“Evil” is the creepiest show to hit TV in years. Whether there’s a logical answer for events or some sort of supernatural explanation, it can be downright frightening.
Which comes as somewhat of a surprise to Michelle and Robert King (“The Good Wife,” “The Good Fight”), the couple who created and produce the show.
“When you’re actually making it, it isn’t scary,” said executive producer Michelle King, “as opposed to when one is just watching it. That was the thing that surprised me most about the show, was when friends would tell me how scary it was at  o’clock at night. And I hadn’t realized up until that point, because when you’re inside it, it doesn’t have that same impact.”
And, since some episodes are drawn from their own fears, it can be therapeutic. “When you write your problems out on paper, you shove all your problems off to the people who read it,” Michelle King said. “You get rid of them yourself.”
“Evil” centers on priest-in-training David Acosta (Mike Colter), who investigates the Catholic Church’s backlog of unexplained events — reports of miracles, demonic possessions and hauntings. He enlists forensic psychologist Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers), who is not a believer. Science guy Ben Shakir (Aasif Mandvi) is the third member of their team.
Through the first 12 of 13 episodes in Season 1, they’ve investigated multiple possible possessions; a seeming resurrection; a possible prophet; various evil and possibly demonic manifestations in virtual-reality goggles, on the internet and in digital assistants (like Alexa or Siri); and disagreed over whether a woman needed an exorcism or psychiatric care. And they discovered a 500-year-old codex hidden away by the Catholic Church that portends all sorts of evil doings.
If it was as disturbing for the writers and actors as it is for viewers, they’d never be able to finish an episode. Although it does sometimes make them glad when they do.
“This has been one of those things where you go, ‘Jeez, what did I do?’” said Colter. “You look at the writers, and you go, ‘Oh, boy.’ The things that they do to the character have been fun as an actor but also exhausting.”
He pointed to the Jan. 9 episode in which David, recovering from a vicious stabbing, was hospitalized. And pretty much held prisoner by an evil nurse — although we don’t know, at this point, if she was randomly evil or working as part of a bigger conspiracy of which we’ve only seen glimpses.
By the time production ended on the episode, “Room 320,” Colter “was done with that room. I was, like, ‘I can’t wait to get out of this room. I never want to see another hospital room again in my life.’”
He wasn’t complaining, however. “It’s so much fun,” Colter said, “and ... it makes the audience feel like they are in there with you. Everybody wants to get out of that room, and so I love that.”
“Evil” is one of those shows that sucks you in. What started out looking like it might become a supernatural “X-Files” or something akin to a weekly “Exorcist” has developed into something distinctive. Yes, it’s on CBS — perhaps the most traditional of the broadcast networks — but it stands up against anything on cable or streaming services.
It’s even got shorter seasons; the 13th and final of its first-season episodes airs Thursday at 9 p.m. on KUTV-Ch. 2. (No worries — “Evil” already has been renewed for a 13-episode second season that will air during the 2020-21 TV season.)
In the episode, titled “Book 27,” David, Kristen and Ben investigate when a pregnant woman insists that one of the two twins she’s carrying is — you guessed it! — evil. That leads them to a fertility clinic that, they discover, is linked to all the cases they’ve investigated in the previous 12 episodes.
And it turns out that Kristen used that fertility clinic to help her conceive one of her four daughters.
According to “Evil” co-creator and showrunner Robert King, the season will end on cliffhanger different than most. It will be less about characters in peril than about a twist that portends some major changes in Season 2.
But, he promised, it will still be creepy. And scary. And, hopefully, as entertaining as Season 1 has been.