01x03 - Fear Response

Prodigal Son - 01x03 - Fear Response


NEWSMAN: Tonight the NYPD arrested Dr. Martin Whitly

in connection to at least murders.

Get him out of here.



Thank you.

You look stunning today.

Thank you.

How are the children?


We can beat this.

I've retained an attorney... Everett Sterling.

He reassures me that with our resources, no criminal charge is insurmountable.

- Stop...
- I'm coming back to you, to our children.

I said, stop.


I thought we had a good life.

We still can.

Mother taught me that marriage is long, that... a woman overlooks things, that she makes sacrifices.

I would have sacrificed anything for you.

And you did, which is why we will get through this.

Look at this place.

You are never getting out of here, Martin.

You are going to be in a cage for the rest of your life.

After what you did,

I will never come back here.

None of us will.

Do you understand?

(QUIETLY): Not ever.









Be careful, Malcolm.

How many other people died?

And why can't you remember?


He changed the locks.

You changed the locks?!




Malcolm, in response to your... security upgrade, I would like to remind you that you and that wretched parakeet are merely tenants of the building that I own.

Open the door!



Are you all right?!

Well, then, it's about time.

Buzz me in, will you?



You'll be needing one, too, judging by that display.

I'm fine.


Those restraints are clearly useless.

I'll look into a custom bed frame.

Mother, why are you here?

You're seeing your father.


I'm a consultant with the NYPD.

He proved helpful with my casework.

Oh, so you're a team now?

Father and son, solving crimes.

How sweet for you both.

I have no intention of returning.

This is exactly what he wants.
This is what he has always wanted... a relationship.

To control you, to infect your mind.

He does not control me.

I just watched you throw yourself out a window.


I know you think these memories are real.

They're not.

So shut them down.

I enjoy books on tape.

Gin also works.

- I need answers.

And there are only two people in this world that can provide them...a convicted serial killer and you, Mom.

I have no interest in revisiting the past.

And for the sake of your mental health, neither should you.

My mental health is just fine.

I want new keys by tomorrow, or I am putting in a Panera.

My mental health is fractured.

It's eroding, maybe past the point of repair.

It... it's not good.

Your hyperbole remains as vibrant as it was at years old.

Which is why you still agree to shrink me.


I shrink you because you tend to barge in unannounced.

And because you've made it very clear that you have no intentions of seeing a therapist more appropriate to your age group.

Well, they don't have free lollipops.

Uh-huh. (CHUCKLES)

Um... what's your professional opinion on repressed memory?

Is this about your nightmares?

The girl in the box?

I know why they never found her.

My father?

I think he drugged me.

With chloroform or... or a similar sedative for... I don't know how long.


Is that hyperbole?

I'm not sure.

In trademark fashion,

Martin has chosen to dance around the truth.

You've been seeing your father?

In order to preserve any hope of overcoming your PTSD,

I would recommend that you stay as far away from Martin Whitly as humanly possible.


Sorry. I have to go.

- Police business.
- Police?

We haven't even discussed why you were dismissed by the FBI.

Root beer.

This day just keeps getting better.




For you, Gil.

And for you.

And for you, a lemon-lime.

Professor George Holton.

Big shot at the university with a lot of letters after his name.

DANI: Check out his eyes.


In the, uh, early th century, experimental lobotomies produced a similar side effect.

Uh, well, it indicates damage to the optic nerve.

There may be damage to the brain as well. Uh, Mr. Bright,

- good morning.
- Cherry?

It's my favorite.

I'm sorry. I didn't realize that we were exchanging small gifts.

I'm unprepared. I could go grab something.

Cause of death?

I'm still working on it.

The only presenting wounds are minor abrasions on his wrists and ankles.

Indicating he was bound during the act.

That, plus the lethal internal injury, means that what the killer did took time.

Another location, someplace secure, then he or she dumped the victim here.

GIL: Detectives, we've got something.

Let's find out why.

AINSLEY (ON TV): We're in Riverside Park

above rd Street,

where, at : this morning,

police found the body of Dr. George Holton.

At this time the NYPD refuses to comment

on any possible suspects, but we will remain on scene

pending further information on the case.

GIL: "Dear Policemen,

"it turned black when they came.

"They said truth.

"Do wildflowers grow there?

"I saw them.

"Tell them I saw them.

Tell them it's all black now."

Glad he cleared all that up.

Well, look at the... alternate slant in the writing, the scattered

embellishments, the lack of consistency.

Nothing here makes any sense.

Well, to him it does.

We're looking at a serious mental illness.

Could be one of Holton's former patients.


But this points to a pure, perhaps progressive, psychotic break.

Guided by delusions or... hallucinations.

We may be after a visionary killer.

They often convince themselves they're acting on behalf of a higher power or a dissociative voice.

God... or the devil.

Well, Bright was right.

This is more than damage to the optic nerve.

This incision goes around his entire head.

Most likely a cranial saw, quarter inch in depth.

The killer cut clean through this man's skull.


You don't see that every day.

Took the whole brain.

What the hell does that mean?

I have absolutely no idea.

The victim's brain was surgically removed.

You're looking for someone with at least a basic understanding of cranial anatomy.


This is delicious.

JT: So, cause of death is... no brain?

Oh, mercifully for him, no.

That's not how he killed him.

Sudden cardiac arrest.

He died of a heart attack?

A heart attack is a result of a coronary artery blockage.

Our victim's heart was healthy, even exceptionally low-risk for his age.

Something else caused his heart to stop.

His fists were clenched.

Tight enough

and long enough that his fingernails cut into his palms.

Almost like George Holton was scared to death.


It's fascinating how it becomes, um...

It's elegant, really, the evolution of your hypothesis, because it starts

- with something...
- Edrisa.

Eh, welcome to the team.

Why go through the trouble of removing the brain postmortem?

To him, taking the brain meets some deep psychological need.

I just have to find out what that need is.

DANI: Holton's a widower.

His neighbor saw him go out on Saturday night around : p.m. and then never again.

He was on sabbatical, but his psych lab is still running at the university under his research partners... Carl Mitchell

- and department head Dr. Elaine Brown.
- Elaine Brown?

- She's a legend.
- Okay.

I studied her research.

- At Quantico.
- WOMAN: Mr. Bright.

I've got your doctor on the phone.

Uh, right.

Oh, my, uh, dentist.

Bad gums.

I'm tiring of these phone privileges.

MARTIN: Did he take the brain?

- I saw you on television.

You and your sister. Aw.

I mean, local news remains amateurish, but I think she has real chops.

Don't you?

Could you mute that, please?

I'm on with my son.

Now, tell me about Mr. Holton's brain.

That's police business.

Oh, even a layman could get there.

An incision along the circumference of the skull?

A skull belonging to Dr. Elaine Brown's colleague?

You think he's trying to send a message.

Are you asking my advice?


Uh, you remember our examination of Dr. Brown's theories.

- I do.
- The brain
is the arbiter of the human fear response.

Fear can be both motivating and debilitating.

I'm guessing in the case of our killer, it's the latter.

(SCOFFS) This is not our case.

When both my children take an interest in something, it's only natural to want to participate.

Please tell your sister her diction is... mmm... impeccable.

Chapin paid for itself.

Goodbye, Dr. Whitly.

Ah, uh, one more thing.

This case may prove difficult for you, Malcolm.

Well, fear has always been your particular stumbling block.

I catch killers for a living.

Still... your nightmares.

That tremor.

You've always been good at repressing fear, pretending it's not there.

But it is.

Because of you.


Here we go again with the blame game.

Uh, why don't you swing by.

You know, you seemed troubled at our last visit.

So many unanswered questions.

I have no intention of returning.

Very well.

But do tell Elaine that her work helped inspire me to, uh...

...resist convention.


We're both devastated.

It's a tremendous loss for the community.

Do you know of anyone who would have wanted to harm Professor Holton?

Participant number three is distracted.

Swap out her protocol.

Detective, I have built a career examining the human mind.

If I observed someone who was psychologically capable of that level of sadism, he would already be in your custody.

I'm Dr. Elaine Brown.

- Detective Powell.
- Malcolm Bright, consulting profiler.

- Is that my book?
- Uh, yes. I'm also a huge fan.

Dr. Brown, we'll need Professor Holton's class rosters,

- access to his files.
- Of course.

Would you mind signing this?

She doesn't have a pen.

Uh, do you have a pen?

Have there been any recent incidents within the department?

Any firings?

- On-campus dramas?
- ELAINE: No, none.

Alice Downey.

She was a graduate student.

She committed suicide three months ago.

George's sabbatical was really a mental health leave.

He-he blamed himself.

Did Dr. Holton and Alice have a relationship?

Not at all, and I resent the salacious implication.

Alice was troubled.

She succumbed to the pressures

- of doctoral pursuit.

I fail to see the connection.

Hard at work, I see.

How did you...?

Those insistent reports of yours are live, dear.

All of New York knows you're here.

(CHUCKLES): Well, maybe not all of New York.

How are your ratings?

What do you want, Mother?

Never lie to me again.

Malcolm is seeing your father, and you covered for him.

I can't get through a family dinner without covering for one of you.

I need you to tell him to stop.

I'm tired of being in the middle.

- Tell him yourself.
- I have.

I'm worried.

You know what this could do to your brother.

No, I don't.

Because... I don't remember my dad.

I was forbidden.

I was protecting you.

- You did.
- Yeah.

You also taught me to be ashamed of who I am.

I never knew Martin Whitly.

All I know is what you want me to know.

Maybe that's not enough.

Do you sleep at night?

- (CHUCKLES): What?
- When you close your eyes, do you find peace?

That peace is because of the choices I made.

You can thank me anytime you like.

Alice Downey, Dr. Holton's dead grad student.

There's something there.


What do you think?

Uh, I think Dr. Brown's lying.

Never meet your heroes.

JT: I sniffed around the university's admin building.

They're all just as wild about Elaine Brown as you are.

But they dug up an anonymous complaint letter with some crazy theories about Alice's suicide.

Handwriting look familiar?

Whoever wrote it is accusing the psych department

- of off-the-books experiments.
- How off-the-books?

Grad students were dosing themselves with LSD.

Alice was tripping on acid when she did a header off that building.

Uh, psychedelics impair fear and inhibition.

Perhaps the professors were measuring the LSD's effect on their responses.

This is older than the writing we found at the crime scene.

It's inflammatory but cogent, indicating a continuing and severe decline

in our killer's mental state.

There's something we're missing.

Some meaning in these words.

He wants us to understand him, to find him.


Detective Powell.

Detective, it's Carl Mitchell.

There's some things you should know.

Circumstances I couldn't discuss in front of Elaine.


- The truth.
- Dr. Mitchell, where are you?

The research building.

Ninth floor, but I...

Dr. Mitchell? Dr. Mitchell,

can you hear me?

- Dr. Mitchell, are you okay?

I d-drank it.

I've been dosed.

It's over.

D-Dr. Mitchell?

Security says someone triggered the roof door alarm.



He's still here.

JT: Police! Come out with your hands up!

You're safe, Carl.


Do you see it? Do you see it?

(EXCLAIMS) Do you see it?

Do you see how high?

I have to fight, I will fight...


Oh, please!

- Please! Please.
- You're high on LSD.

In large enough doses, it can mimic a psychotic break.


Who is doing this?

No. No.

The universe, the universe is doing this... it wants me.


JT: Police!

CARL: And I've got to fight for it.

I've got to fight for it. (GRUNTS)



Who? Who? Who? Who is after you?

- Who is it, huh? Who?
- Don't shoot!

- Who? Who?
- Don't shoot. He's been dosed.

What can you do?

(GRUNTS) Not a whole hell of a lot.

Oh, it's what they want.


I know, we're so high up!
We're so high up! Oh!


DANI: Bright.


Did you know that was there to break his fall?



So, what am I putting in our report?

Oh, I don't know. I like to summarize what happened at the scene.

"Whack job consultant pushes vic off roof"?

GIL: Bright.

Carl Mitchell isn't lucid enough to make a statement, but he is in stable condition.

Fractured a rib in the fall.

Something going on with you?

I got a pitch.

"Whack job consultant's

"detailed understanding of the human psyche

"led him to anticipate

"that until diazepam could be administered,

"physical pain might be the only thing to deliver the victim from his psychedelic experience."

- Bright was...
- JT: Oh, you love saying it, don't you?

Tox screens came back positive.

Carl Mitchell's blood had extreme levels of lysergic acid diethylamide... LSD.

More than times a standard dose.

And our original victim Holton?

A similar concentration.

More than enough to induce extreme panic, fear, leading to cardiac arrest.

Those levels were no accident.

Our killer doses his victims.

That's his M.O.

To induce the fear that ultimately kills them.

We're looking for someone who was harmed by Dr. Brown's experiments.

Someone who couldn't outrun the fear.

That's what removing the brain represents: the destruction of his own mind.

These kills are mission-oriented.

He wants to rid the world of the people that did this to him.

We need to get to Elaine Brown.

Get over to her place now.

ELAINE: Alice Downey was experimenting with LSD at the time of her suicide.

On your orders?

This isn't , Detective.

No one ordered them to do anything.

You're lying, Dr. Brown.

You held your credentials and authority over their heads.

DANI: How many of your students participated in these experiments?

Quite a few.

Did any of them exhibit signs of latent psychosis?

We're looking for a male, s, likely Caucasian.

The increasing hyperkinetic abnormalities in his handwriting suggest a progression in his mental illness.

He may have appeared socially immature.

Notable decline in hygiene.
Drop in grades.

Situationally incongruent emotions.


We need a full name.

Dominic Render.

Former doctoral student.

When did he finish his degree?

He didn't. He dropped out maybe six months ago.

JT: Let me guess, he succumbed to the pressures of doctoral pursuit?

Hundreds of students submitted to protocol with no side effects.

But Dominic was the outlier.

With him, the drug triggered intractable paranoid schizophrenia.

Your experiment... was the trip that never ended.

Then he learned of Alice Downey's suicide... and decided to take his revenge.


Malcolm's not here.

I'm so sorry.

About Jackie.

What are you doing here, Jessica?


I'm trying to offer my condolences, for starters.

Yeah, well, you're three years late.

My wife loved Malcolm like a son.

She was kind.

But she wasn't his mother.

And you aren't his father.

You don't want Malcolm to work with me?

No. I don't want my son to continue to throw his life away doing penance for his father's crimes.

I also imagine the salary leaves something to be desired.


Malcolm is a grown man.

And you are the grown man who befriended him, who swore to protect him, and then sent him back into the arms of that monster.

I didn't know...

You had a case to close.

You knew, Gil. More than anyone,

- you knew.
- Yeah.

Who sent him there in the first place?


I didn't have a choice.

- I'm sorry.
- I was losing him.

Malcolm worshipped his father.

I thought if he could see what he really was, maybe he would come back to me.

Jessica, he was .

I was wrong.

Help me fix it.


Malcolm Bright does whatever Malcolm Bright wants to do.

We can't control him.


Speak for yourself.





JESSICA: I will never come back here.

None of us will.

Do you understand?

(WHISPERS): Not ever.

You're right.

We have been happy.

You, dear, sweet Jessica, you got the very best of me.

There's a reason for that.


have tendencies.


And I did what I had to do in order to meet those needs, to keep me happy... and provide you with the life you wanted.

Oh, you knew what I was.

You'll be back.



(SIGHS) Dolpho, bring the car around.

Where to, ma'am?

Claremont Psychiatric Hospital.


Elaine is turning in after a cup of chamomile.

Gil and Dani are closing in on Render.

He wants me to stay on Professor Bad Trip just in case.


That means you can go home.

What does it stand for?






- Joseph?
- I'm not sure you're stakeout material.

I'm a chronic insomniac.

I was born for this.

How many kids' brains you got to scramble to get one of those?

Sorry. I know she's your people.


You're my people.

Tell me why I'm wrong.

In the service we have a hierarchy.

Your rank commands respect.

Cops are the same.

I have a badge. I have a title.

But you don't respect me.

When I was a little kid, a cop

came to my house.

He put cuffs on a bad guy

and took him away.

He saved me.

No one has more respect for the badge or the people that wear it than I do.


I need to ask Dr. Brown one more question.

For the profile.

ELAINE: Your case is a real testament to the mind's capacity to endure trauma.

I know the existence of repressed memory is a controversial subject...

I am all for controversy.

I mean, who amongst us can qualify any condition of the mind as nonexistent?

I have been diagnosed as depressed, generalized anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder...

All linked to fear.

And you have reason to believe that you were drugged during your father's active periods?

Have you ever smelled chloroform?

I mean, it's not my drug of choice.

It has chemical notes, of course, but it's almost sweet.

Pleasant, really.

Olfactory memories are very persistent.

A familiar smell can conjure a connected experience like nothing else.

Do you have any fears?

I have... regrets.

Regrets can evolve into fears.

If your memories are blocked, it may be because they're attached to something your subconscious mind is afraid of.

And the only way to access fear...

Is to face it.

Where is this one from?

It's African.

It's an artistic interpretation

- of Lucifer himself.
- I've seen this before.

Has Dominic Render ever been here?

Uh, yes. Many of my students have.

Dominic was always fascinated.

He was...

...he was fascinated with my collection.

He wants you to understand him.

To find him.

This is where he plans to kill you.

Something's wrong.

My thoughts are shifting.
My pulse is racing.

It's, it's the tea, the chamomile.

You've been dosed with LSD.

The floor's...

(CHUCKLES): melt... melting.

- Focus.
- We have to get you out of here.

Turn on... turn it on.

T-Turn it on.

ELAINE: It's too quick, it-it's quick.

T-Turn it on. Let's go back.

I'm sorry. We-we have to go back.

There's no going back.

♪ ♪

JT, Render's in the house.

Turn it on. Turn on the light.

JT: Front door is locked, going around back.

It is me. It's me.

It... It's me.

It's me.

Stay right here.

The walls are breathing.

It's me.

(CRYING): It's...

It's me. It's-It's me.


Oh, let's go back.

W-We have to go back.

Go back.

♪ ♪

Dominic Render!

You said

You said you loved me...

No one else needs to die.

Yeah, more than you do...

I know how you feel.

I ever did and give to you...

I've had my share of nightmares.

And throw it all away...

But they trapped you inside yours, didn't they?

Why? Why?

Why? Why? Why?

I can help.

It's not too late.

♪ ♪


I know you're scared.

I am, too.




This is my response to fear.


Let's go back. Let's go back.

I killed him.

It's me.

The walls... they're breathing.

And it is so... it's so black.

Turn it on. I have to turn it on.

- JT: Police!

No! No. Wait.

You're in the midst of an intense psychedelic experience.

But at the end of the day, it's still just a trip.

You can't outrun the fear.

You have to move into it.

No, it's too quick. I have to go back.

BRIGHT: The fear you're feeling right now... that's real.

Stop fighting it.

You have to let the fear consume you, and the panic will subside.

You did this.

And now you have to live with yourself.

I can't... I can't...


Jehovah? Jerome?

What is it?

You got to tell me.


♪ ♪


MR. DAVID: Dr. Whitly, you have a guest.


You're stunning.

Burn in hell.

Always a gas.

And you said you'd never come.

I don't want to be here.

Though I do prefer you on a leash.

Well, a woman of your age... you've only just reached your hard-won sexual peak.

- That revelation would be enough to drive anyone back to their most, uh... diligent partner.

I want you to stop seeing Malcolm.

Way to kill a mood.

I'm surprised he told you about our visit.

He didn't tell me. I know my son.

Oh, that's unfortunate.

I enjoyed it.

Our little secret.

What do you want from him, Martin?

What does any good father want?

A relationship.

(SCOFFS) You already destroyed his childhood.

By three, a child's brain has already reached peak development.

Three-year-old Malcolm Whitly thought his father was a kind, caring, law-abiding citizen.

Forget about the kids.

Let's talk about us.


There is no us.

You are dead to me.

And when your body finally submits,

I will flush your ashes down the Port Authority's most disgusting toilet.

Malcolm's gonna be just fine.

You did well, Jessica.

I am so proud of him.

And Ainsley.

And of you.

For raising our beautiful children.

It must have been so hard.

Thank you.

(GASPS) Don't...


I am terrified of you.


Even chained to the wall.

I am terrified... to look into your eyes.

To see the... the monster.

And of what that monster might do to my family.

Malcolm's my family, too.

And Ainsley. All of you will always be my family.

No. We lost you.

You are dead to me because I had to kill you in my mind.

Because I loved you.

My mother warned me.

You were basically penniless.

You couldn't maintain my lifestyle, you would hold me back.

But, oh, she was wrong.

We had everything.

And I would have done anything to save it.

Oh, we were happy.

Until everything was taken from me.


Except our children. (SCOFFS)

And now you want them, too.

How can you do this?

- Martin...
- Don't.

Don't do that, Jess. (CHUCKLES)

I was there.

I know the whole story.

What happened to them wasn't just about me.

You are breaking him.

He is nearly broken, and I am begging you.

Leave Malcolm alone.

Don't take the one thing I have left.

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

JESSICA: Malcolm!

What the hell are you doing?

You know very well that your father's things are off limits.

I saw something.

I saw a woman.

That doesn't concern you.

- Do you hear me?
- You're hurting me.

Do you hear me?

Never speak of her again.

You have no idea what your father is capable of.


what did you do?