Shawn is an Immortal Being who is Michael's superior in The Bad Place.
Not much is known about Shawn's existence prior to Michael becoming an Architect. It is assumed that Shawn was Michael's mentor due to comments made in Chapter 25: The Burrito, and that Michael and Shawn were very close (although Michael assumes that this was not the case, as he thinks Shawn never cared about him, although Shawn seems to disagree).
He introduced himself as “The Almighty Judge on High of All Beings Living and Dead for All Eternity." He is depicted as wholly emotionless and would encase himself in a cocoon upon hearing human emotion to as to preserve his impartiality and because human emotion makes him nauseous, although this is not his true position, as he was posing as The Judge for the illusion of the fake Good Place neighborhood.
After Eleanor realized the true nature of her neighborhood, this judge character is shown to be a sham intended to preserve the illusion of "The Good Place."
He is instead the direct superior to Michael in the Bad Place's bureaucracy with a similar interest in torturing humans. His name however is Shawn, and the stern and humorless personality of his judge character closely matches that of his real self.
When Michael was pitching his new neighborhood idea, Shawn was one of the Immortal Beings deciding whether or not they would allow it. He stated that they had in fact tried getting humans to torture each before but found it very difficult.
Nevertheless he agreed to allow Michael to try and even played along in his first run attempt. After the first attempt failed he allowed Michael to try again but if he failed Michael wouldn't get a third attempt and would face retirement.
For a long time, Shawn was unaware that Michael had rebooted his neighborhood over 800 times, believing from Michael's falsified reports that the second run was an enormous success.
Eventually, Michael's false reports lead to both Shawn and Michael getting promotions, whereupon the original neighborhood is wound up.
Michael then visited Shawn in the Bad Place while attempting to steal Senior Staff Pins to transport the four humans to the Judge so that they would be able to go through the portal. Shawn discovered, upon hearing via Bad Janet's walkie-talkie mode that Derek was in the Medium Place, that Michael had been lying to him. The four humans escaped to the Neutral Zone via portal and Shawn caught Michael.
He brought Michael to his office and a Bad Janet revealed that Janet had been marbleized. They took Michael to an unmarked room to lock him there for eternity with only a stack of New Yorker Magazines for entertainment before Bad Janet revealed that she was actually Janet and had marbleized a Good Janet (which she was capable of, presumably, due to her having been rebooted so many times). She attacked Shawn and left him in the room as she and Michael escaped.
Shawn then set up a task force to trace the humans' improvement, because their progress would interfere with his ability to torture people. Due to Michael's repeated ventures to Earth, he was able to use a backdoor and send Trevor down to Earth to split up the humans; Michael and Janet were able to stop Trevor temporarily, and Gen eventually flung Trevor into a void which the bridge to the Door overlooked.
Due to Michael and Janet taking the only key to the portal to Earth while fleeing there, preventing anyone in the afterlife from following them, Shawn's threat against the humans was neutralized for a while. However, he was able to construct his own portal to Earth with the help of Vicky and Glenn, and successfully confronted the humans with the help of other demons, including Bambadjan and Chris Baker.
However, Michael sent all of them through to the Doorman, and tied up Shawn. Shawn stated that nobody the humans had helped would get into the Good Place, including Doug Forcett. Janet kicked him into the Door while he was mid sentence.
When the soul squad finally gets to see The Judge in the I-HOP dimension and consult their proposed experiment, Judge Gen summons Shawn, who at time was torturing William Shakespeare by describing plots of modern films to him. Shawn eventually agrees to let the experiment go ahead, but he is allowed to choose the four new humans for the experiment. He chooses Brent, Simone and John, and attempt so sabotage the experiment with Chris disguised as Linda, but when that plan fails Chidi is used as the final member of the experiment.
When Michael and Jason go to The Bad Place to rescue Janet, Shawn is giving a speech at Demon-Con, where he reveals that he knows the point system is not working. Later in Season Four Michael convinces Shawn to agree the system change for the better, which he grudgingly does.
Shawn is later seen working with Tahani as a Good Place Architect, and is on the Joint Council of Afterlife Affairs.
- Shawn appears to be more powerful than Michael, Vicky and Glenn, as he can encase demons and humans in cocoons which they cannot escape.
- Shawn appears to be Michael's mentor, as he once asked him "Who was it who taught you how to turn a human inside out by grabbing their butt from the inside?", to which Michael answers, "You did". This also implies his is a very skilled torturer.
- He is a fan of the American actress Zendaya, as he corrects Judge gen when she mispronounces her name. He then embarrassingly brushes off the comment by muttering he doesn't know.
- He enjoys conflict, especially with Michael, once stating "Fighting you has been the most fun I ever had!" He also enjoys torture and violent acts, such as filling a cannon full of puppies.
- Seeing as he was torturing William Shakespeare, his position as a Bad place Official may also give him allowances to torture famous/important deceased humans.
- Although he is an evil and powerful being, he seems to have a playful side, as he used the 'laughing/crying emoji' in a text message to Michael, however at this point he was happy with Michael, and he may appear friendlier to his friends/people he is on good terms with.
- When he opened up to Michael about he he realizes the system is flawed he admits to believing he had a dead end job, describing it as "When you corkscrew your first eyeball you're like "I can't believe they're paying me to do this!", and by the millionth it's like, "I should have just been a teacher"". This also implies there is money present in The Bad Place, whereas, Michael has sated there is no money in The Good Place. This may be a reference to the phrase "The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil".
Powers & Abilities
- Immortality: As an eternal being, Shawn is immortal.
'*Cocoon encasement:' Shawn at will is able to encase himself or others in a green slime covered cocoon which even other Immortal Beings like Vicky cannot escape.