'Breakout Kings': Robert Knepper reprises T-Bag, books 'Reconstruction'

robert-knepper-jan-2010-gi.jpgWednesday (March 16), former "Prison Break" star Robert Knepper should be on his way to Santa Fe, N.M., to prepare for shooting on the NBC drama pilot "Reconstruction" (formerly " The Crossing"), written by Josh Brand and directed by Peter Horton.

It follows a soldier ( Martin Henderson) who comes to settle in in a Missouri town during the Reconstruction era in the aftermath of the Civil War. Previously cast were Emma Bell and Rachelle Lefevre.

"It's so funny," says Knepper, speaking to Zap2it on Tuesday, "a couple of weeks ago, I was thinking, 'I don't know if I'm going to get a pilot this year, and I need a pilot, dammit. I want another "Prison Break." I like working every week.'

"I know work ethic. I know how to work hard. It's tough out there. And lo and behold, today, I just got a pilot. You're the first person I'm telling this to. It's an unbelievable pilot, and I just walked into it. I'm heading to Santa Fe tomorrow to start shooting it for next week."

Asked if he's playing Northerner or a Southerner, Knepper says, "I am Southern, but he's not a bad guy; he's a good guy."

But first, Knepper returns to playing a very bad Southerner, notorious criminal Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell, a role he originated on "Prison Break," two producers from which -- Matt Olmstead and Nick Santora -- are now the driving forces behind the new A&E fugitive drama "Breakout Kings."

In "The Bag Man," the "Breakout" episode on Sunday, March 20, T-Bag -- who ended "Prison Break" missing a left hand and even meaner than he started -- busts out of prison (again) and sets out on a mission of vengeance.

U.S. Marshals Charlie DuChamp ( Laz Alonso) and Ray Zancanelli ( Dominick Lombardozzi) and their team of talented convicts ( Jimmi Simpson, Malcolm Goodwin, Serinda Swan) deduce from items T-Bag left behind -- such as a cologne and a shaving kit -- and his theft of a woman's ring that he's out to track down a lost love.

Knepper had taken a long walk to say goodbye after shooting his last -- or so he thought -- scene as T-Bag, but then, he says, "Lo and behold, there he is again. It was putting on the glove again. It was magical, fun. I have a huge, climactic, emotional scene which explains why T-Bag breaks out of prison, and it just came so effortlessly.

"Plus, Nick Santora, who called me, was the one writing it. He said, 'This might be the best lines I've ever written for T-Bag.'"

As for the "lost love," Knepper says, "I'm not going to tell you. Once you realize who it is, you just go, 'Oh, of course.' It's a detail from the first season [of 'Prison Break']."

As "Prison Break" fans know, T-Bag covered up his missing hand with a prosthetic one.

But this time, Knepper says, "Wait 'till you see what I do with this left hand. It's crazy."

Knepper's only requirement in taking the role is that T-Bag not die, so he says, "Who knows if this is the last time we'll see T-Bag or not. I don't know."
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