TV Producers Say EVIL Demons Based on CS Lewis’ Screwtape Letters

Photo Courtesy of CBS

TV Producers Say EVIL Demons Based on CS Lewis’ Screwtape Letters

By Allyson Vannatta, Contributing Writer

TV producers Robert and Michelle King (THE GOOD WIFE) say the demon in their series EVIL is based on the characters in C.S. Lewis’ 1942 novel, The Screwtape Letters.

The novel follows two demons, a master and an apprentice, who are working toward distracting souls from the truth to send the souls to hell.

In EVIL, PERSON OF INTEREST’s Michael Emerson plays Leland Townsend, an evil man seemingly possessed by the demonic.

In the pilot episode of EVIL, viewers meet two sinister characters. One is a literal demon that appears to the protagonist at night. The other is Townsend.

Emerson’s character is meant to be the more terrifying of the two, “Because that is a demon in human form,” Robert said.

“That is someone who is on earth and is really meant to be like in The Screwtape Letters, he’s supposed to very much be a C.S. Lewis character of refinement and some intellect who’s intellectually trying to figure out how to take down humans,” Robert said.

The Kings say they are “Honoring the biblical references to how demons work, even leaving a place to occupy and finding seven more.”

Specifically, the Kings built EVIL’s understanding of demonic forces based on Luke 11:

When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And, the final condition of that person is worse than the first.

In the King household, Robert is a devout Catholic and Michelle is an agnostic Jew. Of the protagonists, priest David Acosta practices Catholicism while Dr. Kristen Bouchard is a scientist.

According to the show synopsis:

 “EVIL is a psychological mystery that examines the origins of evil along the dividing line between science and religion. The series focuses on a skeptical female psychologist who joins a priest-in-training and a carpenter as they investigate the Church’s backlog of unexplained mysteries, including supposed miracles, demonic possessions and hauntings. Their job is to assess if there is a logical explanation or if something truly supernatural is at work.”

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