20 Things You Probably Never Knew About ‘Prison Break’

Above: Prison Break’s Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell) and Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller)
20 Things You Probably Never Knew About 'Prison Break'

Unless you’ve been living under a rock – or, y’know, sittting in jail – you have probably heard that fan-favourite Prison Break is heading back to TV. That’s right… The boys will be breaking out of jail again when Prison Break returns to the airwaves for a season five revival.

Before Prison Break returns in April (watch the latest trailer here), we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane with these 20 fascinating facts:

1. Prison Break originally aired on Fox from 2005 to 2009. The network originally turned the series down in 2003, concerned about the long-term prospects of the premise.

20 Things You Probably Never Knew About Prison Break - Fox River State Penitentiary

2. Fox River State Penitentiary’s real-life counterpart is the Joliet Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois, which opened in 1858 and closed in February 2002. The prison was used to shoot Season 1 and was briefly featured in Season 2.

20 Things You Probably Never Knew About Prison Break - John Wayne Gacy Lincoln Burrows

3. One of the cells featured throughout Season 1 once belonged to serial killer, John Wayne Gacy. Gacy’s cell was occupied by Lincoln Burrows (played by Dominic Purcell) throughout the first season, and there are reports that some crew members felt uneasy and didn’t enter the cell. Purcell claimed it was the best place for his scenes to be shot.

4. ‘Fox River’ is actually a real river – it runs through Western Chicagoland, near Joliet.

5. Prison Break was banned in at least 13 prisons around the globe that we know of – presumably, because it was considered educational programming.

6. Wentworth Miller was cast as Michael Scofield just one week before filming began.

20 Things You Probably Never Knew About Prison Break - Michael Scofield tattoo

7. It took 4.5 hours for makeup artists to apply Michael Scofield’s infamous tattoo.


8. Tom Berg, the man who designed Michael Scofield’s ink, believes it would take approximately 4 years and up to $20,000 to complete the tattoo in real life.

9. Johnny Messner and Eric Dane were the two frontrunners to play Lincoln, but the showrunners couldn’t decide between the two. They eventually moved on and found Dominic Purcell who got the job.

20 Things You Probably Never Knew About Prison Break - The Flash

10. When Prison Break ended Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell continued to work together. They were reunited in The Flash TV show, where they are partners as Captain Cold and Heat Wave. Of course, the writers of Flash make many subtle references to Prison Break.

20 Things You Probably Never Knew About Prison Break - Veronica Donovan and Sofia Lugo

11. There were a total of 17 series regular cast members throughout the original four seasons of Prison Break, and regardless of their roles, only two of those characters were never jailed: Veronica Donovan (played by Robin Tunney) and Sofia Lugo (played by Danay Garcia)…though the pair didn’t exactly have it easy throughout the series.

20 Things You Probably Never Knew About Prison Break - Sara Tancredi

12. Dr. Sara Tancredi (played by Sarah Wayne Callie) was meant to die in a fatal drug in the first season. However, fans loved the character and the writers plans changed after a slight nudge from the network bosses.


13. However, issues with Sarah Wayne Callies’ contract resulted in her eventually being written out of the show. Early on in season 3, Lincoln found Sara’s head in a box after he attempted to rescue her as well as his son, LJ from The Company. Fans were outraged and the character was brought back for Season 4.

20 Things You Probably Never Knew About Prison Break - T-Bag and Lincoln Burrows

14. Characters on the show were named after American presidents Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. The characters are Lincoln Burrows and Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell.

20 Things You Probably Never Knew About Prison Break - C-Note

15. Benjamin Miles “C-Note” Franklin (played by Rockmond Dunbar) was only intended to appear in two episodes, but he was bumped up to a regular.

16. Fox River’s Warden Pope (played by Stacy Keach) actually spent some time in prison. The actor spent six months in a British jail in the ’80s on a drugs charge and based his performance as Pope on his old prison warden.

20 Things You Probably Never Knew About Prison Break -Michael Scofield tombstone

17. It is hard to tell what Michael Scofield’s correct date of birth is due to the lack of continuity in the show. For example: in the form Michael fills in the pilot episode, he writes August 9, 1978. However, when Lincoln finds a picture of their mother pregnant with Michael, he states that there is a mistake, and Michael was born in 1976. Finally, on his tombstone in episode 22 of season 4, the date reads August 10, 1974.

18. A spinoff – Prison Break: Cherry Hill – was in the works in 2007 and would have followed housewife Molly as she was jailed in a women’s prison. The 07-08 writers’ strike in Hollywood resulted in the project being scrapped.

19. Prison Break was the subject of a (failed) lawsuit by two brothers – Donald Hughes had successfully executed a prison escape for his brother Robert in the 1960s and the brother’s claimed that the show was based on them.

20 Things You Probably Never Knew About Prison Break - Pobeg

20. Prison Break was remade in Russia as Pobeg – many scenes and pieces of dialogue were copied verbatim.

Tags: Prison Break, Wentworth Miller

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