T-Bag's Latest Prison Breakout 'Will Break Your Heart,' Promises Robert Knepper

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Listen up, Pretty. Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell will execute another prison escape when Robert Knepper reprises the reptilian villain on A&E’s Breakout Kings (Sundays at 10/9c), a new drama created by Prison Break‘s own Matt Olmstead and Nick Santora. What’s new with T-Bag? What, thankfully, is not? And what’s the “huge” reason he’s gone on the lam this time, to be hunted down by veteran U.S. Marshals Laz Alonso and Domenick Lombardozzi and “breakout kings” Jimmi Simpson, Malcolm Goodwin and Serinda Swan? Knepper gave TVLine a peek at his latest run.

TVLINE | What’s our boy T-Bag up when we see him this Sunday?
Nick Santora – one of my favorite writers on Prison Break – wrote me an email right before we started shooting, saying, “You know what? I think this might be the best dialogue I’ve ever written for T-Bag.” And I’m here to tell you it was. It was all the familiar things you love to hate about T-Bag – the danger, the humor – but it was interesting to highlight him in this episode by saying, “Let’s try to get in his head a bit. Let’s figure out why he’s doing this.” And the pathos and emotion that comes out is just…. I could not have just jumped into this thing if I hadn’t had four years of basically getting ready for it.

TVLINE | Is there a particular reason why he is escaping at this point?
There is a huge reason. I’m not going to give it away, because it’s so beautiful, and it’s such an incredibly important reason. I will tell you that he’s not escaping to escape. It’s not just, “I want to be free.” He has a very, very specific reason for doing it, and it will break your heart.

TVLINE | It appears he’s still got the bum hand.
[Laughs] Well, he didn’t grow a new one back.

TVLINE | You must have been thrilled; I remember your stories about how painful the Prison Break prosthetic was.
They made a mold of my hand, and then they made me a hand the exact same size as my hand, so every time I put that sucker on….

TVLINE | Your fingers lost all sensation.
Everything did! It was nuts. So I was not too upset when they couldn’t find those hands! [Breakout Kings] found a great company that made one that literally fit like a glove.

TVLINE | How was it slipping back into T-Bag’s slithery skin?
You’d know better than me, but I can’t think of any other character in television that’s gone from one show to the next. Kelsey Grammer (Cheers/Frasier) is, I guess, one example, but I’m talking a real character-y kind of part. So it was a real love fest to do it. And to have the same [writers] involved — and have Sandy Bookstaver, one of my favorites from Prison Break, directing — made for a nice homecoming. He and I just kind of winked at each other through the whole show.

TVLINE | Are any references made to T-Bag’s Prison Break days?
Just the sheer fact that I’m there.

TVLINE | So it’s not like once he breaks out, he has an aside, “Suck on that, Scofield.”
No, no…. [Laughs] There’s none of that. Listen, this is a new show, and I think it’s going to be a breakout hit, so this isn’t about reliving Prison Break. This is about one character that lives on. And the great thing about this episode is the show goes on living, these characters out to get T-Bag go on living. And T-Bag will go on living.

TVLINE | What’s next for you? Are you going up for any pilots?
I’m in pilot season heaven or hell, depending on how you want to look at it. [Knepper has since landed a role on the Civil War-themed NBC pilot Reconstruction.] I’m also about to venture into “tweeting.” Someone’s already got [the Twitter handle] RobertKnepper — someone’s trying to be me — but you’ll see me pop up somehow. I’ve never done anything like that before, so my girlfriend is like, “You’re not going to stay on that all the time are you?!” “No, I’m just letting people know what I’m doing!” And I’m going over to France, to play Frank Sinatra in a movie about a French pop icon who in the early ’70s was responsible for bringing disco to France.

TVLINE | Do you sing in the movie? Do we want to hear you sing?
Hey! Listen, mister! All we did when I grew up was sing around the piano, so you know what? F–k  you! [Laughs] But yeah, I sing one song in the movie. Maybe it’s a new career – “Robert Knepper sings Frank Sinatra’s greatest hits!”

My fellow Prison Break fans, will you be tuning in for T-Bag’s encore?

Comments (23)

  • “Well, he didn’t grow a new one back!” That brought back memories of Season 2 of Angel in which evil lawyer Lindsey McDonald (Christian Kane) had had his hand cut off by Angel (David Boreanaz). Kane went through most of season 2 with a very uncomfortable prosthesis over his real hand. Then his evil law firm got Lindsey a hand transplant. So technically he didn’t grow it back, but a demon was brought in to ensure that it would attach properly. Mr. Bagwell, run, do not walk, to Wolfram & Hart!

    Comment by Doris – March 18, 2011 07:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Wtf does Angel have to do with this??

      Comment by asdfg – May 12, 2012 10:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ill just say this, This is the one single best thing they did to this awsome show, i mean Robert plays the character so great, and i really would like to see some more faces from prison break!

    Comment by Prison break fan! – March 18, 2011 07:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • ABSOLUTELY!! I LOVED Robert Knepper as T-Bag… so excited to see him reprise the role. I heard he was going to be back but wasn’t sure which episode… will have to tune in this Saturday then!

    Also excited to see his future ventures as well! Glad to have him back on TV!

    Comment by BabyBird – March 18, 2011 07:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • You’d know better than me, but I can’t think of any other character in television that’s gone from one show to the next.

    I love T-Bag and I love Robert Knepper, but there is this character called Detective Munch played by Richard Belzer who has been Munch in 10 different shows over 17 years. To quote Wikipedia

    <blockquote cite= Munch has become the only fictional character, played by a single actor, to appear on ten different television shows. These shows were on five different networks: NBC (Homicide: Life on the Street, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, "Law & Order: Trial by Jury", and "30 Rock"); Fox (The X-Files; Arrested Development); UPN (The Beat); HBO (The Wire) and ABC (Jimmy Kimmel Live!)

    Comment by LindaH – March 18, 2011 07:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Correct; that is why he did not go so far as to state it as fact.

      Comment by Matt Webb Mitovich – March 18, 2011 07:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I dont think he was the same SVU Munch tho. I think thats just the name he was given each time

      Comment by Soleesol – April 4, 2012 06:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Robert Knepper is one of the most talented men in hollywood. He was born to play T-Bag. He will win an emmy one day :O)
    I can’t wait to see him on tv again!

    Comment by Aileen – March 18, 2011 07:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “Suck on that, Scofield.”

    I would really like to see a nod to PB, maybe a reference to how T-Bag keeps escaping from prison.

    First he breaks out from Fox River, then from the prison in Panama, and now from wherever he is locked in.

    There’s no prison that can hold him, and he doesn’t need a stupid full-body tattoo and complicated plans to do it! heh

    Comment by Michael Sacal – March 18, 2011 07:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • But he is always getting thrown back to prison. What about That?

      Comment by Bamidele John Olagoke – June 9, 2012 05:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • You had me at:
    “Listen up, Pretty.” YOMANK (You Owe Me A New Keyboard)

    Serious, I LOVED T-Bag. He was such a horrible, funny person. And “reptilian” is an excellent adjective. I think he goes down as one of the best TV-villains of the decade (and should be somewhere on the all-time list).

    I will definitely be tuning in JUST to watch T-bag. Which means I may even have to tune in earlier so I know the story backdrop.

    Brilliant plot/casting call by this new show.

    Comment by SnazzyO – March 18, 2011 08:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • awesome that he going be returning to that character wondering could we see more prison break characters popping up in breakout Kings I hope so.

    Comment by Mike – March 18, 2011 08:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m now keeping my fingers crossed that Breakout Kings can snag a guest appearance by Detective Munch so that two! more! series! can join the “Munchiverse.” :)

    Comment by Rob J. – March 18, 2011 09:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Richard Belzer has played Detective Munch on “Homicide” “X-files” “Law and Order” “The Beat” “Arrested Development” Almost 200 episodes on 8 series across 4 different networks.

    T-Bag has a long way to go to catch up!!!!

    Comment by G – March 18, 2011 05:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i think its awesome hes back would love to see gretchen too

    Comment by maria* – March 19, 2011 10:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Robert is such a talented actor!! My husband and I loved to watch “T-Bag” in Prison Break. We own the series, and watch it often. We started watching Breakout Kings from the pilot, and when the preview of “T-Bag” came on, we pretty much jumped up and down!! :D It would be great to see a few more episodes where they use him, even if it’s nothing more than an interview to profile another “damaged machine”. Loved That!!!

    Comment by OhioGirl – March 21, 2011 01:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I knew the character was to good to die with Prison Break.

    Comment by MIKE ZVIRBLIS – March 21, 2011 12:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • dat was great seeing bagwell back hopefully he will b n more episodes

    Comment by shonuff – March 22, 2011 02:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Knepper is a really talented actor! I really hope that some day they will make a show about his T Bag role and his life in prison. He For me was the best actor on prison break because if he added that small part that made a big difference!I can’t wait until the new show he is going to be in!

    Comment by T-Bag Rox – March 26, 2011 09:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i like it this moves
    this moves bast of the bast in the world

    Comment by menelik admasu – April 4, 2011 01:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think Breakout Kings missed the boat, and T-bag should have been one of the fugitives that were set out to catch the fugitives, instead of being a minor role.

    Comment by Ryan – April 16, 2011 10:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love you T-Bag…

    Comment by jen – May 9, 2011 05:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love T-Bag. I have an unhealthy attraction to him. Look forward to seeing him again.

    Comment by Rosie – November 16, 2011 11:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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