BBC America’s Killing Eve grabs hold of you by the windpipe and forces you to watch with bated breath and a nervous smile on your face.
Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) is an MI5 officer hunting down the gifted and elusive assassin ‘Villanelle’ (Jodie Comer). Eve’s task is made all the more difficult when an inexplicable emotional connection begins to grow between her and her psychopathic target.
The country-hopping Killing Eve feels refreshingly honest in a well-established genre and it’s all down to Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Best known for creating and writing British comedies Crashing and, most notably, Fleabag, Waller-Bridge is quickly becoming one of the most interesting showrunners working today. Killing Eve is a seductive crime drama with Waller-Bridge’s recognisable style of comedy woven into the tough fabric of the blood-soaked story. Although rarely laugh-out-loud, the humour is impressive and effortlessly witty.
The charismatic and intuitive Eve is fascinating to observe at work. She’s determined, daring and dazzling. Her unsettling obsession with female assassins and the art of murder makes her very good at her job. Sandra Oh inhabits Eve with outstanding skill, and her portrayal made her the first woman of Asian descent to be nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Villanelle also enjoys her work, but far too much. She is a paint-by-numbers sadist if the paints being used are different blood types. And her favourite type of music is national anthems, so make of that what you will. When told she can’t pursue anymore targets until she has been assessed by a psychiatrist, she replies “But this one has asthma. You know I like the breathy ones.”
Eve and Villanelle are two sides of the same coin; forged from the same material but possessing contrary moral bases. But the coin is continuously spinning and thus prevents Eve catching her target. That is until it lands Villanelle-side up and Eve is microwaving shepherd’s pie for her.
As the episodes progress, the conspiracy of Villanelle’s actions continues to unfold. You’ll become increasingly obsessed with the two leading women just as they become obsessed with each other. Some of the glittering charm seems to go missing as latter episodes feature more plot-driven action. It’s a shame that the wit couldn’t be maintained alongside the intense chase scenes and intimidating encounters, but Killing Eve is easily one of the best new shows this year, and certainly should not be missed.
Killing Eve, which has already been a hit in America, will begin airing in the UK on September 15th. The whole boxset will be available on BBC iPlayer at 10pm on the same day. It’ll be waiting to be your first binge-watch of the year.
Catch the season trailer here.