TV Review: “Prodigal Son” (2019 – ) ★★★


Among the films that I have seen, there are only a few I avoid watching again and “The Silence of the Lambs” starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster is one of them. This was the only reason that brought me to the Showcase’s “Prodigal Son”, which seemingly has taken the same approach the cult film had. However, after watching the first two episodes, I realize that it can’t stand a chance to be compared against the classic film. Yet, it has that little sense of curiosity that tries to explore, perhaps to convey the message, “we can do it too.”

Malcom Bright (Tom Payne) has changed his name to never be associated with his father, the famous serial killer Dr. Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen). Twenty years later after the arrest, Malcom becomes one of the best criminal psychologists. After all, he is like his father – he may not be a murderer, but thinks like one. This helped him to become an FBI profiler and after getting fired, he helps Gil Arroyo (Lou Diamond Phillips) to solve murder cases in New York City. While the young man has his own way of looking at the crime scene, there is one more person who is eager to be a part of, support, and help to catch the bad guy – Dr. Martin Whitly himself, all the way from the mental health facility.

As soon as the series starts, it takes plenty of steps to be much more than what it really is. Furthermore, it has a few aspects that are quite intriguing, the details of it you can’t wait to find out. For instance, Michael Sheen’s Martin Whitly kept telling his son minutes before being taken away by the police, “You’re like me. We are the same.” While his statement is being supported by the future presence of Malcolm, there’s more to that which will  soon be added that adds another mystery to “Prodigal Son”.

Another charismatic character is Malcolm’s mother, Jessica Whitly (Bellamy Young), who clearly apart from being an overprotective parent, hides a dark secret we shall find out over the course of the series. As an interesting puzzle to be solved, we have Malcolm who constantly sees a little girl in his nightmares which he believes is real. He is sure that his father killed her in his basement and hid the body. But what we know so far, and this is my assumption, of course, it might be not Martin who killed her and maybe, and only maybe, Malcolm himself who does not remember. Another hypothetical thought is that Jessica Whitly, portrayed by Bellamy Young, does look like a great match to Martin’s wicked mind, who probably has secretly contributed to Martin’s criminal past.

While all these are assumptions some of you may land upon, the series created by Chris Fedak and Sam Sklaver does not complicate “Prodigal son” much as it slowly but clearly goes towards its goal to be achieved every time when we leave a new episode behind. As for the performances, both Martin Sheen and Bellamy Young shine in every scene while Tom Payne as Michael Bright is yet to get to the point where we can admire him for his part. Certainly he is as good as he gets, however, based on the character he portrays, the actor will require more than just mimicking for us to believe everything he tries to convey through the silver screen.

Overall, “Prodigal Son” owns a great start but how it ends is what we will have to find out. Despite the show itself far from being considered as remarkable, it’s a decent piece that deserves our attention. Based on the storyline, it should get better and better, which is a luxurious thought we cannot afford having but the promising start of “Prodigal son” gives us enough room to expect more than we have already seen.

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