Killing Eve

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Killing Eve
Based onVillanelle novel series
by Luke Jennings
Country of origin
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Original language(s)English
No. of series2
No. of episodes16 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time41–55 minutes
Production company(s)
  • Sid Gentle Films Ltd
  • Endeavor Content
Original network
Original release8 April 2018 (2018-04-08) –
present (present)
External links

Killing Eve is a British spy thriller television series, produced in the United Kingdom by Sid Gentle Films for BBC America. The series follows Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh), a British intelligence investigator tasked with capturing psychopathic assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer); as the chase progresses, the two develop a mutual obsession. Based on the Villanelle novel series by Luke Jennings, each of the show's series has featured a different female showrunner. Phoebe Waller-Bridge was head writer of season one, while Emerald Fennell took over for season two. Suzanne Heathcote will serve as showrunner for season three.

The show has been highly successful in both the United States and the United Kingdom, receiving critical acclaim for both the first and second series, particularly for its writing and the lead actresses' performances. The first series had unbroken weekly ratings growth, among adults especially. It has received several accolades, including a Peabody Award and the British Academy Television Award for Best Drama Series. Both Oh and Comer have won multiple Best Actress awards for their roles, with Fiona Shaw winning one for Best Supporting Actress as Carolyn Martens.

Killing Eve has been renewed for a third and fourth season.[3][4]


Bored with her protection guard role within the British intelligence agencies, Eve Polastri is overly interested with assassins, particularly female assassins, their psychologies and methods of killing. After brashly investigating behind-the-scenes in relation to a witness she is handling, she is fired from MI5 but recruited by a secret division within MI6 chasing an international assassin, to her delight. Dubbing the assassin Villanelle, Eve crosses paths with her and discovers that members within both their secret circles may be more connected than she is comfortable with, but forms an attraction and obsession for Villanelle that is more enthusiastically reciprocated; both women begin to focus less on their initial missions in order to desperately seek more about the other.[5]

Cast and characters[edit]



  • Susan Lynch as Anna, Villanelle's former languages teacher and love interest (season 1)[16]
  • Henry Lloyd-Hughes as Aaron Peel, the heir to a tech company following the assassination of his father, mogul Alistair Peel (season 2)[15]
  • Adrian Scarborough as Raymond, a member of the Twelve and one of Villanelle's former handlers (season 2)[15]
  • Shannon Tarbet as Amber Peel, Aaron's sister (season 2)[15]
  • Emma Pierson as Gemma, a teacher colleague of Niko's.


Sally Woodward Gentle, of Sid Gentle Films, optioned Luke Jennings' Codename Villanelle in 2014, saying that "the notion of a female assassin was not unique," but that Jennings' take was "fresh, intelligent and tonally much bolder than others", adding that she was particularly interested because "It wasn’t exploitative. We really enjoyed the character of Villanelle and the inventiveness of her kills, but we were particularly engaged with the mutual obsession between the women".[17] Jennings' story began as a four-part novella published between 2014 and 2016. Following the stage success of Fleabag, Phoebe Waller-Bridge was recruited to write the show, which was then commissioned by BBC America in November 2016.[18]


Sandra Oh plays Eve Polastri

Sandra Oh was the first to be cast in June 2017, as the title character Eve Polastri,[19] and IMG boarded for distribution rights later that month.[20] Oh reportedly had confusion over which character she could be playing when first being sent a breakdown, thinking that she would not have the option to audition for the young assassin and not even considering the lead, nor seeing other characters, before her agents confirmed that she would be reading for the role of Eve.[17]

For the role of Villanelle, the production considered over 100 actors[17] before Jodie Comer was cast, about a month after Oh.[21] Sally Woodward Gentle told Backstage that the production "didn't want Villanelle to be like Nikita or The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo—that male fantasy version of what a woman who'd come for them might look like. We wanted her to be able to disappear into a crowd".[17] Comer's first audition involved acting out the kitchen scene from "I Have a Thing About Bathrooms" with Oh, where the two clicked.[17]

Initially, Waller-Bridge had considered casting herself as either Eve or Villanelle, but discarded this as she wanted the larger age gap between the two leads.[22] Kirby Howell-Baptiste was cast as Elena in August 2017.[11] It has been suggested that a character played by Waller-Bridge, who will be a victim of Villanelle's, will appear in the third season.[22]

In August 2019, Deadline Hollywood announced that Harriet Walter and Danny Sapani had joined the cast for the third season.[23] More cast additions were revealed in November, including Gemma Whelan, Pedja Bjelac, Camille Cottin, Steve Pemberton, Raj Bajaj, Turlough Convery, and Evgenia Dodina.[24]


Filming for the first season began in Tuscany on 17 July 2017, extending to further locations in Paris, Berlin, Bucharest,[25] Cheshunt, Turville, London[26] and West London Film Studios. The Viennese Cafe opening scenes were shot at Bar Garibaldi in Colle di Val d'Elsa, a small hilltop town north west of Siena, Tuscany. The building used as Eve's base is in Warwick House Street, just off Trafalgar Square.[27] In the London pub scene, the external shot shows The Albert pub in Victoria Street; the interiors were of the dark-panelled Old Nick in Sandford Street. In episode three, Villanelle lures David Haig's character Bill Pargrave into tailing her out of Berlin Friedrichstraße station and along a neighbouring Berlin tramway street before entering a busy nightclub, the location of which was Fabric, opposite London's Smithfield Market. Bucharest's neoclassical Romanian Athenaeum concert hall was converted into a decadent cafe for the penultimate Moscow scene. Filming also took place at Nell's Café, a popular roadside café off the A2 near Gravesend in Kent, as well as at the nearby M2 motorway.[28]

Filming for the second season began on 16 July 2018 and concluded on 14 December.[29] In August 2019, filming for the third season took place in London.[30]


The band Unloved, featuring Jade Vincent, Keefus Ciancia, and David Holmes, were commissioned to score the series.[31]


Shortly before its premiere, Killing Eve was renewed for a second season.[32][33] Luke Jennings's sequel, Killing Eve: No Tomorrow, was published in March 2019, shortly before the second-season premiere;[34] the book is said to diverge from the television series, but also to "share common DNA" because of Jennings's continued collaboration with the creators.[34] In July 2018, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Waller-Bridge delegated some responsibility for the second season, hiring Emerald Fennell as head writer, and Lisa Brühlmann and Francesca Gregorini as directors.[35]

Less than twelve hours after the premiere of the second season, BBC America renewed the series for a third. Suzanne Heathcote will serve as showrunner,[36] so that each new season of Killing Eve brings on a new female showrunner.[37]

On 3 January 2020, Killing Eve was renewed for a fourth season ahead of the premiere of the third season.[38] A showrunner for the fourth season has yet to be announced.[39]

Episodes and broadcast[edit]

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
188 April 2018 (2018-04-08)27 May 2018 (2018-05-27)
287 April 2019 (2019-04-07)26 May 2019 (2019-05-26)

In the United Kingdom, the series was shown on BBC One in September 2018 and as stream-only on BBC Three.[40] The first episode was broadcast on 15 September 2018,[41] and seen by 8.25 million viewers within the first twenty-eight days.[42][43] The second season was released in its entirety on BBC iPlayer on 8 June 2019, with its first episode being shown on BBC One the same day.[44][43]

Irish broadcaster RTÉ2 was the first broadcaster in Europe to premiere the show,[45] with the first episode broadcast to 76,000 viewers on 27 August 2018.[46]

In New Zealand, season two episodes premiered two days before their US broadcast on TVNZ Ondemand.[47] Episodes will air on TVNZ 2 the same day as the US broadcast.[citation needed] Season two began broadcasting on 7 April 2019, shown concurrently in the United States by both BBC America and AMC.[14]

Use of fashion[edit]

A pink tulle dress worn in the first season episode "I'll Deal with Him Later", designed by Molly Goddard, was heralded as a "fashion moment"[48] that inspired the dresses worn on red carpets in the subsequent awards season, including an overwhelming showing of pink at the 91st Academy Awards ceremony in 2019.[49][50][51][52]

The show has had two costume designers; Phoebe de Gaye for the first season and Charlotte Mitchell for the second.[53]


The character Villanelle's relationship to fashion has been described by many people. Gilly Ferguson of Grazia says that she has become a "style icon".[54] Luke Jennings, author of the book series on which the show is based, says that "Clothes reflect her status and independence[...] She doesn't have to conform or please anyone's gaze"; Charlotte Mitchell agrees that "She plays by her own rules".[53] Sonia Saraiya of Vanity Fair considers Villanelle's outfits "their own subplot"; she notes that the character choosing to live in Paris is also a nod to the fashion-centrism displayed.[55] Melania Hidalgo of The Cut writes that "Villanelle reverses the style of a typical femme fatale, wearing everyday basics on her missions while saving the chicest items in her wardrobe for her days off";[56] in reference to a specific outfit, Steff Yotka of Vogue says that Villanelle has "redefined the look of an international assassin story" by subverting classic tactical gear and sleekness.[57] Mitchell also said of Villanelle that she "uses color to provoke reactions", pointing to the pink Molly Goddard dress.[53]

Eve Polastri[edit]

Considered Villanelle's fashion foil by Entertainment Weekly, Eve Polastri has been described as considering fashion "trivial" and not bothering to dress well. Jennings suggested that even if she cared, "she'd be hopeless at it"; Mitchell and de Gaye crafted outfits that match Eve's practical attitude, with Mitchell saying that she "wears elastic waists [because] she doesn't have time to do up a button fly".[53] Other choices include more clothes made of linen to more easily appear dishevelled.[53] Eve is allowed some moments of being well-dressed, however, which are significant to the plot, including trying on dresses that Villanelle has chosen for her in her own stolen suitcase.[55]


Critical response[edit]

Season Critical response
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 96% (97 reviews) 83 (22 reviews)
2 93% (67 reviews) 86 (21 reviews)

Season 1[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has an approval rating of 96% based on 97 reviews, with an average rating of 8.28/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Seductive and surprising, Killing Eve's twist on the spy vs. spy concept rewards viewers with an audaciously entertaining show that finally makes good use of Sandra Oh's talents."[58] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 83 out of 100 based on 22 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[59]

Jenna Scherer, writing in Rolling Stone, described Killing Eve as "hilarious, bloody, unclassifiable" and idiosyncratic, "a stylish story of obsession and psychopathy that's disarmingly warm and lived-in".[60] Scherer went on to write that the show "undermines every rule of TV", with what it does best being its "dry wit, razor-wire tension, sex appeal and the looming threat of violence".[60] Hanh Nguyen wrote on IndieWire that one of the show's most appealing aspects is "how it subverts expectation", allowing it to "constantly surprise and delight".[61] Troy Patterson wrote in The New Yorker that the story discloses "a life independent of genre conventions" and that the triumph of the show's style is its "reconciliation of the outlandish and the intimate", adding that the "Jason Bourne-style escapism of the bare premise, inflected by the assertively odd tone, yields fresh depictions of fear and grief".[62] In the context of Vulture's selection of Sandra Oh as the best actress on television (June 2018), Matt Zoller Seitz wrote that there was "no precedent" for the "wild extremes" of the show's "comedy and thriller elements".[63] While Mike Hale acknowledged in The New York Times that "scenes and characterizations play out differently than we're used to" and the comic style is distinctive, he also wrote – in contrast to most reviewers – of being "just as conscious of (the show's) congruences with standard examples of the genre ... as ... of the differences", citing Berlin Station, La Femme Nikita, Covert Affairs and Homeland.[64]

Scherer described the show as a feminine take on a traditionally masculine genre—"more interested in giving space to character beats and the weird chaos that can leak into the best-laid plans".[60] Similarly, Melanie McFarland wrote for Salon that Killing Eve has been dubbed a "feminist thriller", calling it a "perfect show for the #MeToo era", saying that it "slakes one's desire to see piggish misogynists get what's coming to them" but also delves into complex trust issues among women and shows "sisterhood's might and peril (as) powerful ... but ... also complicated and devoid of guarantees".[65] Along the same lines, Willa Paskin wrote in Slate that Killing Eve is a story about "the literal dangers of underestimating women: of not seeing the woman who can kill you, underestimating the woman who can stop her".[66] Paskin added that "The disfigured, beating heart of Killing Eve is the way that Villanelle's gender and manner, her very femininity, keep our acculturated brains from being appropriately terrified of her".[66]

Jia Tolentino acknowledged in The New Yorker how critics have noted that women characters are substituted for men "in every meaningful part", that the men are "formulaic" but the women are "deeply strange".[67] However, Tolentino asserted that Killing Eve "isn't shaped around the concept of women; it's shaped around these women, who are unlike any others in their wild, unlikely interior weirdness and flux".[67] She added that a defining feature of the show is its "constant reversals in tone and rhythm", with the show's thrill coming "from pattern rather than resolution".[67]

Ben Goldberg wrote in Into that the series "never outright explains its characters' sexualities, but unlike shows that queerbait their audiences, Killing Eve does not need to name the relationship between Eve and Villanelle in order to recognize it", adding that the show "does not shy away from its characters' sexual attraction but also complicates this narrative at every turn".[68]

Hannah Giorgis wrote in The Atlantic that the show's greatest success is "how alluring it makes its villain: to both Eve ... and audiences", and that Villanelle's character subverts feminine stereotypes so as to "carve a jagged space into the serial-killer canon".[69]

Season 2[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season has an approval rating of 93% based on 67 reviews, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "With the titillating cat-and-mouse game still rooted at its core, Killing Eve returns for an enthralling second season of considerably higher stakes, hilariously dark humor and a captivating dynamic between characters, solidifying its position as one of the best spy thrillers out."[70] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 86 out of 100 based on 21 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[71]

Chitra Ramaswamy wrote in The Guardian that the show "uproots the tired old sexist tropes of spy thrillers then repots them as feminist in-jokes, patriarchal piss-takes, tasteless murders and blooms of sapphic chemistry".[72] Describing how Villanelle "does what she always does—exploit society's misogyny by imitating a victim of it"—Emily Nussbaum wrote in The New Yorker that the potent idea that undergirds the show is that "femininity is itself a sort of sociopathy, whose performance, if you truly nail it, might be the source of ultimate power".[73]

Angelica Jade Bastién wrote in Vulture that the second season, with new showrunner Emerald Fennell, "trades in the precise mordant wit of series creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge for something more garish and horrifying", further describing the "wild consumption" of food and clothing "that builds into the closest thing the show has come to a genuine sex scene between" the two women.[74] Bastién also perceived that "Killing Eve is deeply indebted to film noir, a genre whose backbone is the ways people lose their soul in the face of desire—...but it's a noir operating at the tenor of a fairy tale".[74]

"Best of" lists[edit]

Review aggregator Metacritic reported in early December 2018 that more individual television critics included Killing Eve in their 2018 year-end Top Ten lists than any other show.[75]

In November 2018, Killing Eve was chosen as Time magazine's Best Show of 2018, the magazine's Judy Berman writing that "the characters were multidimensional but incomplete, their mutual obsession fueled by the sense that each woman had something crucial the other lacked".[76] It was number three on The New York Post's "Best TV Shows of 2018" list, being praised for "brilliant writing" and "nuanced performances".[77] It was also second on the "25 Best TV Shows of 2018" list from Paste magazine, which labelled it as "the best new series of the year".[78]

In December 2018, The Guardian named Killing Eve the best TV show of 2018, describing it as a "high-wire act of misdirection that subverted stale genre expectations" and saying that it "mix[es] genres – spy thriller, comedy, action film, workplace drama and... farce – without it collapsing into a tonal mess".[79] The New York Times included Killing Eve in its "Best TV Shows of 2018" list, stating that the series was "infused ... with the brio of a dark comedy, though its hour length marked it as crime drama".[80] The New York Times also included Oh's and Comer's performances in its list of "Best Performances of 2018", noting "these two women are inventive about how to be funny in a thriller" and "make run-of-the mill embarrassment seem more lethal than any bullet".[81] NPR included the show on its list of "Favorite TV Shows of 2018", saying that it may be "the strangest—and most compelling—story of how opposites attract on TV this year".[82]

The Washington Post listed Killing Eve as the third best show of 2018, calling the "sleeper hit... splendidly paced".[83] USA Today listed the show at fifth place on its "Best TV Shows of 2018" list, remarking that it "completely surprises you, from its writing to its performances to its direction to the names on the poster".[84] New York magazine's pop culture website Vulture included the series as number seven on Jen Chaney's "10 Best TV Shows of 2018" list, remarking on its immediate and escalating "sense of propulsive daring" and its infusion of "feminine energy".[85] TV Guide named Oh's and Comer's performances as the second best TV performance of 2018, and said that the show "ended up on pretty much everyone's Best of 2018 lists".[86] Vanity Fair listed the show at second place on its "Best TV Shows of 2018" list, saying that "watching Killing Eve is like spraying a disinfectant for the musty tropes of prestige drama directly onto your brain" and inviting viewers to "come for the black comedy; stay for the fashion".[87]

Rolling Stone named the show as the fourth best TV show of 2018, describing it as "exciting and scary while making room for the quippy dialogue and smart observations about how women interact".[88] IndieWire listed Killing Eve as the fourth best new TV show of 2018, saying that "exploring identity and dark desires, the series never met an impulse it didn't pursue to its extreme", and that "outrageous and often off-kilter dark humor only highlights the show's transgressive charms".[89] Livingly Media listed the series as the third best TV show of 2018, saying it is "loaded with quippy dialogue and razor-sharp observations about how women interact in increasingly destructive environments".[90] Mashable rated the show number four on its "Best New TV Shows of 2018" list, praising the two lead actors and commenting that the show was "exactly the weird, psychosexual romp (that) 2018 needed".[91]

In September 2019, The Guardian ranked Killing Eve 30th on its list of the 100 best TV shows of the 21st century, stating that "few shows in TV history have scythed on to the screen with as much elan".[92] In December 2019, The New York Times named the show as 9th on its Best International TV Shows of the Decade, characterizing it as "a riff on the romantic spy thriller that can be darkly funny one moment and devastating the next".[93]


The first season had unbroken weekly ratings growth among adults aged 25–54 and 18–49, which no other television show had accomplished in more than a decade.[94] The final episode's 1.25 million viewers (Nielsen live+3) was 86 percent greater than for the premiere.[94] The second season was simulcast on both AMC and BBC America, with its premiere drawing a combined total of 1.17 million viewers.


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2018 Gold Derby Awards Best Drama Actress Jodie Comer Nominated [95]
Sandra Oh Nominated
Best Drama Series Killing Eve Nominated
Gotham Awards Breakthrough Series – Long Form Killing Eve Won [96]
People's Choice Awards The Bingeworthy Show of 2018 Killing Eve Nominated [97]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Sandra Oh (for "I Have a Thing About Bathrooms") Nominated [98]
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Phoebe Waller-Bridge (for "Nice Face") Nominated
Television Critics Association Awards Individual Achievement in Drama Jodie Comer Nominated [99]
Sandra Oh Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Drama Killing Eve Nominated
Outstanding New Program Killing Eve Won
Program of the Year Killing Eve Nominated
2019 American Cinema Editors Awards Best Edited Drama Series for Commercial Television Gary Dollner Won [100]
British Academy Television Awards Best Drama Series Killing Eve Won [101][102]
Best Leading Actress Jodie Comer Won
Sandra Oh Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Kim Bodnia Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Fiona Shaw Won
Must-See TV Moment Eve stabs Villanelle Nominated
British Academy Television Craft Awards Best Writing Phoebe Waller-Bridge Nominated [103]
Costume Design Phoebe De Gaye Nominated
Director: Fiction Harry Bradbeer (episode 1) Nominated
Editing: Fiction Garry Dollner (episode 1) Nominated
Original Music David Holmes, Keefus Ciancia Won
Photography and Lighting: Fiction Julian Court (episode 7) Nominated
Production Design Kristian Milsted Nominated
Sound: Fiction Sound team Won
Titles and Graphic Identity Matt Willey Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actress in a Drama Series Jodie Comer Nominated [104]
Sandra Oh Won
Best Drama Series Killing Eve Nominated
Gold Derby Awards Best Drama Actress Jodie Comer Won [105]
Sandra Oh Nominated
Best Drama Episode of the Year Damon Thomas and Emerald Fennell (for "Do You Know How to Dispose of a Body?") Nominated
Best Drama Series Killing Eve Nominated
Best Drama Supporting Actress Fiona Shaw Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Sandra Oh Won [106]
Best Television Series – Drama Killing Eve Nominated
Gracie Awards Actress in a Leading Role – Drama Sandra Oh Won [107]
Drama Killing Eve Won
Location Managers Guild Awards Outstanding Locations in Contemporary Television Casper Mills Nominated [108][109]
National Television Awards Best New Drama Series Killing Eve Nominated [110]
Outstanding Drama Performance Jodie Comer Nominated
Peabody Award Entertainment Killing Eve Won [111][112]
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series Suzanne Crowley and Gilly Poole Nominated [113][114]
Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program (One Hour or More) Laurence Dorman, Beckie Harvey and Linda Wilson (for "The Hungry Caterpillar") Nominated
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series Dan Crinnion (for "Desperate Times") Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series Lisa Brühlmann (for "Desperate Times") Nominated
Outstanding Drama Series Sally Woodward Gentle, Lee Morris, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Emerald Fennell, Gina Mingacci, Damon Thomas, Francesca Gardiner, Sandra Oh, Elinor Day, Morenike Williams and Andy Noble Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Jodie Comer (for "I Hope You Like Missionary!") Won
Sandra Oh (for "You're Mine") Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Fiona Shaw (for "Nice and Neat") Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Emerald Fennell (for "Nice and Neat") Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actress in a Drama / Genre Series Sandra Oh Nominated [115]
Saturn Awards Best Action-Thriller Television Series Killing Eve Nominated [116]
Best Actress in a Television Series Sandra Oh Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Sandra Oh Won [117][118]
Television Critics Association Awards Individual Achievement in Drama Jodie Comer Nominated [119]
Outstanding Achievement in Drama Killing Eve Nominated
2020 Critics Choice Awards Best Actress in a Drama Series Jodie Comer Nominated [120]
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Jodie Comer Nominated [121]
Best Television Series – Drama Killing Eve Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actress in a Drama / Genre Series Jodie Comer Nominated [122]
Sandra Oh Nominated
Best Drama Series Killing Eve Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Jodie Comer Nominated [123]


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