‘Prison Break’ Boss on That T-Bag and Whip Twist
[Spoiler Alert: Do not read ahead unless you’ve watched the May 23 episode of Prison Break. A major plot point is discussed below.]
“One of the rules of the season was to include as many of the original characters as we could—but they had to belong,” Prison Break creator Paul T. Scheuring says. “They had to have a reason for being in the narrative. For T-Bag, it’s easy for him to be the bad guy, easy for him to do nefarious things, but really, Michael wouldn’t get involved with him and neither would Lincoln, unless he served some kind of purpose. And on the flip side, I didn’t want T-Bag to be a guy who [snuck] around and killed people and did the usual T-Bag stuff.
“The one thing this guy has never really had is family,” he continues. “It would be a nice reveal if one of the guys in Michael’s escape group ended up being T-Bag’s son. Ultimately, Michael is making a massive ask of T-Bag, which is ‘I need you to do something I don’t do, but in exchange, I’m going to give you something beautiful.’ It shows that duality and paradox in T-Bag, which is, ‘Oh, he wants nothing more but to be normal and have a life. But to do that, he has to murder someone.’ There was a lot of thought behind that.”
And though the reveal was saved until nearly the end of the event series, both actors were looped in to their onscreen connection from the start.
“Robert was hesitant to take on the mantle of T-Bag again,” Scheuring explains. “He’s such an accomplished actor, and he has done so much, and this is an iconic role; internationally, everyone knows T-Bag. I said, ‘Look, there’s a greater story at the heart of it, which is you’re seeking out a destiny, but it turns out your destiny is your son.’ He really liked that; his eyes lit up, and he was like, ‘That’s what I want to do.’
“And in casting Auggie Prew for Whip, I had worked with Auggie before, so I knew how good he was,” he continues. (The duo worked together on the mini-series Klondike.) “He came in and met with us and asked the question of where the character goes. And I said, ‘They escape and travel, and in the end, he’s T-Bag’s son.’ He was like, ‘What?!’ He got so excited.”
Prison Break, Tuesdays, 9/8c, Fox