Lucifer is, for all intents and purposes, a show that’s always known what it is; it’s the one-two punch of a cheeky smile followed by gut-wrenching tragedy, especially in the recently premiered Season 5. It’s fitting. After all, the premise does revolve around the devil, aka Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), helping the Los Angeles Police Department solve crimes as a civilian consultant. That’s it. That’s the show: The devil solves murders. But, as anyone directly involved with the series will be quick to tell you, the devil is in the details. Over the course of the past five seasons (four and a half, technically, as the final half of Season 5 has yet to premiere on Netflix), Lucifer has beaten the odds by surviving cancellation, earning a deeply devoted, late-breaking fanbase, and developing its lead — the most stereotyped villain in literary history — and ensemble cast into constantly evolving tragic heroes.
Rachael Harris, who plays the ever-capable and much-beloved Dr. Linda Martin, was more excited for Lucifer Season 5’s premiere than any season before. She admits that, in large part, it’s because watching these first eight episodes would remind her of a happier time — specifically, a time before she was quarantined in her Los Angeles home.
“Because [Lucifer] doesn’t take itself so seriously — it is a bit dramatic, but people can feel like if they need to cry or escape or whatever, they can do that watching the show, and also laugh about silly things,” Harris told SYFY WIRE ahead of the Season 5 premiere earlier this month.
“I think the reason why our show works and also why our relationships work is that everybody is flawed on our show, and it’s very open, and we like to shine a bright light on that,” Harris muses. “Like with Ella [played by Aimee Garcia], when she’s struggling with her faith. It’s very open because everybody in our world is struggling with something, and I think that’s what we’re trying to get at on our show, is that nobody’s perfect … Accepting whenever you see somebody on the street, you never know what battles they’re fighting in private.”
And Season 5, more than any season before it, is chock-full of private battles. Even when you discount Lucifer’s struggle with his American-accented evil twin Michael (also played by Ellis) and the difficulties of his new relationship with Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German), there’s plenty of trauma to go around.
First, and perhaps foremost, in Season 5, there’s Mazikeen (aka Maze), who, after years of working to build her own identity outside of being the devil’s right-hand demon, loses that burgeoning sense of self upon learning that Lucifer knows what happened to her mother, Lilith.
“I think that parent/child, particularly mother/daughter relationship, it’s so influential, I think, be it positive or negative, to anyone,” Lesley-Ann Brandt, who plays Maze, tells SYFY WIRE. “And I think probably post-Season  and definitely post this first eight episodes, people will have a pretty good idea about why Maze was the way she was in the pilot and what she’s had to work through to evolve and change to where you know her now in Season 5.”
Maze learning that her mother gave up immortality and abandoned her hordes of demon children is tough enough — but that Lucifer’s always known what happened to Lilith? It’s the ultimate betrayal. And, Maze being Maze (read: a demon with a rage problem), her “mommy issues,” as Brandt puts it, soon begin to affect her other relationships. Particularly her relationship with her best friend, Linda.
Just as Maze struggles with the knowledge that her mother intentionally abandoned her, Linda — steadfast therapist and voice of reason extraordinaire — begins to grapple with her past. Charlie, it turns out, is not her first child.
“I was so grateful,” Harris says of getting to delve more into Linda’s previously unknown backstory. “Obviously, the show’s not called ‘Dr. Linda,’ you know what I mean? It’s called Lucifer … but that’s why I love our writers … because it did kind of shed light on why I was saying so many times, ‘I’m going to go to hell,’ when I dropped that in previous seasons.
“And you’re like, ‘Really, Linda? Why would you go to hell?’ And then when you start to see … I have this daughter that I walked away from when I was young, and I like that it also tied into Lilith and Maze.” Harris loves that Maze is the one who prompts Linda to reach out to her daughter, and knows it makes sense for Linda to hold so much guilt in her heart over the abandonment. It’s why, Harris says, Dr. Linda is “so empathetic with her clients when they’re faced with something that they can’t do.
“She can do for them what she can’t necessarily do for herself,” Harris adds.
Linda’s reconnection with her daughter, of course, doesn’t change her love for Charlie. Linda spends the first part of Season 5 obsessing over just how “special” her kid is. As several characters throughout the season are quick to note, all parents think their kids are one of a kind, but in Charlie’s case, it’s actually true.
Or so Linda and Charlie’s dad Amenadiel thought. By the end of Season 5, Episode 8, “Spoiler Alert,” Amenadiel learns that the half-angel Charlie may be a little more human than initially thought. Harris, for her part, thinks Linda is likely “thrilled” that Charlie is, as Amanadiel puts it in horror, “normal.”
“We will tap back in a little bit to his, I would say, kind of a ‘bias,’ that as much as he’s learned, as much as he’s grown being in contact with these humans, he still has some of his little biases,” DB Woodside, who plays Amenadiel, muses. “He still thinks that godly creatures are better than humans, and he’s going to have to learn how to work through that … I think that’s going to be challenging for him. I will say, having a little insight into the character, I think he’s going to overcome it in a most interesting way, in a way that I don’t think probably people see coming. I think the way that he embraces his son and overcomes himself actually is one of the more quietly interesting things about the rest of this season.”
He continues: “I think all of us have a little Amenadiel inside of us, kind of a little unwilling to change until we’re maybe forced to change by those around us that love us and feel like that change is something that we need and will actually benefit us. And I don’t think there’s any better change than growth, because you’re not really changing who you are, but you’re kind of adding to it. And I don’t think any of us need to take anything away from who we are, but I just think that we can always learn more and evolve. Otherwise, what’s the point? What’s the point of being here if you’re not going to be constantly growing, constantly learning?”
The first eight episodes of Lucifer Season 5 are now available on Netflix.