'Prodigal Son': Dermot Mulroney on the Twists & 'Web of Intrigue' of Nicholas Endicott
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Episode 18 of Prodigal Son, "Scheherazade."]
Prodigal Son fans got to meet Nicholas Endicott, Dermot Mulroney's charming, sophisticated billionaire who has a history with the Whitlys in Monday's episode. But there is much more to him than meets the eye.
Not only was he a suspect in the NYPD case-of-the-week, but as flashbacks seen through Martin's (Michael Sheen) eyes revealed, he, too, has a connection to the girl in the box, a.k.a. Eve's sister Sophie. "Tell him he’s not going to get away with this," she told Martin. She thought he was hired to kill her. "Let me tell you a story about money, influence, power," she offered as a deal for her freedom, calling the man she knew "worse" than the Surgeon. (Martin told Malcolm and Eve he took her up on it.) She had proof, too, that "Nicholas Endicott is a monster."
"It's an awesome spin and a twist on the storyline and the characters," Mulroney teased for TV Insider. "It's mortal for at least one or two of the people involved."
He had "great scenes shooting as Endicott opposite Michael Sheen's Martin Whitly," he continued. "I know the audience will find them satisfying and still intriguing. There are many story twists to come."
Here, Mulroney teases what's to come from Nicholas Endicott.
My first thought when we met Nicholas was how suave he is — and that of course he has to be hiding a dark, dark side. There's even something about his name, Nicholas Endicott. How was the character first described to you?
Dermot Mulroney: [Laughs] You're onto something there. The first thing that I liked about the character was his name. It does give an indication of something: privilege and somehow drips with up to no good. ... It's a great storyline. This is just the beginning. They certainly let you know he's evil or no good or whatever, but they do it in a pretty quick but subtle way. It's really good writing to develop this character quickly and weave in all the plot twists to come.
Most of what we saw of Nicholas was presenting himself as a good guy, but with the suspicion of a hidden side, especially from Gil. Then there's that warning at the end that he's "a monster." Are we going to see more of that in the present-day scenes? Are we going to get flashbacks?
Yes, there's a flashback or two. The storyline is very deep. The backstories are brilliant. It all comes to a climactic conclusion in the final episode that's kind of unbelievable. You will see more of it.
And what can you say about his past? He did say, "I don't believe our pasts should define us" and we could even consider his line about not believing in guilt by association. Should we read into those comments when it comes to who he is?
Yes, you should very much read into those lines, and you'll soon find that the paths of the Whitlys and Nicholas Endicott go way back. A bargain was struck that many of the people's lives are still being affected by. Soon enough, you'll see that Endicott and Martin Whitly have an arrangement.
What can you say about Nicholas and Sophie's connection? Will we see that play out? Right now, we've only gotten it through her character.
There are ties. It's a web of intrigue and evil that you have asked a core question about.
We know that Nicholas and Jessica have a history, and now they've reunited and were going somewhere at the end of this episode. How would you describe their relationship, both in the past and what's to come?
I do like the way the relationship between Jessica and Nicholas Endicott develops. Without saying too much, it's kind of a delightful romance on one level, but then again, each of them is playing the other to achieve their own ends. The best way to look at it is a great late-season adult romance that goes awry.
You mentioned the arrangement involving Martin and Nicholas. How much do we get to see that inform the present and the characters around them?
You get to see more of the upper echelon elite lifestyle of New York and realize how powerful the forces of social culture and financial power are in this storyline, and they come to a full clash. It's truly at the top level of the New York elite. Fantastic plot twists.
Gil couldn't have made it clearer that he doesn't like Nicholas from the moment he sees him with Jessica. If looks could kill, Nicholas' photo on the board at the precinct might have caught fire. What can we expect from those two?
[Laughs] Well, I've been an antagonist with Lou Diamond Phillips since he said, "Many a night I held a knife to your throat, Steve," in Young Guns in 1988, so here we go again, 30-some odd years later. When Lou and I have confrontations, it also goes really deep, and you'll see that that storyline begins to develop and cross with Jessica, naturally. So you'll see more along those lines, too.
All of that is to say it was fantastic to be reunited with Lou Phillips after so many years of knowing him and loving him, so amazing experience for me, too, to share the screen with him again.
What about the rest of the NYPD team? Right now, Gil seems to be the one focused on him.
Yeah, and there are pretty intense reasons why. The way Nicholas Endicott has run his empire all these years is deeply unethical and unsafe and what you would call a hostile work environment, to say the least. He is a worthy adversary.
Should we be worried about Eve since she may end up on Nicholas' trail looking for her sister?
Yes, you should definitely be worried about Eve. A couple episodes from now, very worrisome.
I can imagine that'll put Malcolm on Nicholas' path then.
[Laughs] Yes, you're probably — I was only seeing one sliver of this whole really intensely woven tapestry, so I only knew one thread of it. For me, the job, because the story was unspooling in front of me, was to just really play what was in each of those scenes, even though I knew they had implications with wider reach, I didn't know what those implications were, so I had to just tuck it in and hope that it works for how they're going to use each of these characters against each other.
What else can you preview about what we'll see from Nicholas going forward? More lavish events?
There may be another lavish event or two. You know how it goes with Prodigal Son, those things are always interrupted by some sort of new development or a clue or somebody has an instinct about something. It was great working with this cast on these scripts, with Tom Payne, Bellamy Young, of course I said Lou, and Halston Sage also. Great fun for me.
Speaking of Halston Sage, what are we going to see between Nicholas and Ainsley?
Ainsley, as you know, is a really rigorous investigative reporter, so she's on the case, too. You'll definitely see a power play, even between the two of them.
Prodigal Son, Mondays, 9/8c, Fox