Convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat have pulled off what is now considered one of the longest prison escapes in New York history.
What’s probably most striking about the escape is the similarities to the Fox television series, “Prison Break,” which aired from 2005 to 2009.
In the television series “Prison Break,” successful engineer Michael Scofield (played by Wentworth Miller) executes an elaborate plan to break his older brother Lincoln, who was framed for murder, out of jail. To do so, Scofield robs a bank to join his brother in jail and break him out from the inside.
The biggest similarity between the real-life jail break and the fictional one is the relationship between the convicts and a particular prison worker.
On Friday, 51-year-old prison worker Joyce Mitchell was arrested on charges of providing the men with the tools they needed to break out.
In “Prison Break,” Scofield befriends the prison nurse, secures her trust, and eventually recruits her into his escape plan, asking her to leave the door to the infirmary unlocked — a crucial part of their path out of the prison.
Joyce Mitchell apparently told investigators she planned to drive the men away from the prison, but later changed her mind. The New York Daily News cites sources who claim Mitchell confessed she was going to take the convicted murderers to her home, where they would kill her husband.
While the prison nurse in “Prison Break” never arranged to have the convicts kill someone for her, the close relationship between the inmates and the prison worker is uncanny.
In addition, CNN cites authorities who say the inmates managed to leave their cells “under the cover of darkness to rehearse their escape in tunnels.”
In “Prison Break,” Michael and his hesitant cellmate make tools to burrow a hole in the wall of their cell, and rehearse their escape meticulously. On the night of the breakout, Michael (and 7 other criminals who weaseled their way into the plan) climb through the hole in the wall, and squirrel through the innermost pathways of the prison, ducking into sewer pipes, underground tunnels and long-abandoned rooms.
The home stretch is a thick bundle of wires that stretches from the prison to the wall that separates it from the outside world.
Most of them get out, some do not. But the principal characters, Michael and Lincoln are free and running for their lives. A huge manhunt ensues. Investigators later find out the nurse helped them escape and she’s arrested.
This, of course, is not meant to minimise the very real danger the convicted murderers pose to the public, nor make light of the vicious crimes they committed, but it’s a compelling look at how, quite strangely, life and art imitate each other, for better or worse.
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