With two seasons long since completed, and the third currently airing over the seas, Killing Eve has taken its sweet time coming to South African screens. Determined viewers will have made plans to watch this simply superb spy thriller drama series already, but for those who have not, there is excellent news.
There are so many excellent reasons to watch Killing Eve, which is “a character study on two lives, two women and their circumstances, their homes, their wants, their fears and what keeps them from ending it all. It’s just that one happens to be an assassin and the other a spy.” Here are seven of them, in no particular order.
Written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Killing Eve is based on the novella Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings, and written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (multi award-winning Fleabag, as if you need reminding), who is also an executive producer.
From the very first moments of the very first episode, the writing and dialogue glitter and cut like shards of diamonds. Waller-Bridge is making her distinctive writing mark as well as Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) has; the ear rejoices in the fast and sharp dialogue that doesn’t hang around to explain itself. You either get it, or you don’t.
“If I’ve done my job right, the audience should feel equally chilled as they are excited by the determination of these woman, their journeys and how drawn they are to one another” says Waller-Bridge.
“These two creatures, one of them deeply empathetic (Eve), comes across this very psychopathic and emotionally challenged young woman (Villanelle), and they become rather drawn to each other.”
Women in the leading roles
Killing Eve centres on two distinctly different women. Eve is a bored, whip-smart MI5 security officer whose desk-bound job doesn’t fulfil her fantasies of being a spy. Villanelle is a mercurial, talented killer who clings to the luxuries her violent job affords her.
All the action revolves around them, their obsession with each other, and the intricate psychological cat-and-mouse games they play. The chemistry works on-screen as well as behind the scenes.
We’ve had Dexter, Walter White, Tony Soprano – the “villains” we’ve hated to love. Technically. Deep down, we adore them because it’s our human nature to be drawn to and attracted by the dark side, and we can live vicariously through them.
Villanelle is one such character. Nothing tastes sweeter than forbidden fruit, and secretly we all wish we could be as daring. There, I said it. The more conventional and socially accepted role of the actual heroine, Eve, also taps into a legitimate fantasy – that of being a secret agent/spy.
Sandra Oh as Eve
Killing Eve stars Golden Globe, SAG and Critics’ Choice Award winner Sandra Oh in the titular role, well known for her leading role in Grey’s Anatomy.
“Sandra Oh brings an extraordinary, very complex and very nuanced performance to the role of Eve,” says executive producer Sally Woodward Gentle. “Eve is an incredibly complicated person who outwardly seems to be a little bit ditzy, a little bit random and not really showing great ambition, but inwardly she knows that she is really clever, probably cleverer than a lot of people she is working with.”
Jodie Comer as Villanelle
How do you make people care about a psychopath? Cast Jodie Comer.
On casting Emmy and BAFTA winner Jodie Comer in the character of Villanelle, Woodward Gentle says “Jodie and what she brings to the character is extraordinary, she’s a massive star, she has immense charm and she’s got incredible naughtiness. Jodie has got this chameleon quality where she can flip between characters in a way we feel is completely and utterly truthful to Villanelle.”
Waller-Bridge echoed Woodward Gentle’s sentiments: “Jodie is a force to be reckoned with; Villanelle is a really challenging character in the first place because obviously she’s a psychopath, so how do you make people care about a psychopath is the question that kept coming up early on – and the answer was ‘cast Jodie Comer’.”
Killer (ahem) soundtrack
Right out the gate, Killing Even is backed by wonderful music (downloadable from most platforms, and YouTube), skilfully matched with the visual scenes.
“The soundtrack contributes so much to the mood and style of Killing Eve,” writes Rosie Pentreath, Classic FM.
Killing Eve has been filmed at locations including London, Paris, Tuscany, Berlin and Romania, where the Russian elements of the series were filmed. “It’s been incredible that we’ve actually managed to go to these places. Filming in Paris, it just looks beautiful,” comments Woodward Gentle.
One day, she – being me – says hopefully, when we can travel again, we can visit some of these locations. But in the meantime, we can drool over them online.
Still not convinced? Here are another 5 reasons you need to be watching Killing Eve.