• Network: A&E
  • Series Premiere Date: Mar 6, 2011
  • Season #: 1 , 2
Metascore
56

Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 19
  2. Negative: 1 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: Jonathan Storm
    Mar 3, 2011
    80
    Absorbing, if not squirm-worthy.
  2. Breakout Kings manages to compensate for its lack of creative ambition with some lively writing, good pacing and an off-kilter sense of humor. It is also blessed with a colorful cast of characters.
  3. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Mar 4, 2011
    70
    It does not--repeat, not--take a con to catch a con. That is by now a very tired television cliche and one that's embraced by Kings. But the series overcomes this crutch to become a mostly interesting diversion from going to work five days a week.
  4. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Mar 3, 2011
    70
    Just because a show is mix 'n' match doesn't mean it isn't any good. After four years with "Prison Break," creators Matt Olmstead and Nick Santora know their way around this world, and Breakout Kings starts out with a promising blend of character and plot, action and dialogue, sweet and savory.
  5. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Mar 4, 2011
    67
    The series is sort of fun, more of a USA Network "Characters Welcome" kind of show than a hard-boiled thriller. [11 Mar 2011, p.72]
  6. Reviewed by: Paige Wiser
    Mar 4, 2011
    63
    If nothing else, Breakout Kings is a nice travelogue of the country's prisons. Here's hoping there's a juicy episode coming up for Stateville. But the gratuitous violence and creepiness will turn off a lot of viewers.
  7. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Mar 3, 2011
    60
    Little of this stands up to close scrutiny, but there's a nice twist at the end of the pilot, and it looks as if every episode will begin with a fiendishly clever prison break by someone viewers might actually hope to see caught.
  8. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Mar 3, 2011
    60
    Breakout Kings is better than "The Glades," another A&E scripted drama set in the world of law enforcement, but that's not saying a whole lot. Still, if future episodes are as good as the second episode (and better than the clunky pilot), it'll give fans of "White Collar" or "Leverage" something to watch until those shows come back.
  9. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Mar 3, 2011
    58
    For a show that starts out with so much energy, Breakout Kings quickly settles into a procedural rut.
  10. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Mar 10, 2011
    50
    Not a bad concept, but the casting is out of whack. [21 Mar 2011, p.46]
  11. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Mar 7, 2011
    50
    There are no television breakthroughs in Breakout Kings, a pretty pat procedural that tries a little harder than some of its predecessors.
  12. Reviewed by: Rick Porter
    Mar 7, 2011
    50
    Once you get past the idea that the bad guys are working for the good guys, it's a pretty by-the-numbers crime show.
  13. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Mar 4, 2011
    50
    There's nothing particularly striking or compelling here. But at least the escapee of the week will meet his fate at the end of each episode.
  14. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Mar 4, 2011
    50
    Breakout Kings is an uninspiring attempt by the producers and their network to be the last on the procedural match.
  15. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Mar 3, 2011
    50
    While the playful banter among cops and robbers thrown together on the same side has its moments, the characters aren't strong enough, initially, to set off any alarms.
  16. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Mar 3, 2011
    50
    Matt Olmstead and Nick Santora are two solid guys who know how to make good TV and Lombardozzi and Alonzo are superior actors. But there are only flashes of promise here.
  17. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Mar 7, 2011
    40
    There's a bit of banter well-delivered and some artful action, yet Breakout Kings lacks a certain vim and chemistry required for a real breakout series.
  18. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Mar 4, 2011
    40
    It's formula, and while there's obviously a ton of appetite for that kind of formula in primetime (see the roster of dramas on CBS, FOX, ABC, TNT...), it's not particularly well-executed formula, and it wastes the potential of the one part of the formula that's slightly unique.
  19. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Mar 7, 2011
    25
    Breakout Kings is not only dumb and mind-numbingly silly, but what makes it all-the-more terrible is that all this silliness has been stolen from other mind-numbingly-silly shows.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 30 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 10
  2. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. Apr 13, 2011
    4
    So much potential wasted here. Despite a decent cast, apparently the writers can't break out of the formula they are using. Whether by design or sheer lack of imagination, every episode follows the exact same pattern. Guy or gal escapes, hurts/kills people in the process, heads immediately to rendezvous with friend, relative, or acquaintance for [insert reason here], marshals arrive only to find out they have narrowly missed the suspect. Repeat a few times. Catch up and capture bad guy. Solve personal problem of one of the cops or cons that was alluded to earlier in the episode. End.

    I could forgive a lot for a show that casts a veteran of "The Wire", but unfortunately they go a step further and pretty much put paid on this already troubled show with a completely laughable lack of continuity. They don't pretend to be following even "make believe" law enforcement procedures, let alone real ones. (Crazed convicted child molester is going to the office of the social worker who testified against him. "She doesn't answer her phone? Oh, we better get driving." Followed by the inevitable, " Gee, we just missed him...." Why not...I don't know...call the local cops to go babysit her and make sure she's safe. Or something.) I know sacrifices need to be made in order to spin a good yarn, but one can't help thinking that your average high schooler could sign on to the writing staff and turn out more plausible stories.

    The last thing that bugs me a little bit is that a fair few of the episodes drag discussions about racism into the show for some reason. This typically wouldn't bother me, but in this case it seems a little ironic and meaningless coming from a show about convicts breaking out of prison. ~14% of the U.S. prison population is Caucasian, yet 100% of escapees on the program are white.Any way you try to come up with a logical reason for that decision stinks to high heaven.
    Full Review »
  2. Mar 21, 2011
    7
    I've seen three episodes now, including the one in which Robert Knepper's T-Bag escapes yet again, and I like the show well enough. Of course, the premise is ludicrous (and overused), though I don't think there's anything wrong with making the point that US prisons house a range of criminals, from decent people with problems better addressed therapeutically to homicidal sociopaths. Most of the characters are weak, however. The two not in jail are burdened with serious health and legal problems--a sign of inadequate characterization when it happens in the pilot. You can almost hear a writer say, "I know, let's give him a heart condition!" but it's hard to care when that's his defining trait. And the mostly bland cast doesn't help much, except for Jimmi Simpson, who is great as the brilliant-but-feckless MD/PhD. Domenick Lombardozzi is the other actor who stands out, but it's because he's doing Herc from The Wire, which just makes me miss that show. But "Breakout Kings" almost gets it that there's something fascinating about prison breaks, a moral complexity for onlookers who admire the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the escapees while horrified by their crimes. So far, the show has come down heavily on the "horrified" side by depicting particularly brutal escapes, but I hope to see a few cases that challenge the felon-marshals' commitment to the cause. And it wouldn't hurt to change up the cast a bit--easy enough to do given their many problems. Full Review »
  3. Jan 17, 2014
    10
    Get another season going of this show my husband and I are going nuts without it. This show was awesome and must be back on please please please. We are hurting without this show. How much longer do we have to jones for more breakout kings. The actors are excellent and they make us want more. Isn't that what the tv station should want? We are addicted to this show that no longer airs even watching each episode two or more times. Is there anything us the public can do? If anyone should know please post it. Thanks for reading. Full Review »