Spotlight on ‘Evil’: Katja Herbers, Mike Colter, Aasif Mandvi, Robert King, Michelle King
“Evil” is so much more than its one-word title suggests, but it almost defies description. It’s a creepy-as-hell, addictive blend of supernatural horror, character study, outrageous humor and subversive satire, with some raunchiness and profanity thrown in, presented with the trademark acerbic wit that we’ve come to expect from top-of-their-game hubby and wife creators Robert King and Michelle King (“The Good Wife,” “The Bite” and “The Good Fight”).
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The genre-bending drama is led by Katja Herbers as the skeptical Dr. Kristen Bouchard, Mike Colter as priest-in-training David Acosta and Aasif Mandvi as sardonic every-man Ben Shakir, who examine the origins of evil along the dividing line between science and religion. The dysfunctional trio investigate the Catholic Church’s backlog of unexplained mysteries, including supposed miracles, demonic possessions and hauntings. Their job is to assess if there is a logical explanation or if something truly supernatural is at work, often coming up against the devious Dr. Leland Townsend (Emmy winner Michael Emerson), Kristen’s professional rival who’s obsessed with encouraging others to commit evil acts when he is not in therapy with The Devil Therapist, a huge, hairy, horned and bespectacled demonic entity (portrayed by actor Marti Matulis and voiced by Tony winner Michael Cerveris).
When “Evil” shifted from CBS to Paramount Plus last year, it gave the show breathing room to take more risks. The leap from the confines of broadcast television to the less restrictive world of streaming paid off in spades, as “Evil” has become one of the critical darlings of the season, garnering an approval rating of 95% at Rotten Tomatoes and scoring five nominations at this year’s Critics Choice Awards; for Best Drama Series, Best Drama Actor (Colter), Best Drama Actress (Herbers) and Best Drama Supporting Actress (for Tony and Emmy winner Andrea Martin and Oscar and Emmy winner Christine Lahti).
To celebrate the series’ second season, and anticipation for Season 3 (which premieres on the streaming service on Sunday, June 12), watch our special 40-minute Spotlight roundtable discussion with series creators the Kings and stars Herbers, Colter and Mandvi, as they dish the behind the scenes secrets and goose-bump moments of an exceptional sophomore season, highlighted by the seventh episode, “S is for Silence.” Together they are joined by Gold Derby founder Tom O’Neil and senior editor Rob Licuria for a memorable Q&A. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
The crowning achievement of Season 2 was undoubtedly the gothic fable “S is for Silence,” in which the team is dispatched to a monastery where the inhabitants have taken a vow of silence for over 130 years. We’re treated to silent film-style performances that are both funny and heartfelt, an ancient demonic curse, an inebriated Kristen, sexual tension and the requisite weekly horror show that we’ve come to expect from the series. “It’s one of the few episodes that can stand alone for one,” Michelle explains. “You don’t need to know what has happened before or after; this is one of the few that that’s a sort of like a standalone story,” she says. “I think there’s also something very attractive about the absence of noise,” Robert says, adding that “our lives and our TV viewing, our streaming viewing, is so noisy!”
At first blush, “Evil” presents its audience with the age-old tug-of-war between science and faith, in which one might expect a genre procedural about a skeptic and a believer operating within a world of the supernatural. But tonally, this show has developed into so much more than that alone, as the Kings turn the horror and supernatural elements on their head by shifting between a family drama and a workplace drama, but with beguiling wink and a smile as the characters appear as perplexed with what they’re witnessing as the audience is watching it on their TV screens. “In terms of tone, I don’t think we fight to put in the various tones,” Michelle says. “That’s just sort of a given of, oh, we want it to be scary. And it’s just going to be funny because that’s, that’s our knee jerk,” she adds, joking that “I think the ones that really face the difficulty are the ones that have to boil that down and figure out what the poster is because like in the trailer you can show all those different tones. But if you’re just trying to show a poster of what is evil, you really are struggling, because what tone do you highlight?”