With all the various individuals and people in positions of power currently trying to inflict harm on a massive scale, building a show around the pursuit of the possible existence of demons is both a logical and unexpected reaction to the state of the world. The result of that choice is “Evil,” the latest drama from TV vets Michelle and Robert King, the team behind shows like “The Good Wife” and “The Good Fight.”
“Evil” tracks the efforts of a small team who become dedicated to uncovering the truth behind supposed demonic activity. The pilot follows their quest to determine whether or not an accused serial killer is actually possessed by a malicious spirit.
After a Comic-Con screening of the series premiere, set to debut September 26 on CBS, the cast and creators each took their turn to dig into the true meaning behind the show’s one-word title. For the Kings, one of the main ideas behind creating the series was the chance to show characters devoted to figuring it out for themselves.
“What we liked about the show is the ability to show two people with very different ideas about spirituality, someone who is truly skeptical and someone who is a true believer. We liked the idea of both of them being able to express their feelings and listen to each other respectfully and have a dialogue,” Michelle King said.
Like their other current series, the CBS All Access drama “The Good Fight,” a portion of the week-to-week story in “Evil” will come from the modern dangers of hate groups communicating with each other online. From there, the series’ characters will try to determine to what extent various individuals are susceptible to outside forces pushing them to evil-seeming ends.
“Where is this demarcation point between something that’s genetically something about them or how much of it is being inspired by something that is beyond them that I would say is supernatural? Even if you treat it as a metaphor, it’s sometimes a very apt description of this rage that seems to take over a lot of society now,” Robert King said.
Mike Colter, who appeared on “The Good Fight” before landing the title role in “Marvel’s Luke Cage” spoke about how his priest-in-training character David Acosta in “Evil” is one of the strongest ideas of how this show doesn’t live simply in one idea or another.
“The country is full of people who have very strong opinions about religion and politics and what we’re trying to do with it is open a discussion between everyone so that regardless of how you feel, I think my character represents a place where having a strong opinion doesn’t mean you can’t listen. If you can listen, you might be able to learn something,” Colter said.
Katja Herbers and Aasif Mandvi round out the central investigative trio, serving as a more science-based balance to Acosta’s faith-guided feelings. In the process, that contrast leads to an interesting opportunity to play with tone.
“I think one of the exciting things about working with the Kings, especially like me as someone who comes from a comedy background, is that melding of real stakes with a sense of humor and sometimes an absurdity. That combination is very exciting,” Mandvi said.
Even though ideas of the existence of demons will run through the show, the Kings were sure to clarify that the show won’t be trying to follow a repetitive format.
“It won’t be ‘possession of the week,’ because we want to look at other aspects. It’s not ‘The Exorcist.’ It’s people trying to figure out who and what these things are before a possible exorcism,” Robert King said.
“If it became about exorcisms, then the question would be answered. We were really more interested in exploring the question,” Michelle King said.