fri 07/08/2020

Prodigal Son, Sky 1 review - meet Michael Sheen, psycho killer | reviews, news & interviews

Prodigal Son, Sky 1 review - meet Michael Sheen, psycho killer

Prodigal Son, Sky 1 review - meet Michael Sheen, psycho killer

Macabre humour and ghoulish killings make this a highly bingeable series

Malcolm (Tom Payne) with his lethal father Martin (Michael Sheen)

We knew that Michael Sheen was a skilful and versatile actor, but lately he’s been getting dangerously good. Last year he roared into the third season of The Good Fight as the outrageous drug-fuelled lawyer Roland Blum, like an explosive fusion of his fellow-Welshmen Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins. Now, after wickedly impersonating Chris Tarrant in ITV’s Quiz and indulging in some comical actor-baiting in the BBC’s Staged, he arrives in Sky 1’s new US import Prodigal Son as the brilliant Dr Martin Whitly.

But behind his suave and charming exterior, Dr Whitly is a profoundly deranged serial killer, known as The Surgeon, now serving lifelong jail time for the murder of 23 victims. The twist is that the Doc’s son Malcolm (Tom Payne) works as a profiler for the NYPD, having been sacked by the FBI because of his “psychotic tendencies”. Malcolm has inherited his father’s intellectual acuity, but is tormented almost to insanity by the flashbacks and nightmares he suffers as a result of being brought up by a predatory sociopath (to give Dr Whitly his correct diagnosis). His father’s malign influence keeps coming back to him as he remembers how his father creepily told him “we’re the same,” as he was dragged away by police when Malcolm was a child.

The battle of wits between father and son is at the core of the show, as the Doc schemes and wheedles to pull Malcolm back under his influence, begging to help him solve crimes (echoes of the diabolical Hannibal Lecter are inescapable). Malcolm is desperate not to succumb, but his dilemma is that he knows his father can offer priceless assistance. Indeed, it was because of this insider knowledge that his police buddy Gil Arroyo (Lou Diamond Phillips) first called him in, to help find a killer who was blatantly copying his dad.

This is an instantly addictive show, dominated by the blackly comic Sheen but also sprinkled with delicious character roles, not least Bellamy Young (pictured above) as his clever but devious wife Jessica. As the series develops, it begins to emerge that both Jessica and Arroyo have a few dubious secrets up their sleeves. Meanwhile, the murders grow increasingly freakish and ghastly week by week. Get bingeing.

The battle of wits between father and son is at the core of the show

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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