‘Prodigal Son’: Tom Payne Teases Its ‘Weird, Wonderful, Bonkers’ Return

Michael Sheen Tom Payne Prodigal Son Season 2 Martin Malcolm
Phil Caruso/FOX

Where did Prodigal Son leave us back in April? Just with one of 2020’s most jaw-dropping twists!

Traumatized criminal psychologist Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne) proved he’s not like his serial killer father, Dr. Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), when he resisted shooting ruthless Nicholas Endicott (Dermot Mulroney). But then Malcolm watched his “normal” sister, Ainsley (Halston Sage), snap: She slit the billionaire’s throat and stabbed him seven times. “My girl!” exclaimed their proud dad, who happened to phone then.

“Now there’s this huge secret, and the only person Malcolm can get advice from is his father — the one person he tries to avoid talking to,” Payne says with a laugh.

Where We Pick Up

A few months later, the siblings’ secret is still safe. Mom Jessica (Bellamy Young) doesn’t even know the corpse was in her living room. “I’m not going to tell you what exactly he did, but it’s Malcolm Bright: You know it’s going to be crazy and insane, and it’s also probably going to involve a lake in Estonia,” says co-creator Chris Fedak.

While Malcolm stresses about protecting his sister and shielding his mother from another family scandal, life goes on with Lt. Gil Arroyo (Lou Diamond Phillips) recovering from being stabbed by Endicott. “We’re going to see how the team survived without him,” Fedak says, noting that Det. JT Tarmel (Frank Harts) has been in charge in the interim. “But also, don’t worry, we’re going to get him back in the turtleneck as quickly as possible.” As for Gil’s potential romance with Jessica, co-creator Sam Sklaver teases their status is “addressed heavily in the premiere.”

Of course, there’s also a triggering case of the week: the execution-style killing of a socialite. “We continue to be the weird, wonderful, bonkers show that we are,” Payne says. Not only does Season 2’s opening hour pay homage to the films American Psycho and Joker, but Malcolm’s vast weapons collection finally comes in handy during an investigation. (“I had done a lot of weapons training on The Walking Dead, and that helped me,” he admits.)

Martin, meanwhile, has been indispensable at Claremont Psychiatric Hospital, advising the use of face masks from the start of the pandemic. And, he’s regained his privileges. Expect to see much more of him as his world is expanded: He makes a friend, of sorts, in fellow inmate Friar Pete (recurring guest star Christian Borle), who consults when Malcolm investigates suspects in the murder of an exorcist in the January 19 episode. In the second half of the season, Martin meets Dr. Vivian Capshaw (new series regular Catherine Zeta-Jones) when he’s assigned to infirmary duty.

Halston Sage Prodigal Son Season 2 Premiere Ainsley

(Phil Caruso/FOX)

One of Malcolm’s greatest fears is that Ainsley will visit their father. With folks trying to figure out what happened to the billionaire, the weight of Endicott’s murder — and Malcolm’s coverup — remains heavy. “It’s not gonna be very easy to escape the past for Malcolm and Ainsley,” Payne says. “There are things that they might have missed that will come back to haunt them.”

That, too, will motivate dear ol’ dad. “Martin loves his kids and will do anything — anything — to protect them,” Sklaver says. “Knowing that gets me very excited for all the moves he’s going to make this year.”

Prodigal Son, Season 2 Premiere, Tuesday, January 12, 9/8c, Fox