viewers won’t get confused with the premise of the show, as every episode features flashbacks that unlock the keys to the new prisoner of the week. What I really want to know now is: Where did the prisoners go? Who took them, and why? This show is part cop drama, part action, and part mystery, which makes for one really good series.

“Alcatraz” airs on FOX Mondays at 9 p.m.

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