The “Evil ”cast talks demon babies and saying goodbye to TV’s weirdest, spookiest show

Stars Katja Herbers, Aasif Mandvi, and Mike Colter share what to expect from the final season.

Since its premiere in 2019, Evil has tackled plenty of spooky subjects — including demonic memes, haunted elevators, and eyeballs floating in toilets. But with its fourth (and tentatively final) season, the show is focusing on its most terrifying theme yet: raising a baby.

Evil returns to Paramount+ this week, once again following investigators Kristen (Katja Herbers), David (Mike Colter), and Ben (Aasif Mandvi) as they look into supernatural occurrences, chasing down demons and exorcisms in the employ of the Catholic Church. Season 3 ended on a cliffhanger, as Kristen discovers that her nemesis Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson) has stolen her missing egg from a fertility clinic, using it to impregnate a surrogate and birth the potential Antichrist.

<p>Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+</p> Katja Herbers, Aasif Mandvi, and Mike Colter in 'Evil' season 4

Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

Katja Herbers, Aasif Mandvi, and Mike Colter in 'Evil' season 4

Showrunners Robert and Michelle King tell Entertainment Weekly that they wanted to invert classic Hollywood stories about the Antichrist, adding that parenthood may be more than Leland bargained for.

“The world forever has presented babyhood as this beautiful life-affirming, angelic time,” Michelle King says with a laugh. “And this show says, ‘Not so much.’”

“We wanted to play with the trope,” Robert King adds. “These satanic shows or supernatural shows, whenever they have the Antichrist, it’s usually an adult or The Omen-aged kid, when in fact, most of the demonic elements when you’re raising a kid are from the vomit, the diarrhea, the Diaper Genie, and the smell. Michael Emerson’s Leland is so into his beautiful apartment and his house and everything, and then he has a baby s---ing everywhere. It’s kind of a funny way to address the Antichrist cliché.”

<p>Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+</p> Mike Colter, Katja Herbers, and Aasif Mandvi in 'Evil'

Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

Mike Colter, Katja Herbers, and Aasif Mandvi in 'Evil'

Related: Get a devilish first look at Evil season 4

Throughout its four seasons, Evil has playfully reimagined plenty of classic horror elements, from exorcisms to demonic possessions. (It’s certainly the only show on TV to feature demons on an elliptical or explore the evils of cryptocurrency.) The show has won over fans and critics alike for its signature blend of horror and humor, something Mandvi says sets it apart from other procedurals. He points to one of his favorite scenes from season 2, when Ben is being haunted by a demon as he sleeps, only for the demon to pause and remove her retainer.

“On the surface, you go, ‘Oh, well, it’s a show about science and faith,’ but it’s so much more than that,” Mandvi says. “The way the Kings run this, they thread this fine line between what could just be a straight-up horror show, but also infusing it with humor and a kind of pathos. It allows it to just be so much more than scary. I’ve always been impressed with the way that they have leaned into the absurdity.”

“The lesson for me is that you can get away with almost any esoteric, pretentious conversation you want to have as long as you wrap it in horror or comedy,” Michelle King explains. “This show is about faith and God and science, and that is not typically the stuff of entertaining television. But the fact that it is being played out with characters that people enjoy and situations that are scary and funny, you get a lot more leeway.”

This season includes a major showdown between Kristen and Leland, picking up after the fallout from the baby shower in the season 3 finale. Herbers says that she particularly relished filming those face-offs against Emerson. “There’s an excitement in this chess game that they’re playing, like, ‘How can I hurt him in the most exciting way?’” she explains. “I always look forward to those scenes. Michael Emerson is such a great actor, and we make each other laugh with our meanness.

“Sometimes it feels weirdly sort of sexual, like they’re taunting each other,” she continues. “I’ve noticed that on the internet, there’s a whole group of people who think that we’re really sexy together. I’m like, ‘You’ve got some problems, but uh, sure?’”

Related: Robert and Michelle King break down that delightfully demonic Evil finale

The Kings note that the tension between science and religion is a major theme this season. One early episode trades spooky haunted houses for the bright lights of a high-tech particle accelerator, and they tease that Mandvi’s character Ben finds his faith shaken throughout the season. “What’s nice with the character of Ben is that of our three, he’s the one that most believes in science,” Michelle King says. “Throughout the series and even more lately, he’s been faced with things he can’t understand and he can’t explain scientifically.”

“Without giving anything away, what I can say is that Ben this season — maybe more than any other season — is grappling with a crisis that happens for him physically, emotionally, and psychologically, one that he can’t scientifically explain,” Mandvi adds. “In some ways, he has to sort of give into it. It may be the most faith that Ben has to submit to than he ever has.”

<p>Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+</p> Andrea Martin and Mike Colter in 'Evil'

Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

Andrea Martin and Mike Colter in 'Evil'

Season 4 also brings new challenges for Father David. Even though he has fully embraced his role as a priest, Colter says that the reality of his fatherly duties sometimes conflict with his idealism.

“He’s a purist,” Colter says of his faithful hero. “He feels like he’s trying to do what’s best, and he has a romantic idea about what his job is, but sometimes he gets a cold dose of reality. I think he’s all over the place mentally: Who is he working for? Who is he serving? There’s God. There’s the priesthood. And obviously, there’s the Pope. There’s just so much going on for him, and he’s trying to figure out what’s best. And I think obviously, he’s conflicted about his emotions for Kristen and what his future holds.”

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Paramount+ has announced that Evil will end after season 4, wrapping up with an additional four episodes. (When EW spoke to the cast in May, they were gearing up to shoot the finale, with Robert King directing.) Still, many are holding out hope that the story of Kristen, David, and Ben might continue somehow: The first two seasons recently started streaming on Netflix, and the cast is hopeful that renewed fan interest might lead another streamer to pick up the show.

“To be honest, it’s heartbreaking because we all love these characters very much, and we feel that we’ve made something really special,” Herbers says. “There’s not a lack of evil in the world, so there’s not a lack of story to tell. That being said, it’s really great to have these four additional episodes in a day and age when things get canceled and people are left hanging. We do have these four extra episodes that I think are going to be really satisfying for fans. But it does leave me with a tiny bit of hope that maybe in some alternate universe, this can continue.”

In the meantime, Herbers, Colter, and Mandvi agree that they’re forever grateful to have gotten to play in the Kings’ odd, spooky world. Evil’s subject matter may be the stuff of nightmares, they say, but the show itself has been a dream.

“One of the things that Robert King told us in the very beginning, which I think has always stayed with us, is that at the end of the day, yes, this is a procedural in its structure, but it’s also about these three characters and their relationship,” Mandvi explains. “I think what separates the show and makes it a more interesting procedural is that we’ve developed our own relationships, and those relationships have sort of seeped into David, Kristen and Ben.”

Evil airs Thursdays on Paramount+.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.