Prodigal Son has a premise that is unique and sends chills down your spine. It is a shame that the show is unable to utilize its best elements and begins to resemble just another cop drama.
Michael Sheen and Bellamy Young are in excellent form, while the show’s protagonist Tom Payne fades and gets absorbed into the routine police work.
1. Quick Review
Prodigal Son is a show that examines various aspects of a father-son relationship. The show focuses on Malcolm’s psychological trauma, and visions and nightmares resulting from his childhood memories of his father’s arrest.
The scenes which Malcolm shares with his father or mother are undoubtedly the best moments of the show, and it’s a shame that the show gets reduced to a police-procedural after such a gripping premise.
2. Info & Watch Links
Prodigal SonAir Date: September 23, 2019 Status: Upcoming Season 2 No. of Seasons: 2 No. of Episodes: 27
3. Is It Worth Watching?
If you’re looking for a new crime drama to hook your teeth in, Prodigal Son may be the show. It combines all the elements of a traditional cop show, with a gripping psychological premise, and is supported by great actors. The series has also been renewed for a second season, which will begin shooting when the COVID-19 situation improves.
The show revolves around a criminal profiler named Malcolm, who has been fired from the FBI and is consulting with the NYPD Major Crimes unit. Malcolm’s father, Martin Whitly is the notorious serial killer known as The Surgeon, who is currently serving a life sentence.
As a child, Malcolm was responsible for his father’s arrest as he alerted the authorities and saved the life of another victim.
Malcolm has the uncanny ability to view a crime-scene from the point of view of the killer, which makes him a valuable asset for the police. But, he is constantly shaken by visions and nightmares from his traumatic childhood.
When someone starts killing people using a similar MO as The Surgeon, Malcolm is asked to offer his insight. This forces him to make contact with his estranged father after ten years.
Malcolm has to navigate these troubled waters and use his father’s help to catch the killer, but he must be careful not to fall prey to his past demons.
As Malcolm starts investigating the cases, he is forced to question whether some of his father’s violent and homicidal tendencies have been genetically passed down. Viewing murder scenes as a killer would, Malcolm becomes increasingly troubled and unhinged.
II. Cast & Performances
Michael Sheen gives a superb performance as Dr. Martin Whitly, reminding people of Hannibal Lecter. The show’s tension doesn’t come from the chase and investigation surrounding him, but rather the psychological impact on Malcolm, who had a serial killer as a father.
Due to this, the scenes which the father-son duo share are the best parts of the series.
Bellamy Young does a fabulous job as Malcolm’s mother. A woman who has moved past her links and marriage to a convicted serial killer is the perfect addition to the drama. A cold alcoholic, who has used her family’s wealth to move on from her past she rounds off the crazy Whitly family.
The on-screen sibling of this dynamic duo, Tom Payne, gets caught up in criminal investigations during the day and childhood flashbacks in the night. It’s no fault that the series has decided to go on the well-trodden road of cop dramas, and he is unable to explore his character’s psychological angst.
The visuals of Prodigal Son often feel over the top, as the show plays with Fox’s censor, pushing the gore to the allowed limit. With snakes crawling out of cadavers and blood-spewed corpses, the series tries too hard to be the next big thing. Instead, it may end up pushing people away who didn’t sign up for such graphic imagery.
The first cases aren’t particularly memorable as the show tries to develop the characters’ personal stories while investigating a new crime in every episode. A continued criminal investigation running throughout the season would have been a better choice.
4. Final Thoughts
Prodigal Son has a unique and interesting premise that hooks you from the get-go. While the show goes the wrong way, pouring new criminal cases in every episode, it is the actors that carry the series.
Michael Sheen and Bellamy Young make a great pair, and had the show given them more time; they would have washed away the protagonist.