All The Glaringly Obvious Plot Holes I’ve Found While Rewatching Prison Break

Contributor: Melissa Mason

The perils of back to back lockdowns keep coming, because like so many of you, I’ve run out of TV to watch. I smash anything new in one weekend, so when there’s a lull between fresh shows, I have to resort to rewatching nostalgic stuff. Except I did all the good ones like The Wire and even the shit-good ones like The OC, so now we’re down to shows you just know are not going to hold up. Like Prison Break.

Prison Break (streaming on Disney+) was THE MOST CREATIVE GENIUS INCREDIBLE show when it was released in 2005. I was either shoving everyone out of the lounge room at 8.30pm once a week, or carefully setting the old Foxtel box to record it. Or both. It was this meme, basically.

The premise was, to be fair, majestic. Hot man with great eyes (Wentworth Miller as Michael) tattoos the entire layout of a maximum security prison onto his body, then does a crime to get thrown into the same jail his older brother Lincoln (Dominic whatshisface) is currently languishing in, on death row. He uses the tattoo to map a breakout, but of course encounters plenty of hiccups along the way.

That was season one. I’m not even going to bother with ~spoiler alert~ here because surely you watched this show. DER, GUYS. THEY ESCAPE THE PRISON. Season two is when they’re out and on the run. That’s where I’m currently up to – I vaguely remember another prison, possibly in Mexico, but I’m not up to that yet / maybe that was a fever dream. 

So, surprise surprise – Prison Break is not as incredible as I remembered it to be. For starters, the acting is tepid at best. It has these weird ad-break cuts after every big scene, because this is a show from the Ye Olde Days Of Yore when we had to watch free-to-air, and also had those phones you could hurl against a wall and all that would happen was the battery popped off the back. 

It is also FILLED with plot holes. I need to talk about the plot holes.

1. How Did Michael Know For Sure He’d Be Sent To Lincoln’s Prison?

Google “Prison Break” and it’s just 950 photos in this vein. Image: Fox.

Like, extremely ballsy move to shoot up a bank and just EXPECT to be sent to the exact prison your brother was in. The only prison you have an escape route meticulously planned for. What if he got a really nice judge who was like, you know what, you shot a gun in the air but the bank teller lady said you were heaps nervous and also polite, it’s your first offence, off you go to a low security prison for a year honey. Ridiculous.

2. Surely There Was A Better Way To Get Lincoln Out

So you’re telling me that a man with an IQ off the charts, who has photographic memory and some other superhuman talents in the brain department that make him the most quick-thinking prick in the world, decided BREAKING HIS BROTHER OUT OF PRISON was the best way to deal with wrongful imprisonment? 

I, a stupid person, can clearly see how idiotic this plan is. For starters, multiple things can go wrong (they do). Secondly, once you’re out, you’re literally going to be chased by every cop and crazy-American-with-gun (they are). Thirdly, if you get caught again you’re absolutely fucked forever. Literally just call the FBI. 

3. How Is That Tattoo Readable

Idiotic levels of sneakery put into this tattoo design. Image: Fox

I get that Michael’s this whiz kid man who can see through time (basically), but that tattoo is unhinged. It’s so vague, the show has to draw these lines along it to show viewers how on Earth it shows the layout of the prison. These lines often don’t even FOLLOW LINES IN THE TATT. They’ll be like “the points between the angel’s bottom right wing tips adjoining to the 45 degree angle made by the two buildings falling over on his bicep SHOWS THE CODE FOR ONE SCREW MICHAEL NEEDS TO GET TO FILE IT INTO AN ALLEN KEY. This really happens. I’m not making this shit up. 

4. The Bad Person Kills SO MANY PEOPLE

Truly, like 15 people die at the hands of someone connected to the Bad Person (I won’t reveal who that is because I’d forgotten and it was actually a great twist). The FBI would be noticing this!! You can’t pay LITERALLY EVERYONE OFF and also keep murdering innocent people every week without having some sort of authority figure tracking you down, ffs. 


See? It’s like the only promotional brief was “look suss, but hot”. Image: Fox.

All of this elaborate plan is based on Lincoln being innocent and jailed for a crime he didn’t commit. But the guy showed up to MURDER Terrence Steadman, only to find he was already dead. He was going to kill him! The only thing that stopped him from being an actual murderer was that the guy was ALREADY DEAD. So tell me again why we are rescuing him from prison?

What a stupid TV show. I fucking love it. 

Melissa is a freelance writer. You can find her on Instagram.