Evil recreates iconic moment from The Exorcist

Warning: This article contains spoilers about Thursday’s episode of Evil on CBS.

It was only a matter of time before Evil — CBS’ crack thriller from the devilish minds of Robert and Michelle King — would look to The Exorcist for inspiration.

In Thursday’s episode of the drama — which follows a trio that explores miracles, hauntings, and possible possessions — priest-in-training David Acosta (Mike Colter) suspects that a woman named Caroline has been possessed by the devil. But his partner/forensic psychologist Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers) isn’t buying it, so she calls in psychiatrist named Hobbs (Kurt Fuller) for a mental assessment.

This is where the Kings had a little fun: they decided to re-enact the classic scene from The Exorcist when Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) arrives at the Georgetown home of Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) to perform an exorcism on her daughter Regan (Linda Blair). But instead of a priest, Evil illuminated Fuller outside of the house.

First, a look at the moment from the 1973 film:

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

And here’s the scene from Thursday’s episode:

Elizabeth Fisher/CBS
Elizabeth Fisher/CBS

Nice hat, too.

“We liked the comedy of depicting the opposite of a priest arriving at the home of a possessed woman,” Robert King tells EW. “Instead it’s a psychiatrist arriving at the home of a possessed woman.”

The shot was filmed at a location in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. (Production for Evil is based in New York City). “There was no street light on the actual street, so we rented one from a New York prop house and placed it in the same spot as in the Exorcist shot,” says Michelle King, adding, “according to legend, it’s the actual street light that was used in the Exorcist.”

Though the Kings said they never wanted Evil to become an exorcism-of-the-week, the ritual has already become an important part of the storytelling. (In Thursday’s episode, David manages to coerce the devil out of Caroline). “We love being able to show fragments of the rite,” says Robert King. “It’s important to see the agony of the individuals that are either possessed or ill (depending on your point of view) and convey the urgency of finding them relief.”

Evil airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.

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