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Alcatraz

Season 1 Episode 1

Pilot

10
Aired Friday 9:00 PM Jan 16, 2012 on FOX
8.4
out of 10
User Rating
284 votes
8

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT

Detective Rebecca Madsen and Alcatraz historian Dr. Diego Soto, team up with a secret agency dedicated to finding and catching inmates from the Alcatraz prison who went strangely missing 50 years ago and are reappearing in today's world.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • INCREDIBLY GOOD

    10
    Hurley is back and he has got off the island fianly, now he is chasing bad guys,,, Lol. its simply an awsome pilot.
  • Welcome to the Rock

    8.5
    Great idea to tell story about one most popular place as prison Alcatraz. Very interesting plot, mix Fringe and Lost. I hope the first season will be great and finale spectacular. What kinf of experiment was in prison in 1963, why the ciminals and gurdians are missing. This mixture of all mysterius things great match to Alcatraz. Keep It Up!:)
  • Not bad at all, but a little confusing!

    9.5
    Well, this was a show I was lookign forward to! I love the idea to it, and this was an interesting premiere, but for a large chunk of this premiere, I was just confused whiel watching it. That may be a good thing, I suppose, but it is also a little frustrating. I want ot have a little more info as to how these people are coming back.



    The storyline today was great. I enjoyed it, and it is certainly a good premiere.



    Hoping that it continues to impress! Can't wait for the next one!moreless
  • Pilot/Ernest Cobb

    8.0
    He'd probably claim there's no correlation whatsoever, it's hard for me to dismiss the fact that, of the four previous shows to which J.J. Abrams attached his name, the ones that I've enjoyed the mostand, as it happens, the ones that have developed the most obsessive fanbasesare the ones for which he's taken the time to show up and help promote during the Television Critics Association press tour.



    Lost? Fringe? Present. Undercovers? Person Of Interest? No sign of the guy.



    Abrams was at the TCA tour to promote Alcatraz, however, so if you accept that the above observations are more than mere coincidence, then this is good news. Very good, even, when one takes into consideration the man's success the last time he tackled a series involving an island.



    The whole concept of an ostensibly inescapable prison located on an island has always been incredibly cool to begin with, but it takes a turn into potential awesomeness as soon as the voice of Agent Emerson Hauser kicks off the proceedings: "On March 21, 1963, Alcatraz officially closed due to rising costs and decrepit facilities. All the prisoners were transferred off the island. Only that's not what happened. Not at all."



    Y'see, a funny thing happened on March 20, 1963: A couple of guards hopped off the boat to make a transfer, only to find their island counterparts nowhere to be found. Nor, for that matter, was anyone else to be found in or around the prison. Everything appears to be perfectly intact, however, except for the complete and utter absence of the 302 people who'd been there, who remained MIA until well, now, actually. Flash forward to Alcatraz 2012, now a tourist attraction, and one of the missing inmatesJack Sylvanesuddenly reappears in his cell as if nothing has happened, and as if that isn't unlikely enough, he finds that he has a ticket back to the mainland in his jacket pocket, along with a wad of cash. Clearly, whoever or whatever is responsible for his return from wherever the hell he's been has prepared for future contingencies. Curiouser and curiouser. If it's a bit too convenient that he happens to find his own picture in a handy history of the prison, at least it's a moment, along with a quick flashback to 1960, which serves to set up a plan of action for Sylvane: get revenge on E.B. Tiller, former assistant warden at Alcatraz.



    What we see during the course of the first two episodes of Alcatraz is a blend of the intriguing and the formulaic. San Francisco Police Department Detective Rebecca Madsen stumbles into investigating a murder committed by Sylvane, gets thrown off the case by the intervening Hauser, and decides to keep investigating, anyway, recruiting the assistance of famed Alcatraz expert Dr. Diego Soto. The two prove to be a successful team, naturally, and by the end of the pilot, they've helped to capture the convict, and their efforts on Sylvane's casealong with Madsen's direct connection to one of the missing Alcatraziansresults in the two of them working with Hauser on a regular basis and discovering that there's more to this whole situation than meets the eye.



    Are the procedural elements a bit too heavy in Alcatraz? Perhaps for some, although I'm already sufficiently intrigued by the mysteries offered up during these first two episodes that I'm willing to be somewhat lenient. One needs only look back at the first season of Fringe to see how that series started out being far more traditional in format but ended up a mythology-heavy effort that's still blowing fans' minds several seasons on. Given the number of missing prisoners and guards, it's easy to fear that the show could fall back on focusing on the Missing Alcatrazian of the Week, as it does in the first two installments, but there are enough bread crumbs being laid out already that I'm ready to follow them for awhile and see where they're headed. Mind you, it doesn't hurt that an old pro like Neill is in the mix, nor does the fact that he's joined by Robert Forster, who plays Madsen's surrogate uncle and a former Alcatraz guard. The whole thing strikes me as a bit of mysterious and entertaining fun, with the potential for some really dark stuff to go down.moreless
  • Quite good actually

    7.5
    The first episode of Alcatraz was quite good actually. It offered everything for a fan of mystery and drama. The premise is original and tempting. The story revolves slowly and in moderate way so it will keep you hang up and waiting for the next episode. Sounds familiar? Of course it does. I like the casting, and I've missed Hugo. He was one of my favorite characters on Lost, and I'm glad he's coming back. Many other new faces for me, but with in time I might get used to them. I hope it gets another season, but mostly I hope it won't end just like Lost did.moreless
Ken Pogue

Ken Pogue

Old Alan Sylvane, Sr.

Guest Star

Bumper Robinson

Bumper Robinson

Bobby

Guest Star

Camille Sullivan

Camille Sullivan

Sonya

Guest Star

Jeffrey Pierce

Jeffrey Pierce

Jack Sylvane

Recurring Role

David Hoflin

David Hoflin

Thomas "Tommy" Madsen

Recurring Role

Leon Rippy

Leon Rippy

Dr. Milton Beauregard

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (4)

    • The door code to enter New Alcatraz is 6323.

    • Even though the show is set in San Francisco, and some of the pilot was filmed in the city and on Alcatraz itself, the producers of the show opted to film the rest in Vancouver, mainly because of the much more attractive production rebates than California and the city of San Francisco could offer, much to the chagrin of the San Francisco film industry.

    • The case file Hauser shows the gym employee attacked by Sylvane shows his middle initial as "F". On his death certificate, his middle name is Haughton. Also, the case file lists his date of birth as January 25th 1905 (which would have made him 58 in 1963!) while his death certificate says it's (a more believable) June, 1923. Also, the case file lists misconduct reports from McNeil Island dated 1910-1912, which (by the files DOB) would imply he's been incarcerated since he was 5 years old!

    • Lucy Banerjee (showing Detective Madsen and Diego Soto surveillance footage of Sylvane): Meet Jack Sylvane: 85 years young.
      According to his death certificate, Jack Sylvane's date of birth was, June 18, 1923, which would make him closer to 89 years old as of the episode's airdate. It is also made clear this episode is set in the "present day", not 2008.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Emerson Houser: (to Detective Rebecca Madsen following a huge reveal about her grandfather's status at Alcatraz) If you want to stay and find him you have to prove to me every day that you deserve to be here.
      Dr. Diego Soto: Is anyone else's head exploding right now?

  • NOTES (3)

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • The information in Jack Sylvane's case file shown to the assaulted gym employee by Hauser indicates Jack Sylvane served time at McNeil Island State Penitentiary (in Washington State) from 1910 to 1912 (The dates on the file would be clearly inconsistent with Jack Sylvane's age as one of the "63's"). Also, read from the "Reason for Transfer" section: "...also wishes to call attention to the need for eliminating the insanitary [sic] condition.. from this mans's bird breeding activities here..."


      This is an allusion to real-life prisoner Rober Stroud a/k/a "The Birdman of Alcatraz" in the time of his incarceration (which began in 1909 as well as the location of part of it (McNeil Island). For the record, Stroud actually began keeping birds while in Leavenworth, not McNeil Island.

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