'Prodigal Son' season 1: Michael Sheen dominates the screen as he channels his inner Hannibal Lector for his serial killer role
Under the harmless, smiling, approachable facade of Dr Whitley is the dangerous, scheming serial killer The Surgeon
'Prodigal Son' begins with the arrest of Michael Sheen's Dr Martin Whitly. The Surgeon, the moniker for Dr Whitly's serial killer avatar, has brutally killed 23 people through the '90s till he is finally arrested and put in a facility, but not before he looks down at his young terrified son Malcolm and tells him they're very much the same.
The new crime thriller from Fox is indeed an exhilarating watch. It follows Tom Payne's Malcolm Bright, Dr Whitly's son, as one of the best criminal psychologists around who uses his twisted and unfortunate genius to help the NYPD solve gruesome series of murders and stop killers.
But while Payne's Malcolm sure delivers a convincing performance of a criminal profiler ailed by his own demons, it is Sheen who shines throughout the series [MEA WorldWide had access to the first three episodes of season 1 of 'Prodigal Son'].
Actually, allow us to amend that: Sheen outshines anyone else he shares screen space with, gripping the audience with his masterful portrayal of a serial killer who also wishes to be a doting father to his son - to reconnect with him despite his past and to reconnect because of his past and Malcolm's present.
In Dr Martin Whitly, Sheen plays a gifted, very intelligent, wealthy, and charismatic doctor, who also happens to be a predatory sociopath. In one of his interviews ahead of the premiere of the show, Sheen had pointed out how wearing a cardigan was a part of his onscreen persona - 'your victims aren't going to suspect you'll kill them if you're donning a cardigan'. Under the harmless, smiling, approachable facade of Dr Whitly is the dangerous, scheming serial killer The Surgeon. How did he kill 23 people? The Surgeon's weapon of choice was using his medical expertise to affect his victims' internal systems which slowly shut one system after the other causing a painful death.
Sheen's disturbing characteristics are masked by his humor; dark and somehow relevant, it adds to the otherwise tense air on the show. His relationship with his son is laced with desperation but never regret. Does he regret being locked away? Perhaps. Does he regret killing those people? Definitely no. And that is possibly what sets him apart from his son Malcolm - the one that Dr Whitly reiterates is just like him, only to be proven wrong time and again.
'Prodigal Son' will premiere on Fox on September 23, 2019, at 9 PM ET/PT.