In January 2016, FOX announced ordered the revival of Prison Break – a show which had concluded with a TV movie seven years earlier. With dozens of excellent TV dramas coming out in this time, Prison Break sort of fell through the cracks and was forgotten by many. The show follows two brothers, as one (Lincoln) is sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. The other (Michael) devises an elaborate plan to help him escape – they soon uncover an astonishing conspiracy which gets deeper and deeper. This saw dozens of shocking moments over the four seasons and TV movie – here are 10 of them.
Warning: **CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS**
10. Mahone Murders Tweener
An intriguing character, Alex Mahone arrives in the first episode of the second season and is an FBI special agent. He is assigned to spearhead the task force assembled to recapture the escapees, but we soon learn that he also has a drug problem. He accidentally mentions somebody called Oscar Shales, who is the only fugitive that people believe he never recaptured. Mahone becomes increasingly unstable and obsessed with catching the Fox River 8, and he soon captures Tweener in Utah. Mahone confesses to Tweener that he murdered Shales, and he then proceeds to do the very same thing to Tweener. A cold blooded execution against a detained criminal. It instantly became clear just how unhinged this FBI agent was, one who is frantically closing in on Michael and co. Michael later discovers the full truth — that Mahone has Shales buried in his own backyard.
9. The President’s Incestuous Relationship
Michael and the other inmates escaping from prison (and then staying out) was just a small part of a very big story on Prison Break, which was largely about the conspiracy that Lincoln murdered Terrence Steadman, the brother of the Vice President of the United States, Caroline Reynolds. After poisoning the President, Caroline moves up and is sworn in. Michael then acquires an incriminating phone call between Caroline and her presumed-dead brother, which he tries to use to blackmail her to get a Presidential pardon. As the tape is played back, not only does it reveal that Terrence is still alive, but also that he and his sister were having an incestuous relationship. Attempting to get a Presidential ardon through blackmailing her, their plan is then foiled by The Company who use the same audio file and get her to step down as President.
8. T-Bag Severs His Hand
An utterly despicable and depraved character, Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell was also one of the most entertaining — a character that you love to hate. At the end of Season One, T-Bag successfully breaks out of Fox River with the other inmates. A crafty individual who knows how much he is despised by everyone else, T-Bag handcuffs himself to Michael for safe passage. That did little to stop John Abruzzi, who severs his hand with an axe. He comically searches for a way to reattach his hand, which he forces a veterinarian to do with no anesthetic. Later, T-Bag is captured and tortured by Brad Bellick, who then calls the cops as he leaves with T-Bag handcuffed to the radiator. Desperate not to go back to prison, T-Bag shockingly severs his newly attached hand and flees the scene. In a breathless scene, he manages to escape and we see his severed hand stuck between the radiator and wall.
7. Michael’s Mother is Alive
Things were starting to get a little bit silly by the time we reached Season Four, but still entertaining. So cheap twists like this were all a part of the fun. After being brought in to retrieve Scylla, a blackbook for The Company, Michael discovers that his mother used to work for them. Previously thought dead, it is revealed in the next episode that his mother, Christina, is alive. Then she orders a hit on Lincoln. Further bomb shells follow when she reveals that Lincoln is not Michael’s biological brother, before Christina and Michael have a tense final showdown as she attempts to make him choose between Sara and Lincoln. Although it did feel cheap, it was still one of the most shocking moments on the show and it was brilliant to see where Michael got his astonishing intelligence from, which helps for a dramatic showdown.
6. Veronica is Killed
Throughout Season One (the best season), while Michael and the gang were figuring out how to break out of Fox River, there was somebody on the outside doing everything she could to help Lincoln’s case. Veronica, a lifelong friend of the brothers and ex-girlfriend of Lincoln, worked tirelessly to prove Lincolns innocence. But she soon finds her life in danger as she goes deeper and uncovers more secrets. She discovers that Terrence Steadman is still alive and manages a face-to-face confrontation with him. But then she is brutally executed in Season Two by Secret Service agents in order to ensure that Steadman is kept hidden from the public. This happens in cruel fashion, as she is phoning Lincoln to tell him the good news. She consequently becomes the first major character to be killed off, but she would not be the last.
5. Head in a Box
Clearly fans of the movie Seven, the creators stunned audiences with this reveal in Season Three. This is widely regarded to be the worst season, but it still had its moments and was enough to keep many viewers hooked. After the brothers’ plan goes wrong, Lincoln returns home to make a truly horrific discovery. He finds the head of Sara, Michael’s girlfriend, in a box. This was done by an operative of The Company, Gretchen, who had kidnapped Sara and Lincoln’s son, LJ. Lincoln decides to keep his gruesome discovery to himself, but later has to admit it after Michael threatens to cancel the escape plan unless he sees Sara alive. As it turns out in the following season, Sara is alive and well after escaping and the two are reunited in the season opener.
4. Terrence Kills Himself
Just when it seems that things are going to be okay for the brothers and that Lincoln will be pardoned, it is horribly yanked away from them in one of the most shocking moments on the show. Terrance Steadman was a key character, as him being alive proved Lincoln’s innocence. The reveal that he was still breathing was huge, and the brothers then set off to Montana to find him in order to prove Linc’s innocence. They find him and take him to a motel, but Steadman is unwilling to reveal himself to the public and becomes increasingly agitated. In a shocking twist, Steadman then grabs Lincoln’s gun and kills himself to the horror of the brothers. It cruelly slammed the door shut on their chances of freedom, and it was back to the drawing board for attempting to prove his innocence.
3. Kellerman Switches Teams
For almost two seasons, Secret Service special agent Paul Kellerman was a nasty piece of work. Doing whatever it takes to prevent anyone from uncovering the conspiracy, Kellerman blackmailed, tortured and killed while wearing a suit and shades. He showed no remorse and was a cold blooded killer. However, Kellerman was forced to kill his partner who attempted to betray the conspiracy, and this causes Kellerman to rethink. He later has a crisis of consciousness, seeing The Company erase his records. He becomes increasingly bitter as a rogue agent, and then switches allegiances after realizing he is on the wrong side. He times it perfectly, just as it seems Michael and Lincoln are cornered. He helps them for a few episodes, but he soon breaks down after realizing he has dedicated his life to a lie and done terrible things.
2. Michael Reveals his Tattoo
Although the majority knew that Michael had a tattoo of the prison on his body (this was pretty much the only thing people knew beforehand), it was still a fantastic and shocking moment once he revealed it. In the pilot episode, we see Michael getting a mysterious tattoo at the beginning. After being imprisoned in Fox River penitentiary, he is shown Lincoln and reveals him as his brother. After they are both enlisted in PI (prison industries), Michael tells Lincoln that he is going to break him out. Lincoln questions if he has seen the blueprints. “Better than that – I’ve got them on me” replies Michael, before revealing his astonishing body tattoo which uses patterns and images to disguise the blueprint to the prison along with other hidden messages. This tattoo features heavily in the first season and even has uses once they breakout.
1. The Ultimate Sacrifice
Things may have got a little silly towards the end of Prison Break, but for those that had stuck with the show it was still highly entertaining. The series finale came in the form of a television movie titled Prison Break: The Final Break which covers the events between the downfall of The Company and Michael’s death (this was not explained in the previous finale). It is revealed that Sara was arrested for the murder of Christina, and Michael then devises yet another plan to get her out. His plan falters when an electronic lock will not open, and he explains that a power surge from a fuse panel is needed to unlock the door. He instructs a pregnant Sara to go on, and then makes the ultimate sacrifice by causing the surge himself and killing himself in the process. The show ends with a message recorded by Michael.