By Nicola Field
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Killing Eve

This article is over 5 years, 10 months old
Issue 438

Eat your heart out George Smiley, here comes Eve Polastri, earthily played by clever Sandra Oh.

Connecticut-raised and London based, Eve’s on the staff of MI5 with a routine job in security, but her background in criminal psychology drives her to look more deeply than her boss likes into a string of professional assassinations across Europe — and begin to draw some connections.

Shamelessly employing a bilingual teenager from her husband’s Polish bridge club, she breaks the rules to investigate and when her assignment to protect the key witness to one of these assassinations goes spectacularly awry (don’t watch this series if you faint at the sight of blood), she’s out on her ear, along with lovable manager Bill.

Luckily, a spook from MI6, played stunningly by Fiona Shaw, witnesses Eve’s frustrated attempts to alert her boss to the motivational possibilities behind all the slayings, and offers her a grotty office (“excuse the smell”), an internet-hacking wizard and a big enough budget to bring in Bill and her old assistant at MI5 to track down the assassin and thereby find out who is funding the killings.

Meanwhile, we know exactly who the assassin is. Occupying a palatial, shabby old apartment in Paris, Villanelle is a psychopathic, shapeshifting, utterly ruthless, narcissistic young athlete who revels in the luxuries her lucrative job brings.
Like Eve she is willing to disobey her bosses. She doesn’t feel pity or care why she is carrying out the killings — she just wants the money.

Or does she? Is there something else compelling her to kill? Why does she refuse to speak her native Russian? What happened to her mother? Who is the faceless Anna? The scary thing is — without knowing it, Eve and Villanelle have already met. Who will be the first to discover who her No 1 enemy really is?

Sexualisation is a strong factor in this drama and at first I was slightly uncomfortable with Jodie Comer’s body-beautiful antics as Villanelle in her short shorts on a motorbike. But then I recalled the blatant macho sexuality of past spy heroes — Bond, Palmer, Pine — and allowed myself to see that in Killing Eve, sex is a force more subtly employed.

I’ve only seen two very exciting preview episodes so have an agonised wait for the whole series to be screened. I am biting my nails and on the edge of my seat. Hope you enjoy it too.

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