Television Reviews

PRODIGAL SON May Have Me Hooked

A brilliant criminal profiler struggles with the after effects of discovering his father is a serial killer, which has also made him excel in his profession. Starring Tom Payne (The Walking Dead) and Michael Sheen (Good Omens), the FOX crime drama is slightly formulaic in typical duo detective fashion, however, I’m interested enough to continue with its slightly unique premise and great leads.


As a child, Malcolm Bright (Payne) uncovers that his father Dr. Martin Whitly (Sheen) is the serial killer known as “The Surgeon”. He has channeled this trauma into a career as a criminal profiler in New York City. While he is exceptional at his job, hyper observant on another level, his unorthodox methods and mental health prove concerning to his supervisors and family.

Though it’s been 20 years, Bright still struggles to cope with his fathers crimes. His nightmares shine a light on his own fears of a deeper connection to him – one that surpasses just a simple genetic bond. Despite cutting off any communication a decade ago, he can’t shake The Surgeon’s hold on him.

When the NYPD faces a Surgeon copycat, Bright is brought in for his expertise. However, his skills as a profiler aren’t quite enough this time, and he must go to the man who can best shed light on the killers motives – his father.


At first glance, Prodigal Son seems simple in its procedural detective themes. It’s a slightly slow-burning first episode, that only teases its potential dark, twisted storytelling. From first viewing, I couldn’t quite tell if The Surgeon’s copycat will pose a bigger threat to the season – could there be more than the one? Is his father in on the copycats? Or will the series transition into a buddy/cop drama, seeing Bright pick his fathers brain to solve unrelated cases?

With only 14 years between them, I did find it odd to place the two main actors in a father/son role at first. However, it seems there will be quite a few flashback sequences, which may be the reason for such a small age gap. This is definitely something I hope to see explored in-depth, as I’m dying to know how The Surgeon escaped being unmasked for so long, even by his own family. I wouldn’t call it my favorite pilot episode ever, but with Sheen’s track record, I’m definitely enticed to tune in to see what comes from this new series.

You can catch Prodigal Son when it premieres September 23 on FOX. I’d also love to know your thoughts after you watch it – Are you into it or will you be skipping?

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