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Escape at Dannemora

Escape at Dannemora

Photo Credit:  Wilson Webb/Showtime
  • Premiered: 
    November 18, 2018
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Showtime
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Drama
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
    Based on the real-life story of the prison escape by David Sweat & Richard Matt 
  • Subject Matter: Crime
  • Tags: prison

Buy This Show on DVD or Watch Online

  • Click a button to buy a DVD at Amazon
  • Complete Series
    • Amazon
Legal Full Episodes
Not Available Online
(That We Know Of)

Plot Synopsis

Executive produced and directed by Ben Stiller, ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA is a limited scripted series based on the account of a prison break from the maximum security Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York in the summer of 2015 that spawned a massive manhunt for two convicted murderers. The prisoners -- David Sweat and Richard Matt -- were aided in their escape by a married female prison employee, Joyce 'Tilly' Mitchell, with whom they both became sexually entangled. Matt is a shrewd and mercurial force within the maximum-security prison, equally comfortable threatening to murder a fellow inmate in his sleep or putting the finishing touches on a portrait of Julia Roberts. Matt believes in the power of positive thinking and when he catches a glimpse of the hidden place behind his cell, he knows he can escape. Sweat has the mind of an engineer and the dexterity of a surgeon, spending his time repairing fellow inmates' headphones. Preferring to quietly read in his cell than join a card game with other inmates, Sweat's solitary nature masks a darker side. When pushed, Sweat can explode in a quick burst of anger and violence. His closest thing to a friend is Matt, who gives him an opportunity for all the peace and quiet he could ever want. Feeling trapped in the monotony of her marriage, Tilly's only escape comes inside the prison walls. She plays fast and loose with prison procedures, blasts music and flirts with the inmates. And as she continues to push the boundaries, she finds herself in the middle of something she can't escape. Her husband, Lyle, is a complacent but caring husband who can't understand why his wife isn't happy. Working maintenance at Clinton Correctional, he hears the rumors about Tilly but believes her excuses. He is oblivious to why every attempt to make things better fails. But when the investigation into the prison break finally lands at his door, Lyle has to ask himself what he really wants. A true public servant, Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott is calculated and unrelenting, whether she is investigating workers compensation fraud, or the causes of the most daring prison break in New York State history. ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA had its world premiere screening in the Palais des Festivals on Monday, October 15, 2018 during MIPCOM 2018. One month later, Showtime premiered ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA on Sunday, November 18, 2018 at 10pm ET/PT.
On Tuesday, April 16, 2019 CBS Home Entertainment released ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA the riveting limited-event series based on 2015's stranger-than-fiction prison break from Clinton Correctional Facility. The two escapees, both convicted murderers, were aided by a married female prison employee who reportedly carried on affairs with both men while supervising them in the tailor shop. It spawned the largest manhunt in the history of New York State. Benicio Del Toro plays convicted murderer Richard Matt, an anomalous yet powerful force within the prison who masterminds the escape. Paul Dano plays his co-conspirator, David Sweat. The two met in prison when they were housed on the same block. Patricia Arquette plays Joyce "Tilly" Mitchell (Winner Golden Globe, Critics' Choice and Screen Actors Guild Awards for her role in the series), a working-class wife and mother who works as an inmate supervisor in the prison tailor shop. After becoming sexually involved with both men, she assists them in their escape, hiding hacksaw blades in frozen hamburger meat and agreeing to be their getaway driver, even as the plan allegedly grew to include the murder of her husband, Lyle (Eric Lange). The three-disc collection features all seven episodes alongside must-see special features that dive into the incredible true story behind the series. Buy and binge now! (Click the red "Buy DVDs" button on this page.)

Special Features
- "Part 1" Commentary by: Ben Stiller, Brett Johnson and Michael Tolkin
- "Part 2" Commentary by: Ben Stiller and Patricia Arquette
- "Part 3" Commentary by: Ben Stiller and Mark Ricker
- "Part 4" Commentary by: Ben Stiller and Malcolm Jamieson
- "Part 5" Commentary by: Ben Stiller and Geoff Richman
- "Part 6" Commentary by: Ben Stiller, Brett Johnson, Jessica Lee Gagne
- "Part 7" Commentary by: Ben Stiller, Geoff Richman, Malcolm Jamieson, Jessica Lee Gagne and Chuck Guess

- Primary Sources: A featurette that looks at the real life circumstances of the 2015 prison break from which Escape From Dannemora was based.

- Making of "Sweat's Run": Episode 5 of Escape at Dannemora opens with a visceral 9-minute scene nicknamed by the crew, "Sweat's Run." What appears to be a single camera shot is, in reality, 17 different scenes across four different locations edited together. Director Ben Stiller, Production Designer Mark Ricker, Director of Photography Jessica Lee Gange, and the Phosphene Visual Effects team speak to how they seamlessly stitched together those 17 shots to emulate David Sweat's real rehearsal escape through the bowels of the prison.


Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Red Hour
  • Produced by Michael De Luca Productions


  • Clinton Correctional Facility - Dannemora, New York USA