Prodigal Son at Paley Center: New Season 2 Dynamics, Malcolm’s Secret, Gillica, & More!



We’re counting down the seconds until the second season premiere of Prodigal Son.


And we’ll toss out there that we’ve already seen Prodigal Son Season 2 Episode 1, and you’re in for the delight of your life. Grab your snacks and hold onto your heads!


Ahead of the premiere, the cast and crew joined ET’s Kevin Frazier for a Paley Center panel discussion about the series and what’s to come, and it was filled to the brim with love, laughs, and juicy spoilers.


The lovefest between the hardworking folks behind this hit series isn’t lost, and they return all the love and appreciation fans have for them in kind.


Paley Front Row Presented by Citi spoke to stars Tom Payne, Michael Sheen, Bellamy Young, Halston Sage, Lou Diamond Phillips, Keiko Agena, Frank Harts, Aurora Perrineau, and showrunners Chris Fedak and Sam Sklaver about the success of the series, what to expect in season two, and filming through a pandemic.


Filming during a global pandemic has definitely made things interesting. It seems to affect every part of the process differently.


Quarantine and such have given the writers a chance to fine-tune the scripts and get them out to the cast early. According to Fedak, the writers spend much of their time on Zoom in meetings.


It sounds as though it can make things a bit stir crazy for them at times, and they even joke about the fun moments of a writer’s two-year-old walking across the scene mid-gruesome talks.


Both Fedak and Sklaver and the cast heap nothing but praise upon their “wonderful, funny, charming, and twisted” writers.


It has made filming an interesting experience for the actors, as well. Payne and Agena did mention that going into the second season with an understanding of their characters makes filming a lot easier.


The actors perform scene rehearsals in masks, and they take them off and get into place when it’s official. Young describes how weird it is to see everyone’s faces during those scenes.


She admits that there’s a feeling of guilt not wearing a mask but knows that they’re taking all of the necessary precautions. She also expresses a fear of over-acting after growing accustom to conveying so much with just the top part of your face and eyes.


And Payne brings up an interesting tidbit about the wardrobe department. Apparently, there is a shortage of suits now because few people are wearing them due to the pandemic.


Payne described fittings as “a necessary evil.” He says he typically has to “squeeze into 20 different suits and 25 different shirts in like an hour.”


Given that Malcolm wears around five different suits an episode, it has led to the wardrobe department getting creative, and Payne noted that they’ve been mixing it up a bit, but Phillips warned him against turtlenecks since those are his signature.


The fashion on Prodigal Son is top-notch, and we have the queen who is Kate Riley, to thank for that. Everyone has such a distinctive style, and the cast and crew couldn’t stop praising her for her work.


After the shocking cliffhanger of Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20, the sibling rivalry between the Whitly kids is on, at least in the eyes of Martin. Sheen joked, “At the end of the season, my girl stepped up, and now she’s child number one, and Malcolm has a lot of work to do. It’s really a body count.”


Are we surprised that Martin will be proud of Ainsley? He’s been utterly delighted about the prospect of his son following in his footsteps, so it was a hell of a plot twist for Ainsley to get a body under her belt.


Sage was delighted by that turn of events, and it’s one of her favorite and most shocking scenes for her character.


“That was very exciting. That was obviously what I have been hoping for. That sounds crazy. I think it was really fun after the entire second of anticipating this outcome for Malcolm, for Ainsley to step into that situation and really flip the switch. As an actor, that’s all you can really ask for.”


Of course, Ainsley isn’t quitting her day job anytime soon. Sage credits none other than Barbara Walters for her source of inspiration when it comes to playing a journalist. She tried to channel Walters during some of her big scenes, namely the infamous Claremont interview with Martin.


But Ainsley will have her sights on someone new this season, and it’s JT. According to Harts, while Gil is recuperating from his injury, JT will head the unit.


“JT … he’s got a kid on the way, and he’s trying to dodge as many bullets as he can. He’s taking on new responsibilities this season as head of Major Crimes, but at the same time, he’s not so good with cameras, lights, and spotlights.”


Harts also talks about JT’s highs and lows this season. You’ll see a bit of that in the premiere. “By the end of our first episode, he goes from so high to so low, which …is a sort of weird metaphor for 2020.”


Speaking of Gil, we can expect a quick recovery, sort of, anyway. We’re not picking up exactly where the series left off, so by now, the team has gone through months of quarantine, and Gil has been doing some PT.


He has also gotten closer to two different women in his life. On the familial front, the second season will expand on Gil and Dani’s father-daughter bond.


Perrineau teases, “Gil and Dani become a more father-daughter … you start to see the care, it’s less professional on Dani’s side. She’s too comfortable but it’s a father-daughter thing.”


And Phillips, he’s a real-life Girl-Dad, so it’s not unfamiliar territory for him. “It’s at that point where the dad has to listen to what the daughter has to say, and she might actually be right. It’s a tough place for a man of a certain age to get to, but I love that they’ve given Dani that license and that agency, and it deepens the relationship.”


The family feels are the best. Have we mentioned how much we love this show?


As for us Gillica ‘shippers, this is Prodigal Son, folks. We can’t possibly expect flowers and walks on the beach, right?


Ironically, Phillips described kissing Jessica as “frightening.” But only due to it subverting the traditional role of the classic, seasoned Lieutenant sending the youngsters off. It was nerve-wracking that he got his “sexytimes.”


But who wouldn’t be a nervous wreck in the presence of the beautiful Bellamy Young? Hell, or Lou Diamond Phillips, this cast is so pretty!


Young reminded everyone that “Gil and Jessica have had a thing of sorts for years,” which led to some fun exchanges with Michael playing up the jealous husband.


Much like a relationship status on Facebook, Phillips describes Gil and Jessica as “it’s complicated,” and said “happy endings are hard to come by” when it comes to the Whitly family. “It would take the air out of the ballon if we were happy date night people. That’s not gonna happen!”


Jessica will spend a lot of time with Ainsley, which leaves Malcolm with none other than his father.


The finale put Malcolm in a more interesting position than ever before. For most of the first season, Malcolm was finding his footing. As Payne put it, he “entered the series as this open wound, and everyone just kind of takes a stab.” Malcolm gets different things from the other characters, but Martin challenges him the most.


And now, as Payne perfectly summed it up, “The relationship with Martin has definitely evolved and changed. The best thing about season two is he spent the whole of season one trying not to let his father have control of him.


Now his father is the only person in the world who knows the secret of what happened with him and Ainsley. He’s the only person that Malcolm can talk to about it, and it’s his absolute worst nightmare … there are still things that he needs to talk to his dad about, and that’s a lot of what [Malcolm] is dealing with in season two.”


But Malcolm isn’t the only one Martin interacts with and leaves an impression on. Sheen unloaded the mother of all spoilers when he said he’s officially interacted with all the characters. Leave it to the Welsh chap to spill some tea, right?


Yes, we have a highly-anticipated Martin and Edrisa scene! Sheen states, “As you’ll see this season, they let me roam around a bit more. I even got to do a scene with Keiko last week.”


Sheen is thrilled that he gets to move about a bit more this season outside of the confinements of his crimson room in the Psych ward, but it’s this Martin and Edrisa scene that has already left a hell of an impression.


According to Sklaver and Agena, “it’s the best scene,” and “it’s great.


And Fedak mentions that “post-production literally called us and said we just did the funniest scene we’ve ever had. We were all dying, so just know that in episode four, you have something amazing in that.”


We can also expect our darling Edrisa, or as Phillips calls her “the Vanna White of Morticians,” to have her hands full at some grisly crime scenes, including a decapitation, which Harts, channeling JT’s sarcasm, said he’ll “always cherish.”


As for other things to look forward to in the sophomore season, Fedak says, “Keiko will be inside the walls of Claremont. We begin on a ledge and shot it on a real ledge in Manhattan. If you’re waiting for answers, they’re coming quick.”


It’s not surprising given the showrunners’ fast-paced style. Phillips shares, “Sam and Chris don’t do anything slowly. It’s a full-frontal assault always.”


And Young adds that with season two, she’s “Looking forward to how trauma really bonds you. I love the love in our family. I’m excited to see how much deeper the humor, and the horror, and the love goes.” Same, Bellamy!


Rest assured, Prodigal Fanatics. We’ve just shared some of the highlights of this lively and fun panel discussion with the cast and crew.


They discuss so much more, including Sheen’s moment when he realized the series was a hit, Payne and Harts’s favorite moments/episode (it’s our favorite too!), and other fun shenanigans, laughs, and good times.


You can find the full interview HERE. And if you’d like to donate, you can head to paleycenter.org.


Prodigal Son returns Tuesday, January 12 at 9/8c on FOX.


Don’t forget; you can watch Prodigal Son online here via TV Fanatic, and feel free to check out our Prodigal Son Reviews!

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.





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