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With 'Killing Eve,' the Murder Mystery Becomes the Genre of Women
April 8, 2018  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment

BBC America’s new Killing Eve lets us savor the age-old question of whether it’s more fun to work as a hitwoman or more fun to try catching a hitwoman.
Jodie Comer’s (top) smooth killer Villanelle and Sandra Oh’s (top) raggedy sleuth Eve make that a tough call in Killing Eve, which premieres Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.
Based on novels by Luke Jennings, Killing Eve seems to give Villanelle all the cards.
She’s a contract killer who can slide smoothly into the lives of her mostly male victims and dispatch them with admirable efficiency.
She is well paid through her handler Konstantin (Kim Bodnia), and while we don’t get a lot of backstory on the victims, we get the vague impression they aren’t all exemplary citizens.
Some of them are, however, of interest in the intelligence community, so Villanelle’s activities trigger international geopolitical concerns.
As we join the story she has definitely come onto the radar – if anyone can ever figure out who she is.

Enter Eve, an assistant to a low-level operative at the British intelligence agency MI5. She and her boss primarily just process routine suspects on their way to somewhere else, up until the day they are assigned to briefly guard a woman who is a potential witness to an assassination.
They get a hint this might be serious stuff because Carolyn Martens (Fiona Shaw), a woman from higher up on the intelligence food chain, drops by to express interest despite the fact they have been able to get no information from the incoherent witness.
Eve’s department plans to keep its head down and pass her along. Eve, however, senses this might be a chance to do some actual detective work instead of her regular essentially clerical chores.
So she disobeys orders not to talk with the witness and distills from the drunken rambling that the assailant was a woman.
Shortly after that, things go bad, and Eve and her boss are fired.
Carolyn, however, is impressed that Eve figured out the killer’s gender, so she offers Eve a chance to stay on the case.
Eve couldn’t be more delighted, though she isn’t the kind of button-down operative often favored in the intelligence world. She’s more like Colombo, with a rumpled look and a mind like a pinball machine. She’s impulsive and easily distractible by things like croissants.
This puts her in stark contrast to Villanelle, who is organized, focused and marvelously efficient. True, we do get some hints that she’s searching for a little more fulfillment in her personal life, but she obviously relishes the toys that she can afford as a result of her marketable skillset. Let us also say she does not lack self-confidence.
On paper, Villanelle vs. Eve looks like a mismatch, even when you throw in Eve’s secret weapon, her puckish and skilled assistant Elena Felton (Kirby Howell-Baptiste).
Sometimes, however, a nonlinear approach can create problems for someone used to dealing with people who are efficient and predictable.
Also, Eve is a fast learner. Her instincts are as sharp as Villanelle’s. She just has to survive long enough to employ them.
To the delight of the viewer, both women approach their showdown with a wry sense of knowing humor. They both enjoy their work, albeit in different ways. Villanelle has the streak of self-satisfied sadism found in classic mustache-twirling male villains, while Eve appreciates the quirks everyone faces in just getting through the day.
Killing Eve is, well, a killer.
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This was one of the Most surprising of shows. The Dialogue was entirely different-rhythmically, and more-- from any other show I've seen. The wonderful use of women characters- for once--
I am fascinated, and hope it can continue to surprise. Too many committee written shows with checklist of plotpoints exist. This one has already broken that mold.
Apr 11, 2018   |  Reply
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