Tom Payne as Malcolm Bright in ’Prodigal Son’. Picture: Supplied
Tom Payne as Malcolm Bright in ’Prodigal Son’. Picture: Supplied

The sins of the father continues to haunt the ’Prodigal Son’ in new season

By Debashine Thangevelo Time of article published Apr 18, 2021

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I’m not going to lie, my excitement went into overdrive upon learning that “Prodigal Son” was returning to M-Net for a second season.

Aside from the stellar cast returning, I was chuffed to see that Catherine Zeta-Jones had a special guest star role.

Although she has meandered over to the small screen world from time to time, this was a move that deserved a bit of noise.

Unfortunately, I will have to wait a little longer to see her on-screen character, Dr Vivian Capshaw, who interacts with serial killer Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen) aka "the Surgeon".

Tom Payne (“The Walking Dead” fame) reprises his lead role as Martin’s son, Malcolm Bright. He changed his surname after his father was arrested for several murders, one of which haunted Malcolm for the better part of season one.

While this is a new season with a fresh batch of gruesome kills, Malcolm’s demons continue to accrue as the series picks up from the aftermath of Nicholas Endicott’s death.

The writers decided to have a bit of fun with the start of season two, where Malcolm finds himself on a ledge with the Penthouse slasher.

He says: “Sorry, this ledge is taken...It’s been one helluva year for all of us. Got real dark for me though - family issues.

“It’s my father’s fault. He’s in my head, serial killers, they tend to do that. Tried to run away from it, deny it, but, you know, he’s my father. We all have issues.”

Lou Diamond Phillips with Frank Harts in a scene from “Prodigal Son”. Picture: Supplied

The first episode saw JT Tarmel (Frank Harts) running the show while Gill Arroyo (Lou Diamond Phillips), a lieutenant with Major Crimes in the NYPD, is recovering in hospital.

Gill has been a surrogate father to Malcolm since he arrested Martin. At the time, Malcolm was a scared little boy.

As an adult, he joined the FBI as a profiler. But he was let go after disregarding protocol one too many times.

Gill, privy to his prowess in profiling criminal, hires him.

But Malcolm’s new role within the NYPD sees him grudgingly reconnect with his father, who wiles away his time at Claremont Psychiatric Hospital.

When Malcolm said he had family issues, he wasn’t kidding.

His mother Jessica (Bellamy Young) isn’t a fan of his interaction with his serial killer father. More so, as she’s aware of her ex-husband’s knack for manipulation.

Throughout the first season, Malcolm wrestled with the idea that he might more like his father than he would care to admit.

Halston Sage as Ainsley Whitly. Picture: Supplied

Meanwhile, his sister Ainsley (Halston Sage), an intrepid news reporter, continues to be a thorn in his side.

By the end of the first episode, one thing is clear - Martin isn’t done with trying to lure Malcolm to the dark side, especially when he tells him, “Please don’t torture yourself...Maybe that’s not it.

“Maybe there’s another reason why you are so full of pain - getting away with murder, walking the streets knowing the truth, it’s intoxicating.

“Tell me your imagination isn’t stoked knowing what it takes, what you are capable of.

“People think we are crazy. They don’t know the truth, murder is the ultimate thrill.

“Maybe you are all cut up inside because getting away with murder doesn’t feel bad at all. It felt good.”

The writers of “Prodigal Son” deserve praise for cleverly blurring the lines between right and wrong. They offset the heaviness of storytelling with tongue-in-cheek humour.

Of course, the casting, as well as ingeniously penned story arcs, works in the crime dramas favour.

The actors share a wonderful chemistry and, in playing their roles so well, get viewers invested in their moral conflicts and Catch-22 situations.

“Prodigal Son” season 2 airs on M-Net on Wednesdays at 9.30pm.

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