Shawn is the main antagonist of NBC's The Good Place. He is the senior architect of The Bad Place.
Most of Shawn's past remains a mystery, but he is most likely billions if not trillions of years old. Prior to the events of the series he gave Micheal permission to create the false Good Place but did not approve of the idea and told Michael that there would be consequences if he failed. At one point he chose the form of a 45 year old white man because it meant he could only "fail up".
Shawn takes the form of a middle aged white man because it can only help him fail up. This is merely a construction though and his true form is presumably quite different.
Shawn is a cruel no nonsense tyrant that delights in the torture of humans and is willing to break celestial law in order to get what he wants. He does appreciate demons that find efficient ways to torture humans and can be affable to those who remain loyal and don't fail him. He gets confused at the idea that a demon would turn against him, and is shocked when Michael's betrayal is revealed.
Powers and abilities
Shawn is the most powerful demon in the show with access to presumably thousands of minions and control over large amounts of the Bad Place. One interesting thing he can do is place either himself or others into a green leaf like cocoon in order to get them out of the way. Physically he is surprisingly weak, being easily defeated by Janet.
Shawn first appears in the episode "Whats my Motivation" where he acts as the Almighty Judge on High of All Beings Living and Dead for All Eternity, as a way to keep Eleanor from figuring out that she is in the Bad Place. During this time he wears a judge robe and pretends that he goes into a cocoon whenever he hears emotion. After he deception is revealed he goes back to the true Bad Place, giving Michael one last chance.
After the false good place is rebooted he tells Michael that if he fails on the second attempt he will be retired.
Through constant lying Shawn remained convinced that Michael was only on the second attempt and wasn't aware that the neighborhood had been rebooted 800 times. He also remained unaware for most of season two that Michael become friends with the humans.
Shawn comes back into the picture when he informs Michael that he is offered a promotion and that Neighborhood 12358W is being shut down. He later is deceived into sending Vicky away and allowing the humans into the proper Bad Place after thinking they fled to the Medium Place.
He is later shown at a meeting, where he states that they are going to illegally extract the humans from the Medium Place. After learning the humans are going to go through the portal to the Judge, he chases them and Michael, managing to capture Michael. He expresses confusion at Michael's betrayal and is told that he never cared about Michael. He shortly after tells Michael that he is going to put him in a room with nothing but New Yorker Magazines as retiring him would draw unwanted attention, but before he can leave Micheal to his punishment he is thrown against the wall by "Bad" Janet, who is revealed to be Good Janet in disguise and knocked out.