The Inverse Interview

Evil Season 4 Fights a New Kind of Evil

As Evil airs its fourth and final season, the cast and crew reveal what’s scary about science — and their plans for a Season 5 that may never be.

The Inverse Interview

Change is in the air for Evil showrunners Robert and Michelle King. Also in the air? Cow farts.

Let's back up. The criminally underappreciated horror procedural Evil returns for its fourth and final season on Paramount+. This time, the show’s heroic trio of skeptical psychologist Kristen (Katja Herbers), studly priest David (Mike Colter), and sardonic tech wiz Ben (Aasif Mandvi) are tasked with occult cases with a scientific bent. Naturally, at least a few episodes of Season 4 involve climate change.

Alright, stay with me here because it’s about to get weird. One new episode of Evil concerns cannibalistic feedback, a grisly (and gross) industry practice where living pigs are fed the remains of other dead pigs and manure. While the pork industry has reasons for it, Evil, of course, finds the horror within. “They go mad from having eaten themselves, and I found that fascinating,” Evil star Katja Herbers tells Inverse over Zoom.

Katja Herbers’ real-life climate concerns play a part in Evil Season 4.


Herbers is a passionate climate activist herself and brings up the indignity toward pigs and cows in the meat industry, which contributes to warming global temperatures. “Pigs are very kind, very smart animals, but what we find in [our episode] is true to how awful and evil this industry can be, and for climate reasons, we need to stop eating meat. They don't want to eat [themselves], and it drives them insane."

So what about cows? There aren’t actually any cows in Evil, but Herbers brings them up in relation. The combined flatulence of all cows creates high levels of methane gas that contribute a not-insignificant 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. “We can't sustain this way of eating,” Herbers says. “We do address the climate crisis a few times [on Evil]. I'm very happy that the big evil in the world is unarguably people knowingly destroying the only home we have.”

“The biggest thing about science that scares me is overconfidence.”

I know this is a long-winded way of getting to some point about Evil Season 4. But when the end is nigh, our coping mechanism as a species is to simply deny the imminent apocalypse. So it stands to reason that Season 4 of Evil feels altogether as if co-creators and co-executive producers Robert and Michelle King are throwing everything they have at their characters, for whom it’s just another Tuesday. Season 4's predominant theme of science and technology, and how there's never true neutrality in either of them, takes root in the Kings' own fears.

“I think the biggest thing about science that scares me is overconfidence,” Robert King says. “They build a particle accelerator a mile underground, and sinkholes open up. There's a cockiness that kills people. For us, it was a different place to move the fears of our universe.”

“The scariest things are arrogance and irony,” adds Michelle King. “So we're playing with that idea.”

One Final Challenge

Kristen faces off against Dr. Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson).


While the overarching themes of Evil Season 4 grapple with mankind's contentious relationship to the bleeding edge, it's maybe at its most spiritual with its characters. In Season 4, the heroes (and villains) of Evil are directly challenged by both external and deeply internal forces that threaten to change everything we know about them to the bitter end.

For example: Main character Kristen, introduced in the very beginning of Evil as a capable mother who uses her brain power to dispel spooky bedroom demons, is now forced to recognize the overwhelming powers in her home.

“I think Kristen is very good at living in the moment,” Herbers says. “She will scream in a pillow or cry in a corner so her kids don't see [her]. Her kids are her anchor to be strong. You will see her be resilient, and maybe slightly unhinged. I think it's a great journey she goes on this season.”

“She's the ultimate pragmatist,” adds Robert King.

“I still can't wrap my mind around it completely.”

He also teases a resolution for the ongoing will-they, won't-they forbidden romance between Kristen and David: “One of the things causing problems for her is her secret attraction and love for David. Love makes everyone act in ways that faith, religion, and ideology can't battle. Sex and love pull you out of whatever safe place you're at. The same goes for David, too.”

Speaking of David, the men of Evil undergo similar challenges. David's secret missions for the Catholic church escalate in ways that seem as impossible as they are implausible. The disputed pseudo-science of psychic remote viewing — which actor Mike Colter only learned about through working on Evil — eclipses David's arc on Evil this season. “I still can't wrap my mind around it completely,” he says, “but it's a fascinating thing to be somewhere else and really believe it.”

The trio investigates their next case.


Colter feels David’s suspicions concerning who is actually ordering him around will take viewers for a ride. "David’s always been suspicious, and sort of untrusting of who's pulling the strings," Colter tells Inverse. "We'll get some answers later this season. Someone is always popping up in David's life.”

As for ex-Muslim atheist Ben, he spends this season haunted by a djinn, a specter from Islamic mythology. Actor Aasif Mandvi recognizes the eerie poetry of Ben coming full circle to his life.

“He's hyper-competent in a lot of things,” observes Mandvi. “In this one instance, he deals with something he doesn't know how to navigate. I think you see him get unhinged about that. It's still kind of real, he's dealing with a medical issue. But it has a paranormal component that starts to manifest. I like seeing him lose it a bit.”

Adds Mandvi, “For Ben, even though he rejects [Islam], somewhere deep inside of him, Islam exists, its teachings and upbringing. So when the thing that haunts him occurs, it's not a coincidence it's an Islamic entity.”

The End (and Season 5)

What of Evil Season 5? “In theory, it would look very different,” Michelle King says.


As Evil races to the end of all things, the season is bound to leave audiences buzzing with questions about the ethics of mankind's ongoing progress. The Kings explicitly do not believe in value neutrality, otherwise known as the theory that technology is unbiased with no innate weight toward good and evil.

Michelle King is blunt in her assessment: “I think that's crap. If something is built to harm, to kill, as so many technologies are, there's nothing neutral about it.”

Adds Robert King, “A robo dog is not a problem. But giving a robo dog a flamethrower, it is a problem. Is that [on] people? Or do you let science explore without limits, without how it affects people? The show tries to attack that this year.”

“A robo dog is not a problem. But giving a robo dog a flamethrower, it is a problem.”

Unless divine intervention makes the impossible happen, Evil will bow out in just a few months' time. Still, the Kings have an idea what a possible fifth season could, and would, look like. Michelle King offers that, "in theory, it would look very different."

"For me, it's the horseshoe view of politics," says Robert. "The extreme left and the extreme right become one and the same. When you reach extremes, how much are you delving into the same pool of evil? That's what the fifth season would be about."

Evil Season 4 premieres today on Paramount+. New episodes air weekly on Thursdays.

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