Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s breakout BBC America series depicts the romance and rivalry between two very different women - and it's one of the best female-led programmes in recent years. Late to the Killing Eve party? Now is your chance to watch – or re-watch it – ahead of its season 3 premiere in April.
The cast (who deserve all the awards going)
Sandra Oh, who plays M.I.5 investigator Eve, sent to track an assassin known only as Villanelle, was one of the best in Grey’s Anatomy, but she is at her best here, giving a Golden Globe-winning performance in the series. Her comic timing alone is pure gold. Audiences may not be as familiar with British actress Jodie Comer (Villanelle), but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t killing it (pun intended) as Chloe in My Mad Fat Diary
— Killing Eve (@KillingEve) February 14, 2020
Throw in a couple of stellar supporting performances from Irish actress, Harry Potter’s Fiona Shaw (she's hilariously brilliant) and The Bridge’s Kim Bodnia and you’ve got yourself a television force to be reckoned with. The show also became a milestone for diversity after Oh became the first woman of Asian descent to be nominated - and win - the lead actress category at the Golden Globes.
The plot (always with a twist)
Eve often fears Villanelle but is simultaneously fascinated with her and her life so different from her own mundaneness. While Villanelle remains intrigued with Eve's mutual interest in her - she suspects Eve has a wilder, untamed side which is hiding underneath the surface. Their relationship is something we aren't used to seeing on screen in that they should be mortal enemies. This is, what makes the writing so wonderful; it should be a traditional spy drama but its distinct female perspective means you are continually left guessing - and surprised at the outcome.
The fashion (it is its own subplot)
Another unique element to the series is its use of fashion. In this show, femininity equals power - something frequently deemed a weakness when it comes to women in film and TV - and Villanelle, in particular, isn't afraid to use this to her advantage. In fact, she almost capitalises on it, in that her sense of style is frequently used to entrap and enthral her victims. Her clothes are her armour; used to frequently blend in - she slips into a Berlin club ever on-trend wearing a dandified Dries Van Noten brocade suit - or stand out - who could forget her sulkily attending a mandatory psychiatric evaluation in a flouncy saccharine-pink Molly Goddard gown?
Fashion is also used as an erotic playing card. A standout moment is when Eve opens up her lost suitcase, only to discover that Villanelle has stocked it with decadent designer clothing, all in her exact sizes. She tries on a Roland Mouret black-and-ivory dress, fitted like a glove, and is stunned at the femme fatale she sees reflected back at her (who Villanelle knows is there from the start - it's Eve's fabulous unruly hair which gives the game away in season 1) - she just wants Eve to see this herself.
The female crew
Killing Eve isn't just about a female-led cast; there's plenty of women behind-the-scenes too. Screenwriter Phoebe Waller-Bridge can be best described in two words: Flea Bag. However, she's a tour de force: an actress, writer and producer who is in a league all of her own at the moment. So impressive are her talent and credentials that rumour has it, James Bond himself Daniel Craig, specifically requested Waller-Bridge to work on the script for the upcoming film. If anyone can add some much-needed dimension to the Bond girls we've seen thus far, this is a woman who can. And asides from all that, who else would think to dress Villanelle in a pink, ballerina-esque ball gown during her therapy session?
But there's more: The producers tried something radical once Waller-Bridge moved on to pursue other projects: they would have a new female showrunner every season, referred to as “the anti-‘myth of male genius’ show —both as a story and how it’s made behind the scenes.” For the upcoming third season, premiering April 26, playwright and TV scribe Suzanne Heathcote will be in charge and for season 4, Sex Education alum Laura Neal will take the reigns.
Killing Eve season 3 will premiere on April 26th