Season 1

Sky 1


  1. Pilot
  2. Ernest Cobb
  3. Kit Nelson
  4. Cal Sweeney
  5. Guy Hastings
  6. Paxton Petty
  7. Johnny McKee
  8. The Ames Brothers
  9. Sonny Burnett
  10. Clarence Montgomery
  11. Webb Porter
  12. Garrett Stillman
  13. Tommy Madsen

Rebecca Madsen - Sarah Jones

Emerson Hauser - Sam Neill

Diego Soto - Jorge Garcia

Lucy Banerjee - Parminder Nagra

Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Blade The Series
The Dresden Files
Blood Ties
Lost Girl


On 21st March 1963 the entire prison population of Alcatraz vanished into thin air. Now some of the worst criminals of all time are coming back and only a small team know enough to stop them.

ALCATRAZ has an intriguing proposition, but it is hard to see exactly where the show is going to go with them. The opening sequence is genuinely creepy, but the rest of the plot is the standard rogue cop stumbles on secret government agency and is recruited to fight bad guys stuff. The fact that the cop just lost her partner and the killer later turns out to be her own grandfather is beyond silly.

Still, you can't fault the cast. Sam Neill is his dependable, gruff self whilst Sarah Jones and Parminder Nagra both ooze competence and glamour. Jorge Garcia (Hurley from LOST) provides the obligatory geeky expert.

The period stuff is nicely filmed, but you can't help wondering if this is going to be an escaped con of the week show with new flashbacks every time. That will get old real fast.

This opening is slick, solid and capable, but is there better than that to come?


Ernest Cobb

A brilliant marksman with a need for his private space is out killing people at random. Can the team stop his spree, and is it less random than it apears.

Joe Engender is a marvellous villain in this completely bog standard cop episode that has only a hint of the time travel concept about it.

The attack on the team is both clever and shocking, but also unbelievable since every other victim of the sniper is killed instantly and he has more time and better range for the shot here. It is also beyond reasonable belief that a female doctor would be allowed to meet inmates alone in 1960s Alcatraz.


Kit Nelson

A man who kidnaps and kills kids is up to his old tricks. The team has 48 hours before he will kill his new victim.

Having a child as the victim always ups the threat factor and there is an inbuilt tension in the time factor, but the set up in this episode is so old and hackneyed that it is barely watchable. It's a story that's been done to death in ordinary cop shows and there's nothing here to suggest that this is anything but a cop show.

And if all that familiarity with the plot isn't enough, it turns out that there is a personal connection with one of the team.


Cal Sweeney

Cal Sweeney robbed banks by sweet-talking the girls that worked there. Now he's back and doing it again and after something that isn't money.

There are two distinct stories here and neither of them involves anything but the slightest genre elements. The first is Cal and the head guard back in the '30s tussling over the money that the cigarette smuggling operation can bring in. It's pure melodrama, but nicely lit, designed and played. The second is the hunt for Cal, which is a straight up police procedural.

Interest in the show is already on the wane as each episode proves to be repetitive and nothing more than a wannabe cop show with a slight SF twist.


Guy Hastings

Guy Hastings was a guard at Alcatraz and he is back, but acting less like the good guy that he was. Catching up with him will reveal some Madsen family secrets.

More of the backstory to the show's plot arc is revealed and it has the effect of making the whole thing less likely, rather than more personal and compelling. Turning everything into a family relationship issue blows any sense of reality out of the water and moves everything into the land of soap opera and melodrama, something that the show could seriously do without.

Still, it needs something since it is effectively the same plot with a few tweaks here and there and this at least is a variation on a theme than merely a few notes in a different key.


Paxton Petty

Paxton Petty was a bomber whose case introduced Emerson to Lucy back in the 30s. Now he's back and blowing stuff up again, this time in children's parks.

Whilst Petty might be a sick enough villain, the show benefits only slightly as it runs through a plot that is familiar from its own back catalogue with a few other cliches thrown in for good measure. Rebecca is a good friends with the bomb disposal guy - guess what's gonna happen.

Much more interesting is the back story of Lucy in the 30s. Whilst the character of a female, and foreign yet, psychologist working in the world's toughest prison still doesn't ring true Parminder Nagra manages to make it work and her relationship with Emerson is enough to keep that line of the story afloat.


Johnny McKee

Johnny McKee is a poisoner who likes killing bullies and he's back.

Poison instead of bombs, but otherwise this could be an exact duplicate of other entries in the show. A little bit of detective work, no hint of where the main story is going and apart from the nasty poisonings it's all a bit been there and done that.


The Ames Brothers

On a stormy night, two brothers return to Alcatraz looking for something that they couldn't find in the sixties.

It's 'Die Hard in Alcatraz' as Rebecca, Hauser and the Doc are left trying to fend off a trio of killers in the shadowy sections of the prison. It's lean, focused and controlled right up until the point that you find out why the bad guys are willing to risk all back in the prison and then it all just seems a bit silly.


Sonny Burnett

A kidnapper who used to be peaceful is back from the past, harrassing an old victim and being very, very violent.

The villain here is a nasty piece of work, but the rest of the episode is nothing that hasn't been done before. The fact that it is personal this time is new for this show, but not in cop shows in general and there isn't a single twist that you won't see coming.


Clarence Montgomery

Clarence Montgomery was in Alcatraz for the crime of loving a white girl. When she turned up dead, he went to the rock. Then he shows up the present day and is the criminal that he wasn't back in the sixties.

The warden was carrying out some nasty experiments on the inmates of Alcatraz and Clarence was apparently victim to one of them, being brainwashed into the killer that he wasn't. This is unfortunate for him since the Alcatraz team will have to track him down all the same.

This is a dull police procedural that the racial elements don't add much interest to and which does nothing to further the main plotline.


Webb Porter

Webb Porter was a seriously deranged inmate of Alcatraz. Lucy was trying to cure him with music therapy when the inmates disappeared. Now he's killing female musicians in the present and using their hair to string his bow.

More straight police procedural stuff that has a more interesting villain because of his mania, but otherwise goes through the same set of investigative hoops.

The main interest here is that Rebecca and Soto learn the truth about Lucy and Hauser finds a way to get her out of her coma.


Garrett Stillman

Garrett Stillman is a criminal genius and he has set his sights on the security company that does business with one Harlan Simmons, a billionaire who might just have some of the answers that they are looking for.

A super-inventive criminal against a dogged and smart team of cops. Hardly the most original of storylines, but at least it's a bit more complex than some that have been in this show and there are hints that we might get some of the answers that the show has been promising us to make up for the lacklustre stories.


Tommy Madsen

A lead on the all-important missing third key gives Rebecca a chance to challenge the grandfather who killed her partner.

The meeting between Rebecca and her grandfather is where the show has building up to all season and it finally comes in a story that is slick and empty. There's a BULLIT rip-off car chase and a cliffhanger that is aimed at keeping the show on the air, but the lack of answers and dull storytelling means that we are likely to find out the resolution.






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