FBI's Jeremy Sisto Talks Jubal's 'Complicated' Decision About His Son And Giving 'Multiple Versions' Of His Performance

Jeremy Sisto as Jubal Valentine in FBI
(Image credit: CBS)

Warning: spoilers ahead for the “Prodigal Son” episode of FBI that aired on October 4. 

FBI debuted Season 5 back in September, but the latest episode was a blast to the past as CBS finally aired the long-awaited Season 4 finale. Originally scheduled for May 24, the episode was delayed in light of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. At the time, Jeremy Sisto hyped a case that could go “terrifically wrong” for Jubal, but fans never saw the episode… until now, as CBS has aired the Season 4 finale as part of Season 5, and Sisto broke down his character’s decision when Jubal's son was taken hostage, and how he approached it in multiple ways. 

More than four months have passed since “Prodigal Son” was originally planned for the spring finale schedule, but it fit right into the first couple episodes of Season 5. In fact, the premiere even took the time to set up Jubal’s tricky situation with teenage son Tyler, who didn’t have many friends show up to his birthday party. So, it didn’t come out of the blue that Tyler didn’t want to “snitch” on people who he’d been close enough to hang out with, even after finding out that his "friend" Zach had killed a man, stolen guns, and was planning on a school shooting. 

It also didn’t come as a surprise that he didn’t blindly follow his dad’s every word, after Jubal let him down one too many times. The result was a hostage situation with some very personal stakes for Jubal, as his son’s life was in danger. Jeremy Sisto spoke with CinemaBlend back in May when “Prodigal Son” was originally scheduled, and he shared how he approached playing Jubal in the hostage situation:

What was so complicated and interesting about it is the truth that, as much as I [as Jubal] wanted to shut it out, this kid who's killed someone and looking to kill more people was actually very kind to my son. So does Jubal use that? Yes, he does, but I don't think it's in a manipulative way. He wants to save this kid's life. He does feel for him. We're seeing more and more in this country, in the world, that those years can be extremely challenging, and there's a lot of mental health challenges.

Jubal made headway with Zach for some time as he tried to convince the troubled young man that he wanted to help him out of the hostage situation, but he ultimately snapped and was a heartbeat away from killing Jubal. Tyler came in at a key moment and knocked the weapon aside, giving his dad enough time to tackle Zach to the ground and the rest of the agents to rush in. Father and son saved the day, and were reconciled by the end of the hour. It was a nice break for Jubal to finally catch, which he really probably needed at this point.

The fourth season of FBI (available streaming now with a Paramount+ subscription) was an emotionally intense one for Jubal with the death of Rina and aftermath, so “Prodigal Son” was just the latest big episode centered on Jeremy Sisto’s performance. The actor shared that to deliver in such episodes, he doesn’t just give one kind of performance. Regarding "Prodigal Son," Sisto (who had not yet seen the final edit of the episode when we spoke) said: 

Whenever they give me a big episode that has a lot of stuff, I try to give them as many versions as possible, so then they have to make the decision of how it plays out because you never quite know. I never quite know if the arc's gonna work, so I try to give them more emotional, less emotional. From what I can tell from the ADR that I just did, it seems like it worked pretty well. I'm excited about the episode.

Jeremy Sisto gave different performances in different takes while filming for “Prodigal Son,” and now viewers got to see which version that the show decided to go with. The version that aired on October 4 showed Jubal just on the edge of panic, but holding himself together to try and save his son. He was emotional and seemed on the verge of a breakdown, but didn't break down. 

Keep tuning in to CBS on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET for new episodes of FBI Season 5, ahead of FBI: International at 9 p.m. and FBI: Most Wanted at 10 p.m. For some more viewing options now and in the coming weeks, be sure to check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).