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Locked Up Abroad is a television show that airs on the National Geographic Channel. It premiered in the UK in 2006 under the named "Banged Up Abroad," though this has been changed in the United States to the more accessible American English title. Although the show is largely a reality/documentary program, it also features extensive dramatized action to retell the story that is being covered in a particular episode. Each episode also includes commentary from the individuals that were involved in the incidents being portrayed, and focuses upon the events leading up to them being incarcerated. It also profiles their time in prison and the circumstances under which they were released.

The show, as its name implies, features the stories of those who have been incarcerated in foreign countries. The countries are invariably third world or developing, therefore providing for a particularly shocking prison experience. Because of the nature of the countries holding them, the profiled individuals often face exorbitant sentences and usually have a difficult time contacting their country's embassy for aid. Therefore, they are generally left to survive on their own. Most of those featured on Locked Up Abroad are British or American citizens.

Most episodes involve charges of drug smuggling. Generally, the subject of the episode is arrested for attempting to smuggle drugs into or out of a particular country. They are often lured into the scheme via a thinly-veiled cover story, although in some cases they are fully aware of what they are doing. Certain episodes have focused on semi-professional and prolific drug smugglers. In other cases, the episode profiles the kidnapping of a traveler by terrorist or rebel groups, or Western tourists or journalists being falsely accused of various crimes.

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Wednesday 10:00 PM et/pt on National Geographic Channel
7 Seasons, 80 Episodes - Currently Airing
Documentary & Biography, Reality
9.6/10
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Locked Up Abroad Full Episode Guide

  • When British schoolteacher Howard Marks agrees to help an old friend finish off a drug deal, he is unaware that this will become his new career. Attracted by the easy money and the thrill of being a smuggler, he is soon running a huge transatlantic operation.

  • A street racer gets involved with the wrong crowd.

  • A Chicago mobster heads to Sin City, where he's caught by the FBI. He then testifies against his mob and enters the witness-protection program.

  • Eddie Padilla is living the “high life” in Maui, surfing, partying and drug smuggling to support his cocaine addiction. But after Eddie is locked up in a Peruvian prison, he attempts to escape.

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