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
8 Seasons, 87 Episodes
July 24, 2007
Documentary & Biography, Reality
Cast: Gemma Cousins, Matthew Oats, Ryan Thor
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Clips & Extras

Locked Up Abroad Full Episode Guide

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Recalling the 1972 lockup of five young Americans who were caught smuggling 2000 pounds of marijuana out of Mexico.

  • The true story behind the box office hit "Argo," including archival news footage and first-person accounts from former CIA officer Antonio Mendez and rescued hostages Mark Lijek and Cora Amburn-Lijek.

  • A chronicle of the ordeal suffered by Roy Hallums, an American contractor working in Iraq who was kidnapped on Nov. 1, 2004, by 20 armed attackers in Baghdad and held hostage for 10 months before being rescued.

  • A British man moves to Arizona for a career change and becomes involved with drug dealing and the Mafia.

  • A reptile smuggler who illegally sold crocodiles, snakes and other animals around the world is imprisoned in Belize while trying to escape from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  • The seventh season opens with a profile of two American soldiers who were kept as POWs during the Vietnam War: Ernie Brace, who was held captive for almost eight years; and John McCain, whose plane was shot down over Hanoi.

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