Something wicked Netflix’s way comes, in the form of CBS’ Evil — just in time for Halloween.
The supernatural series hits the streaming service today, and we thought we’d offer an eerie introduction for anyone who didn’t happen to catch the first season on CBS or CBS All Access when it premiered last year.
In the list below, we’ve scared up 13 reasons why you’re going to want to binge the tightly crafted drama (with the lights on, of course!) as soon as possible. Evil was a standout of the 2019-2020 broadcast TV season, boasting an impressive cast and an even more impressive creative team, not to mention some hearty frights and a goosebump-inducing arc.
One note to keep in mind: Though the list below does not contain any major spoilers for Season 1, the links within the captions might lead you to information that could spoil you. In short, you might want to bookmark this post and revisit it — clicking on every link you see — after you’ve seen all 13 episodes in the show’s freshman run.
So now that you’ve been appropriately prepped, scroll through the list below to look Evil in the face and see if it’s for you. And if you happen to have watched Season 1, chime in the comments with your thoughts on the spine-chilling show!
THAT CREEPING FEELING
One of the things that sucked us into Evil from the get-go is how truly scary it is — think more The Exorcist TV series or The X-Files and less American Horror Story — and how great it is at building dread. You’re not going to want to watch this one late at night in the dark… but it’s even better if you do. If you’re someone who likes to feel out exactly how frightening something is before you watch it, here’s our spoiler-free review of the premiere.
From the start, Katja Herbers (as forensic psychologist Kristen Bouchard) and Mike Colter (as Catholic priest-in-training David Acosta) make an incredibly watchable pair. Yes, they’re just co-workers — he hires her to help determine whether so-called demonic possessions are mental illness or the scary real deal — but even in the series’ pilot, there’s something simmering between the two. After the season’s halfway point, Colter discussed the unspoken attraction with TVLine, calling it a “tricky thing” and adding that David “actively chooses not to think about it. But in actively choosing not to think about it, he’s thinking about it.”
HIT THE ROAD
(And if you think we’re kidding, wait until you get to David and Kristen’s road trip in Episode 8.) You’ll never look at sangria, or cornfields, the same way again.
We’ve left out Aasif Mandvi’s Ben so far, so let’s fix that now: Without this highly skeptical, technologically brilliant member of the team, David and Kristen would be up Satan’s creek without a paddle. Plus, at one point in the season, he goes on a Ghost Hunters-like show and mocks/debunks it hard, which is fun to watch.
WHAT A PEDIGREE
Michelle and Robert King, the creators and showrunners of Evil, are the same people behind The Good Wife and its spinoff The Good Fight. Translation: They know from sharply written drama, compelling characterizations and building a satisfying season arc.
THE GAGGLE OF GIRLS
Kristen is raising four (!) daughters essentially alone, and the girls — Lynn, Lila, Lexis and Laura — are a chattering, high-energy cyclone that can sweep into a scene at any time. At first, you might be annoyed by the tumult, but trust us: These girls love each other and their folks in a sweet (if chaotic) way, and when things start to get really dark, you’ll be grateful for their sassy sunshine.
Along those same lines, unlike most houses on TV, Kristen’s charming Queens home frequently looks as though a horde of children live, eat and engage in messy art projects within its walls. That little touch of realism in such a supernatural-tinged show lends the proceedings a nice effect. (Though we suspect this photo maybe was taken right after the cleaning lady left.)
GRANDMA IS A GOOD TIME
Christine Lahti (Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Hope) plays Kristen’s mom, Sheryl, and she is a hoot. From her constant wine-quaffing to her leopard-and-leather wardrobe to her seriously questionable taste in men, we’re always here for whatever shenanigans Grandma is up to.
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW?
Michael Emerson (Person of Interest) plays Leland Townsend, a forensic psychologist who quickly proves to be David and Kristen’s biggest foe (or should we say, biggest corporeal foe?). Is Leland the Devil, an evil minion or just a very messed-up, malicious man? The uncertainty makes him — and everything he’s involved with — that much scarier. And he’s also often the series’ comedic relief, a dichotomy that really works… especially in Episode 12, which caused us to write a headline proclaiming Evil Just Became a New Show With That Bats–t Final Scene (and We Dig It).
HOT PRIEST (IN TRAINING)
Throughout Season 1, Colter does some dynamic, affecting work as a former war correspondent with a troubled past who turned to the Church after a personal tragedy. Once you’ve watched all of the episodes, make sure to check out Colter’s in-depth interview with TVLine about the drama’s freshman run, how it may not give you the answers you want — and why that is the show’s exact charm.
ALL THAT GLITTERS IS GOLDSBERRY
Here’s a little tip: Renee Elise Goldsberry (One Life to Live, The Good Wife, Broadway’s Hamilton) — one of our perennial faves — shows up toward the end of the season, and boy does she shake things up for one of the characters.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS... OH, WAIT
If you’d care for a slight finale spoiler… the season comes to a close with one of the two series leads in serious peril. “And then the question at the end becomes whether indulging in [evil] thoughts, as well as meeting people that are evil, pushed [Spoiler] over some kind of line,” Michelle King told TVLine after the finale aired.
'CAUSE YOU CAN CAN CAN!
Who doesn’t love a protagonist with a soft spot for lowbrow delights? Kristen’s drink of choice is a pre-made margarita in a can: the preferred cocktail of working moms with too much on their plates and a deep desire to stop evil from overtaking the planet. We love the character detail so much, it made it into our 2019 list of What TVLine is Thankful For.