Evil conjures up playful yet dead serious real or supernatural evils and highly likable characters.
Evil is a supernatural crime horror series that is very playful but doesn’t shy away from social issues and difficult themes. It feels like a mix between The Exorcist, Supernatural and a crime series, which results in a unique vibe. A soon to be priest, a forensic psychologist and atheist and a contractor and muslim unite to solve cases assigned to them by the church. Each episode leads them to supposed possessions or miracles and they have to determine if it’s the real deal or not.
The series mixes also a playful tone due to the great chemistry between the three main characters with a serious tone and difficult themes. It’s about evil, not only supernatural evil forced upon us by a demon or devil, but also human evil. While the series doesn’t comment upon whether this demonic evil is real or not or if it’s purely psychological. This and the characters create an enthralling and highly entertaining series.
This first season consists of 13 episodes with each a duration of 42 minutes. It has a possession-of-the-week structure while a bigger story arc develops and the main characters evolve and get more involved in a sinister plan.
Kristen Bouchard works as a forensic psychologist when she is recruited by David Acosta a soon to be priest who researches possessions and miracles for the church. Ben Shakir is his contractor who examines the houses for psychical explanations, or computers and such for technical problems and now they need a psychologist to explore the human mind in each case.
While Kristen has to take care for her four children Lynn, Lila, Lexis and Laura, her husband Andy is a tour guide for mountain expeditions and is mostly away. So she takes the job that pays well, but isn’t prepared for demonic attention that threatens her family. Her mother Sheryl looks after the children, but their relationship is going to be strained as well.
This job demands a lot from Kristen and never were psychopaths so dangerous or threatening to her personal life. Meanwhile David’s visions from God and mushrooms lead them to a sinister conspiracy even Kristen and Ben can’t deny.
Why you should watch it
Evil is a fun, entertaining, witty and clever series that immediately reels you in. Kristen is a wonderful character, a strong independent and smart woman played by Katja Herbers. She’s playful, serious, a good mother, a sceptic, empathic and strong. Her daughters are her spitting image and are a playful, very chaotic bunch who play a big part in the series. David is a serious man who still struggles with his past and is in his third year studying to become a priest. Ben is the most grounded one, levelheaded and a practical thinker, he’s a rock where the other two can be a bit emotional. He’s indeed Ben the Magnificent that is the cement of the group. While Kristen and David have a bit of a fling and sexy chemistry, all three of them have great chemistry and are a perfect match and soon become real friends.
Kristen, David and Ben are what makes this series work in a wonderful way. They are very diverse in every way, Kristen is married and has children, while Ben is single and David has promised himself to god. Kristen used to believe but is now an atheist, Ben is a muslim and David a catholic. They each come from very different backgrounds, approach each problem differently and therein lies their strength to look at things from different angles. While the tone balances between playfulness and dead serious heavy topics, they keep the story grounded and realistic.
This whimsical humor that can come from every direction but is varied with very heavy themes like child murder and genocide, implicit racism and psychopaths. The series isn’t afraid to address heavy themes and treat them as such resulting in heavy emotionally charged scenes that will stick with you, but it isn’t afraid to let a demon called George taunt Kristen in her dreams either or to let the new forensic psychologist Leland have a therapy session with Baphomet. It’s a daring series that walks that fine line between playfulness and seriousness like a wire walker who never loses his balance.
The episodes deal with possessions, which always concerns women, which Kristen wonders aloud and even a miracle. But they also have to deal with a virtual reality game with a haunted girl, a demonic entity in Kristen’s dreams, a tempting Baphomet, school girls singing the same song over and over again resulting in suicide attempts, an evil influencer, a demonic computer hack, a psychopath boy and a mysterious 500 year-old codex that has a map of sigils of 60 demons.
But it also deals with psychopaths who Kristen wants to lock up with her assessments. But when she quits her job to go work for David, another forensic psychologist Leland Townsend takes over, wanting to reverse all Kristen has accomplished. Leland works for the devil and he’s not the only one. He’s the big nemesis of the series and a nerdy looking nobody who manipulates others to spread evil.
The great part is that all these seemingly stand-alone cases are all connected in a way, that becomes clearer at the end of the season. This smart structure is very well-crafted and subtly crawls into the lives of Kristen, Ben and David.
The interesting and intriguing matter of the series is that most cases are never fully solved or closed. It isn’t always clear if they are dealing with real possession or that an exorcism just works because the patient believes in it, something that the book The Exorcist is exploring as well. Also a lot of loose ends keep dangling in the air, but not that they are really forgotten, they just are forgotten by our trio for the time being, but each loose end is a piece of a puzzle that is too big yet.
This series therefore feels like something much bigger and epic than just separate cases that need to be solved. The end is a perfect example that it’s all just beginning and that they only have seen the tip of the iceberg. So this series triggers your curiosity in a most enthralling and compelling but subtle way.
My favorite part
I liked everything about this series. The structure, the characters, the themes, the episodes, it was all so well-made and balanced out to create a really enthralling series that is playful and serious at the same time. I really liked the character of Kristen and I thought Ben was as magnificent as he said he was. The three of them really work and to give each one of them a special episode to explore them but woven into the general story arc is just amazingly done.
The hospital was a very creepy place, with both supernatural and realistic horror. The hostage situation was a horrifying one, for what Sonia tells us are true horrors and was very impressive. Ben’s outing with the ghost hunters was a great episode. But in the end it’s really all about Kristen and her family with a delightful and handful bunch of daughters, that hides a big twist.
Thrill factor: ★★★☆☆
Scare factor: ★★☆☆☆
Originality factor: ★★★★☆
Entertainment factor: ★★★★★
Cast and crew
Evil is created by Robert King and Michelle King. It stars Katja Herbers (Kristen Bouchard), Mike Colter (David Acosta), Aasif Mandvi (Ben Shakir), Kurt Fuller (Dr Kurt Boggs), Christine Lahti (Sheryl Luria), Michael Emerson (Leland Townsend), Brooklyn Shuck (Lynn), Skylar Grey (Lila), Maddy Crocco (Lexis), Dayla Knapp (Laura) and Patrick Brammall (Andy).
Music: David Buckley. Cinematography: Fred Murphy, Tim Guinness, Petr Hlinomaz. Production companies: King Size Productions, CBS Television Studios. Original network: CBS.