Watch Locked Up Abroad

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.

Wednesday 10:00 PM et/pt on National Geographic
9 Seasons, 89 Episodes
July 24, 2007
Documentary & Biography, Reality
8.5/10
Cast: Gemma Cousins, Matthew Oats, Ryan Thor
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Locked Up Abroad Full Episode Guide

  • Americans plot daring escapes from prisons in Soviet Russia and Mexico in the 1970s.

  • Two would-be drug smugglers face deadly prison sentences after high-stakes busts.

  • In February 2011, Matthew VanDyke is at home in Baltimore watching news coverage of the Libyan Arab Spring. Libya is a country he knows well, he has friends there and the footage disturbs him. So on the spur of the moment he decides to return and help the rebels fight against Qaddafi and his forces.

  • Newsmen Scott Taylor and Zeynep Tugrul were captured on the front lines in Iraq in 2004 by insurgents who believed they were spies for the United States.

  • Tom Lynch, along with other contractors, made attempts to flee Kuwait following the Iraqi invasion, but they were captured and brought to a famous prison in Baghdad.

  • Nightclub promoter Brendan Cosso gets busted in Brazil trying to take a package to Hungary, and serves four years in one of the most violent prisons in South America.

  • Music producer Roy makes Kahilah Saleem transport illegal drugs in order to see her daughter again.

  • Contractors taken in Iraq in 1990 are sent to a prison in Baghdad.

  • Michael Morey agreed to smuggle cocaine from Ecuador to Europe after learning his girlfriend is pregnant.

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Locked Up Abroad is currently available to watch and stream on National Geographic. You can also buy, rent Locked Up Abroad on demand at Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Vudu, Google Play, DIRECTV NOW, iTunes online.

Locked Up Abroad Video Clips & Extras

Venezuelan Prison Life | National Geographic Clip (03:05) Egyptian Prison | National Geographic Clip (01:59) Smoking the Supply | Locked Up Abroad Clip (04:26) False Documents | National Geographic Clip (03:49) Forced into Smuggling | National Geographic Clip (03:06) Kidnapped in the Dark | National Geographic Clip (03:09) Saudi Interrogation | Locked Up Abroad Clip (03:05) Narrow Escape | National Geographic Clip (02:38)