Alcatraz opened to strong ratings last night, but as is the case with any supernatural crime procedural with mythology as thick as Jorge Garcia’s curl mane, you’re probably wondering where it all goes from here.
When in Vancouver last year, a group of reporters — including EW — got a chance to tour the set and pick the brains of cast members and EP-director Jack Bender about what’s coming up on the show. Here are five scooplets from our sit-downs. (To watch our chat with Jorge Garcia, click here.)
WHERE ARE THE PRISONERS?/WHY ARE THEY HERE? This piece of mythology is something that will “be part of every episode,” says star Sarah Jones. “You also get a little bit closer [to learning] about why those guys are here, who’s running it.” The viewers learned in yesterday’s episode that both Hauser (Sam Neill) and Lucy (Parminder Nagra) both — somehow! — were alive and well in the 1960s and had connections to Alcatraz (Hauser as a young guard and Lucy as an ageless doctor). So they must be connected, right? Well, Jones admitted, “I don’t even know yet. I got my own theories about it because of the clues we get every episode, but I’m sure I’m not right. I’m sure I’ll be way off.”
THE TRUTH ABOUT REBECCA’S GRANDFATHER… One big revelation (for the audience and Rebecca!) in the first hour was that her grandfather was once a prisoner at Alcatraz. Later, we learned that he was there for killing his wife. But that’s just the beginning of the story. “Very soon, you’ll see why her grandfather went there and how that affects her. When that happens, it’s a shock because I think at least the way I kind of saw things was that it makes her question why she’s a cop,” says Jones.
WILL THERE EVER BE CASES INVOLVING REAL-LIFE ALCATRAZ INMATES? In short, no. But the long answer is that many of the cases are influenced by real-life occurrences, according to Bender. “Certainly the writers have done an enormous amount of research; although, I don’t think Al Capone is showing up or the guy Clint Eastwood played in Alcatraz or the Birdman of Alcatraz,” Bender says. “I think that pretty much they’re going to be invented but certainly there are elements of criminals who have been in Alcatraz and other places.”
HOW FAST WILL THERE BE ANSWERS? As you might expect, answers will be revealed “slowly,” says Bender, but the show’s procedural element will be used as a hook to reel in new viewers as it advances. “I think networks are afraid of the mythology of a show overshadowing an audience’s ability to come aboard the train if they’ve missed a few, and I think our show is going to walk that fine line because there’s going to be a story each week that begins and ends, and that [longer mythology] that will be revealed in a slow fashion so that the mystery stays alive and well.”
EPISODE SCOOP “We’re doing an episode about the segregated block. All the black prisoners were not allowed to mingle or eat with — this was 1963,” reveals Bender. “There’s an episode coming up where we’re dealing with those issues.”