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Creating "Evil," with laughs

A touch of "Evil," for laughs
A touch of "Evil," for laughs 05:12

"Suburban homes can be just as scary as haunted mansions, maybe even more so, because they're so normal-looking – where you would never expect demons to be!" laughed producer Robert King. 

He and his wife, Michelle King, are pretty normal-looking, too. And yet, they are the creators of the TV show "Evil," where the mundane and the monstrous are never far apart.

A demonic figure pops up in a suburban bedroom in the series "Evil."  Paramount+

Michelle, a secular Jew, and Robert, a church-going Catholic, have been disagreeing about the roots of evil ever since they met. Said Robert, "For 30 years we've been married, and we've had conversations similar to this. 'Where does evil come from? Why do people do bad things? Is it [psychological], or is there some supernatural element that makes people do bad things?"

Michelle added, "'Does this person need an exorcist? Or is it mental illness? Or what could account for it?'"

Before they succumbed to "Evil," the Kings created two very "good" shows:  "The Good Wife," and its spin-off, "The Good Fight."

Correspondent Serena Altschul asked, "What did 'Evil' offer you that 'The Good Wife' and 'Good Fight' didn't?"

"I would say 'Good Wife' and 'Good Fight' was always coloring between the lines," Robert replied. "And this is finger painting! The restrictions aren't as large if you can just have a massive demon be a therapist."

How do you feel about that?  Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson) has a session with his supernatural therapist in "Evil."  Paramount+

Season three of what's been called "the funny version of 'The Exorcist'" starts streaming tonight on Paramount+ (which is owned by the same parent company as CBS). And lest you think we're biased, the reviews for "Evil" are uniformly good.

Aasif Mandvi plays Ben Shakir, a tech wizard intent on revealing the science behind the spooky (or as his character describes it, "There's an explanation for everything, but people would rather believe in ghosts, demons"); Katja Herbers is Kristen Bouchard, a skeptical psychologist; and Mike Colter plays David Acosta, a priest in training. His character is hired by the Church to investigate unexplained phenomena, and to recommend whether an exorcism is required.

When asked how he would describe "Evil," Mandvi replied, "A feminist 'X Files'-meets-'Ghostbusters,' with, like, really sexy people!"

Mike Colter, Katja Herbers and Aasif Mandvi, the stars of "Evil."  CBS News

"What I think Robert and Michelle do so well is that they can write incredibly intelligent stories and then insert, like, absurdity and humor," Mandvi said.

Such as having a demon named … George? "Every George we know we've had to say, 'No, don't worry. It wasn't based on you,'" said Michelle.

Robert said, "I kind of think we were out for an Americana version of the demonic. So, it wasn't Beelzebub and Mushamagon, you know, some Latin word. It was, 'There's George! There's Abbey! There's Michael!'"

Nope, no demons here, right? Correspondent Serena Altschul with "Evil" producers Michelle and Robert King.  CBS News

Michael Emerson's Leland Townsend is one character you will love to hate. "The villain, that's where it's at!" said Emerson. "It's just fun."

The Kings are quick to say they are not bashing Catholicism itself. Michelle said, "So many procedurals on television want to be critical of the Catholic Church. I mean, it's a cliché, it's a trope, and I wasn't interested in doing that."

Robert added, "Even though this show delves into the [Church] scandals, there's also the sense of Mike Colter, who you usually think of as a superhero, is becoming a priest."

The Kings, and the cast, called it a wrap just last month. So, beware: more "Evil" is on the way! 

To watch a trailer for season 3 of "Evil" click on the video player below: 

Evil | Official Trailer | Paramount+ by Paramount Plus on YouTube

For more info:

  • "Evil" on Paramount+; New season debuts June 12

Story produced by Richard Buddenhagen. Editor: George Pozderec. 

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