On Friday, September 20thCBS hosted an advanced screening and Q&A at the Sheen Center for their highly anticipated new series Evil.
During the screening, we had the opportunity to interview the series’ creators Robert and Michelle King about their writing process, working relationship, and hopes for the show.
Evil follows a psychologist, priest in training, and a contractor as they investigate alleged demonic possessions, miracles, and other supernatural occurrences. The trio explores these phenomena through the lens of science and religion in pursuit of understanding the origins of evil.
In writing the show,the Kings focused on the different ways evil is manifesting itself in today’s world. “We’re in the present age and you’re seeing lone gunmen going out and shooting up schoolyards. You got to face the fact that there is evil in the world in a way that has changed… It’s a little more communicable between people through the internet and that I think is what fascinates us,” said Robert King.
The Kings are constantly having conversations and debates about evil and the different ways it emerges in the world. In reflection on their relationship as co-executive producers of Eviland husband and wife Michelle said, “It seems like the easiest thing in the world. It doesn’t feel like opposition. It feels like discussion. A long time discussion. We’ve never tried to change each other or been disrespectful of the other’s point of view.”
Regardless of what differences they may have in the writer’s room, the Kings share a similar hope for how the show will contribute to a cultural conversation about evil in the world. “My hope is less about content and more about tone. I hope it makes people speak to each other respectfully because the characters listen to one another even though they don’t have the same point of view.”
After the screening, the Kings joined the audience to discuss their inspiration for the show and how their different faiths factored into the writing process.
Robert King asserted that the show was born from a decade’s worth of conversations he had with Michelle about evil. “One of the more interesting subjects for us is why people do bad things. We don’t even have to go to the big evil of schoolyard shootings. We can go to the small evil of the horrible boss, who throws things, who screams. Where does that come from.”
Robert said that he often cited original sin as the perpetrator of these crimes whereas Michelle tends to look for a more psychological explanation. This difference in belief systems is one of the driving forces behind finding the balance between science and religion in pursuit of the truth on Evil.
The Kings wanted to invert the convention that religion is full of mystery and science has all the answers. “For us it was about pointing out the mystery in science too… We wanted to show that some of the biggest scares were in the scientific realm not the supernatural realm… to show that science has its own mysteries that are unfathomable” said Robert King.
This original take on the portrayal of religion in television is what sets Evil apart from other shows of its sort. Evil premieres on CBS Thursday September 26that 10 p.m. EST, with new episodes airing every Thursday.