The Creator of ‘The Leftovers’ Brings Us ‘Mrs. Davis’

This compelling sci-fi mystery is about an A.I. that shows up on a mission to “help” humanity

Artificial malevolence

Jake McDorman maintains that he hasn’t had a problem talking about Mrs. Davis while keeping many of its secrets. The actor reunites with executive producer Damon Lindelof—with whom he worked previously on HBO’s Emmy-sweeping Watchmen—in a new fantasy drama that debuts this Thursday. Mrs. Davis is an artificial intelligence that claims to be beneficial to humanity and wants everyone to become “Users,” though others are suspicious of “her” true motives… foremost among them, a nun named Simone (GLOW‘s Betty Gilpin), who finds an unexpected ally in her rodeo-rider ex (McDorman). 

McDorman credits Gilpin with describing Mrs. Davis as “the Coen Brothers meet Looney Tunes”—an appropriate nod to the unusual mix of elements the show encompasses. “We got to play in that weird world for six months of production and see it start to come together through rough cuts,” says McDorman. “Now, to try to tell people about it, it’s impossible. To have the trailer finally come out was really something. That explained it better than we ever could, and having that kind of last coat of paint on it really brings it all together.” 

Seeing Mrs. Davis with an audience at the recent South by Southwest festival was a milestone for the actor. “I guess all of us [in the cast] have been living with it for about a year, from the time I read the first script, and it’s been living in our brains nonstop. It only got more and more locked in, the deeper we got into it. You were like, ‘This is the most ambitious, bizarre thing I’ve ever read. If even half of it could be put on film, it would be a sight to see.’ ” 

Ben Chaplin, David Arquette, Elizabeth Marvel and Emmy-winner Margo Martindale are also recurring cast members. 

The alternate reality depicted by Mrs. Davis—which fellow executive producer Tara Hernandez (The Big Bang Theory) wrote along with Lost and The Leftovers alum Lindelof—suits a time when the Oscar-winning Everything Everywhere All at Once also supports such a genre-bending concept, McDorman believes. 

“That’s the main reason I was excited by this,” confirms the actor, whose previous credits include Dopesick, Shameless, the series version of The Right Stuff and the Murphy Brown revival. “It was also the likelihood that the people making it had the clout to bring to life the feeling you got when you read it on the page. And that’s really rare.” 

Mrs. Davis premieres Thursday, April 20 on CTV Sci-Fi