BBC America’s Killing Eve is a chilling and exciting spy drama with a twist of dark humour and an unconventional romantic obsession. Here’s our season 1 review of this highly-addictive thriller.
This short eight-part series follows the investigative work of British intelligence agent Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh). Bored of the monotony of her day job she begins to investigate a spate of murders across continental Europe, seemingly carried out by a female killer. What follows is a thrilling series of run-ins with the woman herself, Russian assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer).
Killing Eve expertly plays with the conventions of the genre. Adding dollops of black comedy into the otherwise serious and tense interactions is brilliant work from the show’s creator, writer and actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Although what is most memorable perhaps is the somewhat romantic infatuation between both Eve and Villanelle. Eve grows fed up with her detached husband, and Villanelle with the loneliness of assassination. This leads the two women to be unexplainably drawn to one another, as the events of the season cause their paths to cross multiple times.
During these occasions the series doesn’t hold back on its use of violence. Whether it be the brutal and grotesque ways in which Villanelle carries out her job, Killing Eve does not skirt away from the grisly reality of such work. The series also has an impressive sense of scope too. The narrative of this first season takes across Europe to locations such as Paris, Berlin, Moscow and even the quaint English countryside.
The show also offers an impressive cast of global talent. Most notably in its two main characters, Eve and Villanelle. Golden Globe winner Sandra Oh consistently delivers an impressive range of enthusiasm and fear throughout her journey in tracking down Villanelle. However, newcomer Jodie Comer really is the standout star. Expertly delivering lines in a multitude of languages, as well as having to maintain a subtle Russian accent. This Liverpudlian actress offers a memorable performance throughout the duration of this season. Despite being an assassin, her youthfulness and innocent appearance also help to make her character more likeable. Whilst Villanelle is a willing participant in her horrendous and immoral actions, you cannot help but warm to her wittiness and charm. Especially given her numerous elaborate disguises, and preference in expensive items.
Other notable performances include those from Harry Potter alum Fiona Shaw, who plays an MI6 operative and Eve’s senior, Carolyn Martins. As well as Kim Bodnia, who plays Villanelle’s handler Konstantin, with whom she has an almost sweet surrogate father-daughter relationship with. It also cannot be ignored the host of strong female characters that feature throughout. This genre still remains heavily dominated with male-orientated narratives, such as the likes James Bond and the recent Bodyguard. Therefore, this new take on these particular stories feels ultimately refreshing.
With Villanelle’s often sudden and surprising behaviour this spy drama is filled with numerous twisted outcomes and shocks. Whilst the season arc requires maintained focus it is not overly convoluted, leading viewers to remain deeply invested in both the narrative and its engaging characters throughout its entirety. What direction exactly Eve and Villanelle’s relationship goes from here remains to be seen.
Killing Eve returns with Season 2, April 7th on BBC America.