Killing Eve (Season 1)
Creators: Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Luke Jennings (based on the novels by)
Starring: Sandra Oh, Jodie Cromer, Fiona Shaw, David Haig, Sean Delaney, Kim Bodnia
The BBC has once again shown that it can keep up with the TV giants of Netflix and Amazon Prime, releasing yet another incredible crime drama, in which an American security officer working for MI5 is drafted to track down an elusive but extraordinarily effective assassin working across Europe. Killing Eve perfectly captures the phrase 'quality over quantity' submitting eight episodes of tense but hilarious female-driven drama.
Every one of this show's components is expertly crafted with not a weak link among them. It has a brilliantly immersive and diverse soundtrack which can instantly teleport the viewers across its sprawling European setting, as well as a huge number of visually disparate settings in which this tale can unfold - busy city squares become quiet English hamlets before we return to grey London office buildings or isolated prisons with rusty bars. It's quite a journey, and one which never fails to deliver something new. Its absorbing and intelligent script - one which ranges from hilarious to downright chilling - is also filled with various languages, each of which is beautifully spoken, once again turning Killing Eve into a multi-cultural drama. It really is a show which can transport you halfway across a continent and back with alarming ease.
All these aspects have allowed Killing Eve to master a rather paradoxical balance. Each episode feels completely unlike the one previously, providing us with a fresh experience every time which never allows the show to shed any momentum. At the same time, however, the storyline remains fluid and natural, with a narrative consistency which is at odds with its more dynamic visual and aural landscape. The story is involving, one which has numerous twists and turns, but maintains a sense of believability throughout. It is a grounded show, one which doesn't indulge in sensational acts of espionage or extraordinary heroics, making it compelling but also realistic. Consistently though, the show is fun and enjoyable, with no distracting fluctuations in the tone and just the right amount of violence.
Every single cast member obviously loves their role, a fact which shines through their tremendous performances. The two leads, Sandra Oh and Jodie Cromer, are particularly noteworthy, both in their own scenes and the few that they share. Oh is wonderfully neurotic but feisty as our title character, Eve, the women assigned to track down an elusive female assassin. Her conflict is convincing, as are her resulting decisions, and she really is a character who is easy to root for. Despite 'Eve' being in the title, however, Cromer is arguably the star of the show - she takes full advantage of being able to play a type of role which is more typically played by men, and absolutely smashes it. Her Villanelle/Oksana is an endlessly expressive character with a razor-sharp wit, laser-precise comedic timing and a inescapable charm which makes her magnetic to watch on screen. The writers absolutely nail her psychopathic nature, which Cromer emobodies effortlessly. Fiona Shaw is also brilliant as the stoic and sly Carolyn Martens, while Kim Bodnia is a strangely comforting presence as the shadowy but conflicted Russian handler of Cromer's Villanelle.
Killing Eve demonstrates a perfect mixture of comedy and tension, being able to chill you or amuse you at ease while making the transition between the two completely organic. It is fantastic fun from start to finish, cheerfully violent and constantly evolving as it moves from one immersive backdrop to another. A binge-worthy series if there ever was one!