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Prodigal Son's Lou Diamond Phillips Reflects on 'Stunning' Cancellation, Calls Fox's Decision a 'Mistake'

Prodigal Son Cancelled

Lou Diamond Phillips was finding his seat on a layover flight, in early May of 2021, when he noticed Prodigal Son co-creator Chris Fedak was calling his cell phone. The Fox drama had already wrapped production on Season 2, and Phillips was confident he’d pick up the phone to hear that Prodigal Son had scored a third season.

“One hundred percent, I thought it was the call to say, ‘Hey, buddy, we’re going back to work in July,'” Phillips recalls to TVLine. “I had every reason, as did the cast and crew, to believe that this was going to be the case.”

But, as Prodigal Son fans will surely recall, a renewal announcement didn’t come; the show was cancelled at the end of its sophomore run.

While chatting about his recent guest spot on the Fox freshman The Cleaning Lady, Phillips also reflected on how “gutted” and “blindsided” he was by Prodigal Son‘s axing, especially when the Season 2 finale ended on such an open-ended note. (Here’s what Fedak and co-creator Sam Sklaver had to say about that conclusion at the time.)

“Ultimately, when [Fox] approved a cliffhanger at the end of Season 2, I thought there was no question. You don’t do that if you’re going to pull the plug,” Phillips elaborates. “You say, ‘Hey, guys, wrap it up.’ You usually get an indication about which way things are going, so this came out of the blue like a thunderbolt. And literally, as they were closing the doors to the airplane, Chris said, ‘Bro, they cancelled us.’ And I was like, ‘You’re joking, right? You’re kidding.’ It was stunning.”

Had Season 3 come to fruition, Phillips says, the show would have further explored a potential romance between his Gil Arroyo and Bellamy Young’s Jessica Whitly, as well as “the complications that [Gil and Jessica’s romance] would bring to Malcolm and Gil’s relationship.” He also suggests we would have met Gil’s late wife, Jackie, via flashbacks, to illustrate “Gil’s pain, his loyalty and his devotion — the things that make him such a compassionate boss.”

And though it’s been months since Prodigal Son‘s run came to an abrupt end, the actor admits he’s still “stung by it,” not least because he felt the thriller was “ridiculously special” compared to other current TV fare.

“I’m not denigrating any other shows, but there’s so much that’s run-of-the-mill and safe and middle-of-the-road on television,” he continues. “For Prodigal Son to be as unique and different and exciting [as it was], and to have that cast — I just really feel as if this was a mistake.”

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