Evil: Status Report --- A priest and a psychologist walk into a jail

535330.jpgIn part 2 of their “Trailer-Review-a-Palooza” (which I highly suggest you check out for yourself), my colleagues Tim and Cadence positively introduce CBS’s Evil as worthwhile of a viewing. After watching the first two episodes, I can say, they are not wrong in either of their assessments. Evil is a solid network show, that has the potential to be on television for many years.

I was drawn to the show in two ways. First, there was the fact that its creators, Michelle and Robert King, are two of the most creative writers and producers in the business. While most know this from their work with The Good Wife, and its spin-off, The Good Fight, personally, I think their best work was the short-lived niche series Braindead. Needless to say, their involvement is automatically worth at least an initial viewing. The second point is the pairing of the protagonists. On the one hand, there is Dr. Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers), a right-brain dominant, psychologist, who specializes in diagnosing the mental competence of criminals. On the other hand, there is David Acosta (Mike Colter) a left-brain dominant, priest-in-training, who is hired by the Catholic Church to determine which of the thousands of miracles, visions, possessions and other supernatural phenomenon that are brought to the church’s attention are true, tru-ish, or just plain fake/fraudulent. It’s a pairing idea that is at once bizarre and persuasive. Indeed, I found it much more attractive than say, the premise in Emergence.

My colleagues describe the show as being a “mashup” of “mixed genres”. Again, their description is accurate. Personally, I would describe it as a combination of X-Files (believer versus non-believer partners) and Grimm (each week the partners discover and examine alleged “supernatural” acts that are hidden behind the veil of plausible reality).

However, both elements work better in Evil than in the originals. Indeed, unlike aliens and the grand schemes to rule the planet of X-Files --- not that there is anything wrong with that storyline --- the investigation of the supernatural is more believable here. As Acosta explains to Bouchard of his interest in hiring her, “possession looks a lot like insanity, and insanity looks a lot like possession.” Moreover, unlike the creative, but somewhat tenuous, idea that the monsters and demons of the Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales were actual beings, Evil can draw from an endless cache of religion-based supernatural events drawn from history, the Catholic religion itself, and the news. That is, just as the storylines in The Good Wife and The Good Fight, riff-off what is going on in the real world of law and politics, the stories for Evil can produce that “art is life” effect which tends to be quite popular with the fans.

Herbers and Colter also work well together, which is another aspect of their work that the Kings seem to excel at, namely finding actors that have a nice on-screen chemistry with each other. It makes fans want to invest in seeing how the relationship works out, which adds to the show's view-ability. It also, practically speaking, helps the actors do a better job on the set. I mean we all want to have cool co-workers, right?

Spoiler Alert ----------------

The one aspect of the show that seems a little shaky, however, is Dr. Bouchard’s home life. Why three daughters? What's up with the always traveling husband? And why the goofy night ghost, “George”. They do not seem to add anything to the story, and in fact, serve to add an element of confusion. However, I could see how later on in the series, all three aspects might add some interesting story arcs into the primary feature. For this, the Kings have earned a right for us to wait and see, before totally blasting it as dicta.

Anyway, check Evil out. You won’t regret it. Drop back here after you do, to tell us what you think.

Written by lao.san on Oct 6, 2019


lao.san posted 9 days ago

Thanks for the pointer @gmpugs!

gmpugs posted 10 days ago

Quick nitpick: she has 4 daughters, not 3. ;) That said, I agree, it's a pretty solid show so far.

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