Worth Watching: ‘Prodigal Son’ and ‘9-1-1’ Return, New Night for ‘Supernatural,’ HBO’s ‘Plot’ and ‘Brilliant Friend’
A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
Prodigal Son (9/8c, Fox): When you’re really enjoying a new series, a month of repeats and pre-emptions can feel like an awfully long time. Thankfully, the macabre procedural with a my-dad’s-a-serial-killer twist is back in good form with an episode which finds the notorious Martin “the Surgeon” Whitly (Michael Sheen having a ball) blackmailing ex-wife Jessica (Bellamy Young, ditto) to get more quality time with his profiler son, Malcolm (Tom Payne). Said chip off the neurotic block is called into a new case involving a gang of motorcycle-riding jewel thieves — one of whom appears to be a thrill killer – which reunites Malcolm with a boarding-school buddy (Dhruv Singh) who’s now an insurance investigator. Can he be trusted to help with the homicide angle when he’s only in it to retrieve the stolen goods? Malcolm’s trust issues come into focus, even as Jessica tries to set him up again with understandably skittish date Eve (Molly Griggs). You’ll want to stay to the end of this episode.
9-1-1 (8/7c, Fox): Also back, after a longer absence (since December), is the original first-responder drama, with family issues distracting the heroes from multiple crises including a skydiving trip gone wrong.
Supernatural (8/7c, The CW): Moving to a new night for its final chapters — the timing of the series finale currently in limbo because of coronavirus-related production delays — the long-running horror show teams the Winchester brothers (Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki), Castiel (Misha Collins) and Jack (Alexander Calvert) with Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) to pull off a daring rescue.
Also part of The CW’s new Monday lineup: the return of reboot Roswell, New Mexico (9/8c) for a second season, with Liz (Jeanine Mason) torn between grief, over the loss and sacrifice of Max (Nathan Parsons), and joy over the resurrection of Rosa (Amber Midthunder), who begins manifesting bizarre side effects from her miraculous return to the living.
The Plot Against America (9/8c, HBO): Philip Roth’s cautionary alt-history novel becomes a riveting limited series from David Simon and Ed Burns (The Wire). It imagines a world where aviator Charles Lindbergh wins the presidency in 1940 over FDR, and isolationist fervor, appeasement with Hitler’s regime and overt anti-Semitism follow. Plot draws its power by showing these events from the perspective of a working-class Jewish family in New Jersey, watching world and local events unfold with growing unease. (See the full review.)
My Brilliant Friend: The Story of a New Name (10/9c, HBO): The evocative Italian drama (with subtitles), based on Elena Ferrante’s book series about an enduring female friendship, adapts the second volume, with the story moving into the 1960s. The spirited Lila (Gaia Girace) is the opposite of happily married to well-off grocer Stefano (Giovanni Amura), while Elena (Margherita Mazzucco) continues her studies, never losing touch with her more rebellious friend from childhood.
Better Call Saul (9/8c, AMC): Saul/Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) is up to his new/old tricks, still secretly colluding with Kim (Rhea Seehorn) against the interests of her own client, Mesa Verde, in its efforts to evict crotchety Old Man Acker (Barry Corbin) from his property to build a call center. While the newly christened Saul Goodman revels in his outlandish schemes, he takes a back seat this week to the puzzling dilemma to which Mike (Jonathan Banks) awakens after a savage beating. What is this remote Mexican compound where he’s been transported? And who’s responsible?
Inside Monday TV: TV’s top singing competitions go head-to-head, as NBC’s The Voice (8/7c) wraps up its blind auditions, while ABC’s American Idol (8/7c) heads into Hollywood Week… Nicole Sullivan guests on CBS’s Bob Hearts Abishola (8:30/7:30c) as Lorraine, the ex-wife of Bob (Billy Gardell), who meets Bob’s current flame Abishola (Folake Olowofoyeku) when she’s admitted to the hospital… Investigation Discovery goes unapologetically tabloid in its new true-crime series Torn From the Headlines: New York Post Reports (10/9c), with reporters reliving their most notorious stories… ABC replaces a scheduled repeat of The Good Doctor with a more urgent medical report: Pandemic: What You Need to Know — A Special Edition of 20/20 (10/9c), with the latest updates about the outbreak from anchor David Muir, chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton and the ABC News team.