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Don Lehman covers crime and Warren County government for The Post-Star. His work can be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on

'Escape at Dannemora'

A film crew shoots a scene in Chestertown for the Ben Stiller Showtime mini-series, "Escape at Dannemora," last year.

I don't watch much TV, and I don't watch any cop shows when I do have time to turn it on.

After years of covering the courts around here, I have seen more of it in real life than I need to, and most TV shows don't do a good job portraying the reality of the criminal justice system. The old NYPD Blue was an exception years ago.

That said, having been (briefly) on the set of the new Showtime series based on the 2015 escape of two murderers from Clinton Correctional Facility, and having covered the escape to a degree, the show piqued my interest.

So far, after two episodes, I have not been disappointed. Ben Stiller and his crew did a great job showing the realities of life in an old upstate New York prison, the battered old prisons like Great Meadow and Clinton that continue to hold thousands of men in old cellblocks, as well as the bleak winters in northern New York. It will be interesting to see how the scenes that were shot in northern Warren County turned out.

There are many who have taken issue with the seemingly sympathetic portrayal of convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat, and I can see that point. So far, they are coming across as sort-of caged birds looking for a way out, instead of the cold-blooded killers they were. Let's not forget that Sweat brutally killed a cop, and Matt murdered a man as well.

That said, in an era where there seems to be little worth watching on TV, the show has so far held my attention. Showtime is also home to the great series Shameless, so the monthly fee to stream it is a decent investment as we start another cold, dark winter in our corner of northern New York.

-- Don Lehman

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