By now we’re all well aware that Evil takes no prisoners. Last week, the show took time to call out Amazon and this week the letter from The Pop-Up Book of Terrifying Things is C, which stands for “cop.” But Evil’s case of the week isn’t only diving into racism in the police force, it’s also highlighting the role cop-aganda entertainment plays in the way we think about policing.
Needless to say, no one on the team is thrilled when Bishop Marx thrusts this new case upon them. A white cop, Officer Turley, shot and killed a Black woman, Ms. Burke, after pulling her over and assuming she was reaching for a gun on the passenger seat — she was reaching for her phone. Why is the police union rep — buddies with Marx, by the way — bringing this to assessors from the Catholic Church, you ask? Well, Turley, a Catholic, claims that in the moment of the shooting he was possessed by the devil and that’s why he saw a gun on the seat. The police union’s lawyer has advised that a plea of temporary insanity would be Turley’s best defense, should a grand jury bring charges against him. David, Ben, and Kristen have been advised not to say anything, but their eye rolls say more than enough.
Evil presents Turley not as a caricature of a belligerently racist cop, but as someone you could possibly sympathize with: He’s a dad, he’s never shot his gun before, he gets teary-eyed wishing he could take back those 15 seconds. He even owns up to the fact that he doesn’t know for sure that if he thought the driver of the car was white things would’ve gone down differently. When Kristen realizes their kids go to school together, even she takes a second to consider him. Ben and David, not so much; an innocent woman was killed because of Turley’s racial bias.
The more the team digs into Turley, the bigger this whole thing becomes. While watching his body cam footage, David recognizes a tattoo on his wrist. He’s seen the same one on a cop who pulled him over before (David has an app that automatically records pull-overs for his safety) and realizes that the tattoo is of a symbol they’ve all seen before … it’s one of the sigils on the satanic sigil map. That’s right, folks, the sigil map is back in play. A great thing if you’re super into the overall mythology Evil is building, maybe not so great a thing if you’re only here for the procedural aspect of the show.
Thanks to a tip from Kristen’s detective friend Mira, they learn that the symbol is a superstitious cop thing. Then from an online cop forum, they learn that the group of NYPD officers with this tattoo call themselves “the protectors.” When the team goes to see Bishop Marx and tell him their theory of a racist gang existing within the NYPD (there’s precedent — a similar gang was found within the LAPD), Marx tells them that their objective was looking into Turley and Turley only, and he moves on to the next case he has for them. The team is frustrated; this is where the case led them and Marx is just sweeping it under the rug. Here’s the thing: Marx eventually reveals he knows exactly where “the protectors” comes from — from the cop show Justice Served — and it seems like he doesn’t want these three getting involved with it, or the show’s creator, Mick Carr.
The team ends up heading to the Justice Served set anyway. Mick Carr turns out to be super friendly with the police union and also a real asshole. He says asshole-y things with a smile on his face, which makes them even more asshole-y, you know? He doesn’t like the accusations being flung his way, his shows are about cops who stop the bad guys, and he’s done a ton for diversity, it’s just that the network isn’t interested, etc, etc. He sucks, and other than explaining that the sigil in the show is actually something that’s appeared in most cop shows for the last 40 years, he doesn’t do much.
At least, not on screen. Not long after, the team learns that the grand jury decided not to indict Turley and he’s back on the police force. It’s infuriating, but the team admits that they were always headed for this outcome, it’s sadly just how it goes. Still, they wonder if Carr had anything to do with how things played out. At least there is no question as to Carr’s involvement in the new, very cool thing that happens to them: Police intimidation! Ben and David both get pulled over by cops with loyalty to Carr (he hires many of them to work on his shows) and the threat is not-so-thinly veiled.
This episode doesn’t feel as tightly pulled together as most Evil episodes do, but “C Is For Cop” does seem like it could be setting things up to have Turley and/or Carr come into play later in the season. Still, aside from its commentary on cop-aganda, the Turley storyline accomplished another important job: It adds some real oomph to what happens with Kristen.
Uh, yeah, so, we should chat about Kristen. While all this Turley and Justice Served business has been going on, Kristen has had several meetups with Mira Byrd. First, it’s to talk about Turley. Mira assures Kristen that Turley’s “one of the good ones” and even goes on to tell a story about a time she thought she saw a gun when there wasn’t one and almost shot someone because of it. This isn’t about race, she says, it’s about “street sense” and “split-second decisions.” And Mira is sure of all this because she’s “one of the good ones,” too. And she’s Kristen’s friend, so she must be, right?
Meanwhile, Mira is still on the LeRoux case. She informs Kristen that LeRoux’s wife and his wife’s new boyfriend both have alibis, so they’re still looking for possible suspects. It’s a formality, but since LeRoux was harassing Kristen, she needs to get her alibi and check her knives for any serrated ones. I mean, it’s wild that Kristen doesn’t have one serrated knife in her kitchen (how does she cut tomatoes??), but the bigger element at play is the alibi. Kristen says that on the night of LeRoux’s murder, she came home from an exorcism, as one does, and tucked the girls in. Lexis was the only one awake at the time. Mira will follow up with Lexis later.
Kristen is lying out her ass and the scene in which she asks Lexis to lie without asking Lexis to lie is particularly unsettling; the manipulation comes so easily to Kristen. Unfortunately, Kristen doesn’t know about the interference Sheryl is running. It’s Sheryl who makes sure Lexis doesn’t vouch for Kristen’s whereabouts on the night of LeRoux’s murder to the police. Sure, Kristen asked her daughter to lie, which is like, really bad, but doesn’t it always seem like Sheryl has ulterior motives?
After Ben and David are pulled over, they make sure Kristen is on alert that the cops are messing with them. That night, she wakes up and thinks she sees someone in the backyard. She almost calls 911, thinks better of it, and asks Mira to come over instead. There’s loud knocking at the door, Kristen grabs her ice ax and heads into the backyard … and finds a bloody Orson LeRoux hanging around. She knows he can’t be real, but the two tussle anyway as he talks to her about how amazing it feels to watch someone take their last breath and how he knows she doesn’t feel guilty at all for killing him.
And then Mira and Anya show up to find Kristen screaming on the ground with the ice ax next to her. They see that it’s a serrated blade, they know her alibi doesn’t check out, and it’s clear they already came to the conclusion that she’s guilty even before Kristen tearfully blurts out those exact words. Kristen is ready to take responsibility, she is no monster. But Mira tells her to stop talking. LeRoux was a bad person who deserved to die. Kristen is “a nice, white suburban mom” who was just protecting her family. Killing LeRoux was “justice,” she says, adding that they already told their superiors that they would never find LeRoux’s real killer and they’re moving on. And then the real kicker: To explain what happened here tonight, Mira says she’ll just “say we saw a Black man here … and scared him off.” How stomach-churning that this is coming from someone who believes she’s one of the good ones. Kristen is left alone in her backyard, crying on her knees.
• Okay so Ben’s story took a turn tonight, huh? If you ever thought Ben’s choice of profession didn’t exactly fit, now you know why: Thanks to Ben’s Night Terror Demon, we learn he’s a genius geneticist who apparently left behind his genetic editing work after it caused mutations in babies. The details are fuzzy, but it was enough to make him leave it all behind and has clearly left him bereft with guilt.
• Aw, David shows up to battle in one of Ben’s night terrors and it makes him realize David is the one person who can help him. He talks to his friend about finding forgiveness when you don’t believe in God and the advice ends up sending Ben to a post office so that he can seek forgiveness from something bigger than himself. Ben thinks it sounds insane but David says that’s kind of the point. We’ll see if any of this helps with Ben’s inner turmoil.
• Excuse me but what in the actual fuck is up with Sheryl’s Eddie doll??! It is terrifying on its own (apologies to the general doll population), but add in Sheryl making sacrifices at his altar — right now the sacrifices are of the burning money variety and not human, thank goodness — and asking Eddie to do things for her ups the creepy factor by like one hundred. Since the pilot, Evil has been on a real slow burn as to what Sheryl’s deal is and it would be great to start getting some concrete clarification on what’s going on. Maybe we should pray to Eddie My Eddie.
• The episode ends with the team traveling to the site of their next case: They’re investigating a possible miracle at a silent monastery. So that should be fun!