Exclusive: Katja Herbers Talks Evil Season Two, Now on Paramount+

Katja HerbersYesterday, Paramount+ released the second season premiere of Evil, a psychological thriller which originally aired on CBS in season one. The series stars Katja Herbers as Kristen Brouchard, a forensic psychologist who has been hired by David Acosta (Mike Colter), a Catholic seminary student, to work with him and his contractor and technical expert, Ben Shakir (Aasif Mandvi), to help him differentiate between possession and mental illness. She is the skeptic of the group and an atheist and therefore does not believe in demons but continues to be tested as she struggles to explain supernatural occurrences around them.

Recently, Herbers talked to Jamie Ruby in an exclusive interview for SciFi Vision about working on the series, how recent events have changed her character, Kristen’s relationship with David, working with Michael Emerson, what’s to come for her character, and more.

***This interview contains spoilers for 2.01, so please watch the episode first. There are also a couple of small spoilers for subsequent episodes as well***

To start out, I wanted to talk about the end of the last season. Kristen burns her hand when she holds the cross, so maybe there's some evil in her, or, you know, the show does do a good job of letting you make your own decisions of what is really happening, because she talks to her therapist (Kurt Fuller), and it could be, you know, more of a physical manifestation. We know she killed LeRoux (Darren Pettie). My question is, because it is coming out in this way, is she sort of lying to herself when she says that it's not affecting her? Do you think it's affecting her more than she's letting on, and is that going to continue to affect her doing her job this season?

Yeah. I think so. I think you're absolutely right. I mean, she's not lying awake thinking she did the wrong thing. I think she would do it again, and she understands why she did it, and I think there are probably a lot of mothers out there who would kill to save their children. I think she's relieved that he's dead, and he's no longer a danger to her children; however, she has to deal with the fact that she's now a murderer, and she's seeing the murder over and over again. She's seeing other things. I think she's trying to just suppress it and keep going and keep trying to hold the fort together and raise these four girls alone. Her husband (Patrick Brammall)'s not there. Her mom (Christine Lahti)'s obviously a mess. And she loves her job, and she's just trying to sort of keep going and not think about it, but that doesn't really work.

Do you think that she'll be able to confide in her coworkers? Or is she may be worried how they will react, especially David, and what he would think?

I don't think she would do that, because of the consequences of it. I'm not saying she won’t, but I think it wouldn't be smart, because she could go to jail. It's a huge secret. And if she's put in jail, her children don't don't have a mother. So, obviously, she can't tell anyone. She tells her therapist, but there's doctor-patient confidentiality. I think she thinks, “I have to just deal with what I did, and I understand why I did it, and I have to keep going.”

Later in the season, Kristen goes out to the bar, and it doesn’t quite seem like herself. Now that she’s killed, now that she’s sort of crossed the line, do you think that maybe that will leave her open to, let’s say, not acting like herself, I guess, and not being so worried about it?

Yeah. I think now that she's killed someone and she's done, like, the end point of that spectrum, what’s a little adultery gonna do to anyone? You know what I mean? Like, if you're already a murderer, really, is it going to be that bad? If you're going to go have sex with a guy in a bar, obviously, on the scale of horrible things you can do, that's a little blip. So, I think it does open up a whole bunch of things for her.

I think she is weirdly sort of also empowered by what she did, while simultaneously being horrified by it. She is also sort of very much in touch with the sort of life force and the ability to choose if somebody lives or dies, and then when she deals with these monsters, like Leland (Michael Emerson), I think in the back of her head, she could just be thinking, “I could just kill you. You have no idea. You want to mess with me? I've done this before; I can do it again.” So, I think there’s a weird kind of empowerment that comes from it, while also she's just shattered by it. So, it's all those things at once.

Regardless of that happening, can you kind of talk about how her relationship with David will grow this season, because, obviously, that attraction is still there, even though she is married.

Katja HerbersYeah, I think the attraction is palpable, and it's definitely still there, and it's both intellectual and physical and kind of just really, really great. These two people really have a big connection, but I also think she respects him very much, and she considers him a friend. And he is on this journey, and I don't think she wants to ruin his plans, but it doesn't mean that they're not attracted to each other anymore or that that flirtation is gone. It just means that like, in the beginning of the season, at least, her sexual exploration is not necessarily targeted towards David, but could be, you know, any number of guys.

All right. Now, obviously, Kristen is on the science side of everything. She's there to be the skeptic, but, I mean, some of it I think she maybe starts to believe. How much do you think her faith will be tested and shaken this season, and will she ever start to maybe move over more towards the belief side rather than science, or is she going to stay really skeptical?

Well, I think she has a very scientific explanation, or psychological explanation, of the things that she's seeing, like the Jinn with the head on fire. She can argue that that's because of what she did; everything can now be because of what she did, that she's just sort of holding on to stay sane, but she’s struggling with that and is starting to see hallucinations, and she's asking for medication from her therapist to stop these. She's taking anti-psychotic drugs, etc. So, I still think that she will always try to find a scientific explanation for things, but she's she does have doubt, and the doubt becomes maybe greater.

Then, the other thing I want to talk about, is her daughter, Lexis (Mandy Crocco). Obviously, she has, for lack of a better description, vampire teeth coming in, so that makes us kind of worry about the whole IVF clinic and everything that went on with that. Is that something that is going to kind of go on throughout the season? And can it ever maybe get to a point where she's going to be scared of her? Or do you think that she's just more scared, I guess, for her?

Well, I think she's very worried about her, but I also think she's a strong believer in nurture-nature. I mean, in the nurture part of it, she believes that she's been, you know, a loving mother, and she believes that her child is good. And okay, well, she has teeth…I mean, that's very, very concerning. I don't know how you would deal with that, and she does want to get to the bottom of this clinic, and they're going to pursue that and figure out what happened there, but she's not going to stop loving her child and thinking that her child is is good. Yeah, if anything, she feels guilty, herself.

Right. Okay. So, switching gears, can you talk about working with Michael Emerson? He is kind of crazy in this season, and it just looks like those scenes are so much fun.

Yeah. Oh, he's great. He's a wonderful guy. He's like, the cliche of just a nicest person who is able to play such a great -

Katja HerbersEvil guy.

Yeah. And I loved what we got to do last season, where I got to take him down, and I did all that research on him, and I found out that his name was “Jake the Flake.” So, I loved all those and the continuation of those kinds of scenes where I’ve sort of gotten him by the balls, but also he has so much more up his sleeves that I don't know of yet. I think that I'm in control, where he is actually working in ways that I do not even know yet. So, I think that relationships very interesting.

I also wanted to talk about her relationship with her mother. Whether or not it was all Leland (Emerson)’s influence, we don't know, but regardless of that, her mother still chose him over her family. Now, there may come a time where she's going to want to reconnect with her mother, but is that something that she can move past and forgive her for, or is it something that's going to stay kind of in the back of her mind even if she does?

Well, I think that Kristen is in a real pickle. Her mom is sort of, and has probably always been, a very difficult person and emotionally sort of all over the place, and maybe that's also why Kristen is so science and in the books and has become such a different person than her mother. But Kristen also just doesn't have enough money to get a normal babysitter, really, and her husband's not there, and it would be great if her mom could take care of the kids sometimes. Also, it's still her mother, and you only have one mother. So, I do think that you'll see some kind of reconciliation, but, honestly, I don't think she trusts her mom, and I do think that she thinks she's a problem. I don't think she realizes how much of a problem.

Now, this show can be scary. I watched the screeners at like, 3am, and that probably wasn't the smartest decision [laughs], but even some of last season kind of freaked me out. So, I'm just curious, is there anything in this that scares you at all? I mean, obviously, you're part of it, but do those kinds of things scare you, and if not, what does scare you?

Well, the experience of making it is so much different to watching it, probably, so it doesn't scare me. I mean, what scares me is, you know, climate change, and just the evil people in this world. I don't mean evil in a religious way, but just horrible people who are destroying the planet and who are waging wars and greedy and all those things. Those things really scare me, and our show, I think, touches on that, but what I like about the way that we work with it is that the Kings also always have a certain lightness or a certain hopefulness within this scary world, that hopefully you don't just watch this show and are scared, but you've also laughed and felt something and rooted for these characters. And hopefully, you've just felt very alive. That's what I hope people get. And I think that that's sometimes what good scary things can do. You know, you're very present for it, because you don't know what’s going to happen, and then you're also able to take in all the other things that the show has to say and offer.

Katja HerbersYeah, it has moments of lightness, too.

So do you have a favorite scene you can tease without spoiling too much?

Well, it's probably the last scene of the whole second season, which, obviously, I can't spoil, but that was probably the hardest thing I've ever gotten to play. When I read it, I thought, “I have to lock myself in a room for a week to figure out how to how to do this.” I haven't seen it. I don't know how it turned out, but I think that was my favorite scene, without saying what it was, but it required all of me. I feel like it’s just really great to get to work on a show that constantly requires me to really just give it everything I've got. That's how I love working; I like giving a lot. I hope people receive it.

Yeah, I really enjoyed these first four episodes. I'm excited to see the rest of it.

I mean, I haven't seen all four episodes. I've just seen the first one, but I know, for me, the show really starts to pop after the sixth episode. That’s when I feel like it gets into a whole new territory that I think is very, very exciting.

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