‘Prodigal Son’ Star Tom Payne Explains Why Hoxley Presents a Major Challenge for Malcolm

Tom Payne Prodigal Son Season 2 Episode 2 Malcolm Bright
Q&A
Phil Caruso/FOX

Prodigal Son profiler Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne) could really use a vacation. But rather than get one, in the April 13 return, he’s going to be getting a visit from Europol agent Simon Hoxley (Alan Cumming), investigating the murder of Nicholas Endicott (Dermot Mulroney) — you know, the one Malcolm’s sister Ainsley (Halston Sage) committed and he covered up by chopping up and disposing of the body?

Malcolm’s personal life isn’t going much better. After getting pushed down an elevator shaft during an investigation, he dreamed of a different life, one in which his father, serial killer Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), wasn’t locked up in Claremont and Malcolm and Detective Dani Powell (Aurora Perrineau) were together. In the real world, however, Martin’s in his cell (for now?) and a romance isn’t quite that simple.

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The Murderous Whitlys of 'Prodigal Son' Contend With Simon Hoxley in Midseason Return (VIDEO)

The character, played by Alan Cumming, is investigating Nicholas Endicott's murder — and that means trouble.

Payne previews Hoxley’s arrival in New York, discusses Malcolm’s personal relationships, and more.

How does Malcolm handle Simon Hoxley investigating Endicott’s murder?

Tom Payne: That’s all terrifying for Malcolm. He’s very aware that Hoxley, while he comes across in this funny, showing off way, is actually very good at what he does. Malcolm is a bit afraid of him and what might happen. That’s a big puzzle for him to solve in the next episode: how to confound Hoxley’s investigation. He’s trying to control the situation, his sister, his mother, and his father — he keeps getting put in these situations where he tries his hardest to — and [hope they don’t] screw everything up. We had a lot of fun with Alan.

The Whitlys are the worst family to try to control.

Exactly.

Malcolm Jessica Martin Cell Prodigal Son Season 2 Episode 6

(Phil Caruso/FOX)

Do we see a different Malcolm, because there’s another profiler around and because of what Ainsley’s done?

You’ll see [Hoxley] squaring off against all of the characters pretty much. It’s nice for Malcolm to be intellectually challenged in a way as well and just to watch him not have the upper hand in every situation. Normally he can think his way around things and out of things, but to have someone who’s an equal and a contemporary is challenging.

Showrunner Sam Sklaver said “Dani would be a great person for Bright to be with,” and they were together in his dream world.

With the dream and everything, that relationship represents comfort. Everyone wants a partner in life. [Dani’s] the most adjacent person at this moment in time. I don’t know how that could play out successfully really. It’s always going to end badly for Malcolm. Moving forward, I’m not really sure what the best move is in that case.

Malcolm Dani Crime Scene Prodigal Son Season 2 Episode 7

(Phil Caruso/FOX)

It was a bit heartbreaking to see Edrisa [Keiko Agena] getting ready for what she called a “date,” but at the same time, it says something that Malcolm trusts her with that favor [testing the blood on Ainsley’s shirt], right?

Absolutely. Edrisa and Malcolm are peas in a pod, really, [with their] platonic thing going on, and he thinks very dearly of her. That scene was heartbreaking, but sweet in a way because she looks kind of silly but she can get away with it with him. She doesn’t feel too stupid with him. They’re always connected at the crime scenes and everything.

How concerned should Malcolm be about Martin’s plan to escape and job in the infirmary [with Catherine Zeta-Jones’ Dr. Vivian Capshaw]?

Malcolm doesn’t know enough about it. It’s a bizarre thing for [Martin] to have [that job] and surprising that his dad’s been given a bit more freedom. But he doesn’t know the Capshaw character exists yet — at some point, Malcolm will definitely bump into her. Once he gets to see that relationship a bit more, he’ll probably have some suspicions, but right now, his dad’s safely locked up in Claremont, and it’s a very difficult place to escape from. He trusts that will continue to be the case.

Prodigal Son, Tuesdays, 9/8c, Fox