Evil seasons 1-3 recap: Everything you need to know before watching season 4

Evil has become one of the craziest shows on television! Here's a quick recap of the madness of Season 1-3 to get set for season 4!
L-R Aasif Mandvi as Ben Shakir, Katja Herbers as Kristen Bouchard and Mike Colter as David Acosta for Evil Season 4 Key Art, Streaming on Paramount+ 2024. Photo Credit: Paramount+
L-R Aasif Mandvi as Ben Shakir, Katja Herbers as Kristen Bouchard and Mike Colter as David Acosta for Evil Season 4 Key Art, Streaming on Paramount+ 2024. Photo Credit: Paramount+ /

Evil is unleashing its fourth season on Paramount+ to continue this wild supernatural series. So, just what is it about? Well, strap in because this show is unlike any on TV and is a crazy ride. 

The series debuted on CBS in 2019, created by Robert and Michelle King, the creators of the hit The Good Wife. The ratings were okay but not sensational yet CBS saw potential in it. So for season 2, the series moved to Paramount+, allowing it to cut loose with wilder plot lines that are too much for network TV. 

This is a quick rundown of what's happened so far on the show, but words cannot do justice to the madness of Evil. The series is a stunning mix of horror, drama, black comedy, and visuals with clever bits like an episode set at a temple under a vow of silence, so there's no dialogue. That’s not to mention the offbeat elements, a pack of fun kids and more that defies description. It really has to be watched to get the full mad picture, but here’s the skinny. 

What happened on Evil seasons 1-3?

"3 Stars" -- After a high-strung theater producer's behavior turns from demanding to what is believed to be demonic, Kristen, David and Ben are called in to assess the situation. Also, Kristen discredits her DA office successor and nemesis, Leland Townsend, before he can ruin a 17-year-old boy's life, on of EVIL, Thursday, Oct. 10 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured (l-r) Michael Emerson as Leland Townsend and Mike Colter as David Acosta Photo: Jeff Neumann /CBS ©2019 /

Season 1

The show began with three very different people gathered together. Dr. Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers) was a forensic psychologist investigating an imprisoned serial killer claiming to be possessed by a demon. She’s hired by the Catholic Church to investigate further such cases alongside aspiring priest David Acosta (Mike Colter) and atheist scientist Ben Shakir (Aasif Mandvi). 

Kristin soon ran afoul of Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson), a psychologist who has ties to some sort of shady evil force and an unhealthy obsession with Kristin. A subplot in season 1 was Leland directing the troubled Sebastian to go on a shooting spree but (in one of the series’ trademark black comedy moments) the idiot blew his own head off while posing with his guns.

The first season was more episodic in nature with a “case of the week” but it's marked by the main trio arguing over whether the strange happenings were really the supernatural or not. In most cases, the ending seemed to give a scientific explanation but there's still some ambiguity. The trio respect each other, with Kristen and David growing close, although Kristen is married to Andy (Patrick Brammall) with four daughters (whose presence sparks any episode). 

The trio realized they were facing some sort of sinister hierarchy, which stabbed David. Kristen managed to undo Leland’s attempts to free a killer, with Leland hitting back by seducing Kristen’s mother, Sheryl (Christine Lahti). The season 1 finale had the gang tracking a fertility clinic, with David speculating they were part of a plot to manipulate the unborn to become more open to sin. Kristen was jarred as her daughter Lexis was born due to the clinic. The season ended with Kristen holding a cross in her hand. It burned her indicating she had some evil inside her. 

S Is for Silence
Pictured Alexandra Socha as Fenna of the Paramount+ series EVIL. Photo: Elizabeth Fisher/CBS ©2021Paramount+ Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Season 2

The move to Paramount+ is when the show really starts getting wild. First, there's the confirmation that Kristen killed serial killer LaReoux to protect her family and the guilt of it eating away at her. David kept getting visions that indicated Kristen was in trouble, while Leland tried to arrange an exorcism of himself as part of his wild schemes. Oh, and he was seeing a goat creature therapist. Yep.

The team believed Leland was faking this, but the archbishop went through with the exorcism. During it, Leland hinted he was involved in the death of David’s love, Julia, which had David offered help from Sister Andrea (Andrea Martin, who quickly becomes one of the best parts of the show). She swapped the holy water for ammonia to burn Leland and had a knife confrontation with him. 

The exorcism included Leland being bathed in blood and reuniting with Sheryl before being declared cured, giving him a chance to infiltrate the Church. Meanwhile, Kristen was hit by visions of guilt and some sort of demonic figure stalking her. It led her to dangerous behavior like a one-night stand with a Satanic Church follower and when Leland was faking his exorcism, Kristen was getting the real thing before recovering. The final bit was the demon haunting her meeting Leland, who treated him like a lost pet.

Poor Ben had bad luck with romance. His girlfriend Vanessa seemed to have a split personality with her long-dead sister Maggie until Ben discovered somehow Maggie was alive and a separate person, driving him away. He was then haunted by a succubus named Abbey. Meanwhile, Sheryl fell deeper into darkness, joining Leland and “influencer” Edward Tragoren (Tim Matheson) in ruining other people’s lives and more. 

David was hit by more visions testing his faith yet ended the season becoming an ordained priest. He and Kristen also shared a kiss after she confessed to killing LaRoux, which would become a bigger deal later. 

310 - The Demon Of The End
Skylar Gray as Lila Bouchard, Dalya Knapp as Laura Bouchard, Maddy Crocco as Lexis Bouchard, and Brooklyn Shuck as Lynn Bouchard in Evil episode 10, season 3 streaming on Paramount+, 2022. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+ /

Season 3

Whoo boy, things really get insane here. David and Kristen appeared to finally get together, with Kristen showing a snake tongue. It turned out this wasn’t the real Kristen but some demon in her form and David couldn’t resist the continued hookups with her. David was also recruited into “the Friends of the Vatican,” an alliance of priests, the CIA, MI6, and others, so basically “James Bond with a collar.” That included spying on Lexis, who the Friends thought might be the target for demons. 

Sister Andrea stepped up big time here, as she could see demons haunting a couple. Leland tried to use her “hallucinations” to get her kicked out, but David helped Sister Andrea by threatening that he, one of only three black priests ordained in the last year, would quit, and the Church dropped the whole thing to avoid the bad press. 

Andy (remember, Kristen’s husband) accepted a job abroad, which turned out to be a trap by Leland and Sheryl to keep him captive in their home, drugged up. They wanted to fake his death, but Kristen’s daughters saw through the faked video, so the pair instead released Andy with no memory of the ordeal, but he could apparently see demons himself now. Meanwhile, Sheryl had worked her way up in a cryptocurrency business only to find the manager was a monstrous demon, although only she could see him in that form. 

Amid the usual pack of bizarre cases, things built up to the Bouchard girls pulling off a beautiful sting luring Leland’s computer avatar to a site that catered to pedophiles so goodbye to Leland’s cushy gig with the Church. His severance package included a fight with the Monsignor who Leland killed. Meanwhile, Sister Andrea had her own glorious moment walking around the Bouchard home, clobbering demons only she could see. Get these folks their own spinoff!

The whole madness came up to Kristen discovering that some eggs she’d donated to that clinic had been used by someone. She tracked the address to DP, the business Sheryl works at, where a baby shower was being held for Sheryl’s assistant, who is carrying Kristen’s eggs fertilized by Leland with Leland and Sheryl there and Leland gleefully telling Kristen “We’re gonna be parents.” 

So that’s the highlights, but it's only skimming the surface of Evil's brilliant insanity and why it has to be watched to be truly understood…or not.

Evil seasons 1-4 are streaming on Paramount+.

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