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Escape At Dannemora ...


Escape at Dannemora is an American crime drama television limited series that premiered on Showtime on November 18, 2018. It is based on the 2015 Clinton Correctional Facility escape. The seven-episode series was created and written by Brett Johnson and Michael Tolkin and directed by Ben Stiller. It stars Benicio del Toro, Patricia Arquette, Paul Dano, Bonnie Hunt, Eric Lange, and David Morse.[1][2][3]




Escape at Dannemora ...



The series is based on the true story of the 2015 Clinton Correctional Facility escape in upstate New York. The escape prompted a massive manhunt for the two convicted murderers, who were aided in their escape by a married female prison employee with whom they both became sexually entangled.[1]


It was a spectacular breakout, but contrary to what was widely stated in the media, hardly unprecedented. Men went over and under the wall on many occasions prior to 1929, which is the line of demarcation that separates the old from the new. During the eighty-five years following 1929, no one escaped from inside the high wall until Richard Matt and David Sweat did it. But during the eighty-five years prior to 1929, it was done many times in exciting, ingenious, and spectacular fashion.


Included in the book is the story of the 2015 escape, the long history of violence and horrible tortures at Clinton, a look at escape attempts and more than three dozen breakouts, plus profiles of many famous and infamous criminals who were incarcerated at Dannemora.


In all its forms, the prison has seen dozens of remarkable escapes, some of them more amazing than the 2015 breakout. For nearly its full 170 years, inmates have considered Clinton the toughest facility in the state, a reputation based on its violent history.


Prison breaks, like heists, almost always lend themselves to a lively filmed treatment, and this one is no exception. The portions of the series about exactly how the two cons are getting out are fun, particularly a near Better Call Saul-level montage in the third episode contrasting work in the tailor shop with their methodical cutting of their cell walls, and a sustained take in the fifth episode where Sweat takes a practice run through their escape route.


Escape at Dannemora is based on the true story of inmates Richard Matt (Benicio del Toro) and David Sweat (Paul Dano) who escaped Clinton Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison, in 2015 with the help of prison employee Tilly Mitchell (Arquette).


In June 2015, two inmates serving life sentences tunneled out of their cells and escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York with the help of a prison employee. Based on the real events, the new Showtime miniseries Escape at Dannemora casts Benicio Del Toro and Paul Dano as the pair of convicts, with Patricia Arquette as their civilian abettor.


The two main characters of the story are either dead or currently in prison, so there really aren't any developments a second season could cover, regardless of Dannemora's ratings. Benicio Del Toro's Richard Matt was shot and killed following the escape the show has spent its season detailing, and Paul Dano's real-life counterpart David Sweat is still serving his initial life sentence with no possibility of parole for a murder conviction. Joyce Mitchell, played in the series by Patricia Arquette, is also still serving a seven-year sentence for assisting Matt and Sweat.


Dozens of men incarcerated at Clinton were transferred to other facilities and placed in solitary confinement. In the highly charged atmosphere following the escape, the number of people in solitary confinement spiked at prisons throughout the state, increasing 14.4 percent between June and September 2015, at a time when New York had pledged to reduce its use of solitary.


Several staff members resigned or were suspended because of their roles in the escape. Mitchell pleaded guilty to a felony and a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to two and a third to seven years in prison and ordered to pay almost $80,000 in restitution for repairs to the prison. She has been denied parole twice. A correctional officer, Gene Palmer, was sentenced to six months in jail, of which he served four.


It was one of the biggest crime stories of the decade-two deadly killers, desperate and on the run. After months of planning, Ricky Matt and David Sweat cut, chopped, coerced, and connived their way out of a maximum-security prison in the wilderness of upstate New York and managed to elude police for three weeks, sending the region into lockdown and keeping the entire country on edge. The media called it "a bold escape for the ages," and veteran true-crime writer Michael Benson leads us along the story's every wild path to dig out a tale of adventure, psychology, sex, and brutality.


Escape from Dannemora examines the strange case of Joyce Mitchell, the long-time prison employee who had a sexual relationship with at least one of the killers, and who smuggled them tools and aided in the escape, while they cooked up a plan to kill her husband. In the end, Benson looks closely at conditions at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, a crumbling Gothic pile now under investigation for charges of drug trafficking and brutality.


"I initially had reservations about (the series) because of what a repugnant human being Sweat is," Akshar wrote, replying to a New York Post article about a recent interview with former prison worker Joyce Mitchell, who aided with Sweat and Matt's escape. "(Director Ben Stiller) is doing a great job at telling the story that Mitchell helped orchestrate. IMO she should stop complaining and making excuses and pay her debt to society quietly."


In two interviews with the New York Post, Mitchell. who is incarcerated at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, denied she had consensual sex with David Sweat and Richard Matt, whom she helped escape from Clinton Correctional Facility in June 2015. The 23-day manhunt that was launched for the escapees resulted in the Sweat being recaptured and Matt being shot to death.


Released in June 2016, the report, from Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott, was used as the source material for the miniseries. Stiller said prior to the report, he rejected the idea of the seven-part series, because there were not enough information on the escape. His feeling changed after the report was released.


The IG report noted that Mitchell began working at Dannemora in 2008 as an Industrial Training Supervisor. In November 2013, she was assigned to Tailor Shop 1 where she remained until the day of the escape.


"In Sweat's absence," the report continued. "Matt also began to focus greater personal attention on Mitchell. Mitchell recalled that Matt became 'flirtatious;' he "made me feel special." More significantly, Matt began asking more favors of Mitchell, revealing her willingness to break prison rules for his benefit and laying the foundation for the escape nine months later."


"Moreover, despite her claims to the contrary, Mitchell took steps consistent with a plan tomurder Lyle Mitchell. Within days of the escape, Mitchell admitted, she accepted from Matt 'two pills' which she assumed were painkillers prison medical staff had prescribed him for his sciatica. The plan, according to Mitchell, was that on the night of the escape, she would surreptitiously administer the pills to her husband to put him into a sound sleep, pick up Matt and Sweat outside the prison, then return home where Matt would murder Lyle Mitchell."


"Mitchell said she took the pills home the same day Matt gave them to her and kept them in her purse. Incredibly, in her testimony to the Inspector General, Mitchell claimed to have forgotten she had the pills and, only after the escape, flushed them down the toilet. However, Mitchell, in two separate statements to the State Police, claimed she had never received the pills from Matt."


Both men had been convicted of murder and deemed escape risks before entering Clinton, the largest maximum-security prison in New York, where Mitchell, 51, had been a civilian supervisor since 2008 and Palmer, 57, had worked since 1988.


Three years later he was having lunch with Ben Stiller. That summer, he and Stiller visited Donny Musmacher at Mohawk Correctional Facility in central New York. Stiller had never been inside of a prison. After the Clinton escape, Donny and other honor block inmates were put in solitary and waterboarded with plastic bags. Now on oxygen, today Donny resides in a hospital inside of a prison.


Jensen still speaks with the Peekskill-adjacent accent he had in 2015 when, within two weeks of the escape, he had a national platform by building a reputation as the only one who could be trusted in the midst of a law-enforcement story.


The series is based off the 2015 Clinton Correctional Facility escape and focuses on the two prisoners as well as the married prison guard who became romantically involved with them and aided in their escape.


  • The miniseries contains examples of: The Alcoholic: In prison, Matt is often seen drinking prison wine, sloshing the foul stuff around his mouth before swallowing. After his escape, he's revealed to be a full-blown addict, stealing an armload of booze while on the run and spending much of the time drunk. In real life, Matt had a BAC of 0.18% at the time of his confrontation with police.

  • Bait the Dog: The penultimate flashback episode serves as this. After getting the audience to root for the two prisoners, the flashback episode shows their crimes in horrific unflinching detail.

  • Blatant Lies: Tilly repeatedly makes threadbare excuses to meet both Sweat and Matt in private circumstances during work hours. Everyone on the work floor seems to know what's happening and roll their eyes whenever she does so.

  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Matt does this to his boss as a way to get the location of a safe which turns out to not even exist.

  • Embarrassing Nickname: Tilly is referred to as 'Shawskank' by the media.

  • Faux Affably Evil: Matt is likable and charismatic, but it's largely an act to get what he wants.

  • Fingore: Matt breaks his boss's fingers one by one as a way to get him to open up about a safe.

  • Great Escape: The main focus of the series. Matt and Sweat manipulate Tilly to help them escape from prison.

  • How We Got Here: The series opens with a scene in which Tilly is being interviewed by the state inspector general. Most of the series is a flashback leading up to this point. At the end of the final episode, we see the first part of this scene again from a different camera angle.

  • Historical Hero Upgrade: While never an actual hero in the series, Sweat is given a slightly more sympathetic portrayal. In real life, he ditched Matt because he was "slowing him down." In the series, however, Sweat only flees when Matt starts to ambush a police cruiser, and he later states that the idea of simply ditching Matt to make better time never crossed his mind.

  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Truth is stranger than fiction. The cop who shoots Sweat does so with a pistol at long range. In real life, the cop was a firearms instructor and scored two hits at a range of 73 yards.

  • In the Back: Sweat is shot in the back while fleeing, which actually happened.

  • Jail Bake: Tilly smuggles tools hidden in frozen meat to Matt and Sweat.

  • Laser-Guided Karma: Tilly spends the series having sexual dalliances with prisoners. In the end, she's a prisoner, and a guard propositions her for sex.

  • Leave the Camera Running: There are several extremely lengthy shots of a close-up on a character's face. Sweat receives one where he listens to rock music on his headphones while lying in bed. Episode 6 ends with one on Tilly's face as she looks at Lyle with desire.

  • The Load: In spite of being a prison bigshot, Matt is truly hopeless when he and Sweat escape. He panics and nearly gets them caught by a homeowner immediately after their escape, gets drunk on stolen booze, gets himself sick on contaminated water, and constantly argues for reckless strategies. In the end, a cop notes that Sweat got just as far in one day without Matt as he had the previous two weeks with him. Sweat admits that it never even occurred to him to just abandon Matt.

  • Never My Fault: Tilly is fond of doing this. Sweat also underplays his role in the death of the cop he shot and ran over, blaming his partner who finished him off instead. The real David Sweat publicly complained that the depiction of his crime was wrong, and destroyed his supposed chances to get his conviction overturned.

  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Off-camera, an administrator denies the request for a lockdown following a huge fight in the yard because there was not enough in the overtime budget.

  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Downplayed, but Lyle says that he knew that Tilly was cheating on him when she started eating healthy.

  • Oh, Crap!: Sweat's reaction when Matt finds a shotgun.

  • The Oner: Sweat's dry run of his escape is filmed in a single shot as he navigates the labyrinthine service corridors and runs down the incredibly long tunnel to get to the manhole cover outside the prison.

  • Prisoner's Work: Matt and Sweat make pants in the prison workshop, which is how they know Tilly, the supervisor whom they both seduce as a prelude to enlisting her help in escaping.

  • Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred!: Before they were married, Lyle helped Tilly get out of her previous marriage with custody of her son. He did so by following her husband, who knew Lyle was cuckolding him, and giving him a dopey smile until the man was so enraged that he punched Lyle in the face. Tilly then used that act of violence to convince a judge to grant full custody.

  • Stupid Crooks: A new prisoner ignores repeated instructions to leave Matt and Warden Palmer alone, seemingly because he's too dim to realize he's pissing them off.

  • Matt is a bigshot in prison, but is shown to be a total incompetent on the outside. The murder he commits that gets him landed in prison is foolish and comes to nothing. After his escape, he repeatedly butts heads with Sweat over his ill-conceived actions.

  • Villainous Rescue: In order to keep Tilly from getting fired for low production, Matt snitches on a fellow prisoner who is slacking off with a cigarette. That man, a huge black prisoner named "Murder", comes looking for revenge once he is out of punishment. Matt and Sweat are "saved" when the even more villainous members of the Aryan Brotherhood jump in and start a prison race riot.

  • Villain Protagonist: Matt, Sweat, and Tilly are all the villains of the story, perpetrating a prison break for their own selfish ends.

  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: In the final scene, text reveals the eventual fates of the main parties.

  • Whole Episode Flashback: The penultimate episode focuses on the events leading up to Matt's and Sweat's arrests as well as Tilly's past.

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