Where's the line between moral depravity and demonic possession? CBS' supernatural crime
drama Evil suggests the line might not be so obvious not until it's too late.
The show follows a secular forensic psychologist, played by Katja Herbers, a mystical Catholic
priest in training, played by Mike Colter, and a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic, played by
Aasif Mandvi as they try to get to the bottom of crimes of great evil.
The series premiered in September 2019 to strong ratings, and the first season was added
to Netflix this October.
New viewers have been using the streaming service to get acquainted with Evil's mix
of satisfying police procedural and genuine scares, propelling the show onto Netflix's
Exactly what about Evil has been capturing audiences' attention? Here are a few things
you should know about the terrifying crime drama that's currently taking over Netflix.
"Okay, alright. I will make the sacrifice and watch the whole thing." "Well, this is
no time for bravery. I'm gonna let you."
On Evil, Dr. Kristen Bouchard finds herself out of a job after working on the case of
a killer who claims he committed his crimes while under the influence of demonic possession.
She gets the opportunity to continue her profile of the killer thanks to David Acosta, a trainee
priest who investigates cases of possession from a religious perspective, and his skeptical-but-loyal
contractor Ben Shakir.
Although the two begin to work together, they come at each case from two distinct viewpoints:
Dr. Bouchard defaults to scientific explanations, while Acosta leaves the door open for the
possibility of the supernatural.
"Miss Bouchard, please take this. For your own protection. Trust me, you may need it."
The character conflict at the center of Evil mirrors the dynamic between the show's creators,
Michelle and Robert King of The Good Wife and The Good Fight fame.
As Michelle King explained to TheWrap,
"Robert's more religious, so he typically goes toward a divine explanation ... I am
more secular, so I tend to think things are the result of psychology or science."
This real-life dichotomy between the husband-and-wife duo fuels the ethos of Evil. But deciding
what's real and what's imaginary is far from the point of the show. In fact, the creators
and the series are more interested in exploring the grey area between the two ideas.
As Robert King told TheWrap,
"If you're of the scientific or empirical bent, you do have to acknowledge that there
are psychopaths in the world ... You don't have to believe in demons to believe there
are lone gunmen who influence each other to kill. If you are of the spiritual bent, you
might say, 'Okay there's an element where these human beings cross over into demonic
behavior, so what is the difference?'"
It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that Evil has been a hit with Netflix viewers,
as it was a critical success when it premiered. The show's effectively chilling scares and
strong chemistry between its leads were noted by many, and it even garnered favorable comparisons
to The X-Files.
"In our investigations, you may not always agree with me, but at least you respect the
The first season's enviable 91 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes would be a feat in and
of itself, but the series also appeared on several critics' lists of the best TV shows
TVLine's Rebecca Iannucci included Evil on her list of the "10 Best Drama Series of 2019"
"The cases of the week are flat-out scary in a way broadcast network supernatural dramas
usually are not."
Pulitzer Prize-winning TV critic Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker agreed with Iannucci's assessment
about the show's scares in her own best-of roundup, writing,
"It clicks, owing to the chemistry of the ensemble Katja Herbers, Mike Colter, and Aasif
Mandvi and its willingness to be legit scary."
At NPR, David Bianculli added the series to his top 10 series of 2019 list, and said
"[This series proves] commercial broadcast networks still could produce and present a
smart, entertaining TV drama series, if it hired the right people and left them alone."
"You don't care that I don't believe?"
"I do not."
With all that critical heat behind it, it seems inevitable that we'll be seeing Evil
Season 2 sometime soon, right?
Based on the good ratings, critical praise, and success on Netflix, CBS itself would have
to be facing a case of demonic possession to not renew Evil for a second season. And
sure enough, the show officially got picked up less than a month after it began airing.
However, even though we're well into the beginning of the fall TV season, there's still no sign
of Season 2. Evil is facing delays thanks to the ongoing disruptions to the TV and film
industry. However, there is some good news on the horizon for the show's second season.
Back in August 2020, series co-lead Aasif Mandvi gave an interview with Inverse, during
which he was asked about the status of Evil Season 2. He answered,
"There [are] a lot of conversations between the networks, unions, and New York state about
safety. From what I've heard, we'll start in the next few months. I hope sooner than
Then, in September 2020, Deadline entertainment reporter Nellie Andreeva reported that while
Evil still hadn't been greenlit to start filming, it was on the precipice of getting the go-ahead.
If the show does indeed begin filming in the fall of 2020, that would likely mean we'll
see season 2 premiere on CBS sometime in the winter of 2020 or the beginning of 2021.
That gives you plenty of time to join the possessed masses and catch up on Evil Season
1 on Netflix.
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