BBC America’s new eight-part series Killing Eve is a cat-and-mouse match between a government official and a prolific international assassin. You’ve seen it before, but here’s the twist: The bureaucrat and the hired gun are both women who are fiercely determined, cunningly competent and completely obsessed with each other.
Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy) plays Eve, a London-based MI5 security services operative who’s bored with pushing pencils. When Eve assists in a diplomatic witness protection case, she’s led through a labyrinth of complex clues and coverups that bring her face-to-face with her quarry.
Villanelle (Jodie Comer, The White Princess) is a high-class killer with a passion for her work and a sense of style to go with it. The who and why of her target does not concern her. She kills without conscience, and any display of vulnerability is an act. “She becomes the girl next door,” Comer explains. “She has a charm that people let her so close to them, and then she kills them.”
One of Villanelle’s more brutal assignments brings her into a bathroom and a pivotal moment of sharing the mirror with her adversary. “Villanelle does not know who I am. I’m just some lady in the bathroom,” Oh says. “Neither of them know the significance of that meeting.” When Eve and Villanelle discover each other’s identity, it’s game on.
“As [Villanelle] becomes aware that Eve is taking an interest in her and is trying to find her, she starts doing things like maybe leaving something as evidence, or she becomes very careless in the hopes that it brings Eve closer to her,” Comer says. “One needs something off the other, and they’re not quite sure what it is.”
Killing Eve’s writers, led by showrunner Phoebe Waller-Bridge, have crafted a cleverly twisty story injected with snappy dialogue (and brilliant insults!), inventive ways of killing people and new dimensions to the conventional spy thriller.
“You have those typical tropes, the stereotypes of the assassin and the hunter,” Oh says. “And the thing that I really love about our show is that you are familiarish with, ‘Oh, it’s a dark killer. Oh, it’s someone who is determined,’ but it’s much more. And to have it be these two female characters who are really, really heading for each other, and also surrounded by other female characters, it’s just great to be in that world.”
Killing Eve premieres on BBC America Sunday, April 8, at 8pm ET/PT.
— Killing Eve (@KillingEve) April 5, 2018