The cast and creative team behind freshman Fox drama Alcatraz were on hand at WonderCon 2012 to talk about what fans can expect from the season finale. In a mystery/action combination that has drawn parallels to Lost, Alcatraz follows a federal agent (Sam Neill of Jurassic Park) who enlists a police detective and an expert on the history of the island prison to help him track down a group of inmates that disappeared in 1963 and have since returned in present-day San Francisco to continue their criminal activities. The stars present at the panel were Jorge Garcia (Lost), Sarah Jones (Big Love), Parminder Nagra (E.R.), Jonny Coyne (The Bill) and Robert Forster (Heroes). Also present were executive producers Jennifer Johnson and Daniel Pyne, as well as co-creators Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt. Hit the jump to check out our panel recap for Alcatraz.
The panel kicked off the event with a high-octane montage that acted as a teaser of sorts for the 2 hour season finale, which airs Monday, March 26th at 8pm EST on Fox. Fans of the show will be happy to know that Detective Rebecca Madsen (Jones) finally comes face-to-face with Tommy Madsen (David Hoflin), the man who killed her partner who just so happens to be her grandfather and an escaped Alcatraz inmate. (Fans of the classic car chase scene from Bullitt will be happy to hear that the showrunners painstakingly recreated the race through the San Francisco streets for Alcatraz’s finale.) Check out what the cast and crew had to say below:
- When asked about the inspiration for the show, co-creator Lilien said that he’d wanted to combine mystery and mythology into a show for some time and that the idea of Alcatraz literally came to him in a dream. He liked the twist that the prison closed due to a conspiracy and every one of the inmates disappeared. He took the idea to Wynbrandt and they developed it from there.
- When asked, “Why Alcatraz?” Wynbrandt responded, “The word itself evokes [something] Gothic and mysterious. Robert Kennedy signed the papers to shut it down. If there’s a Kennedy involved, it has to be a conspiracy.”
- Garcia quipped that on shows where the secretive plot lines can get a bit confusing (alluding to his time spent on Lost), he said, “Going with the flow is what you learn for these shows.”
- Johnson commented on the fact that the writing team figures out the world of Alcatraz a little more with each passing inmate and episode.
- On how Jones got the lead role, she said, “I just kinda fell into it…even though I’m not the Evangeline Lily type.”
- Since Nagra’s character, Dr. Lucy Banerjee, is currently in the show in the 1960s, she occurs in a lot of flashbacks. Nagra said she thoroughly enjoyed working with the actors who played the inmates. In a potential [SPOILER], Johnson said that they certainly wouldn’t “waste her only in the past.”
- Johnson spoke briefly about the finale, saying that audiences would meet a character they haven’t seen yet and he (or she) would be working with Warden James (Coyne). The finale will reveal the character behind the Warden’s story. Johnson also said that there was a certain “wink” from the Warden in this week’s episode that clued the audience into a very important scene or person.
- When asked if his girlfriend Nikki (Jeananne Goossen) on Alcatraz would meet a similar fate to his girlfriend Libby (Cynthia Watros) on Lost, Garcia replied that he’d been “cock-blocked by Kevin Bacon,” owing to the fact that Goossen has a role in an upcoming TV movie starring Bacon.
- According to Wynbrandt and Johnson, the 63s (the escaped inmates) heal faster and age slower than normal people due to colloidal silver in their blood. Answers surrounding this mysterious source of the blood will be found in next week’s finale.
- Lilien remarked, “Our criminals are too good-looking on Alcatraz.”
- Pyne commented that, “There are more of them [inmates] back than we know about.”
- Coyne talked about the continuing power play between the Warden and Deputy Warden E. B. Tiller (Jason Butler Harner). He says that the tension between them will continue to build.
- Wynbrandt commented that, “It’s not just what happened to the 63s, it’s what happened to everyone involved,” and the show will eventually reveal how they came together.
- Johnson stated that the Warden likes to create competition among his staff and stressed that the events of the past will have an influence on the present.
- [SPOILER] There is an antagonistic scene in the finale between Tommy Madsen and his brother, Ray Archer (Forster), but it is further explored with a touching scene between the two men at an infirmary in 1960, which is also shown in the finale.
- Jones’ character will drive her Ford Mustang Fastback for the car chase, just like Steve McQueen did in Bullitt.
- Lilien said that “downstairs” will be opened at the end of the season and they will show people what’s behind the door.
- Johnson and Pyne teased that there is a big cliffhanger at the end of the finale, because they aren’t sure about the progression into a second season yet. The finale will satisfy a lot of questions for fans, however.
- Favorite inmates of the cast and crew are as follows: For Jones, it was Sonny Burnett (Theo Rossi); for Nagra and Coyne, it was Ernest Cobb (Joe Egender); Garcia’s favorite was Jeff Pierce’s Jack Sylvane; Lilien’s was actually the first guard, Guy Hastings (Jim Parrack) but he did say that Lucy (Nagra) was their favorite 63; Wynbrandt preferred the Ames Brothers (Graham Shiels and Travis Aaron Wade), but he also mentioned that Kit Nelson (Michael Eklund) frightened all of them; and Forster’s favorite is, of course, his brother Tommy Madsen (Hoflin).
- As for what fans can expect if there is to be a second season, questions are asked as to what happened to Rebecca’s parents, Doc’s (Garcia) backstory is touched on and if Neill has anything to do with it there will be “more death. He wants less lines and more shooting.”
The season finale of Alcatraz airs at 8pm EST this Monday, March 26th. Just for fun, relive the car chase from Bullitt below before you see it re-enacted on the small screen.