Benicio del Toro as Richard Matt with Patricia Arquette as Joyce ‘Tilly’ Mitchell in the thrilling new prison drama "Escape at Dannemora". Picture: Showmax
Viewers have been giddy with excitement to see Hollywood heavyweights Benicio del Toro, as well as Patricia Arquette, as the drawcards for M-Net’s "Escape at Dannemora," which is based on a true story of two inmates who broke out of Clinton Correctional Facility in 2015.

That the new prison drama falls under the adroit direction of Ben Stiller is another incentive to watch the show.

"Escape at Dannemora" opens with Arquette’s character, Joyce “Tilly” Mitchell, in shackles in an interrogation room.

A far cry from her role as Avery Ryan, the deputy director of the FBI, in CSI: Cyber, Tilly is as nondescript as they come.

A bored wife, she works at the prison facility where Richard Matt (Del Toro) and David Sweat (Paul Dano) are serving time.

A spectacle-wearing middle-aged woman in frumpy outfits, Tilly’s sizeable cleavage is her greatest asset.

Sweet on Sweat (pun unintended), whom she regularly steals five-minute quickies within a stockroom at a section of the prison housing the inmates on sewing duty, Tilly finds herself in hot water after a letter of complaint is submitted to her superiors.

Frustrated and angry about the kibosh on her not-so-clandestine sexual encounter, she then gravitates towards Matt.

At first, it was to get him to take love notes to Sweat.

However, her unsatisfied sexual needs lead to it becoming a love triangle, one that becomes the catalyst in the jailbreak.

Of course, the best part about this show is the stellar writing. Each character is beautifully etched. Their fallibility comes to the fore as much as their strength.

The undertones of manipulation and deception don’t go amiss, either.

However, the lines blur and it becomes difficult to tell the puppetmaster from the puppet.

Stiller steers the narrative masterfully.

He takes his time introducing the characters before unveiling the twists.

"Escape at Dannemora is a well-paced prison drama," where psychological and emotional needs conjugate to ensure viewers are completely invested in the characters and their respective journeys.

"Escape at Dannemora" is on M-Net (DStv channel 101) on Wednesdays at 9pm.