Konstantin: So she slit her own throat?
Villanelle: It happens.
British TV is well-known for its famous detectives. In the period piece vein, there's Sherlock Holmes and Hercules Poirot. In the more modern eras there's Inspectors Morse and Lewis, and DCI John Luther, just to name a few. But the boy's club needs to move over and make space for a new detective in town: Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) of BBC America's newest series, Killing Eve. This show is fantastically fun and Oh (of Grey's Anatomy fame) represents a great new kind of female lead detective to anchor a British crime serial. Helen Mirren’s Jane Tennison would enthusiastically approve.
The show, like so many crime thrillers, is based on the series of Villanelle novellas by Luke Jennings. Oh plays Eve, an American living in London, who works a dead-end job as an assistant in a security firm. Their job is to protect witnesses for the government and other entities that need it on a temporary basis. As Eve's superior Bill (David Haig of Penny Dreadful) puts it, "It's a weird job."
Bored and frustrated in her position, which never lets her investigate why these people need protection, or who from, Eve spends her time quietly obsessed with assassins, especially female ones. When their newest client turns out to have witnessed her high powered boyfriend's assassination, Eve puts together that the murder was performed by a heretofore unknown female assassin. Unable to stop herself from asking questions, Eve starts getting closer to solving the crime her superiors would rather she ignored... until her client is murdered right under her nose.
Suddenly out of a job, Eve is determined to continue investigating. Lucky for her, what sleuthing she has done gets her noticed by the MI-5 agent assigned to the case, Carolyn Martens (played by Fiona Shaw). Next thing Eve knows, she's been hired to become a secret agent, tracking down one of the best assassins of the last decade, known only as Villanelle.
While Eve has been stumbling around London trying to put the clues together, Villanelle (played by The White Princess star Comer) has been busy from her hideaway in Paris. She is described early on by Eve's client as "a flatchested psycho," and the description is apt. This is a woman who truly enjoys her job. Villanelle makes killing fun again, and every one of her murders is more enthralling to watch than the next. (Her love of French fashions and Italian fabrics doesn't hurt either.)
Watching the slow-motion collision of these two women, trapped in male-dominated professions that continuously underestimate their abilities and their passions for their work is one of the most fun and feminized cat-and-mouse games of the last few years. Both Oh and Comer are an absolute delight in their roles, and the script by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, best known for comedies such as Fleabag, contains laugh out loud moments that delight even as the stakes are raised.
Killing Eve premieres on BBC America on Sunday, April 8, 2018, at 8 p.m. ET. I highly recommend it.