Sympathy for the Devil: How ‘Lucifer’ Glorifies Satan

It’s been said, “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.” Fox’s new drama Lucifer seems hell bent on convincing the world he is harmless and sympathetic. Look no further than Fox’s slogan for the show, “He gives bad a good name.”

Entertainment Weekly describes the character Lucifer as "wickedly charming," TV Guide calls him “compassionate” and “[not] so much evil as he is mischievous, carnal, and brutally honest,” and Daily Beast proclaims Lucifer as “likeable” and “way too much of a good guy at times.”

It’s all true. Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) makes being the devil look cool, with his fancy car and the smooth talking way he gets out of a speeding ticket; he owns the hottest club in LA and women find him irresistible. What guy wouldn’t want to be him?

Not only that, but Lucifer is the devil with a heart of gold. When a troubled pop star he helped put on the track to success visits, instead of encouraging her to keep up with the life of drugs and reject God, as Satan would, he advises her, “God has nothing to do with your mess…pull yourself together.” Awww, what a nice guy!

Then, when she is murdered right in front of him, he tells the dying shooter, “Oh, it's times like this I wish I was still in Hell. All the fun activities I'd have planned for you,” you’re on his side, wanting the killer to pay. In the rest of the episode he works to find out who is behind the murder and get justice for his friend. On the way he befriends a cute little kid by helping her scare off a bully and saves the life of her mother, an LAPD detective. Now would a guy like that really be the Prince of Darkness?

It is implied that God is displeased that Lucifer saved the detective’s life, that God wants him to be wicked to restore the balance of good and evil (I guess right now there is too much good?) Even the demons are upset at Lucifer, as seen when his friend Maze tells him, “Stop caring. You're the Devil.”

-Lucifer: What do you want from me? 

-Amenadiel: I've been watching you, Lucifer. 

-Lucifer: You perv.

-Amenadiel: And I'm not sure I like what I see. You're showing restraint, mercy. 

-Lucifer: You scared I'm turning my back on the dark side, bro? 

-Amenadiel: Lucifer, there is a balance here that we must maintain. I strongly suggest you do what I told you to do and go back to Hell. 

-Lucifer: Don't threaten me, Amenadiel. I mean, you don't want to start a war.

-Amenadiel: I would love a war. Oh, Luci. My hatred for you grows stronger with every visit. 

-Lucifer: Well, I wouldn't have it any other way, pal. I look forward to eating your heart one day. Peace. Ugh. I sense your disapproval, Maze. What is it? 

-Maze: I just can't understand why you would save a human life. 

-Lucifer: Well, there's... Something different about her that I don't quite understand, and it vexes me. 

-Maze: Maybe it's not her that's different. 

-Lucifer: Is this where I'm supposed to ask, "Whatever do you mean?" 

-Maze: I'm worried the humans are rubbing off on you. Stop caring. You're the Devil. 

In truth the devil is an alluring, attractive character, how else would he get people to fall to temptation? But something tells me this isn’t why Fox has him portrayed this way.

The message of the show is clear. Lucifer is just misunderstood. He doesn’t want to be a bad guy, it’s God who is forcing him to play that role. His question to the angel Amenadiel, “Do you think I'm the Devil because I'm inherently evil or just because dear old Dad decided I was?” is meant to make you rethink your assumptions about good and evil, God and Satan. 

No wonder One Million Moms has a petition to get the show pulled from the air, saying, "The program previews mischaracterize Satan, depart from true biblical teachings about him, and inaccurately portray the beliefs of the Christian faith. By choosing to air this show, FOX is disrespecting Christianity and mocking the Bible."

The moms are right. Tell Fox: No more sympathy for the devil!

Alexa Moutevelis Coombs
Alexa is MRC Culture's On TV blog editor. She has previously worked for Students for Life for America and Citizens United Productions.