‘Evil’: Christine Lahti Says Sheryl Is ‘Empowered’ After Her Demonic Experience

Christine Lahti as Sheryl Luria in Evil
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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Evil Season 3 Episode 5 “The Angel of Warning.”]

Sheryl’s eyes have been opened to the world around her in a new way on Evil, and according to Christine Lahti, she’s ready to see what that means.

In “The Angel of Warning,” Sheryl takes it upon herself to make sure the manager of the company knows that she’s the one responsible for their success with the cryptocurrency Makob, which means she meets him — and sees him as a horned, multi-eyed demon! (An employee says he looks like Liam Neeson or Ted Danson.) But she impresses him and is put in charge of misinformation.

When Leland (Michael Emerson) sees Sheryl, he can tell she’s been with the manager and has seen him the same way he does by the look on her face. (He congratulates her and offers his regrets for her promotion.) “Welcome to the team,” Leland says. Sheryl wants to know if she’s having a psychotic breakdown. “Absolutely,” he says, shaking her hand and laughing.

TV Insider spoke with Lahti about that eye-opening experience for Sheryl and where her character stands when it comes to her daughter Kristen’s (Katja Herbers) personal relationships.

We have to talk about Sheryl seeing the manager as a demon and her reaction. Is this the most unsettled she’s been by anything so far?

Christine Lahti: Yes. I don’t think she has realized she has this gift, being able to see people’s true nature. Personally, I don’t think he’s actually a demon, but I think it’s like seeing people’s auras. She has studied the satanic practices and she’s now been able to see what people really look like. But it really does freak her out at first.

Christine Lahti as Sheryl Luria in Evil

Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

She does ask Leland if she’s having “some kind of psychotic breakdown.” And you just likened it to seeing auras. But what does Sheryl think is going on at this point?

At first, I think she is afraid she’s having some kind of breakdown. I think what she realizes after she discusses it with Leland is she’s actually got a gift. Moving forward, she’s going to be able to see people’s nature in a way she’s never been able to see before. It’s like really being able to see into someone’s soul. She’s going to see demons, even though they’re not real demons. She’s going to see the demonic or the evil intent that lives in some people, and she feels very excited about that and empowered by that.

How does she handle this going forward? And what does it do to her and Leland’s dynamic? She’s already defiant, going behind his back to get that promotion. But now she’s starting to find out more and more and seeing all this, it gives her more power against him…

Exactly. Very good point. I think she’s thrilled about this power. Any power she can have over Leland is exactly what she wants. I think she’s pretending to be needy of him, and she does need him, but she allows him to believe he’s got some power over her. But her ultimate goal, in my view, is to bring that guy down. The way he treated her, the way he broke up their engagement and just rejected her, I think that was the last straw in her journey towards getting revenge against men who hold her back or marginalize her. I think he’s coming down.

Michael Emerson as Leland Townsend and Christine Lahti as Sheryl in Evil

Elizabeth Fisher/CBS

Speaking of that promotion, what is she going to be doing now that she’s taking over misinformation?

That is her job right now. It’s all about gaining power in that company and if she can have a good relationship with the boss, I think she’s going to make sure she rises and Leland comes down.

How would she feel about how her granddaughters are being affected by doom-scrolling?

It’s tough. It’s confusing to me sometimes because Sheryl does love her grandchildren and her daughter more than anything, so I think that if they asked her about doom-scrolling, she’d probably dismiss it and say, “Oh, don’t do that. You guys shouldn’t be doing that stuff. Play these innocent video games or something.” I think anytime anything threatens to hurt her family, she doesn’t like that, yet she’s doing stuff that is harmful for the world. But it does give her power, which ultimately she’s blinded by right now.

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She’s protective of her granddaughters, though she doesn’t always give them the best advice. I remember how she threatened Leland in Season 2 finale.

That’s exactly right. You’re referring to when one of the granddaughters said, “I’m being bullied, what do I do?” And she said, “Hit her in the nose with a rock. Hide it in your hand.” That kind of advice is not the most maybe constructive, but for Sheryl, it makes sense because maybe she had to do that. My backstory for Sheryl is she had to put up with a lot of bullying. I think she had to put up with abuse from men. I think the only way she was able to stop it was to stand up for herself in this way, to push back, to bully back, to hit back. Is it sound advice? Is it advice I would give my children? No. But I think coming from Sheryl’s point of view, which is a little more desperate, a little more, I think, burned by abuse, that this is sound advice to her.

What would Sheryl think of the Kristen and David (Mike Colter) situation considering she doesn’t like Andy (Patrick Brammall)?

I’m so happy that Andy’s going to be out of her life and I had, as you know, a lot to do with that. As the season moves forward, you’ll see I really did take care of him in a great way. … He’s out of the picture, temporarily, hopefully. How do I feel about David? I think I would encourage her to be with any man that treats her like a real equal, that is a partner to her, who is present. I think ultimately I’m rooting for her to spend some time alone without a man and be her own person and be as strong as she can and not be dependent on a man. If that happens [with David], as long as he’s present and can be a good father to these kids, I’m all for it.

Patrick Brammall as Andy Bouchard and Christine Lahti as Cheryl Luria in Evil

Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

Now I’m wondering if we’re really seeing Andy on those video chats

Not saying, but it’s an interesting question.

Evil, Sundays, Paramount+