Season 1 follows the rescue of Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell), who is accused of murdering Terrence Steadman (John Billingsley), the brother of Vice President of the United States Caroline Reynolds (Patricia Wettig). Lincoln is sentenced to death and is incarcerated in Fox River State Penitentiary where he awaits his execution. Lincoln’s brother, brilliant structural engineer Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller), is convinced of Lincoln’s innocence and formulates an escape plan. In order to gain access to Fox River, Michael commits an armed robbery which results in his being sentenced to Fox River. In prison, Michael befriends the prison doctor Sara Tancredi (Sarah Wayne Callies) when he pretends to suffer from Type 1 diabetes, in order to gain daily access to the prison’s infirmary, when he receives his daily insulin shots. The brothers’ fight to ward off the execution is aided by their lifelong friend Veronica Donovan (Robin Tunney), who begins to investigate the conspiracy that put Lincoln in jail. However, they are hindered by covert agents, members of an organization known as The Company. The Company was responsible for framing Lincoln, and they did so because of Lincoln’s father Aldo Burrows (Anthony Denison), and his former connections with The Company. The brothers, along with six other inmates, Fernando Sucre (Amaury Nolasco), Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell (Robert Knepper), Benjamin Miles “C-Note” Franklin (Rockmond Dunbar), David “Tweener” Apolskis (Lane Garrison), John Abruzzi (Peter Stormare), and Charles “Haywire” Patoshik (Silas Weir Mitchell), who come to be known as the Fox River Eight, escape in the episode immediately prior to the season finale, after using their prison industry privileges to dig an escape tunnel underneath the prison.[/details]
Season 2 begins eight hours after the escape, focusing mainly on the eight escapees. Series creator Paul Scheuring describes the second season as “The Fugitive times eight” and likens it to the “second half of The Great Escape.” The fugitives split up and journey to locations across the country with the authorities close behind them as they each pursue their individual goals. Brad Bellick (Wade Williams) gets fired from the prison where he worked as the main guard and chases after the inmates himself for the reward money. Several of the escapees reunite in search of a large cache of money buried long ago by another Fox River inmate, Charles Westmoreland (Muse Watson). Federal agent Alexander Mahone (William Fichtner) is assigned to track down and capture the eight fugitives, but is revealed to be working for The Company, which wants all eight men dead. When Sara discovers her father, Governor Frank Tancredi (John Heard), has been killed, she meets with Michael, remaining with him as the brothers try to bring down now-President Reynolds, a Company member. To ensure the brothers’ safety, Sara allows herself to be arrested and faces trial. During the trial, the testimony of former Secret Service agent Paul Kellerman (Paul Adelstein), who used to work for The Company-controlled President, exonerates Lincoln and Sara. Half of the escapees are killed or recaptured, but the brothers make it to Panama. Michael, T-Bag, Mahone, and Bellick are arrested by the Panamanian authorities and imprisoned at the Penitenciaría Federal de Sona.[/details]
Season 3 follows Michael inside Sona and Lincoln on the outside in Panama. Sona is a prison that has been run by the inmates and guarded only from the outside due to a riot the year before. Burrows is quickly contacted by Gretchen Morgan (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) (a Company operative who was in charge of operations in Panama) who kidnapped his son LJ (Marshall Allman) and Sara, the woman Michael loves. He is told that The Company wants Scofield to break James Whistler (Chris Vance) out of Sona. The season follows Michael and Whistler’s trials in formulating an escape plan, as Michael has to deal with extreme tension and as Lincoln deals with The Company’s operative Gretchen Morgan. Sucre gets a job at the prison to aid Michael in his escape plan. When Lincoln attempts to rescue Sara and LJ following a clue provided by Sara, Gretchen claims to have beheaded Sara and sends Lincoln a head in a box as a warning. As the season ends, the pair manage to escape along with Mahone, and another inmate, Luis, leaving behind several accomplices including T-Bag and Bellick. Sucre’s identity is discovered by a prison guard and he is thrown into Sona just after the escape. LJ and Sofia (who was captured for a guarantee that Whistler would go with her) are traded for Whistler, and Michael seeks revenge against Gretchen for Sara’s death.[/details]
The major storyline for Season 4 is about a team recruited by Homeland Security agent Don Self (Michael Rapaport) to obtain Scylla. Although the team initially believes it to be The Company’s “black book,” it is later revealed to contain information on an advanced renewable power cell. Over the course of the first half of the season, the team obtains cards to access Scylla and breaks into Company headquarters to steal it, Sara is discovered to be alive, Bellick dies when he sacrifices himself, and Self is revealed to be a double agent intent on selling Scylla to the highest bidder. Reluctantly, Lincoln decides to join The Company to get it back, while Michael suffers from a hypothalamic hamartoma. He is treated and operated on by The Company. Michael later learns that his mother, Christina (Kathleen Quinlan) is still alive and was an agent of The Company, who is revealed to acquire Scylla to sell to the highest bidder. Eventually, the series’ main storyline of the past 4 seasons ends in Miami, where Scylla is recovered by Michael and the team, the General and The Company are taken down, and Sara kills Christina.
The last 2 episodes of the season represent the series finale. In the penultimate episode, Sara is seen buying flowers in Panama with her toddler son, Michael, before visiting Michael’s grave with Lincoln, Sucre and Mahone. The final episode and television movie Prison Break: The Final Break shows what happened between the take down of The Company and Michael’s death. This story involves the incarceration of Sara in Miami-Dade county penitentiary for Christina’s murder. The General and T-Bag are in the adjacent men’s facility. The General wants Sara dead and has put a $100,000 bounty on her. Michael hears of the bounty and devises a plan to break Sara out. In the end, knowing that he is dying from a brain tumor, Michael sacrifices himself for Sara to escape.[/details]
Season 5, the limited series “…picks up after Michael’s apparent death […] When clues surface suggesting that Michael may be alive, Sara teams with Lincoln to engineer the series’ biggest escape ever, as three of Fox River State Penitentiary’s most notorious escapees—T-Bag, C-Note and Sucre—are pulled back into the action.”[/details]