Just last year, Gadling brought you a first look at a new show on the National Geographic Channel called Locked Up Abroad. The show profiles the harrowing true stories of foreigners who have been arrested or kidnapped while abroad, telling the stories with first person interviews with the victims.
A new season of Locked Up Abroad kicks off on April 1st at 10pm, and Gadling recently had a chance to preview the first episode of the new season. Much like seasons past, it makes for some of the most intense, high-drama television you’ll find anywhere on the dial. The inaugural episode kicks off in Peru, with Locked Up Abroad Cuzco.
Sarah and Simon are fast friends from the UK, agreeing to head to Peru for week of fun and relaxation. But little does Simon know that he’s being conned by his friend Sarah. Sarah is in deep with a loan shark and has agreed to smuggle cocaine back to Europe in exchange for the payoff of her debts. In one of the more callous displays of human deceit ever on television, she invites her friend Simon to come along without telling him anything about the drugs. Things get ugly when the two are apprehended at the airport. Despite total innocence to the whole smuggling plan Simon spent over a year in a horrific Peruvian prison trying to clear his name.
Don’t get me wrong, Locked Up Abroad can be tough to watch. These are certainly emotionally charged stories of individuals forced into bad situations. But much like a train wreck, it can be hard to turn away. You simply want to know how things turn out.
Definitely tune in for the first episode next Wednesday and keep watching Gadling for the latest Locked Up Abroad news.
If you haven’t had a chance, I highly recommend you check out my new favorite show, Locked Up Abroad, on the National Geographic Channel. I stumbled across it recently and have not been able to stop watching since. Each episode chronicles the real-life stories of young men and women who have been incarcerated while traveling in countries including Venezuela, Mexico, Nepal and Thailand. As you might guess, the arrests frequently involve drugs, although other incidents include a kidnapping by paramilitaries in Colombia and gold smuggling in Nepal.
Using first-hand interviews, each story unfolds as the protagonist chronicles a series of bad decisions and rationalizations that led to their eventual arrest. What starts in many cases as a free all-expenses-paid holiday, a chance for “adventure” and an opportunity to make a quick buck quickly turns into an all-too-real nightmare. They describe endless days waiting in isolated holding cells, confusing foreign justice systems and getting caught in the crossfire of deadly prison gang wars. Interestingly enough, not all episodes involve prison – in one of my favorite episodes so far, an American sets out on a motorcycle trip across South America, only to be kidnapped at gunpoint by guerillas in Colombia. Not only does he manage to eventually escape, he also refuses to be sent back to the U.S. after his ordeal, choosing to continue his motorcycle trip to its completion. Fascinating television to say the least.
What makes Locked Up Abroad especially compelling for a twenty-something like me with a bad case of wanderlust is that the situations hit very close to home. Granted, I will never be stupid enough to accept an “all-expenses-paid vacation” to South America or try to drive my motorcycle into an area controlled by Colombian guerillas, but I do understand the mindset. Travel can skew our sense of reality, making us crave opportunities to push our boundaries and have truly unique, memorable experiences. That is for most of us, a very healthy instinct – it’s only when it crosses the line between reality and fantasy that it can become horribly serious.
Check out Locked Up Abroad Monday nights at 9pm on the National Geographic Channel.