Evil season 2: why you should be watching the comedy horror

Kristen and Ben in Evil Season 2
(Image credit: Paramount+)

Light spoilers for Evil Season 2.

Five years ago, Washington DC was invaded by alien bugs that took control of their hosts and made politicians more agreeable. Or rather, this is the plot of the short-lived CBS series Braindead, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Tony Shalhoub, and Aaron Tveit. The incredibly wacky and delightful series came from the minds of The Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King and features the weirdest sex scene (in my opinion) to appear on network TV. The performances are charming, the commentary pointed (in an election year no less), and the narrative tipped into the madcap side. It had all the ingredients of a series from the Kings, which have slowly gotten more off-kilter the more shows they get to make. BrainDead was not long for the world, but this was a time before streaming had snowballed into what it is now.

Enter, Evil. Just like BrainDead, Evil’s blend of genre and tone takes what could be a relatively run-of-the-mill concept and makes it more than The Exorcist with a dollop of The X-Files (and Fringe). Skeptics and believers are tasked with investigating cases that have been brought to the Catholic church — typically, but not limited to possession — and the unique team includes no law enforcement officials. 

David in Evil Season 2

(Image credit: Paramount+)

Forensic psychologist Dr. Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers), priest-in-training David Acosta (The Good Wife alum Mike Colter) and technical expert Ben Shakir (Aasif Mandvi) make up the investigation squad and their blend of expertise and beliefs is a potent mix. 

The main cast is great, but the deep bench of guest stars, relevant storylines and injection of humor make this one to watch. If you are on the fence about signing up for another streamer then Evil is here to tempt you to come over to the Paramount Plus side (you will also get access to more of the King's shows —  The Good Fight, as well as The Good Wife and BrainDead). Below are four enticing reasons to tune in. 

1. It is very scary 

A scene from Evil Season 2

(Image credit: Paramount+)

Serial killers and demons are the kinds of monsters you can expect to see on Evil, which teases the audience rather than confirming the veracity of events. At the end of season 1, Kristen’s family was threatened by the recently freed mass murderer Orson LeRoux (Darren Pettie) and we were left wondering whether the doctor had killed this man to save her children. A man of flesh and blood who commits terrible acts is pretty standard for crime procedurals, but the Kings push the boundaries of this question and what someone will do when pushed. The monsters that haunt the dreams and waking nightmares (as Ben is finding out in Season 2) target another area of vulnerability and they are ambiguous enough that we are as in the dark along with Kristen and Ben. But perhaps the scariest moments involve Kristen’s four young daughters. 

In the season 2 premiere “N is for Night Terrors” Kristen's daughter Lexis (Maddy Crocco) continues to have issues with bleeding gums. While she was under anesthetic (to help with her vampire teeth situation) she straight up sunk her teeth into the dentist’s finger and left it hanging. These kids have played ouija boards with a VR creep, gone to a graveyard with a devilish child and been influenced by an earworm track — coming up they will also get involved with another internet phenomenon.  

2. It is very funny

Michael Emerson in Evil

(Image credit: Paramount+)

Comedic interludes counter the bumps in the night. Kristen and Ben’s skepticism means they are often on fire with the quips. 

On the opposite side of the good vs evil fight is antagonist Dr. Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson), who may or may not have sold his soul to the devil. He is Kristen’s professional rival and messes with every aspect of her life — including dating her mother. The absurdity of a lot of these scenarios, which takes haunting and exorcism to new heights is needed when some of the cases that involve children tip into the bleakest territory. Gallows humor has never looked better and the Kings make sure the narrative zigs when you expect it to zag. Or at least they have a light-hearted video — a signature of their other shows — to explain whatever dastardly thing is occurring.

3. The cast

Andrea Martin in Evil

(Image credit: Pramount+)

Walking the thin line between absurdity and reality requires a cast who can say the oddities with a straight face. Evil succeeds in capturing this whether it is the three investigators’ chemistry — that is both horny and platonic depending on the pairings — or Kristen’s difficult relationship with her mother (the always wonderful Christine Lahti). 

The only character who's superfluous is Kristen’s husband (and thankfully he has gone rock climbing again). From the wonderful Peter Scolari as Bishop Thomas Marx to Dylan Baker (another Good Wife staple) as David’s priest teacher, the recurring and guest star casting takes advantage of the New York locale. In Season 2, a de-glammed Andrea Martin is playing nun Sister Andrea who seems to be more than she looks (and offers some solid app suggestions for David).   

4. Current events, tech and urban legends

Evil Season 2

(Image credit: Paramount+)

Mixing folklore with current internet phenomena is a recipe for success that combines deep-rooted fears with the endless black hole that is online trends. A forthcoming episode taps into the reason why elevators continue to be a source of horror and do so in a way that feels fresh. 

Teenager hysteria got a new tune last season thanks to an influencer and song that will get stuck in your head (opens in new tab) and causes violence, seemingly without explanation. Prepubescent and adolescent girls are a consistent source of terror in this genre. Combining old and new is one of the show's strengths, with skeptic Ben on hand to debunk why something is happening — though not even he can explain everything. The religious undercurrent flows freely and is even hinting at a forthcoming plague (that may or may not be Covid-19).

Emma Fraser

Emma Fraser spends most of her time writing about TV, fashion, and costume design; Dana Scully is the reason she loves a pantsuit. Words can also be found at Vulture, Elle, Primetimer, Collider, Little White Lies, Observer, and Girls on Tops. Emma has a Master’s in Film and Television, started a (defunct) blog that mainly focused on Mad Men in 2010, and has been getting paid to write about TV since 2015. It goes back way further as she got her big start making observations in her diary about My So-Called Life’s Angela Chase (and her style) at 14.