'Prison Break' boss defends tragic twist: 'It IS a happy ending'

Prisonbreakfinale_lWARNING: Stop reading if you have not watched the series finale of Prison Break. I mean it. Everyone else, onward and downward…

I know. Since Prison Break concluded its four-year run tonight by sending its chiseled protagonist to the big slammer in the sky, you’re grieving. You want answers. You want justice. You want someone to pay.

Would you settle for answers?

‘Cause that’s all I’ve got. But at least there are a lot of ‘em, straight from executive producer Matt Olmstead. Read ‘em and… oh, I see. You’re already weeping. Well, read ‘em, anyway. Maybe it’ll help.

Why’d you have to kill him?!
MATT OLMSTEAD:
It started as a discussion with Wentwoth [Miller] around Season 2. He brought up a good point: His character’s hands are as dirty as anyone’s. If you look at the initial act that he committed — robbing a bank to get into prison to break his brother out — there were ramifications to that; a lot of people got hurt. Not by them, but when they rattled the cage of the company that was after them, the body count started to pile out. And Michael was aware of this. And we’ve addressed his guilt throughout the show. But at a certain point, it felt nobler to have the character die so that others could live. It just felt a little weird for us to have Michael and Sara holding hands on the beach walking away — though that would be gratifying in the moment. Knowing that there was pretty much a scorched path behind them in terms of what happened, [having him die] balanced the books for us. He also paid the ultimate sacrifice and, in doing so, everyone else close to him was able to live, including his child.

Michael-Sara fans will argue that they deserved a happy ending
after watching these two go to hell and back for four seasons. What
would you say to them?
OLMSTEAD:
For me, it is a happy ending. Look at the very first
episode of the season when Michael realizes Sara’s alive. They have a
chance to run away, and they both elect not to because, as two
people of conscience, they can’t live with what they both now have
experienced. And at the end of the finale, when they’re on the beach and talking about the baby that’s coming, that’s a huge victory in
that they both stood their ground and, with the help of other people,
brought down the ultimate antagonist. So they have their moment.

Can we assume that we’ll learn more about the ultimate sacrifice
Michael made in the two-hour direct-to-DVD prequel movie [due July 28]?
OLMSTEAD:
Yes, it dramatizes what happened to Michael. The nose bleed
that reared its ugly head at the end of [tonight's finale] was a factor
in his ultimate demise in that he knew that he probably didn’t have
that long to live, but it wasn’t the sole factor. It informed certain
decisions that lead to his demise.

The two-hour movie picks up right after the finale, right?
OLMSTEAD:
Yeah, it takes place fairly soon after they’re exonerated.

What’s the premise?
OLMSTEAD:
Sara is on the hook for [killing] Michael’s mother and she
gets locked up while pregnant. The tables are turned… once a doctor in
prison now imprisoned, and Michael’s on the outside. The majority of
the cast is back. It’s Michael, Lincoln, Sara, Sucre, T-Bag, Mahone… all the heavy-hitters.

Seeing Paul Adelstein back as Kellerman was a nice surprise. How’d that come about?
OLMSTEAD:
We reached out to Paul and pitched him the idea of what
his character would be doing, and he liked it very much. And then I
told him that we would be jumping ahead four years to show where all
the characters are, and I asked him where he would want [Kellerman] to
be; he was included in the [creative process]. We traded
a lot of e-mails and the ideas ran the gamut. We ultimately arrived at
what it was, which is he rose to a position of power, but that the
widow of his [former] partner that he killed revisits him. In the scene
I wrote, she spits on his shoes. [On the day of shooting], I got a call
from the director, Kevin Hooks, and he said, "Paul’s here, and he [thinks] she would
spit in his face." And I said, "Have at it." So she spit in his face.
And then he’s in the limo afterward and you can see that private
moment where [he realizes] he can never outrun his past. That’s one of
my favorite sequences in the flash-forward. He played the self-loathing
and regret beautifully.

Did you encounter any problems getting ABC to loan him to you since he’s now on Private Practice?
OLMSTEAD:
Everybody was very accommodating, and I think it all stems
from a universal goodwill towards Paul as a person. He’s a really good
guy and people wanted to do him a favor. And we were able to get all
his scenes done in one day.

Was there anyone you wanted to get back for the finale and couldn’t?
OLMSTEAD:
The only person we couldn’t get was Marshall Allman, who
played Lincoln’s son. We would have loved to have gotten him.

Looking back on the four seasons, anything you would have done differently?
OLMSTEAD:
I don’t have a whole lot of regrets. [Another journalist]
wrote that we left it all out on the field by the end of the series,
and I feel the same way. Every story was exhausted. Every creative
juice wrung out. It was a completely worthwhile experience, and I know
the other writers [agree]. It was a difficult show to pull
off, and we did it.

Comments (588 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2 3 38
  • Sparky

    WTF, Sara and Michael together was the way it should have ended. The guy deserved a happy ever after ending. Big time BS. Not a happy fan…

  • The_1337

    BS response to a BS ending. Thanks for nothing.

  • Crystal

    Wondering why did his tombstone read 1974-2005?

    • Louis

      to let people know that he died soon after giving up scylla…at 31

  • Ian

    Ending was perfectly fit to the series. He paid the ultimate price so that everyone around him would be safe. He always knew it would probably end that way.

  • Adam

    There was no need to kill him off. All we knew, he was cured from his condition after the surgery by the Company.
    http://tvdonewright.com/2009/05/15/upfront-preview-fox-still-has-some-bones-to-pick-plus-new-shows/

  • Monica

    My biggest question is did he at least get to see his kid before he died.
    I hate that he died…I guess I will the rest of my answers in July.

    • Frank

      i dont think he got to see his kid because his tombstone reads he lived to just over 31 years and lincoln mentions him just turning 31 to sarah when theyre in vegas. so im guessin he died about a month after the series ended.

    • Ivan

      He died while trying to break Sara out.

    • Chris

      He couldnt have, he died while breaking sarah out and she was still pregnant.

  • Kate

    I hope he waited to at least for his son to be born before he killed himself (which I got from this interview, not the finale). But if I am following the dates correctly…he didn’t.

  • Christina

    This is absolutely the worst idea the writers ever had. Way to completely ruin a wonderful 4 year run. This endind makes me never want to watch the show again, let alone buy the “movie” or any season dvds. This has got to be one of, if not *the* worst ending to a show I have ever seen.

    • Tramaine

      Cristina im guessing you didn’t pay attention to the DVD, he said he was going to die anyways he didn’t have long to live form his brain tumor. Pay attention next time

      • bk

        First of all they never showed him die. It’s just what we assume. Second, his mother had multiple surgeries which is why she continued to live when she had the same past as Michael. If the company were to take him and fix him they could have. And don’t say the company ended because they lost one old guy. Not buying it. Point is they left the story open in case they wanted to continue it some day. After all, Sara is not free, she’s on the run. Not something most people consider free and rarely is it possible to stay on the run no matter where you hide. This is a big hole in the plot to me. They still have yet to be free.

  • alan

    I’m also wondering about the date on the tombstone…

  • Justin

    Such a slap in the face to every fan that has invested in this show & supported it all of these years. Thanks for nothing.

  • Melissa

    Crystal
    His tombstone would say 2005 because the show doesn’t run in real time. Everything that happened happened in the length of like a year.

    • Frank

      less it all happened in like 4 months at most because in the 4th season they talk about fox river and i think its michael that mentions 3 months have passed im not sure if it was him but yea, everything happened in about 3-4 months.

      • zach

        it happened it at least 9 months. maricruz was pregnent when sucre was in fox river. and hes at the hospitol holding his newborn baby sometime after escaping sona

  • Bev

    I got awfully tired of the show by the third season and haven’t watched many of the eps of s4. But I did tune in tonight. I thought they ended it as best they could. Michael’s death was sad, but I can see why the producers made that decision.
    I noticed about his death being in 2005 as well. Are they telling us that the events of the whole series were over just a few months? The show began in 2005.
    Head hurts. No need to think about it any more.
    Bev

  • Rob

    It ended perfectly, bravo… Thanks for the article Auss

  • alan

    I think the timeline of the show is around 4 months. So this means that Michael never got to see his son either.

    • zach

      it had to be at least 9 months. maricruz was pregnent when sucre was in fox river. and gives birth sometime after sona burns down

  • Renee

    If you ask me, this ending was just the writer’s way of squeezing a few more dollars out of a cancelled show. If they hadn’t done something drastic like kill off THE MAIN CHARACTER, there would be no premise for a 2 hour movie prequal, available for SALE on dvd.
    That’s pretty low, Matt Olmstead…

    • Ian

      That is not low, @Renee. It’s alot of hard work to create something like this show. They’re just doing their job and creating entertainment for us. Why bash them for that if that’s how they make their living?

      • Ami

        It is the networks job to listen to the consumers and fans who pay their damn salary to make a better decision about the final chapter in the life of the characters that made us fall in love with the show in the beginning and keep us on the edge of our seat for four seasons to kill the fans along with Michael. It was a cheap shot by rich executives who do not care.

      • Eli

        Because the way they make there living sucks

Page: 1 2 3 38
Add your comment
The rules: Keep it clean, and stay on the subject - or we may delete your comment. If you see inappropriate language, e-mail us. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field.

When you click on the "Post Comment" button above to submit your comments, you are indicating your acceptance of and are agreeing to the Terms of Service. You can also read our Privacy Policy.

Advertisement

Latest Videos in TV

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP