ALBANY — The prison escape in 2015 at the Clinton Correctional Facility in northern New York cost taxpayers at least $23 million in overtime for the three-week manhunt.
Now, New Yorkers will pay for the television series.
Showtime's upcoming eight-part series Escape from Dannemora about the harrowing escape has applied for New York's lucrative film-tax credits, according to Empire State Development, which runs the program.
The star-studded series was filmed and produced in various locations in the state, including at the prison, according to Showtime.
"You’ve heard of the gift that keeps on giving? This is the escape that keeps on costing," said E.J.
McMahon, who heads the Empire Center for Public Policy, a fiscally conservative think tank in Albany.
Empire State Development, though, said the show is likely to have generated "several thousand hires and significant economic spend in New York over weeks of filming in North Country, Albany area, Westchester, Orange County, and New York City."
New York budgets $420 million a year for its film-tax program and provides 30 percent back for production costs to eligible shows and films.
For productions shot outside the New York City area, the reimbursement is up to 40 percent.
So it will likely be several years before New York reimburses the show for a portion of its costs and makes the information public. There was no immediate comment from Showtime about applying for the tax breaks.
The eight-hour series debuts Sunday, Nov. 18 at 10 p.m., and the station released a 2-minute trailer on Monday night.
The series details the June 5, 2015, escape by convicted killers Richard Matt and David Sweat after they spent months cutting through walls and pipes inside the maximum-security prison.
Matt, played by Benicio del Toro, and Sweat, played by Paul Dano, led authorities on a manhunt through the dense woods near the Canadian border.
Matt was shot and killed. Sweat was captured.
The escape was aided by prison worker Joyce Mitchell, who had an affair with Matt, and the men were assisted by another guard, Gene Palmer.
Mitchell, played by Patricia Arquette, is serving seven years in prison after freezing hacksaw blades in meat for the men and originally agreeing to be their getaway driver.
Palmer served less than six months in prison for slipping the men supplies in the meat.
In 2016, a report from the state Inspector General's Office concluded the escape was the result of "chronic complacency and systemic failures" at the prison.
Actor Ben Stiller is the executive producer and director of the series, and he spoke Monday night about the filming at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Los Angeles.
According to a tweet from Showtime, Stiller said Gov. Andrew Cuomo helped accommodate the production.
"Governor Cuomo of New York sat down with us about 5 weeks before shooting began and said ‘Hey, why don’t you shoot this at the real prison," Stiller said, according to Showtime.
Cuomo is played in the series by Michael Imperioli, a Westchester County native and a star of HBO's The Sopranos.
“I’m trying to capture more of his essential nature,” Imperioli told the Wall Street Journal last year about the role, “the internal truth.”
Asked Tuesday by a reporter in Saranac Lake about whether he has seen the trailer and his portrayal, Cuomo said he hadn't and joked, "Am I better looking in person or on the screen?"
This is the second production about the breakout.
Lifetime's Prison Break: The Joyce Mitchell Story was broadcast last year, but it was not filmed in New York and thus did not receive any state incentives.