This post contains spoilers for the Evil season premiere on Paramount+.
Michelle and Robert King’s delightfully diabolical psychological drama Evil might have moved from CBS to Paramount+ for Season 2, but Katja Herbers, who plays forensic psychologist Kristen Bouchard, believes the move is a good one. On top of the flexibility streaming provides, the shift has freed up her character’s vocabulary.
“I got to do some actual F-bombs,” Herbers told The Daily Beast during a recent interview, adding with a laugh, “I think that the show will really benefit from that.”
Because really, who would say “darn it” when confronted with a horned demon urinating in the corner of their bedroom? Or a flirty monster who makes sure to take out her retainer before taking a bite out of you? Or, or, or…
Evil follows Kristen, hot priest in training David Acosta (Mike Colter), and tech expert Ben Shakir (Aasif Mandvi) as they investigate possible supernatural occurrences for the Catholic Church. David and Kristen’s repartee can feel reminiscent of Mulder and Scully’s on The X-Files, while Mandvi provides the impeccably timed comic relief.
Each week brings a new case; some are miracles, but most are something much darker. The real mystery at the core of the series, however, remains why so many dark forces and demons keep flocking to our central skeptic and her four energetic daughters.
As we saw in the premiere, there might be one explanation: Kristen did apparently just kill a man.
Sunday’s premiere confirmed what last season’s finale hinted at: Kristen killed serial killer Orson LaRoux after she’d become convinced there was no other way to protect her daughters. “Now that she’s killed someone,” Herbers said, “all bets are off.” One temptation clearly on the table? Cheating on her husband, Andy, who’s been gone for too long on a climbing trip—an impulse that brings nightmares of its own.
“She started to see things that might not be there and she’s very confused,” Herbers said. “And I think she wants to be sort of put back into her body by maybe having sex with someone to feel more grounded or present… to try to grasp onto something.”
Also confounding: Why is the fertility clinic that treated Kristen before she gave birth to one of her daughters connected to so many demonic cases? That mystery, like David’s ongoing training for the priesthood, hums in the background of the four episodes of this season made available to critics.
It likely doesn’t help Kristen’s psyche that she can’t even trust her own mother, Sheryl (Christine Lahti), who last season chose to hook up with Kristen’s fellow forensic psychologist Leland Townsend—the latest villainous turn from consummate baddie Michael Emerson.
But there appears to be something deeper going on with Sheryl than her choice in relationships. There was, for instance, the moment last season when she instructed one of her granddaughters to pelt a bully with a rock and lie about it to her mother.
When asked what we can expect from Kristen and her mother’s relationship this season, Herbers said, “I think you will see, Sheryl kind of stops at nothing... I think it’s a very interesting storyline and she gets a lot of fun stuff to do. We don’t often see female characters of her age being that raunchy.”
Given the stresses of her job, her mother, and her part-time side hustle of trying to outwit Leland, it’s not hard to guess why Kristen begins to come unraveled this season. (Or, you know, more unraveled than before.) What remains to be seen is whether she’ll emerge unscathed.