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Saturday, September 28, 2019

Prodigal Son: A New Serial Killer

Continuing my sampling of new shows on traditional network TV, my wife and I tried Prodigal Son, which debuted on Fox earlier this week.  We're going to keep watching it.

It continues a now well-established tradition on network television: the serial killer, and the hunt for (usually) him, well represented by everything from The Following to Criminal Minds in recent years. Prodigal Son offers a new twist: the father (Dr. Whitly) is the serial killer, and his son Malcolm is with the police (first the FBI, now NYPD) hunting them down.  Malcolm good at it because he may have inherited some serial killer tendencies himself.  Or, at least, he understands them not only from knowing his father all too well, but because he feels them from the inside out, i.e., in himself.

The cast is outstanding.  Malcolm is played Tom Payne (no relation to the patriot, and spelled differently, anyway), who played no less than "Jesus" (or, to be clear, someone by that nickname) on The Walking Dead.  His father is played by Master and Johnson's Michael Sheen.  And just for good measure, Malcolm's sister Ainsley, a broadcast reporter, is played by Halston Sage, who was great on The Orville (and now we know why she suddenly left that show).  And, hey, Lou Diamond Phillips (last seen by me in Longmire, a great series) is Malcolm's superior, and goes back a ways with both Malcolm and his killer dad.

The first episode was fast, suitably complex, and surprising at times - like when Malcolm chops off a guy's hand to keep him from getting blown up by a bomb he's strapped to.  The family dynamics are effective - Malcolm doesn't want to even see his father, but he's drawn into seeking whatever guidance on serial killers he can get from him (my wife said this reminded her of the Silence of Lambs motif).  More than enough to keep anyone with a pulse's interest.

I'll be back with another review soon.


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