Matt Olmstead Defends Tragic ‘Prison Break’ Series Finale

Says it’s a happy ending as far as he’s concerned

  Executive Producer Matt Olmstead explains why Michael from “Prison Break” had to die
Fox announced that the four-year-long “Prison Break” series would come to an end as early as January. The series finale aired last night and, in true “Prison Break” fashion, it did not fail to surprise fans. Michael Ausiello of The Ausiello Files has managed to speak with Executive Producer Matt Olmstead and get him to explain why they chose such an ending for the show.

*Fans who have not seen the last episode yet are encouraged not to read any further than this – plenty of major spoilers ahead.

As Ausiello points out, diehard fans of the series (and not only) must have been gutted by the producers’ decision to have Michael killed in the series finale, after all he’s been through. However, as Olmstead explains, this has not been a means of ensuring that the series stays dead, but rather a choice they deliberately made to even things out and stay true to Michael’s character, as shown throughout the four seasons.

“[The idea of killing him] started as a discussion with Wentwoth [Miller] around Season 2. He brought up a good point: His character’s hands are as dirty as anyone’s. If you look at the initial act that he committed – robbing a bank to get into prison to break his brother out – there were ramifications to that; a lot of people got hurt. Not by them, but when they rattled the cage of the company that was after them, the body count started to pile out. And Michael was aware of this. And we’ve addressed his guilt throughout the show. But at a certain point, it felt nobler to have the character die so that others could live.” Olmstead explains.

At the same time, the idea of simply having Michael and Sara walk out in the sunset would have been not in tune with the series, even if that was what most fans would have wanted. Having Michael make a final sacrifice, instead, meant that he would die to let others live, his child included. Speaking of which, it is precisely this child that should make fans see the ending as a happy one instead of a tearjerker, Olmstead believes.

“For me, it IS a happy ending.” the executive producer says. “Look at the very first episode of the season when Michael realizes Sara’s alive. They have a chance to run away, and they both elect not to because, as two people of conscience, they can’t live with what they both now have experienced. And at the end of the finale, when they’re on the beach and talking about the baby that’s coming, that’s a huge victory in that they both stood their ground and, with the help of other people, brought down the ultimate antagonist. So they have their moment.” Olmstead explains.

For the full interview on the whys and the hows of the series finale of “Prison Break,” please see here.

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By    16 May 2009, 10:44 GMT