‘Prodigal Son’ S1E1 “Pilot” Breakdown and Review!

I am already hooked! This show has some really amazing things happening in this episode, not only does it have amazing casting but the plot mixed with the cinematography has me really wanting to see more. The show starts with the arrest of Dr. Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen) as the prolific serial killer dubbed The Surgeon. This obviously takes a toll on his son Malcolm who has a close bond with his father and it told repeatedly by his father in flashbacks that they are just a like.

Years later, Malcolm Whitly is now Malcolm Bright, an FBI profiler working to catch serial killers. In his introduction he is working a case that involves hostages. In looking for the killer in the building, he himself becomes a victim. However, just as he is talking the victim out of killing him, a local sheriff barges in and kills the killer. Malcolm then punches the Sheriff which leads to him being fired by the FBI. In the firing they even mention that they are worried about the similar traits he has to his father.

After his firing, he moves back to New York and continue to experience night terrors that involve memories of his father. These range from seeing him as a kid and wondering why people call him a monster, to being trapped in a cell with his father. Pretty much we are establishing that Malcolm is suffering.

He meets with his sister, Ainsley, who is a local New York reporter. She leaves her conversation with Malcolm for a story but neglects to tell him it is a murder investigation.  He figures it out by the fact that he knew she was lying and that he is later approached by an old friend, Detective Gil Arroyo. He asks for Malcolm’s help in profiling this serial killer.

The victim is a wealthy young woman, Vanessa Hobbs. Here he also meets who will be the team he is working with, J.T. Tarmel and Dani Powell. Malcolm rubs them both wrong instantly but he is impressive in figuring out what happened in the scene. After realizing that the victims were injected with a paralytic and made to suffer, that Detective Arroyo brought him here because these are copycat murders of his father, The Surgeon. Malcolm agrees to make a profile and that he will not talk to his father.

When he arrives home his mother is there after learning from his sister that Malcolm is back in town. She pushes therapy and drugs on him knowing that he is still having night terrors and not sleeping well. She also pushes for him to come to dinner with her and Ainsley.

Instead of taking the chamomile tea and meds he pulls out all the information he has on his father and builds a profile. He delivers the profile at the coroner’s officer, Dr. Edrisa Guilfoyle, with the rest of the team there. He says that this is obviously a white male with a sense of inadequacy. The biggest difference between these three vics and the surgeons, is the ligature marks on the wrist. These leads them to think maybe they were all involved with a Dom.

After looking into financials, they end up at the apartment of Nico Stavros. All three of the victims have recently sent him money. Inside they discover a man strapped to a chair and the drugs lined up to administers. Dani ends up going after the suspect who fled the apartment while Malcolm and JT work to free Nico. Nico though is strapped to a chair with a bomb. Probably the funniest and weirdest part of the episode was that Malcolm’s solution was to chop off his arm. (Am I the only one having Walking Dead flashbacks?) The bomb does go off after they all get out but the suspect does get away from Dani.

Malcolm does make it to dinner with his mom and sister. Ainsley spills that Malcolm has been profiling for the NYPD, which goes against his mother’s wishes for him to stop working around murder. Malcolm tells them that this is a copycat of his father which promptly ends dinner, with his mother’s warning that talking to his dad will destroy him.

Later, he is working at the police station when he falls asleep and has a night terror about finding one of his father’s victims. It is unclear if this is an actual memory like some of his dreams or twisted like others. It does lead him though to accidentally attacking Dani. She handles it well though, recognizing that he is asleep and helping him to wake up.

Obviously, this raises flags to Gil but not enough to pull Malcolm from the investigation. He shows Malcolm some evidence they found of sketches about the cocktail the Surgeon injected. The issue is these are in his father’s handwriting forcing Malcolm to go see his father.

This meeting is tense. His father obviously denies having any involvement but even then, Malcolm deduces that the killer is one of his father’s patients when claiming his work must have been stolen. Malcolm quickly narrows the field to two but needs his father’s help in picking which one. Of course, his father requires the promise of another visit for his help.

This has the team at Berkhead’s charity event. Carter Berkhead is a wealthy man that was once treated by Dr. Whitly for a heart attack but looked to punish woman after his wife cheated on him during that low time in his life. Dani talks with Berkhead’s wife, Blair and they head upstairs for privacy, which turns out to be the location that Carter chose to kill his wife. He knocks Dani out but then isn’t sure what to do with her.

Malcolm comes in and talks with Berkhead. He gets the injection from him and threatens to inject himself, as no one is more in need of punishment then Dr. Whitly’s own son that became a profiler out of spite for his father (This is all shocking news to Dani)

Just as Malcolm is about to inject himself Gil comes in and shoots Berkhead.

After the scene is cleared Dani and J.T. question Gil about his choice to bring in Malcolm. He tells them about a call he has years back when he was still a beat cop. He was looking into a prank 911 call that led him to the Whitly’s. Dr. Whitly was about to serve Gil a tea that was laced with a drug when Malcolm warned him that his father was bad. As it turns out it was Malcolm that turned in his father leading to who knows how many women being spared.

In the last scene of the episode, Malcolm makes good on his promise to see his father again. He asks that Malcolm and he continue to work on investigations together and Malcolm suspects that this was all asset up by his father to get him a visit. He walks away from his father now but I think we all know that this is going to end up happening.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was such a stellar series opener. Again, I really love the casting both Michael Sheen and Thomas Payne are excellent actors. The add in the impeccable writing and this show has the potentional to be a real winner. Obviously not all episodes are going to be copycats of his father but I do think that a partnership with the two is going to be something to see.

You can catch Prodigal Son on Fox, Monday nights at 9 P.M.

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