Mike Colter on ‘Evil’s Move to Paramount+: ‘We Were a Streaming Show Posing as a Network Show’

Mike Colter Evil Season 2
Q&A
Elizabeth Fisher/CBS

After a very long 17 months, Evil, one of TV’s smartest and most intriguing series, returns with a second season on June 20.

The horror show has moved to streaming service Paramount+ but the war between good and evil and the tension between science and the supernatural remains as scary and sometimes funny as ever. Telling us all about the new season: Mike Colter (priest in training David Acosta), who plays one of a trio of exorcism specialists employed by the Catholic Church, along with Katja Herbers’ skeptical psychologist Kristen Bouchard, and Muslim atheist and tech specialist Ben Shakir (Aasif Mandvi).

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The macabre thriller about a team investigating supernatural, religious, and demonic phenomena moves to Paramount+.

So glad one of my favorite shows is returning! How has the shift to Paramount+ affected the show? What can we expect?

Mike Colter: We were a streaming show posing as a network show. It’s nice to come out of the closet and be our full selves. It won’t shift as to be unrecognizable, it’s just a little more real. Let’s be honest, if you can’t curse as an adult on a show, it doesn’t feel quite right. Sometimes it makes it hard to film a scene because you’re trying so desperately to make sure you don’t offend or break any rules that are set by constraints because we’re on network television. So I don’t think it’s going to change our show, but it just will make us more relaxed.

Where is David when the season opens? How close in his ordination? If it happens.

Two months away. It’s a “will he, won’t he” up until probably the last episode. And when we do get this answer, as soon as we think, “Oh, we know what this is” then we will find out it’s not what we thought it was. I can’t wait for everybody to see that.

Evil Season 2 U UFO David

Elizabeth Fisher/CBS 2021Paramount+ Inc.

What will David’s temptations be?

He’s got addictions, and they cover quite a few categories. I think he ran to the church to try and get away to try and save himself. David was chasing the freedoms of his father’s bohemian lifestyle and he lost himself. He chose to find security and structure in the church; it’s a good place for him.

It appears that Kristen executed the serial killer who threatened her daughters. How will her emerging darkness affect her relationship with David?

We can’t help but figure out that she is up to no good and that she has done something that will obviously affect her relationship with David. I think for the entire second season, she’s trying to avoid David and, in a sense, avoid what it is that will clearly be a huge shift between them. David’s going to find out what’s going on with her. And she doesn’t know how he’s going to respond to it.

So he’s very important to Kristen.

Yeah, I think much as she’s a lapsed Catholic who doesn’t really “believe,” there’s a sense that David is on a bit of a pedestal, and someone that she regards highly. There’s something about him that really attracts her to him and she’s playing with fire. Both of them are…

Elizabeth Fisher/CBS Paramount+

There was that kiss between them, that turned out to be a fantasy. So far.

Yeah, well his mind wandered a bit and I think if he consciously engages in this fantasy and he sort of lets it go, it’s only a matter of time before that happens for real, you know what I mean?

I do. And then, even the rationalist Ben is visited by demonic night terrors. Will he open his mind to the possibility of supernatural evil?

How do you convince someone who doesn’t believe that there are demons? Have a demon come and visit them!

What’s the big arc in the early part of the season?

Kristen is trying to find redemption for seemingly having committed a crime that she sees had no choice in. David is looking for affirmation that the journey he is on is the right one. Ben is looking for the Ben he thought he knew.

Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson), the show’s main antagonist, the demonic psychopath engaged to Kristen’s mother (Christine Lahti) makes a very strange request in the second season’s first episode. What is it?

It’s absurd, but Leland requests that we exorcise him to get this demon out of him. It’s like watching someone laying hands on someone and people start falling one by one. It’s making a mockery of what our characters are trying to accomplish. It’s unsettling because we deal with people who really need help, and then this clown tries to manipulate a situation to get himself closer to the church. As the Bishop says, “This person’s a big contributor to the church and we have to things that will make him happy.” Leland might be a person who is off his meds, but we can’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth.

Elizabeth Fisher/CBS 2021Paramount+

So what is that hairy horned goat-like creature in David’s fantasies? That has also appeared as Leland’s therapist!

We assume it’s the devil and that it’s real, but we don’t know. Some things are figments of our imaginations and sometimes they’re real. By the end of the season, we’ll find that there are some real things that our characters will have to deal with. That’s what so fun about this. The minute we find out the actual world and its rules, we’ll change it for you.

Is the show’s balance between the supernatural and the rational leaning a bit toward the supernatural?

Yeah, just enough to keep people guessing. For sure.

Evil, Season 2 Premiere, Sunday, June 20, Paramount+