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Michael Emerson is thrilled to finally play an unambiguous baddie on CBS' 'Evil'

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Michael Emerson is thrilled to finally play an unambiguous baddie on CBS’ ‘Evil’

‘Villains are the way to go.’

After a string of villain parts, Kurt Fuller (Supernatural) is relieved to play a nice guy as Dr. Boggs in CBS’ new series Evil. “I’m playing a nice guy now, and I’m saying right now, PLEASE! Please don’t turn me to the dark side! I so, so like playing a giving, good guy who’s maybe a little bit confused, maybe his emotions are a little misplaced. But PLEASE keep me good!”

But one actor on the series who doesn’t mind being bad at all and being even possibly the embodiment of evil on a show titled “Evil” is Michael Emerson (Lost, Person of Interest). “It’s great to be an unequivocal villain,” Emerson said in his soft-spoken Ben Linus voice. “I mean, there’s no time when you wonder about him; you just full-on know. So when we got that out of the way, and then we can get on with the fun. This is a great villain role because he’s passing very well among humans, and he seems to enjoy his mission so much. It’s really pleasurable.”

Michael Emerson is thrilled to finally play an unambiguous baddie on CBS' 'Evil'

Michael Emerson and Kurt Fuller

“Villains are the way to go. I’m just going to say that right now because there’s more things to play. There’s disguises and masks and subterfuges and stratagems. You know, all of that. That’s where you want to be.”

The two actors were among the rest of Evil‘s cast and crew at a panel at New York Comic Con this weekend. That panel also discussed the show’s conflict between religion and science. “We always wanted to do something that explored where science was weirdest and where religion was weird too,” said Evil co-creator Robert King. “And there might be disagreement but you wouldn’t know where the scares were, in science or in religion. And it always felt like supernatural shows always led to the supernatural, but it feels like there’s so much science in the bizarre.”

King’s wife and co-creator on the show added, “And it seemed like an opportunity if you’re going to show religion and science or any two different points of view, to show characters that have different ideas that are actually talking to each other and listening to each other.”

The show follows a clinical psychologist who joins a team that investigates alleged instances of the supernatural. This certainly isn’t the first genre show to use that premise to explore the intersection of belief and skepticism, and the show’s creators were quick to reference The X-Files as inspiration.

Michael Emerson is thrilled to finally play an unambiguous baddie on CBS' 'Evil'

Katja Herbers and Mike Colter

It’s easy to see why. David Acosta, played by Luke Cage’s Mike Coulter is very much like the former show’s Agent Fox Mulder, a man who wants to believe, while Katja Herbers’ Kristen Bouchard is less willing to embrace a supernatural explanation. One question with which she challenges David in the show’s second episode entitled “177 Minutes” is if it’s true that miracles do exist, doesn’t that necessarily mean god is playing favorites or picking winners and losers? 

Michael Emerson is thrilled to finally play an unambiguous baddie on CBS' 'Evil'

Aasif Mandvi, Michael Emerson, and Kurt Fuller

Aasif Mandvi plays perhaps an even bigger skeptical voice on the team as Ben Shakir, a blue-collar contractor. “He’s an empiricist, a realist. He believes in only things he can feel, touch, taste, smell. And so there’s something very Earth-bound about Ben at all times, and his belief system,” Mandvi says of Shakir. “I think one of the frustrating things for Ben is when he can’t figure out things and when he can’t solve the problem because, in his mind, he believes that, you know, everything is provable eventually. We just don’t have the technical knowledge or the knowhow to understand it today.”

“They have taken the form, or the formula, and turned it on its head,” Coulter says. “And the minute you think you kind of know what the show is doing, I think we — or Dave — find a way to trick you.” Discussing episode 2’s reveal that his character is trying to trigger divine visions through self-medication, Coulter added, “I don’t think anybody saw that coming. And I think everybody probably, like me when I read it, going into the club, you’re going, what’s going on? What’s he buying? Why’s he buying it? And all sorts of stuff. And then eventually you go, well, that’s not what I expected. And so I love that. And that’s where we leave you. And you’ll have to tune into Thursday’s episode to see where that goes.” 

“What I loved about that scene is we talked so much about David’s vision and whether or not his visions are real, Michelle King said. “So then to suddenly present you as a person who has to kind of fabricate his own visions.” Coulter responded, “And I don’t think that takes anything away from it because your reality is kind of your head, right, and your headspace. So he believes, and he’s committed to his visions. Who’s to say that what he sees doesn’t have any authenticity or have any connection to the real world?”

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