Prodigal Son Review: Tom Payne and Michael Sheen Ham Up This Serial Killer Thriller

TVGuide.com | 9/20/2019 | Amanda Bell
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It's kinda weird how shows about serial killers can feel like a pleasant place of escape sometimes, no? Such was the case with Mindhunter, which managed to avoid being a parody project and instead offered incisive character studies of its complicated heroes, and such is the case with Prodigal Son, Fox's newest crime procedural that has a delicious twist: Our titular hero Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne) is a brainy, frenetic serial killer profiler who also happens to be the son of one of New York's most infamous murderers, Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), aka The Surgeon.

When we first meet Malcolm Bright, it is decidedly not his finest hour. Although he successfully tracks down a literal butcher before he can slaughter his next batch of hostages, Malcolm also punches a police chief for shooting the perp instead of letting Malcolm talk him down — which, to be fair, he was almost able to do. He subsequently gets canned by the FBI, but it's not just this violent escapade that earns Malcolm his walking papers; his bosses also fear that he might be exhibiting some of his father's, uh, impulse control issues. Considering he has to chain himself to his bed each night on account of his very violent night terrors, they might be onto something.

Malcolm - NYPD - History - Detective - Gil

Malcolm is quickly scooped up by the NYPD because he has a long, storied history with a detective named Gil Arroyo (Lou Diamond Phillips). For Gil, Malcolm's eccentricities are excusable because he knows Bright from way back in the day (the specifics of their connection are revealed late in the episode). He knows Malcolm is a bit unstable, but he also feels certain that he's still one of the good guys. We'll have to wait and see whether Gil's instincts about Malcolm are correct, but Malcolm's sister Ainsley...
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