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A&E’s ‘Breakout Kings’ Teaches Lesson In Managing Mental Health

More than a lesson in managing mental health, it’s also a lesson in managing life’s problems. Overcoming roadblocks. Taking control of one’s life.

But, before we get into all that:

Anyone watch A&E’s new show Breakout Kings last Sunday?

Plan to watch it tonight?

I admit, the only reason I tuned in was because – at some point – Prison Break‘s T-Bag is supposed to join the Breakout Kings cast (not sure if it’s permanent or just an episode or two – we’ll see).

Pretty unsurprising, given that Nick Santora and Matt Olmstead – the masterminds behind Prison Break – created Breakout Kings, but, I digress.

Long story short, Theodore Bagwell did not grace us with his presence last week, but while I was watching the show anyway, a line from one of the regular characters – Loyd Lowery (played by Jimmi Simpson) – caught my attention.

Let’s put it after a jump, in case of spoilers…

So, a little back story. Loyd Lowery is an incarcerated con who sort of – for lack of a better description – freelances his services to the U.S. Marshals. He and a band of other merry incarcerated cons help hunt down inmates who have escaped. For each inmate they help find, some time is knocked off their sentences.

Loyd Lowery is also a genius with a 210 IQ who graduated high school at 12, college at 16, and med school at 20. He’s a published professor and a psychiatrist who specializes in human behavior analysis.

(That’s the part you really need to know.)

So, ’bout halfway through the show, there’s a scene during which Lowery is alone with Julianne Sims (a would-be Marshal who’s trying to redeem herself by working with this band of cons, played by Brooke Nevin) and he starts to talk to her about all the things we in the audience have been noticing throughout the episode (if not specifically by name, by symptom, or, “something ain’t right,” at least).

After pointing out her social anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and depression (the very things that have so far kept Sims from becoming a Marshal), Lowery assures her she shouldn’t be embarrassed or surprised (he has his own issues, after all) and that there are things she can do to tackle and manage her mental health issues –

– things that will help more than relying solely on psychiatrist appointments.

He suggests she start taking walks, short ones, and asking strangers for the time. Later, she can increase the distance, and ask even more people for the time.

And then Lowery says:

You should stop waiting for a wrecking ball to knock this thing down. A crack in the dike will do.

He immediately became my favorite character.

At the end of the episode? A visibly timid, but determined, Julianne Sims takes a walk and asks a stranger for the time.

I’m wondering: Does Lowery’s advice to Sims ring true for you? Has there ever been a time you’ve faced a serious, ongoing problem that you sort of just placed in the hands of a psychiatrist, or some authority figure, or God – hoping s/he’d act like a wrecking ball and tear it down for you? Was this a problem you could have also worked on yourself? Weakening the dike, crack by crack?

Or, is this something you’re going through now?

Share your story!

Image Source: Wikipedia via United States Fair Use Copyright Law

A&E’s ‘Breakout Kings’ Teaches Lesson In Managing Mental Health

Alicia Sparks

Alicia Sparks is a freelance writer and editor and the creator of, where she blogs to help new freelance writers get their quills in the pot, so to speak. Among animal rights, music, and physical wellness, her passions include mental health and advocacy. Here at Psych Central she works as Syndication Editor as well as authors Your Body, Your Mind, Unleash Your Creativity, and World of Psychology's weekly "Psychology Around the Net."

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APA Reference
Sparks, A. (2011). A&E’s ‘Breakout Kings’ Teaches Lesson In Managing Mental Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 Mar 2011
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