ALCATRAZ Showrunner On Connecting ‘A-Stories’ With Flashbacks; New Ep 11 Promo


Alcatraz co-showrunner Jennifer Johnson has offered some insight into how the show changed during the showrunner hand-over which saw the departure of Elizabeth Sarnoff. We also have a new cut of the promo for Monday’s “Webb Porter” episode.

Johnson, who took over the showrunner reigns with Daniel Pyne when original showrunner Elizabeth Sarnoff left (Episode 7, or there abouts), talks about how Alcatraz changed under their watch:

The flashbacks were always fantastic, really vivid and alive, and we just wanted to make sure that the A stories were moving as fast as the premise promised. So we made that adjustment. It’s nothing that anybody [as a viewer will notice], because they’ll be seeing it for the first time. [There were not really changes in philosophy,] it was just to make the A stories more at the forefront of the show and make the flashbacks reflect what was happening in the A story a little more

Her take on the dynamics between the show’s flashbacks and present-day stories:

My favorite thing is the dynamic between the characters and how people act under pressure, the choices that they make under pressure, so we’re developing those characters and their relationships more deeply, and every episode we learn something new about them. So I enjoy that the most, and then I love the flashbacks. They are short stories within the episodes and they’re beautiful and textured and feel like Escape From Alcatraz and they’re beautifully shot. And then the present-day stories, I love, too. They’re an incredible challenge, as all procedurals are, and these particular – how to balance the finding of clues with people who don’t really exist [laughs].

Source: Assignment X

I agree that the flashbacks represent the most engaging aspect of the show, but ironically, one of the problems with Alcatraz is that there’s not enough ‘connection’ between those flashbacks and the present day story — they feel too separate. Perhaps the show’s ‘memory wipe’ conceit doesn’t help in that regard (the procedural element certainly doesn’t), but I’d love for more front and backstory progression.

This shouldn’t be confused with a lust purely for answers; but the sense that we’re getting somewhere, that there’s enough story to unravel. However, the flashbacks have started to stagnate and it feels to me like the show is spinning its wheels a little bit, which is frustrating since they only have 13 episodes this season. Raising the question: how many of the 10-aired episodes have moved the bigger serialized story?

Now, I like Alcatraz, and I want to love it. As much as one can, I think that a second season could see a marked improvement, because the show is mythos and it is seriable, and you can almost scratch the potential beneath the surface.

But with just 3 hours left this season, can they push the story forward and deliver the numbers to make another season possible, or has it been left too late? Who knows what FOX will do (the numbers aren’t great), but story-wise, a lot will hinge on what’s behind the Big Heavy Door, et al, as that will essentially be a peek into Season 2 and a reflection on the journey do far.

Fingers crossed.

Looking ahead to Monday’s episode, FOX has dropped this new promo cut for the season’s penultimate episode, “Webb Porter”:

You can catch Alcatraz live, Mondays @9/8c on FOX


Is Your Show Cancelled Or Renewed?
Get free email alerts when serialized shows are officially cancelled, renewed or revived!


  1. WaySeeker says

    I was talking to a co-worker who watches the show and she said what I was feeling. That this show is annoying BECAUSE these people are coming back to commit the same rimes they were incarerated for in the first place all over again, and being punished all over again.
    What really stuck in our craws is the latest one, where they turn an innocent man INTO a criminal. It is so unjust! If these guys aren’t responsible for their own actions, then all these innocent people are being hurt, including the inmates themselves (they are being used against their will to do bad tings). But this time they get no trail — they just get hunted, shot or put into a new cell!

    Like: Thumb up 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *