‘Prodigal Son’ Bosses Tease a Look Back at 1998 & Martin’s Trial
The immediate concern on Prodigal Son may be that Paul Lazar, a.k.a. John Watkins (Michael Raymond-James), has Bright (Tom Payne), but there’s much more to look forward to than the “great psychological duel” that will result because of that.
Before we met John, we’d mostly seen Bright’s interactions with a serial killer through his conversations with the Surgeon, a.k.a. his father, Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), whose crimes are the hot topic of the past and present. We’ve visited 1998 quite a few times already, and we’ll be returning to that time period in the second half of the season as well.
The fall finale also ended with Jessica (Bellamy Young) using the press to her advantage, alerting them to another one of her husband’s victims, the girl in the box. And showrunners Chris Fedak and Sam Sklaver promise answers to come in that mystery before the season’s over.
Here, Fedak and Sklaver tease what else to expect when the series returns this winter.
Gil and Jessica’s dynamic is changing as a result of him being in the Whitlys’ lives on a more regular basis now and the truth about the girl in the box. What’s coming up between those two?
Chris Fedak: We love the Bellamy-Lou dynamic and the water under the bridge vibe that’s playing out there. It’s something we’re looking to explore and there’s a tension to it because Gil is the hardened cop from a totally different world than Jessica, and Jessica’s thing’s closer to a vendetta.
Then the fact that Lou and Bellamy have chemistry. As showrunners, Sam and I can’t just go, “Chemistry here, chemistry there.” We have a cast that’s incredible and they can have this vibe and energy that makes us go, “What else is emotionally happening here under the radar?”
What’s coming up in terms of the investigation into the girl in the box after Jessica’s move with the press, especially balancing that with things like Bright’s kidnapping and cases of the week?
Sam Sklaver: Chris and I never wanted the girl in the box to be a multi-season story. We always saw her as someone who was very, very interesting and compelling because of young Bright’s connection. She was the woman that he found that started the avalanche that ended with him calling the police on his father. She was always a very, very important story in Bright’s past, but she was never the only important story in Bright’s past.
What we’re most excited for is a thrilling resolution to this story. We want to reward our audience, and we’re really excited to move on to other stories as well. This is something we’re heading to with the speed and intensity that Prodigal Son normally moves at.
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What else can you preview about the second half and any dynamics you’re looking forward to exploring?
Sklaver: What we love is the idea of living a little bit more in 1998, both seeing Martin out and about at the height of his power and also seeing the aftermath of the arrest, the trial of the century and all of the important and colorful players on the defense and prosecution that put together this People vs. OJ case that really did captivate the city and the nation.
We’re very, very excited to delve a lot more into that and in [doing] that, learning how Martin is currently set up at Claremont Psychiatric with the privileges he has and the important people and relationships that had to get him there.
While staying true to our case of the week structure, where we get to tell these amazing stories with our NYPD crime team, we also get to tell these family stories about the Whitlys I’m just captivated with.
Fedak: We’ve got a lot of really exciting cases coming up as well because we pretty much go through an encyclopedia of psychological disorders and crazy crimes. … We just want to tell as many Keiko [Agena, who plays Dr. Edrisa Tanaka] stories as we can possibly tell, and we’re looking forward to exploring her character.
Are there any new recurring characters you can talk about?
Sklaver: When we get into the trial against Martin Whitly, there’s going to be some very fascinating characters on [both sides] who we’re going to get to see back in the day and in current time.
Prodigal Son, Mondays, 9/8c, Fox