The things sons inherit from their fathers are usually benign. Maybe you love baseball. Maybe, God help you, it’s a bird-watching hobby. We won’t even get into the obvious genetic things like male pattern baldness.

We all wrestle with a question, in big ways and small: Am I turning into my parents? Hollywood takes that question and tweaks it to the extreme: What if your dad is a cutthroat mob boss who can’t get out of “The Life?”

Power Book II: Ghost” treads that familiar, entertaining ground. The sequel to Starz‘s hit show “Power” focuses on the immediate aftermath of the original’s finale. If you’ve seen “The Godfather,” you already understand much of the dynamics at play. We’re not giving away any spoilers. A quick Google search will bring you up to speed.

 

Power Book II: Ghost” zooms in on young Tariq St. Patrick, played by Michael Rainey Jr. His Dad was James St. Patrick (Omar Hardwick), nicknamed “Ghost,” a smart and ruthless drug dealer who wanted out of the narcotics business. He wanted to live in the nightclub world, which was his legitimate business. Instead, he was murdered; much of the end of the “Power” series is a whodunnit. 

In “Ghost,” Tariq is starting college at fictional Stanfield University in New York City. To rake in his substantial inheritance, Tariq must stay enrolled at the school and maintain a 3.5 GPA. 

But already, he’s feeling pressure to turn into his old man. His mom, Tasha, (Naturi Naughton) was arrested and charged with his father’s murder. And you have to find a way to pay the lawyer, right? In season 2, which debuts in June, Tariq turns to the drug game, cutting deals with a cutthroat family led by Mary J. Blige’s character, Monet Stewart Tejada.

 

 

Even in the first episode of the series, you can see the direction Tariq is heading. He meets with a trio of professors and delivers his take on “The Stranger” by Albert Camus which he had to read. 

“Meursault, he was different. He was a killer. He was alienated. He was special, maybe too special to live by everyone else’s rules. Because of that difference, he couldn’t survive,” Tariq tells his smiling professors. Then he goes on to shoot down the idea of playing by society’s rules. “I think to do that is to die while you’re still living. He went out on his own terms. He controlled his own destiny.”

It sounds like he’s already made his choice. New to the Starz show? This development has been brewing for a while. The original series spent years building Tariq up as a bratty, entitled kid seemingly looking for direction. In Ghost, he seems to have figured it out. And the story bears a striking resemblance to another famous Hollywood product.

 

The Godfather,” “Power” and fathers and sons

 

Fifty years ago, “The Godfather” tread familiar ground. Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone was too good for the family’s mafia kingdom, led by his father, Vito (Marlon Brando). Above his family’s cycle of violence, or perhaps because of it, he joined the Marines. 

When he got out of the service, Michael was dragged back into the family business relatively quickly after rivals shot his father. Michael visited his dad in the hospital and pledged his loyalty.