Three years ago.
Walking down the streets of Chicago, Michael finds Lincoln asleep in the doorway of his apartment, doing his best to stay warm. "Rough night?" Michael asks condescendingly. Lincoln squints and rubs his bleary eyes. Michael curtly tells his brother that he got his message and asks what he wants. Lincoln says he lost his keys. Michael impassively tosses Lincoln's keys at him, explaining that he found them four feet from where they're standing. Lincoln notes that it's been awhile since they hung out, and asks his younger brother if he'd like to get some lunch. Michael remains chilly toward Lincoln, stating pointedly that he has to go back to work.
Lincoln unlocks the door and enters his apartment. Waiting on Lincoln's couch is Crab Simmons. Lincoln seems unsurprised and hastily assures Crab, "I'm gonna get your ninety grand." Crab cuts him off. "Relax man, that debt already been paid." Before Lincoln can question this mysterious statement, a man named Bo walks into the room. He is the one who bought Lincoln's debt. Lincoln tells Bo that he's still going to need some time to get the cash. Bo dismisses Lincoln with a shrug, knowing Lincoln will never be able to get the ninety thousand he owes. Instead, Bo offers, "let's talk about what you can do for me-"
Cocktails flow in an upscale Chicago bar. Young and wealthy business men and women laugh over drinks while Vice President Reynolds speaks on the many flat panel televisions hanging on the walls. Michael sits at the bar with a coworker. They are interrupted by Veronica, who leans against the bar with an affectionate smile for her old friend Micheal. It's been some time since the two have seen each other. They don't chat long before the conversation inevitably turns to Lincoln. Veronica asks how Lincoln has been, and Michael is struck by the fact that she and Lincoln haven't spoken. Michael takes a deep breath and slowly replies, "He's umm-he's-Linc."
Meanwhile, back in Lincoln's apartment, the conversation grows heated. Lincoln stands his ground, "I don't care who the guy is, I ain't killing no one." But Bo doesn't care what Lincoln wants.
Across the street from Lincoln's apartment, another man watches the scene through a high-power telephoto lens. He speaks into an ear mic, describing Lincoln's appearance in detail: " Black leather jacket. Two buttons down the front. Three on each sleeve. One missing on his left, no, right arm. Jeans. Faded. Stain on the right knee."
Back with Lincoln, Bo hands over a piece of paper with an address written on it. Bo says, "Think of this as a ninety thousand dollar bullet. You start fresh."
Michael and Veronica stumble into his apartment. It's late, they're tipsy, and Veronica leans on Michael as she slips off her high heels. She tips forward into Michael's embrace, and suddenly an unexpected attraction begins to simmer between them. Veronica slides her hands down to Michael's and the two lean in to kiss. But before it goes any farther, Michael's cell phone rings. Michael reaches in his pocket, and pulls out his phone. The caller I.D. reads, "LINCOLN." Michael sighs. Veronica asks if he's going to answer it, he replies, "He'll leave a message-he always does."
Lincoln leans against a street lamp, leaving an urgent message for his brother. " Michael, it's Linc. I need your help, bro. I'm in something real bad and can't get out of it. I need you to straighten me out, my head's all messed up. And, anyway, it's real important bro, you gotta call me. You gotta call me now." Lincoln snaps his phone shut with a desperate glance around the empty streets.
Michael and Veronica look into each other's eyes, a sensual charge hanging in the air between them. Michael whispers, "We can't do this." Veronica knows he's right. Michael calls for a cab to pick her up.
Lincoln lingers by the lamp post waiting for Michael's call. When it doesn't come, his demeanor changes and he storms toward the opening of a parking garage, a handgun tucked behind his back.
Lincoln stands against a pillar in the garage steeling himself in preparation for what he has to do. He turns and stalks purposefully toward Terrence Steadman's silver BMW. He raises the handgun and points it towards the driver's seat, but he does not fire. He looks in shock to see that his mark is already dead. A bullet wound is evident behind his ear and blood covers the interior of the windshield. Lincoln lowers the gun and looks around.
Inside a surveillance truck, Agent Kellerman and Agent Hale sit behind several monitors while a technician tweaks the picture on screen. Hale asks Kellerman, "Did we get it?" Kellerman replies, "I believe we did, partner."
Lincoln sprints through the streets, trying to get as far away from the garage as possible. He rounds a corner into an alley where several people loiter outside a club. Lincoln collides with a man standing outside as he runs by. The man yells something in Spanish as he's jostled by Lincoln. When he turns around, it is Fernando Sucre looking down the street after Lincoln. He stands with his cousin Manche Sanchez and Hector, unaware of who who just knocked into him, and of the fact that their paths will cross again.
Sucre then looks across the way to a group of girls outside the club. His eyes land on Maricruz Delgado. "Oh my God," he mutters. Sucre smiles to her, and Maricruz bashfully smiles back. Hector notes this subtle flirtation.
Dr. Sara Tancredi marches through the halls of a local hospital. A passing resident tells her, "They're waiting for you in 4B." She tells the resident she'll be there in a moment, but doesn't break her stride into a medical supply closet. She swipes her access card and finds herself alone in a secured section where the narcotics are stored. She reaches for the drugs, her movements quick but confident. She quickly fills a hypodermic needle with morphine, and then ties a piece of cloth around her upper arm to find the vein. Sara sticks the needle in her arm, then presses the plunger down. The morphine races through her veins and Sara's head tilts back in ecstasy.
Half-way across the world, the sun beats down on the war-torn roads of the Al-Jaber Air Base in Kuwait. Sweat soaks First Sergeant
Benjamin "C-Note" Franklin's face as he watches soldiers unload coffins from the back of a supply truck.
C-Note stands in a tent before his commanding officer, Commander Meyers. He removes the lid to a coffin at the Commander's feet. Instead of revealing a body, the coffin is filled to its capacity with beer and ice. The Commander smiles. "Alright, well, a deal's a deal. Prison guard detail. Away from the front. Safest place you can be." He hands C-Note his transfer papers.
Veronica hurries through the cubicles of Middleton, Maxwell & Schaum, the architectural firm where Michael works. She finds him in his office reviewing blueprints. Veronica's demeanor is far from the flirtatious old friend from the previous night. She asks, "Have you been watching the news?" Concern darkens Michael's face when she gravely tells him, "It's Lincoln."
Now wearing an orange jumpsuit, Lincoln slumps behind the glass in the prison visitation area. Michael furiously grills him. "Terrence Steadman? The Vice President's brother. Do you have any idea what they're going to do to you?" Lincoln says he didn't do it, but Michael is unconvinced. The evidence is already heavy against Lincoln: Not only did he know and work for Steadman, but Steadman personally fired Lincoln recently after an altercation in the parking garage. Further, it has come to light that Lincoln had a hefty debt to repay, and it so happens that Steadman was a very wealthy man. Sounds like motive to Michael. Lincoln says he is not a murderer, but Michael asks if that's the truth, then why was he even in the parking garage? Michael has Lincoln against the ropes, and continues, "Honestly Linc, I don't know how it's come to this. And you can't keep blaming Mom for dying, and Dad for leaving because I was there too. Difference is, I got out. Mom had life insurance and I took my half and put myself through school. What'd you do with your half, Linc?"
In the Vice President's office, Agent Brinker reviews the speech the VP will deliver in reaction to the murder of her brother. Brinker makes no attempt to mask her role as puppeteer, coaching the VP on her every word and gesture throughout the speech. The Vice President asks Brinker, "And where are we with Governor Tancredi?" Brinker says he won't be a problem.
Michael walks with Veronica through the halls of Middleton, Maxwell & Schaum, speculating the various illegal reasons Lincoln might have for owing someone ninety thousand dollars. Veronica urges him to speak about his brother with a little more compassion, but Michael can find nothing redemptive about his criminal brother. Veronica finally turns and snaps that she promised Lincoln she'd never reveal this, but it is time Michael knew what the ninety thousand dollars was for. She tells him, "The money you got when you were eighteen from your mother's life insurance ? The money that paid for your degree? Which got you this job? Which pays for your loft? Your mother never had life insurance. That money came from Lincoln ." Michael doesn't believe her, and she explains that he borrowed it, even though he knew he might never be able to pay it back. Veronica continues. "Michael. You are were you are because of your brother." Michael replies, "And you're telling me he is where he is because of me."
Michael sits across from Lincoln in the prison holding area, his tail between his legs. Michael reveals that Veronica still cares deeply for Lincoln, and that she told him what Lincoln did to help him. Michael wants to get down to business and help his brother. Lincoln tells Michael he needs to forget about the situation and move on, keep making a life for himself. But Michael can't do that. Michael says "Here's the part that I don't understand-All the evidence is lining up in a path that leads directly to you. They say they've got you on tape...pulling the trigger. If you didn't kill Terrence Steadman...how the hell did someone make it look like you did?"
As Michael struggles with this mystery, a man sits at a computer in a media room, editing video. A massive green screen is draped behind him. Over his shoulder, Agent Kellerman watches his work on an image of Lincoln firing his weapon into the BMW. "Perfect," Kellerman tells the video editor. The doctoring of the security video is nearly complete.
Sucre, Manche, and Hector walk down a snow covered alley. Sucre is lovestruck, bragging about how "perfect" Maricruz is. His crew says she's an uptown girl; he can't afford to take a girl like that out. Hector asks him how he's going to be able to afford to have dinner with her at a nice place.
A liquor store clerk reads a magazine at the counter. Suddenly, Sucre charges in with a gun raised. "Open the drawer!" The clerk rushes to get the drawer open. He holds a handful of cash out for Sucre to take. Sucre tips his head a little and says, "Actually-this is all I need," as he almost apologetically removes a single hundred dollar bill from the bunch. He dashes out of the store. The clerk stands alone, slightly baffled by what just happened.
C-Note now covers his post inside a military prison. He strides down the hall and halts when he hears the muffled sounds of screaming. C-Note looks around and slowly moves toward the sound. He turns a corner, and the screams are much louder. He pauses and sees an Iraqi prisoner, sitting naked on a chair with a black cloth covering his face and electrodes strapped to his body. A nearby soldier monitors the electric currents. C-Note stands in shock, horrified by the torture heis witnessing.
Late at night, Michael sits in his office. He looks over his brother's police report, and seems ready to give up. Michael slides open a drawer, and buried under papers and blue prints, is an old origami crane.
Sara and her boyfriend, Colin, stumble down the residential streets of Chicago. Sara sings in a drugged haze that she brought Colin drugs from the hospital, and she hands him three sterile hypodermic needles. Colin tells Sara he's amazed that she can work there, and Sara replies, "I like to help people." A teenage boy rides quickly by them on his bike. Sara and Colin drag on down the sidewalk. Sara turns and kisses Colin. Suddenly, squealing tires breaks them apart. Sara mutters, "Oh my God," and walks in a daze down the middle of the street. A crowd gathers around a teenage boys who has been struck by a car. A woman hovers over the boy begging for help. She looks up and sees Sara approaching and her hospital I.D. clipped to her bag. She asks Sara if she's a doctor. Sara says nothing, and stumbles back in a foggy cloud, too disoriented to help the boy dying in front of her. Colin pulls her away, but she can't take her eyes off the boy's body.
C-Note marches before Commander Meyers and salutes, the Commander asks him to be at ease. C-Note tells Meyers that the whiskey he requested won't arrive for another couple days, but Meyers has other matters he needs to discuss. C-Note filed a prison abuse report. Meyers needs to know how far C-Note intends to take the report. C-Note, a true patriot, tells his superior that he believes prisoners should not be treated poorly. C-Note tells Meyers, "What I saw was wrong. And someone needs to responsibility for it." Meyers pauses, and two military police officers enter the tent. Meyers orders the MPs, "Please take Mr. Franklin into custody." C-Note is stunned and demands to know why. Meyers says that C-Note will be dishonorably discharged "for engaging in illegal black market activity." The MPs drag C-Note from the tent.
A judge bangs his gavel. He asks the jury in Lincoln's case if they have reached a verdict. Lincoln stands. "We find the defendant guilty." Lincoln is crushed, as are Michael and Veronica, who are sitting in the gallery. When the judge finishes, two bailiffs take Lincoln from the courtroom. Michael apologizes to Lincoln as he passes.
Sucre and Marizcruz lie in bed in a loving moment of intimacy. Maricruz gazes at Sucre and asks him what he wants from the future. Sucre tells Maricruz all he wants is her.
C-Note and his brother-in-law, Darius, stand at one of Chicago's many "L" stations. C-Note is now in civilian clothes, and frustrated because he can't get a job, especially with the dishonorable discharge on his record. Darius wants to know how long he can keep lying to his sister, C-Note's wife, Kacee. Darius tells C-Note that he can get him "work," but C-Note doesn't want anything to do with it. Darius says all C-Note needs to do is drive a truck from one point to the next. C-Note is unsure, but he's desperate.
Michael sits at the prison holding cell window again, rattling off the mistakes Lincoln's defense counsel made during his trial: they never had Leticia Barris testify, the first cop on the scene changed his story- But Lincoln is defeated and tells Michael to move on. Michael pauses, then tells Lincoln, "after Mom died, and it was just you and me, I remember having trouble sleeping, never knowing where you were. But when I'd wake up in the morning, there'd be this paper bird, an origami crane, sitting next to my bed. I never knew what it meant, but I knew it was your way of letting me know that you had checked in on me. Anyway I looked it up. The Crane. It stands for familial obligation; standing watch out for your own. Maybe it's my turn to watch out for you." Michael places the old crane on the table. Lincoln tells him that tomorrow they're moving him to a prison, a place called Fox River. Michael's eyes light up, "Fox River?" he asks.
Susan Hollander, a gentle, middle-aged mother of two is preparing dinner at home while her son and her daughter set the table. Her daughter Gracie asks why there's an extra place setting. Susan tells her children that "mommy's friend is coming over for dinner again." The doorbell rings and she asks them to go wash their hands. She takes one more look at herself in the mirror, then opens the door to Theodore Bagwell. In a pressed, collared shirt and khakis, he stands behind the gated door with bags full of food and a smile so genuine, one would never guess he was the same man known as T-Bag inside Fox River. "Evening, Mrs. Hollander," He says with a warm smile. "Don't you look lovely this evening."
Michael makes his way through the Middleton, Maxwell & Schaum offices late after working hours. He continues to check his back as he makes his way to a file cabinet. He squats down and opens a drawer labeled, "FOX RIVER." He grabs several plastic tubes full of blueprints and steals away.
Sucre, Hector and Manche stand in the backyard of an apartment complex. Sucre proudly beams, "I'm gonna do it." He's going to propose to Maricruz. Hector laughs, knowing that there's no way Sucre can afford a ring. Sucre is insulted but Hector says, "I'm trying to protect you. You think you're gonna be able to give her everything she wants?" Sucre is hurt. He loves Maricruz. Manche puts his arm around Sucre, "Seriously Primo, how are you going to afford a ring for a girl like that?"
The same store clerk from before sits at the counter, reading a magazine. Sucre slowly approaches the counter, much less aggressive than last time. The clerk opens the drawer and hands Sucre a single one-hundred dollar bill. Sucre politely tells the clerk, "Actually-I think I'm gonna need a little more this time." The clerk hands Sucre all the cash. Outside, the cops are already arriving. Sucre is busted. In the dark, across the street from the store, Hector watches, the number 911 is still on his cell phone.
The Vice President sits in her office, Kellerman next to her. She wants to know if everything is on track with Lincoln's case. Kellerman tells her that everything is quiet and no one is making noise. The Vice President confides in Kellerman, "God, I can't remember the last time I was this much of a nervous wreck." Kellerman hands the Vice President a real estate listing for a secluded piece of property in Blackfoot, Montana.
Sara sits in a community center, surrounded by fellow recovering addicts. She's a different person now, stronger and free of drugs. She speaks about getting her life back on track, and thinks the best thing for her to do right now is to get back to work. "I want to help people to get from where I am to where I've been."
After the meeting adjourns, Sara fills a paper cup with coffee. She is approached by a quiet, almost shy man who we recognized as Captain Brad Bellick. "Hey Sara, you used to be a doctor, right?" He says he might know of a job opening where he works, at Fox River. Sara is interested to hear more, and Bellick stutters nervously as he asks her to dinner. Sara, smiles politely and tells him that she's working on her resume that night. Bellick tries to hide his disappointment from the rejection.
Inside Michael's apartment he looks over a massive blank wall. In the center is a newspaper clipping about Lincoln's case. He opens the plastic tubes and unrolls blueprints of the cell block.
C-Note drives a truck through the night. He looks over at photo of his wife and daughter, not happy about what he's doing but knows it has to be done. Suddenly, police cars pull up along side the truck. C-Note knows he's busted.
Theodore sits at the dinning room table with Gracie Hollander, helping her with her multiplication tables. He shows her a trick to remember and Gracie excitedly catches on and dances away. Susan whispers, "Thank you," to Theodore. She kisses him and then heads into the kitchen. Theodore turns to watch the kids. While in the kitchen, Susan turns around and sees a crime stopper style show on television. The show host stands next to a graphic of Theodore Bagwell's mug shot. Susan stands frozen, suddenly aware of the monster sitting in the living room with her children.
Michael continues assembling information on his apartment wall. Index cards cover blueprints of the pipes in the prison's underbelly and he tries to memorize the route he'll need to take to break out of Fox River. As the night continues, Michael grows more and more frustrated with every wrong turn he makes. The doorbell rings, giving Michael a much needed break from the project. He opens the door for a delivery girl. He hands her some money and sees that her arms and chest are completely covered in tattoos. Michael smiles and thanks her.
C-Note walks into his house to find his wife and daughter reading together on the couch. C-Note looks with love and regret at them until Dede sees him and jumps into his arms. Darius walks in the door behind him. After a moment of hesitation, C-Note tells Kacee that he's being shipped back to Iraq: his unit is being called back for another tour. Darius interrupts the moment and asks if C-Note can help him out back. Behind the house Darius tells C-Note that pretending he's back in Iraq is crazy. But C-Note knows Darius will take care of Kacee and Dede. C-Note says that Darius owes C-Note for driving the truck and taking the rap for it.
Michael sits at his desk, laying tracing paper on top of the Fox River blueprints. The first layer maps Michael's route through the pipes, the next later is the design for the demon holding the sword piece of his tattoo. Scattered across his desk are sketches for other tattoo pieces, including "ALLEN SCHWEITZER," "CUTE POISON," and a mysterious piece, "boLshoi booze."
In a rustic bar south of the Mexican border, Michael stands next a to shady looking man. The man probes Michael, "Why do you want to-" But Michael cuts him off, "I want what I want." The man sizes Michael up and smiles. He then slides him a piece of paper and tells Michael, "You show this to anyone else, and I'm calling the whole thing off." Michael smiles, on the paper are the words, "boLshoi booze."
Back on Michael's desk, another piece is shown, bold letter spells, "RIPE CHANCE WOODS."
Michael stands in a cemetery with a shovel, the ground covered with snow. He stares down at the headstone for a moment, then hoists the shovel up and smashes it into the earth.
In his loft, Michael's hands scan the now covered wall. Newspaper articles, blueprints and note cards have created a complex web. Items that stand out are articles about John Abruzzi, an ad for "Czechoslovakian Brides," and a history of Warden Pope. Michael writes, "PUGNAC" on a sticky note, and presses it to a copied article full of chemical compounds.
Susan Hollander sits in the visitation room of Fox River. On the other side of the glass is Theordore "T-Bag" Bagwell. Susan tells T-Bag that her therapist told her to confront T-Bag and tell him how betrayed she feels. T-Bag, in a moment of never seen weakness, admits to Susan, "You think you're the only one who feels betrayed? I loved you, Susan. Real love. For the first time in my life. And then to have you do me like that, to just throw me to the dogs, toss me out the back door like bath water-" Susan cuts him off, "You're a murderer, Teddy!" As he continues to speak, his face grows cold. He tells Susan that he had changed for her, but when she sent him to Fox River, it was like he was home again. He raises his head and looks her in the eyes, "You know, some day, I'm gonna get out of here. And don't think I won't remember what your front steps look like, Susan." Susan spits on the glass between them, and storms out of visitation.
In the remote woods of Blackfoot, Montana, The Vice President slices up vegetables and places them in a blender. She slowly walks out into the living room and speaks to a man sitting in a large leather chair. "It's almost over now. Burrows will be dead soon. And then things will start getting back to normal." She pauses, sensing frustration from the other person, "I know you've been through a lot, but I promise you, the worst is behind us." The man in the chair places his drink on the table, then reaches into another mug containing a set of false teeth. The Vice President walks away, and the man, Terrence Steadman, turns towards her and says drying, "My dear sister, you have no idea what I've been through.
Michael stands before a mirror, finishing donning his best suit. In fact, it's the same suit he will be arrested in during his bank heist. He methodically straightens his tie, his jaw set in a stern resolution. He turns to leave his apartment, but he stops first at a glass table, where his hands hover over two pistols.