‘Devil in Ohio’ Boss on the Question You’ll Be Asking Into the Show’s Final Moments
Just what will bringing in a cult escapee do to the Mathis family in Devil in Ohio? It’s going to be one wild, suspenseful ride.
In the Netflix limited series, inspired by a true story and based on Daria Polatin’s best-selling thriller novel, hospital psychiatrist Dr. Suzanne Mathis (Emily Deschanel) brings cult escapee Mae (Madeleine Arthur) home with her. But Suzanne’s world is quickly turned upside down as that threatens to tear her family apart.
Polatin, who serves as creator, showrunner, and executive producer on the thriller, talks about casting the key roles of Suzanne and Mae and teases how the limited series will end.
Talk about casting Suzanne and Mae.
Daria Polatin: I actually went to college with Emily — we went to Boston University together and studied theater and did plays together. So I had worked with her before and knew her as a friend and thought she was just perfect casting for this role. She brings so much to it. Suzanne plays different roles in her life: She’s a doctor, she’s a mother, she’s a daughter, she’s a survivor. Emily was just such a perfect fit for that and she brought such warmth and empathy and intelligence and was so great to work with. And for us as an audience to go on the journey of the show with her and see things through her perspective and learn about what happened to Mae and all that through her perspective, she was absolutely perfect.
Madeleine came in actually to read for Jules [Xaria Dotson], and we thought, hmm. I was like, let’s hear her read Mae, and she was so wonderful. She has so much going on with the character but as an outsider, you don’t know exactly what she’s thinking. There’s so much going on there. She’s so human and complex and interesting and is just living such a full life yet is able to remain really enigmatic and mysterious as a character. She’s just an incredible performer.
And the two of them have such wonderful chemistry together as their characters get to know each other and depend on each other and have this empathy towards each other and understanding. They had such a beautiful relationship blossom on-screen and off. They are fantastic to work with and lovely strong women.
How does Suzanne bringing Mae in affect her family?
That’s the fun of it: to wonder how far is Suzanne going to go in sheltering and protecting Mae. It starts with, in the pilot, when she brings Mae home and asks Jules to move into a different room. She’s already being slightly displaced in her own home. Those cracks in the relationships just continue to grow as Mae’s presence causes this disruption for the family and it’s the ride that we as the audience get to go on watching this happen and wondering how long is Mae going to stay in the Mathis house and how much is it going to cause the family to unravel?
It’s billed as a limited series, so what can you say about how it ends?
We’re asking two questions in the show: How far will Suzanne go to protect Mae, and is Mae a force for good or evil? That’s a question that we ask up until the very last moments of the show.
Devil in Ohio, Series Premiere, Friday, September 2, Netflix