In “Evil,” Katja Herbers plays forensic psychologist Kristen Bouchard, one of three investigators who assess potential demonic possession and other possible supernatural activity for the Catholic Church. Kristen is also in a will or will not dynamic with David (Mike Colter), a fellow appraiser and newly ordained Catholic priest. The show, created by Robert and Michelle King, begins its third season on Paramount+ on June 12, having moved to the CBS streamer after season 1. In an interview for VarietyIn the Facetime feature of , Herbers explains how Kristen has changed, further cursing Paramount + and missing her late co-star Peter Scolari.
When you started playing Kristen, could you foresee how different the character would be in Season 3?
I couldn’t, but I was hopeful, because I know the Kings are known to evolve and change their characters. And after the first season, when I ended up killing someone, I knew it was going to lead me to a whole new world in the second season.
Yes, she started off as a Scully-like character, to use an “X-Files” reference, but now she’s gotten away with literal murder, cheating on her husband and more. How was it to play?
Oh, that was just wonderful. I think underneath it all, she has a profoundly clumsy nature. And I really like that the Kings allowed me to bring some of that out, because sometimes the world is pretty dark.
I always try to look for a little comedy. I think the Kings really appreciate it, and we have the same sense of humor. For example, when Robert is directing an episode, I really like to play dumb during rehearsals. And he often says to me, “OK, that’s funny – yeah, yeah, keep that.” Or he’ll give a note, like, “No, no, make it funnier!”
Did you think Kristen was possessed last season?
I do not believe it. But I think it’s important that when you watch it, people who believe in it believe it. And people who don’t believe it believe that it’s a person who murdered someone, and now has a lot of mental problems because of it.
Have you ever been scared of the show? I do!
Oh darn. I’m a person who doesn’t like being scared, and every time someone says they’re scared of the show, I’m like, “Oh, I’m sorry!” I don’t, because we have so much fun doing it.
Do you think “Evil” believes the supernatural exists?
I think the main characters still have enough different opinions that we don’t really make a choice. Michelle King really doesn’t believe any of this. She doesn’t believe I was possessed. She thinks I have mental problems because of what I did. Robert really thinks I was evil – like, I went to the dark side, whatever, last season. Robert is a bit David, and I’m a bit Michelle. And I don’t think we really make a choice.
What do you think Kristen is thinking at this point?
I think she will always try to find a psychological or scientific explanation for everything.
What was the best thing about moving to Paramount+?
I think the best thing is that they just have more freedom in editing, and we don’t have to be exactly 43 minutes. Sometimes the moment just needs a little more air around it, and that will make the story better, the performance better. And if not, we can show a little more skin, and a little more gore.
The only thing that was a little silly sometimes was that in a particularly awful situation, I had to say things like “Oh my god!” when you would really say, “Holy shit!”
Will you be on the next season of “Westworld”? Forgive me, I find this show so confusing that I can’t remember what happened last with your character.
No, I won’t. I’m not dead dead? Or I am, but nobody’s on this show. So there are copies of me, because they’re copying people in the park, so I could come back in all sorts of shapes and forms. I think last season they had two of the main characters reversed, so Tessa Thompson kind of played Evan Rachel Wood in Tessa Thompson’s body.
Oh, this show is so confusing! It’s so confusing. I lost it. I understood my story, thank God, because it was actually about a woman who was really angry with her father.
I feel so stupid watching this show.
Oh me too.
The first episode of “Evil” this season is dedicated to Peter Scolari, who died of course last year. What was he working with?
It was very hard when he died. He was an amazing person and a wonderful actor. And we got closer very quickly. I didn’t know he was sick; maybe none of us knew, he hadn’t told us. He was very much alive. Like, I don’t know what he was like before he got sick, because I didn’t know him before – I guess he was always like that. But he was just eating every moment. He was probably the liveliest person I’ve ever met, bubbly with energy and jokes.
And the way he would approach those scenes was really – it was hard not to laugh. And these scenes are dry Damn, those scenes where you have to look at the file and tell us what’s next. Like, it’s not an easy task to make this interesting. And he always made it so interesting and so weird.
The first episode, obviously, was written for him, that episode where he and Wallace Shawn would have had this love affair. I can only imagine how it would have been. And Boris MacGiver is a great actor. But you can imagine what it would have been like with Peter, or how they had envisioned it. It was a very, very big loss of a wonderful person.
What you didn’t know about Katja Herbers
Hometown: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Plan B: She was ready to become a psychologist. “It’s very much related to my fascination with people, and how we behave and what we do – which acts as well.”
Break in Amsterdam: “I’m trying to see if I still have friends in Holland or if they’ve all forgotten me,” she laughs.