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From the Creators of 'The Good Wife' Comes the Eerie 'Evil'
September 26, 2019  | By David Hinckley
 


The new CBS supernatural crime drama Evil isn't the first TV series to bet that the possible existence of inexplicable, mysterious creatures can lay the foundation for a good story. 

Storytellers have been working that premise since before recorded history. 

But Evil, which premieres Thursday at 10 p.m. ET, has a particularly intriguing, albeit perhaps largely unintended, contemporary subtext. 

It stems from Evil throwing out the unusually blunt suggestion that if mystery creatures really exist, then science as we know it might be getting a lot of things wrong. 

At a moment when real-life science is being challenged on multiple fronts, like the climate and environmental future of the planet, this notion seems more noticeable than usual.  

The first mystery creatures in Evil are demons, whose specter begins looming shortly after our heroine, Dr. Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers), makes it clear she doesn't believe they exist. 

Dr. Bouchard is a psychologist whose primary gig seems to be expert-witnessing for the prosecution after a defendant claims some type of insanity. 

When we meet her, she is interviewing a fellow named Arthur, who has butchered seven people and claims to remember nothing. His attorneys say he was not responsible because he was possessed by some of those aforementioned demons. Dr. Bouchard tells the judge and jury that's a bunch of chicken feathers.

Then a couple of things happen, and Dr. Bouchard ends up changing jobs, or rather, changing employers. 

She finds herself working with David Acosta (Mike Colter) and Ben Shroff (Aasif Mandvi), who were hired by the Catholic Church to investigate cases in which someone has requested an exorcism. Since the church has a backlog of more than 5,000 exorcism requests, it needs to determine which of those seem legitimate and which stem from people watching The Exorcist too many times. 

David is a cool character, quite different from Colter's last role as Luke Cage, but equally complex. He was a reporter, and he's studied to become a priest. He believes the world is full of phenomena that can't be explained by science.

Dr. Bouchard believes the opposite, which starts a lively discussion whose subtext includes David and Kristen clearly feeling a spark between them. 

This introduces some complications since Kristen is married with four daughters. She was once an adventuress who specialized in mountain climbing, which her husband still spends most of his time doing, then when the kids came along, she stayed home to take care of them and, oh yeah, earn some money. 

Kristen's and David's theoretical conversations about demons and possession and science take a cold-blooded turn when they run into Dr. Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson), whose role is disturbingly unclear beyond the clear fact it's disturbing. 

Dr. Townsend is not a nice man. He does not seem to have much use or respect for David Acosta and his mission, meaning he now has similarly little use for Dr. Bouchard. 

All this sets up a tangled web, interwoven with supernatural threads, that could go in a number of directions. 

The most successful paranormal TV shows, like Fringe, have used the supernatural as the backdrop to compelling character stories. 

As created by Michelle and Robert King, who previously produced The Good Wife, Bouchard and Herbers are strong enough characters to make their story intriguing – and, more to the point, not reliant on demons to tell it. 

At the same time, it will not be uninteresting to see whether Dr. Bouchard's potential new relationship with demons leads her to rethink the validity of science. 

 
 
 
 
 
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