There's nothing confining about "Prison Break." (search)

Michael Scofield's brother Lincoln Burrows is on death row and scheduled to die for a murder he did not commit — or so Michael believes when he holds up a bank to get himself jailed alongside Lincoln and plot their breakout.

And that's only the start of this wide-open new drama.

Now Michael (Wentworth Miller) must take his delicate steps for escape (conveniently, he's a structural engineer with intimate access to the prison's blueprints), while cracking a larger nut: the conspiracy that led to his brother being charged with murdering the vice president's brother.

"Whoever it was that set me up wants me in the ground as quickly as possible," Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) tells Michael at their first encounter on the inside.

With its large supporting cast (including Stacy Keach (search) as the warden of Fox River State Penitentiary near Chicago) "Prison Break" promises to let the prison world unfold for viewers as a sprawling, teeming social order. It's a parallel universe to the one most of us occupy, and Michael — wily and methodical, with a knack for origami — means to use this system to put his plan in action.

One likely ally: the pretty prison physician, Sara Tancredi (Sarah Wayne Callies), who happens to be the governor's daughter.

Meanwhile, on the outside, Michael's longtime friend Veronica ( Robin Tunney) has volunteered as his lawyer, fighting for his rights, but — since she isn't privy to his larger strategy — she's fighting with him, too, as they clash on how his case should be handled.

"Will you please tell me what's going through your head?" she asks.

"You gotta let me deal with this," he says.

And in Washington, a pair of Secret Service agents share their own concerns as the execution date nears.

"The closer it gets," says one of these officials, "the more I'm worried that the bottom is going to fall out of this whole thing."

"Three months, it will all be over," says the other.

Not so fast. "Prison Break" premieres with a special two-hour episode 8 p.m. EDT Monday on FOX, before settling into its regular 9 p.m. slot starting Sept. 5.

Michael may eventually break out. But for the time being, viewers should expect to be held captive.