How do you deal with the fact that your loving father is a sadistic serial killer? That’s the problem that’s been facing Malcolm Bright since he was a little boy – and though he’s turned his talents to becoming a criminal psychologist, he’s still struggling.
Michael Sheen and Tom Payne star as father and son in this US drama, now set to air on Sky.
Here’s everything you need to know about the thrilling drama.
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When is Prodigal Son on TV in the UK?
CONFIRMED: Prodigal Son begins on Tuesday 28th July 2020 at 9pm on Sky One. The drama will also be available on NOW TV.
In the US, the show has already aired on Fox – with a 20-episode run beginning in September 2019 and lasting through to April.
Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne) is a serial killer profiler, lately of the FBI and now working with the NYPD. And he knows quite a lot about how killers think and how their minds work, because his own father, a talented thoracic surgeon called Dr Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), was a notorious serial killer himself – until his crimes were discovered and he ended up behind bars.
For ten years, Malcolm hasn’t visited his dad. Since his father’s true identity was revealed when he was just a child, he has suffered from extreme nightmares, tremors, night terrors, insomnia and psychological trauma.
But now a new spate of murders forces Malcolm to realise that his father might have useful information for him. For his part, Dr Whitly (aka “The Surgeon”) is still desperate to bond with his prodigal son, believing that they are “the same”. Can the two navigate their strange father-and-son relationship?
Across 20 episodes, Malcolm works alongside his longtime mentor Gil Arroyo (Lou Diamond Phillips) at the NYPD as well as detectives Dani (Aurora Perrineua) and JT (Frank Harts) and medical examiner Dr Edrisa Tanaka (Keiko Agena).
He also must deal with his manipulative, rich, alcoholic mother Jessica (Bellamy Young) and his nice, normal, ambitious TV reporter sister Ainsley Whitly (Halston Sage).
English actor Payne, who started out as Brett in Waterloo Road, is best known for playing Paul “Jesus” Rovia in The Walking Dead.
Sheen’s most recent roles include Good Omens, Quiz, the lockdown drama Staged, Dolittle, and The Good Fight. He’s also starred in Masters of Sex, Frost/Nixon, The Queen and The Special Relationship (as Tony Blair), and Midnight in Paris.
Joining them in the cast are Keiko Agena (of Gilmore Girls), Lou Diamond Phillips, Halston Sage, Aurora Perrineua, Frank Harts, Bellamy Young, Charlayne Woodard, Esau Pritchett, Dermot Mulroney, Kasjan Wilson, and Molly Griggs.
Will there be a second season of Prodigal Son?
Yes! In May 2020, Prodigal Son was renewed for a second season – having just finished its US broadcast in April. Fox Entertainment exec Michael Thorn said the network was “thrilled to have Prodigal Son return for our 2020-21 slate.”
The drama was actually meant to be 22 episodes long rather than 20, but as the coronavirus pandemic escalated in the USA it was cut short and wrapped up with a season finale.
The timings for when production can begin for season two are still unconfirmed.
Speaking in July 2020, Tom Payne told RadioTimes.com and other press: “Everyone is trying to get back into production as soon as possible. We shoot in New York, which was obviously the big epicentre of everything in America when it all started, but now is pretty much as under control as you can be.”
While shooting in a “pod” under social distancing rules will be strange, Payne said, “We’re working hard to get back, and we’re all very excited about the storyline and where it can go, so fingers crossed we can go back as soon as we can.”
Michael Sheen joked: “I’m trying to convince them to create my cell, my prison cell, here in my shed in my garden in Wales. Because then I don’t have to go anywhere near anybody.”
What is the meaning of “prodigal son”?
The phrase comes from the “Parable of the Prodigal Son” in the Bible. This is one of the parables of Jesus (Luke 15:11-32), and relays a story he tells about a father with two sons.
The younger son asks for his half of the inheritance from his father, but when he receives it he spends it extravagantly and wastefully (he is “prodigal”). After squandering the money and falling into destitution, he returns home to beg his father to employ him as a servant.
But the father, instead of scorning him, welcomes him back with open arms. This strikes the older son as quite unfair, and he refuses to take part in the celebrations. But the father tells him that “thy younger brother was lost and now he is found.”
In a twisted way, this TV drama makes Dr Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen) the father and Malcolm (Tom Payne) his “prodigal son”.
Dr Whitly is still desperate for a relationship with Malcolm; perhaps he still hopes that Malcolm will abandon his crime-fighting ways and join him on the dark side as a serial killer?
Prodigal Son starts 28th July on Sky and NOW TV. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide.