Enter The Mind Of A Serial Killer In FOX’s New Thriller ‘Prodigal Son’

Michael Sheen, Tom Payne, Bellamy Young, Lou Diamond Phillips, Prodigal Son, FOX, serial killers

Michael Sheen and Tom Payne star in new FOX thriller 'Prodigal Son.'

Photo Courtesy of FOX.

As fall season kicks in, a slew of new shows are premiering. So, bundle up in front of the fireplace and get ready to enter the mind of a serial killer with FOX’s new thriller Prodigal Son.

If you’re a fan of Silence of the Lambs, Dexter and another FOX series, The Following, this show is a must-watch. This new show has elements of the above classics with a new twist as the son of an infamous serial killer works alongside his father to solve new murder investigations. Though the show touches on some very dark themes, it maintains a darkly comedic tone.

The 13-episode series has a star-studded cast led by Tom Payne (The Walking Dead), Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex), Bellamy Young (Scandal) and Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee Lou Diamond Phillips (Longmire).

The once-happy family of the brilliant, wealthy and charismatic Dr. Martin Whitly (Sheen) fell apart in the 1990s when it was discovered that the patriarch was a notorious serial killer known as The Surgeon, a predatory sociopath who killed at least 23 people. His son, Malcolm (Payne) was shattered as the little boy grappled to understand how the father he loved could be a monster.

A now grown-up Malcolm has taken a very different path, at first working with the FBI and then the NYPD to take down those like his father. He has changed his last name, becoming Malcolm Bright, but he isn’t able to escape the truth of his past despite his efforts to do so. He remains haunted by the past, which manifests through violent nightmares.

In addition to his own constantly evolving neuroses, Malcolm has to deal with a homicidal father still looking to bond with his prodigal son, a manipulative mother, Jessica (Young), and an annoyingly normal sister, Ainsley (played by Halston Sage), a TV journalist who wishes her brother would take a break from murder and have a normal life.

Normalcy just isn’t in Malcolm’s blood. He’s drawn to the dark side and after he’s ousted by the FBI due to concerns he shares some of his father’s dark tendencies, he decides to help the NYPD solve crimes by profiling killers. After all, who is better to get inside the mind of a serial killer than the son of a serial killer?

He begins solving murder cases alongside longtime mentor, NYPD Detective Gil Arroyo (Phillips) and his team, which includes detectives Dani Powell (Aurora Perrineau) and JT Tarmel (Frank Harts). At first, Gil keeps Malcolm’s dark past a secret as the team works to track down a copycat reenacting The Surgeon’s kills.

Each see Malcolm very differently. As a father figure to Malcolm, the last thing Gil wants is to bring his father back into his life, but it is a necessary evil in order to save lives. Dani is a headstrong, no-nonsense cop who quickly becomes impressed with Bright’s work and JT is baffled by Malcolm’s eccentricities as a forensic profiler and wonders if he is a psychopath himself.

Malcolm is a key asset with the extraordinary gift of knowing how killers think and how their minds work. He is the best criminal psychologist around because he’s able to imagine crimes through the killer’s point of view. He uses his twisted genius to help law enforcement solve crimes and stop killers all while battling his inner demons. Perhaps his work is an effort to make amends for his father’s wrongs?

Is Malcolm cut from the same cloth as his serial killer father? “Malcolm is trying to figure this out,” said Payne in a phone interview. “This is the central conceit of the show.”

Payne explains Malcolm’s complex decision to help the police. “He’s taken on this job to take a look at serial killers and learn what triggers them because he really wants to get to the bottom of what may have triggered his father. He also fears there may be something within him that could be triggered to be a serial killer, so it’s extremely complicated as he questions his own genetic makeup.” His character, adds Payne, is torn between early childhood memories of a great relationship with a warm, loving father versus the reality of who he is.

He is now trying to understand why his father committed those crimes. To do so, he had to become a genius about murder. The question is, does he have a first-hand understanding?

“He’s trying to figure out his own psychology, as we all do with our parents, to see which parts of his father he may have,” says Payne. “He’s searching for answers as to who his father really is. He had a very traumatic childhood and he’s now trying to figure out how to use the skills he learned from his father in a positive way. His father chose to use those skills immorally and he’s taking a different path.”

Where the story picks up, Malcolm hadn’t seen his father for years but he’s forced to reconnect in order to solve the copycat murders. “When this case comes up, it’s an excuse for him to open that door,” says Payne. “He may not be ready to admit this to himself, but he’s definitely missing his dad at the heart of it. Knowing his father is still around and available is hard because he does have a lot of questions that he wants answers to.”

Will he get the answers he’s looking for? Is he more like his father than he wants to admit to himself? You’ll have to watch and find out.

Prodigal Son comes from Emmy Award-nominated executive producer Greg Berlanti (Riverdale, Blindspot), executive producer Sarah Schechter (Riverdale, You), Lee Toland Krieger (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) and executive producers/writers Chris Fedak (Deception, Chuck) and Sam Sklaver (Deception, Bored to Death).

‘Prodigal Son’ will air Mondays on FOX at 9:00 p.m. starting September 23.

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As fall season kicks in, a slew of new shows are premiering. So, bundle up in front of the fireplace and get ready to enter the mind of a serial killer with FOX’s new thriller Prodigal Son.

If you’re a fan of Silence of the Lambs, Dexter and another FOX series, The Following, this show is a must-watch. This new show has elements of the above classics with a new twist as the son of an infamous serial killer works alongside his father to solve new murder investigations. Though the show touches on some very dark themes, it maintains a darkly comedic tone.

The 13-episode series has a star-studded cast led by Tom Payne (The Walking Dead), Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex), Bellamy Young (Scandal) and Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee Lou Diamond Phillips (Longmire).

The once-happy family of the brilliant, wealthy and charismatic Dr. Martin Whitly (Sheen) fell apart in the 1990s when it was discovered that the patriarch was a notorious serial killer known as The Surgeon, a predatory sociopath who killed at least 23 people. His son, Malcolm (Payne) was shattered as the little boy grappled to understand how the father he loved could be a monster.

A now grown-up Malcolm has taken a very different path, at first working with the FBI and then the NYPD to take down those like his father. He has changed his last name, becoming Malcolm Bright, but he isn’t able to escape the truth of his past despite his efforts to do so. He remains haunted by the past, which manifests through violent nightmares.

In addition to his own constantly evolving neuroses, Malcolm has to deal with a homicidal father still looking to bond with his prodigal son, a manipulative mother, Jessica (Young), and an annoyingly normal sister, Ainsley (played by Halston Sage), a TV journalist who wishes her brother would take a break from murder and have a normal life.

Normalcy just isn’t in Malcolm’s blood. He’s drawn to the dark side and after he’s ousted by the FBI due to concerns he shares some of his father’s dark tendencies, he decides to help the NYPD solve crimes by profiling killers. After all, who is better to get inside the mind of a serial killer than the son of a serial killer?

He begins solving murder cases alongside longtime mentor, NYPD Detective Gil Arroyo (Phillips) and his team, which includes detectives Dani Powell (Aurora Perrineau) and JT Tarmel (Frank Harts). At first, Gil keeps Malcolm’s dark past a secret as the team works to track down a copycat reenacting The Surgeon’s kills.

Each see Malcolm very differently. As a father figure to Malcolm, the last thing Gil wants is to bring his father back into his life, but it is a necessary evil in order to save lives. Dani is a headstrong, no-nonsense cop who quickly becomes impressed with Bright’s work and JT is baffled by Malcolm’s eccentricities as a forensic profiler and wonders if he is a psychopath himself.

Malcolm is a key asset with the extraordinary gift of knowing how killers think and how their minds work. He is the best criminal psychologist around because he’s able to imagine crimes through the killer’s point of view. He uses his twisted genius to help law enforcement solve crimes and stop killers all while battling his inner demons. Perhaps his work is an effort to make amends for his father’s wrongs?

Is Malcolm cut from the same cloth as his serial killer father? “Malcolm is trying to figure this out,” said Payne in a phone interview. “This is the central conceit of the show.”

Payne explains Malcolm’s complex decision to help the police. “He’s taken on this job to take a look at serial killers and learn what triggers them because he really wants to get to the bottom of what may have triggered his father. He also fears there may be something within him that could be triggered to be a serial killer, so it’s extremely complicated as he questions his own genetic makeup.” His character, adds Payne, is torn between early childhood memories of a great relationship with a warm, loving father versus the reality of who he is.

He is now trying to understand why his father committed those crimes. To do so, he had to become a genius about murder. The question is, does he have a first-hand understanding?

“He’s trying to figure out his own psychology, as we all do with our parents, to see which parts of his father he may have,” says Payne. “He’s searching for answers as to who his father really is. He had a very traumatic childhood and he’s now trying to figure out how to use the skills he learned from his father in a positive way. His father chose to use those skills immorally and he’s taking a different path.”

Where the story picks up, Malcolm hadn’t seen his father for years but he’s forced to reconnect in order to solve the copycat murders. “When this case comes up, it’s an excuse for him to open that door,” says Payne. “He may not be ready to admit this to himself, but he’s definitely missing his dad at the heart of it. Knowing his father is still around and available is hard because he does have a lot of questions that he wants answers to.”

Will he get the answers he’s looking for? Is he more like his father than he wants to admit to himself? You’ll have to watch and find out.

Prodigal Son comes from Emmy Award-nominated executive producer Greg Berlanti (Riverdale, Blindspot), executive producer Sarah Schechter (Riverdale, You), Lee Toland Krieger (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) and executive producers/writers Chris Fedak (Deception, Chuck) and Sam Sklaver (Deception, Bored to Death).

‘Prodigal Son’ will air Mondays on FOX at 9:00 p.m. starting September 23.

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I have worked for several years as a freelance journalist covering breaking news with Reuters and the business of entertainment as a regular Contributor with Forbes. As ...