Evil (TV series)

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Evil CBS Titlecard.jpg
Created by
Composer(s)David Buckley
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Robyn-Alain Feldman
  • Aurin Squire
  • Patricia Ione Lloyd
  • Thomas J. Whelan
  • Matt Kregor
  • Marnee Meyer
  • Dan Erickson
  • Ryan Allen
  • James W. Harrison, III
  • Wadeh Arraf
Running time40–42 minutes
Production company(s)
Original networkCBS
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Original releaseSeptember 26, 2019 (2019-09-26) –
present (present)
External links

Evil is an American supernatural drama television series created by Robert King and Michelle King that premiered on September 26, 2019, on CBS. The series is produced by CBS Studios and King Size Productions. The series features an ensemble cast including Katja Herbers, Mike Colter, Michael Emerson, Aasif Mandvi, Kurt Fuller, Marti Matulis, Brooklyn Shuck, Skylar Gray, Maddy Crocco, Dalya Knapp and Christine Lahti. In October 2019, CBS renewed the series for a second season.


A skeptical forensic psychologist (Herbers) allies with a Catholic seminarian (Colter) and a technology contractor (Mandvi) to investigate purported supernatural incidents.

Cast and characters[edit]


  • Katja Herbers as Dr. Kristen Bouchard, a forensic psychologist hired by David Acosta to help him distinguish between legitimate instances of demonic possession and insanity. Kristen is not religious and does not believe in demons or the supernatural, but finds her skepticism tested many times as she walks a thin line between what science can account for and what it has yet to explain.
  • Mike Colter as David Acosta, a former journalist studying to be a Catholic priest. He currently works as an assessor, tasked with investigating and confirming events such as miracles and reports of demons. He takes hallucinogens in order to see visions, but he is not sure if they are from God or his own mind.
  • Aasif Mandvi as Ben Shakir, a contractor who works with David as his technical expert and equipment handler. He plays devil's advocate, providing scientific explanations for supernatural phenomena.
  • Kurt Fuller as Dr. Kurt Boggs, a psychiatrist and Kristen's therapist.
  • Marti Matulis as George, an incubus. Matulis portrays other characters in several episodes: AR Demon in "Rose390", one of the Ghoul Orderlies in "Room 320" and Townsend's Devil Therapist in "Justice × 2" and "Book 27".
  • Brooklyn Shuck as Lynn Bouchard, Kristen's eldest daughter.
  • Skylar Gray as Lila Bouchard, Kristen's second daughter.
  • Maddy Crocco as Lexis Bouchard, Kristen's third daughter.
  • Dalya Knapp as Laura Bouchard, Kristen's youngest daughter.
  • Christine Lahti as Sheryl Luria, Kristen's supportive, hard-living mother.
  • Michael Emerson as Dr. Leland Townsend, an expert in the occult who is obsessed with encouraging others to commit evil acts. He has a particular interest in David, stemming from his contempt for those who believe themselves incapable of sin. The episode "Justice × 2" reveals that he is really Jake Perry, a former insurance adjuster from Des Moines under the influence of a demonic force.


  • Patrick Brammall as Andy Bouchard, Kristen's husband.
  • Boris McGiver as Monseigneur Matthew Korecki
  • Kristen Connolly as Detective Mira Byrd
  • Clark Johnson as Father Amara
  • Danny Burstein as D.A. Lewis Cormier
  • Noah Robbins as Sebastian Lewin, a young man targeted by Leland
  • Darren Pettie as Orson LeRoux, a serial killer evaluated by Kristen.
  • Karen Pittman as Caroline Hopkins, a woman on whom the Church performs an exorcism
  • Sohina Sidhu as Karima Shakir, Ben's sister, a tech genius.
  • Li Jun Li as Grace Ling, a prophet under investigation by the Church.
  • Renee Elise Goldsberry as Renee Harris, a defense attorney working for the Church.
  • Nora Murphy as Rose390, a virtual reality game demon.[1]


No.Title [2]Directed byWritten byOriginal air date [2]U.S. viewers
1"Genesis 1"Robert KingRobert King & Michelle KingSeptember 26, 2019 (2019-09-26)4.56[3]
Dr. Kristen Bouchard, a psychologist primarily employed by the Queens DA's office, learns that the defendant in her latest trial, Orson LeRoux, is claiming to be demonically possessed in order to claim an insanity plea. When the prosecution refuses to let her conduct further tests and fires her, leaving her unable to finish repaying her student loans, she accepts a job offer from David Acosta, a professional assessor for the Catholic Church, to determine whether or not LeRoux's claims are true. At first, Kristen is concerned that he may, in fact, be possessed, as she begins receiving threatening visits from George, an incubus who taunts her for concealing her sexual attraction towards David. However, when LeRoux reveals personal information that Kristen never told him, she discovers that her therapy file was stolen by a man named Leland Townsend, who she deduces was responsible for convincing LeRoux to act on his murderous impulses and has been coaching him to act possessed. David tells her that "demons" are often just an excuse for evil people like Townsend to justify their desire to make others suffer for sheer amusement. Kristen decides to join David's team permanently.
2"177 Minutes"Ron UnderwoodRobert King & Michelle KingOctober 3, 2019 (2019-10-03)4.20[4]
A girl, Naomi Clark, is miraculously revived seconds after her autopsy begins, and David's team is assigned to determine if there was any divine intervention. A review of security camera footage appears to show the image of a woman who died an hour before Naomi, which Ben suggests could be the result of digital manipulation. The DA offers to reinstate Kristen on a two year contract, which David agrees to match. However, when she goes to tell the DA, he informs her the offer has been rescinded and that Dr. Townsend has replaced her. Kristen's daughter Laura begins to see George in her dreams, terrifying her mother until she discovers that George is in fact a fictional character and is therefore not real. Based on the video, David determines that the hospital pronounced Naomi dead thirty minutes too early, exposing racist practices that he has Kristen report to a lawyer suing the hospital for malpractice. The image is left unexplained, as the priest overseeing the team's work refuses to discuss it. Later that night, David purchases hallucinogens, which he uses to receive visions from God.
3"3 Stars"Gloria MuzioRockne S. O'BannonOctober 10, 2019 (2019-10-10)3.67[5]
Kristen learns that Townsend intervened in an old case, reversing her expert opinion. David is asked to assess the case of Byron Duke (John Glover), a legendary Broadway producer who sold his soul to a demon named Joe in return for a promise that he would win a Tony Award. Ben and Kristen insist that "Joe" is part of a prank being pulled on Duke by hacking his virtual assistant. However, despite Ben's attempts to trace the hack, Joe manages to enter his house and takes control of his father's virtual assistant, taunting his sister until he destroys the device. With Duke beginning to suffer a complete mental breakdown, David locates the disgruntled IT tech who originated the prank, but he swears he had nothing to do with hacking Ben's home. Duke subsequently commits suicide after he receives a mysterious email telling him hell is only half full. Kristen uses a deepfake of a conversation she had with Townsend to get the judge to overrule him. David is advised to start writing down his visions; this leads to him identifying a puzzle involving the Salvator Mundi which points to a random area of convergence near New York.
4"Rose390"Peter SollettDavita ScarlettOctober 17, 2019 (2019-10-17)3.74[6]
The McCrystal family requests a formal evaluation of their nine-year old son Eric to settle their belief that he is possessed by a demon, while Kristen believes that he is simply exhibiting common psychopathic behavior. During the evaluation, Eric bonds with David, and he takes the opportunity to try and improve Eric's character by encouraging him to ask God for what he wants most in life. Sheryl buys her granddaughters expensive augmented reality headsets, which include a digital game centered around a mysterious girl, Rose390. The girls become fascinated with the game, which Ben notices. His attempt to remove the game fails, and Rose390 taunts the girls by claiming that their father is dead. Afterward, Kristen takes the headsets away. Eric begins to show improvement, and asks David to teach him how to draw comics. When David arrives, he discovers Eric trying to drown his infant sister and barely saves her life. An emergency exorcism is approved by the Church, but when the team arrives, they realize that the McCrystals murdered Eric, leaving both David and Kristen with immense guilt for failing to save him.
5"October 31"Tess MaloneDewayne Darian JonesOctober 24, 2019 (2019-10-24)3.48[7]
Kristen and Dr. Boggs are forced to weigh in on the Church's decision to perform an exorcism on Caroline Hopkins, a woman demonstrating signs of schizophrenia but also elements associated with demonic possession. Their concerns that Caroline is being tortured and deprived of medical care conflict with the fears of the priests that she will succumb to evil unless the exorcism is properly finished, and both sides argue over what to do. David ultimately cures Caroline by persuading her to reject the demonic influence eating at her soul, instantly returning her to sanity. Ben guest-stars on a paranormal "ghost-finders" show, where he exposes the host's use of a potentially lethal chemical projector to fake a ghost sighting. His co-host Vanessa gives him her number afterward. Townsend meets Sheryl at a restaurant, seducing her by playing on her desire for love. While watching her grandchildren for Halloween, a masked guest named Brenda takes advantage of her negligence and takes the kids to a graveyard to torment them with the story of a young girl disfigured by her cruel parents. She then disappears, leaving behind only her mask.
6"Let x = 9"Kevin Rodney SullivanAurin SquireNovember 7, 2019 (2019-11-07)3.50[8]
The team is faced with a serious issue confronting the Church: a woman named Grace Ling who claims to be a prophet of God has been making prophecies that line up with a 500-year old codex describing the end of the Church itself. David is tasked with learning whether Grace is truly speaking the word of God, but his superior pressures him to label her a false prophet and discredit her gift. Dr. Boggs teaches Kristen a simple exercise to let her control her dreams, which allows her to deal with the sudden return of George. Sheryl invites Townsend over for dinner, while Kristen visits David while he is under the influence of hallucinogens. When she returns home and sees Townsend playing with her daughters, she takes him out back and slices his neck open, forcing him to leave while trying to convince her mother not to see him again. David confronts his superior and learns that the prophecies are not of the Church ending, but the world itself. Grace is arrested by immigration officials, and is only able to transcribe part of the remaining texts for David. Sheryl secretly visits Townsend and they have sex.
7"Vatican III"Jim McKayPatricia Ione LloydNovember 14, 2019 (2019-11-14)3.32[9]
Townsend mentors a young man named Sebastian, telling him to embrace his hateful attitude towards women. A team of assessors arrive from the Vatican to question the team about Grace, and provide them with access to the original codex, parts of which Kristen illegally photographs. During her exorcism, a housewife confesses to several murders. As it is unclear if she is truly responsible, Kristen and David are brought in to examine her. David reminds Kristen that since the woman is technically her patient, she is prohibited by confidentiality rules from reporting her to the police unless they can get her to state that she intends to kill again. Kristen uses the patient's own emotional instability to weaken the demon's influence, allowing her to determine that she is not the killer, but rather covering for the real one. When her husband has her arrested, David visits him in secret, chokes him out, and finds evidence that he is the killer. Using the photographs of the codex, the team determines that there is a hierarchy of demons on Earth, each of whom has a unique mark. David recognizes one of them in several paintings created by his father.
8"2 Fathers"James Whitmore Jr.Davita Scarlett & Nialla LeBouefNovember 21, 2019 (2019-11-21)3.43[10]
David and Kristen visit David's estranged father Leon (Vondie Curtis-Hall). David learns that his dad has now remarried and is using the mark in all of his paintings, claiming that it gives him a clarity he didn't have before. Ben meets Vanessa for the first time in three weeks and confronts her for not calling back; she explains that her "sister", who inhabits the right side of her body, didn't want them to get together. Despite some initial concerns, he decides to continue their relationship. David and Kristen both consume hallucinogenic drugs, causing them to have visions: Kristen witnesses Leon's wife give birth to a ghoul while David meets Annie Commerce, who Leon explains is a slave ancestor of theirs who died in 1859. The mark turns out to be the brand of the slaveowner who purchased Annie, which Leon rediscovered and chose to reclaim as his own. David is shocked by his father's decision, but accepts that he is allowed to deal with the pain of their family's history in his own way. David drives Kristen home to find that her husband Andy has finally returned.
9"Exorcism Part 2"Frederick E.O. ToyeLouisa HillDecember 5, 2019 (2019-12-05)3.34[11]
David and the archdiocese are sued by Caroline Hopkins for botching her exorcism. A church lawyer, Renee Harris (ReElise Goldsberry), volunteers to defend David, based in part on their previous relationship and because he once dated her sister. Kristen and Andy discover a stray cat in their pantry who clearly hates Kristen. Townsend starts preparing Sebastian to act on his hate by instructing him to make threatening gestures towards women and having one of his associates teach him how to handle guns. Caroline's lawyer, Judith Lemonhead, is able to mount a strong case against David by exposing his history of arrests and drug addiction, so Kristen gets Renee to go on the offense by having her and Dr. Boggs argue that the medical care Caroline received after the exorcism was responsible for her deteriorating health. Lemonhead informs the Church that Caroline is ready to settle the case for a reasonable sum. Afterward, Harris tries to force David to give into his feelings for her. Andy tells his wife that she should consider taking up mountain climbing again. Sebastian accidentally shoots himself in the head while posing with his guns.
10"7 Swans a Singin'"John DahlRockne S. O'BannonDecember 12, 2019 (2019-12-12)3.61[12]
A Catholic girls school reports instances of students singing a repetitive melody nonstop. Kristen and Ben discover that the melody comes from an Internet cartoon about marijuana, and that all of the affected students heard it through a video posted by a popular influencer, Melindaz. Lexi asks Sheryl for advice on dealing with a bully; Sheryl tells her to hit the girl with a rock and then lie about it when Kristen finds out. Unbeknownst to everyone, Townsend has been secretly instructing Sheryl to undermine her daughter. Someone sends David incriminating photos that expose his relationship with Renee, and so he decides to talk to her. After the melody infects Lila, Ben determines that it has been modified to transmit a secret message to anyone under 16 compelling them to commit suicide. The team confronts Melindaz, who goes to see Townsend, her "producer", for help. He tells her to apologize and take down the video, knowing that it will only encourage teenagers to continue sharing it. David goes to confession, and takes a walk outside. A bearded man stabs him in the chest and flees as Kristen calls his phone, which has fallen just out of reach.
11"Room 320"Peter SollettAurin SquireJanuary 9, 2020 (2020-01-09)3.10[13]
While David is in the hospital recovering from surgery, Kristen and Ben team up with Kristen's predecessor on the team, Judy James, to find his attacker, who they suspect is a former victim named Richard Ghana. David learns from a fellow patient, Harlan, that the attending nurse, Louise Bloch, is an angel of death who targets black patients and collects their wristbands as trophies. David makes several attempts to worm out from under Bloch's control, but fails each time. He then sees Harlan being escorted away by the spirit of Death in a dream, and receives a warning from Grace Ling that he must remember Matthew 13:25. The team visits Ghana's old roommate, who gives them a lead: Ghana's online avatar is Rose390. Ben creates his own avatar, posing as Lila Bouchard, and links up with Rose390 while Judy uses tracking equipment to trace Ghana's location and send it to the cops. David manages to contact Kristen, who learns of Bloch's culpability through a clever deception and brings in Dr. Boggs to get David released. Before they can catch Bloch, however, she escapes, leaving behind her collection of wristbands.
12"Justice × 2"Rob HardyDewayne Darian JonesJanuary 16, 2020 (2020-01-16)3.29[14]
The Queens DA calls Kristen in to help stop an effort by Townsend to get Orson LeRoux released by having another inmate claim responsibility for his crimes. David is contacted by a woman named Sonia who needs spiritual advice; he discovers that she is keeping a comedian, Lando, imprisoned in her basement, claiming that he was involved in the murder of her family and neighbors. Sonia locks him up as well and prepares to kill Lando despite both men's pleas for mercy. In court, Kristen is called to the stand and forced to admit that she taunted Orson, which is enough to convince the judge to overturn his conviction. Townsend goes to gloat and threaten Kristen, who finally snaps and tells him that she knows his real name and that he's nothing but a loser. Ben shows up to take her to the hospital where Laura is undergoing surgery for her heart condition, learning that she was miraculously healed during the procedure. Sonia shoots Lando and calls an ambulance for David before turning herself in, saying that she did it not for revenge, but for justice. Townsend and his demon master meet to discuss how to deal with Kristen.
13"Book 27"Michael ZinbergPatricia Ione LloydJanuary 30, 2020 (2020-01-30)3.19[15]
LeRoux takes advantage of his freedom by harassing Kristen. Townsend formally proposes to Sheryl. When she goes to ask for Kristen's blessing, her daughter forbids her from ever coming near her family again. Dr. Boggs refers one of his patients, Eleanor, to David as Eleanor believes that her unborn son is a demon. After the boy's twin sister mysteriously dies in utero, David arranges an exorcism but Eleanor's baby is born before it can be completed. He and Ben look into RSM Fertility, the clinic that administered Eleanor's IVF, and discover links to families they had previously worked with. David proposes a theory: the clinic is secretly a front for the hierarchy, who are spiritually corrupting the eggs of expectant mothers to create a generation of humans who will be more susceptible to temptation and sin. Kristen reveals that her daughter Lexis was born after she was treated by RSM Fertility. David has another vision, this time of Kristen walking towards a demon. Kristen gets a call that LeRoux was found bludgeoned to death in his home. She then burns her hand picking up a crucifix, suggesting evil is within her.


CBS ordered a pilot for the potential series in January 2019, created by the writing team Robert and Michelle King.[16] Katja Herbers and Mike Colter were cast in February, with Michael Emerson and Aasif Mandvi cast in March.[16][17][18][19] A series order was officially made in May 2019.[20] A day after that, it was announced that the series would premiere in the fall of 2019 and air on Thursday nights at 10:00 p.m. during the 2019–2020 television season.[21]

The series debuted on September 26, 2019.[22] On July 18, 2019, Christine Lahti was cast as Sheryl Luria, replacing Deirdre O'Connell who was in the original pilot.[23] On July 25, 2019, it was announced that Kurt Fuller, who guest starred in the pilot, had been promoted to a series regular.[24] On October 22, 2019, CBS renewed the series for a second season.[25]



On May 15, 2019, CBS released the first official trailer for the series.[26] In September 2020, CBS announced that the first season would be made available on Netflix in October 2020 in order to generate attention for the upcoming second season.[27]

International broadcast[edit]

Evil premiered in Canada on Global on September 26, 2019.[28] CBS Studios International announced on October 22, 2019 that Evil would air in Spain on Syfy in January 2020.[29] On October 29, CBS announced Evil would be available on Globoplay in Brazil on November 1.[30] Evil premiered in Latin America on October 31 on Universal TV through an exclusive licensing agreement between CBS Studios International and NBCUniversal International Networks.[31]

CBS Studios International has also signed a licensing agreement with French broadcaster TF1 Group for Evil to air in France.[32] In India, Evil initially premiered on the streaming service Voot Select in April 2020, followed by a network television premiere on June 23, 2020 on Zee Café.[33][34] In July 2020, the British pay television channel Alibi announced that they had bought the British rights to Evil and would premier it in the United Kingdom by the end of 2020.[35]


Critical response[edit]

The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reported a "certified fresh" 91% approval rating based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 7.72/10. The website's critical consensus states, "Smartly-written and effectively unsettling, Evil works best when it dares to delve into the depths of the uncomfortable questions it poses."[36] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 76 out of 100 based on 14 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[37] The first season was named as one of the best television shows of 2019 by The New Yorker, NPR, and TVLine.[38][39][40]


Viewership and ratings per episode of Evil
No. Title Air date Rating/share
DVR viewers
Total viewers
1 "Genesis 1" September 26, 2019 0.6/4 4.56[3] 0.7 3.40 1.3 7.96[41]
2 "177 Minutes" October 3, 2019 0.6/3 4.20[4] 0.6 2.96 1.2 7.17[42]
3 "3 Stars" October 10, 2019 0.6/3 3.67[5] 0.5 2.59 1.1 6.27[43]
4 "Rose390" October 17, 2019 0.7/4 3.74[6] 0.5 2.61 1.2 6.36[44]
5 "October 31" October 24, 2019 0.5/3 3.48[7] 0.6 2.46 1.1 5.94[45]
6 "Let x = 9" November 7, 2019 0.5/3 3.50[8] 0.6 2.75 1.1 6.25[46]
7 "Vatican III" November 14, 2019 0.5/3 3.32[9] 0.5 2.54 1.0 5.86[47]
8 "2 Fathers" November 21, 2019 0.5/3 3.43[10] 0.5 2.57 1.0 6.00[48]
9 "Exorcism Part 2" December 5, 2019 0.5/3 3.34[11] 0.6 2.68 1.1 6.03[49]
10 "7 Swans a Singin'" December 12, 2019 0.5/3 3.61[12] 0.6 2.68 1.1 6.29[50]
11 "Room 320" January 9, 2020 0.4/3 3.10[13] 0.6 2.65 1.0 5.88[51]
12 "Justice × 2" January 16, 2020 0.4/3 3.29[14] 0.6 2.61 1.0 5.90[52]
13 "Book 27" January 30, 2020 0.5/3 3.19[15] 0.5 2.61 1.0 5.80[53]

Home media[edit]

CBS Home Entertainment released the complete first season on DVD on June 30, 2020.[54]


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