The Fox midseason replacement TV series "Alcatraz" is built around the fascinating premise that the 1963 closure of the notorious federal prison was a cover story for the sudden and unexplained disappearance of the inmates and their guards. San Francisco police detective Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones) becomes involved in the mystery when her partner is killed by a man who is supposed to be dead, one of the missing "63's". Rebecca is recruited into a secretive federal task force run by FBI agent Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill), formerly an Alcatraz guard and now in search of the former inmates as they resurface in modern-day San Francisco to resume their criminal careers, mysteriously unaged and still fully lethal.
The story is told on parallel tracks, as Hauser, Rebecca, and Rebecca's unlikely partner Dr. Diego "Doc" Soto (Jorge Garcia) pursue the criminals in the present, while their backstories are told in flashback. The hulking Doc, a comic book store owner and expert on Alcatraz, forms a surprisingly effective team with the diminutive but spunky Rebecca, tracking the "63's" while trying to figure out what secrets Hauser might be hiding in his underground command center on Alcatraz. Each show dropped fresh clues on how and why the inmates might have disappeared, and suggest a conspiracy at work. Each show also expands on the separate and somewhat conflicting agendas of Hauser and Rebecca. The series makes full use of its excellent San Francisco and Alcatraz filming venues, including a spectacular "Bullit" car chase scene in the season finale.
"Alcatraz" is something different, part dark police procedural, part science fiction mystery, and all fun. The season finale was a fast-paced and terrifying cliff-hanger; here's hoping the series gets a second season. Highly recommended.
51 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?