Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Prodigal Son - Pilot/Annihilator

Tom Payne stars as Malcolm Bright, a FBI profiler fired in the show's pilot episode not for his inability to solve cases (which he excels at) but his inability to get along with others and concerns about his mental stability. Picking up a new job with the NYPD, Malcolm's first case involves a serial killer who is a copycat of Malcom's father (Michael Sheen) who killed more than 23 victims before Malcolm turned him in as a child. Still haunted from his own childhood, Malcolm's nights involve restraints and night terrors stemming from discovering his father's hobby years before and his days, while not investigating crimes, involve spending time with his ambitious sister (Halston Sage) and doing his best to avoid spending time with his overbearing mother (Bellamy Young).

Over the first two episodes Bright helps bring a pair of killers to justice, first the copycat killer mirroring murders Malcolm's father committed years before, and second a family annihilator responsible for the death of an entire family (and nearly two). The distrust from the officers (Aurora Perrineau and Frank Harts) working the cases forces their boss (Lou Diamond Phillips) to reveal his connection to Malcolm. A subplot involves Malcolm's nightmares which are memories back to the discovery which forced him to call the police on his father and led to meeting Arroyo (Lou Diamond Phillips). His return to New York and reconnect with his family has started jarring loose fragments of memories and hopes of answering a mystery that has haunted Malcolm since his childhood.

The first two episodes get by on glimpses of Malcolm's strengths and weaknesses both as an investigator and as a man. Sheen his having fun here as the charming serial killer desperately wanting to reconnect with his son, his only real outlet to the outside world. While his sister seems to be the only normal member of his family, his mother and Malcolm both bare the scars of his father's notorious murders. The memories of the woman in the box are left looming at the end of the show's second episode, with a warning from his father foreshadowing that the answers Malcolm seeks may bring him more pain than solace. Do they also suggest that his mother knew more about her husband's hobby than Malcolm ever suspected?

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