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Premieres 17 September on FOX

Fox has put the “Prison” back in “Prison Break”, and that’s great news for fans of the show.

After a breakout first season that centered around prison life and a daring escape, the drama lost its way during its sophomore year with the characters on the run. But the show regrouped in a shocking season-ender that left Michael back behind bars.

This time, instead of a comfy American prison, Michael is incarcerated in a brutal hellhole in Panama. Sona, based on a real prison in Brazil, is so bad that the guards have retreated to the perimeter (with their machine guns) and are letting the inmates run the joint.

Sona gives “Prison Break” its soul back as the third season begins on 17 September. Judging from the first two episodes, “Prison Break” is back on track and better than ever.

The show has come full circle: this time, Michael (Wentworth Miller) is in prison while brother Lincoln (Dominic Pucell), who was exonerated in the second season finale, is on the outside trying to free him.

In a TV Guide online interview, Purcell said the brothers will separate this season after Michael believes his brother has betrayed him.

“Prison Break” hasn’t abandoned its other favorite characters — Mahone (William Fichtner), T-Bag (Robert Knepper) and Bellick (Wade Williams) are also conveniently stuck in Sona, making for some interesting alliances.

The third season introduces some compelling new characters. Lechero (‘The Wire”s Robert Wisdom) is the gangster kingpin who runs Sona. Susan B. (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, who has certainly grown up from the time she played Don Johnson’s teenage daughter on “Nash Briges”) is a shady operator who has Lincoln under her control. James Whistler (Chris Vance) is a mysterious prisoner.

The main question: what will happen to Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies)? She’s part of the opening storyline but Callies does not appear in the opening credits.