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'Alcatraz' a moody, exciting new drama

"Alcatraz" - DVR Record Series Options: ALL NEW EPISODES.

Easy call. If the first two episodes of Fox's new mystery-drama "Alcatraz" (8 p.m. tonight) are any indication, I'm enthusiastically in.

The premise of this captivating new JJ Abrams show is that when the legendary Alcatraz prison shut down in March of 1963 and prisoners and guards were transferred off the island, 302 of them vanished into thin air. Then suddenly, the missing people begin showing up one by one in present day San Francisco. The action of the show flips back and forth in time from 1960 (or 1963) to 2012.

The missing, dubbed The 63s, are being tracked by federal agent Emerson Hauser, played by a scowling Sam Neill. Neill, who can be menacing in the role, has a unique connection to The Rock and to the missing 63s. Sarah Jones plays San Francisco detective Rebecca Madsen, one of those beautiful-but-slightly-damaged TV cops that every crime show apparently needs. Her damage (at least the damage we know about so far): her last partner was killed in front of her in the line of duty and her parents died when she was a child. She was raised by "uncle" Ray (Robert Forster), who was a guard on Alcatraz, as was her long-deceased grandfather.

Former UNC Board of Governors Chair Loses Law License

Sam Neill, a former Democratic Congressional candidate and 12-year-member of the UNC Board of Governors, has been disbarred for stealing trust fund money. Neill agreed to give up his license and admitted misconduct.

Neill, who is from Hendersonville, is a well known fixture in Western North Carolina political circles. He twice ran against former U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor and lost. He served as chairman of the UNC Board of Governors for two years.

According to The Asheville Citizen-Times, Neill was named trustee of a charitable trust by Barry E. Clemo, who died in February 2009. The trust called for Neill to distribute the money to the Community Foundation of Henderson County and Four Seasons Hospice.  A recent court filing said the two organizations received nothing from the trust, and that Neill hasn't accounted for the money when asked.

The Hendersonville Times-News reported on a recently filed lawsuit that alleges that Neill took about $900,000 from the trust fund.  Now there are “little to no assets remaining in the trust to be distributed to the beneficiaries,” according to the suit.

The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation is investigating. District Attorney Jeff Hunt has asked the state Attorney General's office to lead the prosecution; Hunt told the newspaper he wanted to avoid any conflict of interest in prosecuting his long time friend.

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