PRODIGAL SON Boss Teases Bringing the 'Most Insane Crimes and Criminals' to TV - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

PRODIGAL SON Boss Teases Bringing the ‘Most Insane Crimes and Criminals’ to TV

September 23, 2019 by  

PRODIGAL SON season 1 spoilers

PRODIGAL SON: L-R: Frank Harts, Keiko Agena, Aurora Perrineau, Lou Diamond Phillips, Michael Sheen, Tom Payne, Bellamy Young and Halston Sage. PRODIGAL SON premieres Monday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC. Cr: Mark Seliger/ FOX.

Fox’s new addictive new drama PRODIGAL SON officially debuts on Monday, September 23. (The pilot was online for a weekend prior to its television launch.)

The series follows a brilliant criminal profiler Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne), whose father just happens to be a notorious serial killer (played by Michael Sheen). Bright has his own issues, but he’s recruited by NYPD Detective Gil Arroyo (Lou Diamond Phillips) to help solve cases.

PRODIGAL SON co-creator Chris Fedak previews what viewers can expect from the series, including its unexpected humor, “the most insane crimes and criminals,” and more…

There’s a dark humor to the series that might be a bit unexpected given the topic. What has been the discussion in the writers room about balancing the tone?
I think it speaks to the heart of the show: our characters are based in the real world. It’s scary, it’s dangerous. All those things have to be grounded and real. But the way we look at is that our characters have a sense of humor, because that’s the defense mechanism.

When [co-creator] Sam [Sklaver] and I first started talking about the show, we were talking about messed up stuff, like why are we like this? And what happened to us? Why are we funny? Or why is he funny, why am I weird?

When it comes to Bright, all the people in the show are dealing with really intense situations. And they have to have the sense of humor to deal with it. So that’s where the comedy comes from. That’s where the show’s sense of humor is. And I think that’s thing that excites us: we want to be scary, want it to be intense. We want it to be disturbing, but in the end, we also want our characters to say the exact right thing; the thing we all think when something insane is happening.

First episodes are written in a bit of a bubble, traditionally fairly done before you know who will be playing what role. Now that you’ve had time with the cast, how has their addition played into what you’re able to do with the series?
Essentially, the pilot script is a jumping off point. It’s like, here’s the premise and then how do we fly? When you have a Tom, a Michael, a Lou Diamond Phillips, when you have Bellamy Young [who plays Bright’s mother], you can explode. You can go so far and do so many things that we couldn’t even imagine when we were standing there looking at the pilot. And that’s the exciting thing.

We have writers in the room that aren’t only detective writers—we have drama writers and people from EMPIRE. And so we’ll have a big drama moment here. And then we’ll say, let’s play that soap. What is the soap version of this, what is the melodrama? Let’s go explore the family. And that’s exciting.

The push-pull between Bright and his imprisoned father, Martin, feels like it could be a delicate dance. How frequently can you go to that well to make sure the reunions still pack a punch?
It’s so interesting that you bring it up, because [you’d think] with an actor, you have to tone them down. Michael is so precise—Tom, in a way, too—that they live inside this [world], where they don’t go ham; they don’t process that. They understand the tone of the show. And Tom’s coming at it from the perspective of a real trauma, a real anxiety. This a person is suffering from complex PTSD, and that’s real. And then Michael is coming at it from the mindset of a psychopath. What is it like to be to have a brain like that, to process life like that? Even though we’re making something that’s entertaining and funny, he has a twisted sense of humor. In the end, it’s still exploring real characters.

We talk about HOUSE quite a bit [in the writers’ room], where [that show had] only the most insane diagnoses. Our show is about only of the most insane crimes and criminals; that’s where the show lives. But still based in real things that we can explore and talk about.

From what you’ve crafted of season 1 so far, is it a new killer per episode, or will there be longer arcs?
We’re going to do both. Essentially, what we started off with was a killer of the week. A case that Bright is working is kind of like therapy; it really feels normal when he’s actually solving a murder, because it makes his life makes sense. The worst thing for him is a day where he doesn’t have a case to solve. Him trying to find a case and have guilt [over that] is a part of the show.

In the second half of the first [batch of] episodes, we’re now figuring out cases that go over multiple episodes. And all that stuff plays into the story and explores all of our characters. Like, how can you be married to a serial killer, and not know what’s happening? We ask that question. What it’s like to be the daughter of a serial killer? We’re not holding anything back.

Given how much of the action happened pre-series, how much will you be utilizing flashbacks?
I think those flashbacks are important. And they won’t all be from Bright. We see other people’s perspective of what happened in the past. Imagine being one member of this family. It’s like everything that happened up until the point [Martin] was arrested—now you think back on those moments [that seemed like] happy moments going to the park, being with friends, the dinner party your husband was late to. Now you know why he was late. And it’s like, everything is painted by that lie, right. And that’s something that we really want to explore.

PRODIGAL SON, Series Premiere, Monday, September 23, 9/8c, Fox


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